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A "not-so-expensive" brake upgrade for F355

Discussion in '348/355' started by eric355, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. eric355

    eric355 Formula Junior
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    #1 eric355, Sep 18, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    F355 brakes are powerful enough … but IMHO they are prone to fade too easily.
    Even upgraded with the easy famous trio (braided hoses + racing pads + high quality brake fluid), they can be overheated by a nice twisty road, and my first track day was not so pleasant because of the poor feeling I had with the brakes after a few laps.
    It is obvious that the front discs are too small, compared to some Porsche of the same era, and so their temperature is too quickly too high (for a given energy, the temperature increase is directly linked to the mass of the disc).

    I decided to upgrade the 355 … but without spending the “more than 3000€” required for a Brembo kit. I looked around for the existing solutions, but finally decided to build my own set-up:
    - 550 Maranello discs : upgrade from 300mm X 28mm to 330mm X 32mm. They are not so expensive and are a direct bolt on
    - 964RS / 965 Turbo front callipers : they have a much bigger casting than the original ones, and 36mm / 44mm pistons diameters. Used in conjunction with 322mm discs on the Porsche, they can be used with 330mm discs, however they reach their limit there. Big red callipers (993TT) cannot be used because the track of the 550 disc is not large enough.
    - Brackets from Racers Edge : they allow to change from a calliper axial mount to a radial mount. Designed for 911/944 brake upgrade, they need some slight mod to fit the F355 front hub, and place the calliper at the correct position.
    - Original piping is OK without mod

    It was quite a big job to strip down the used callipers I bought, to repaint and clear coat them with a Ferrari logo, to change all the gaskets and pistons, to modify the brackets, etc, but I am very pleased with the result … at first visually! I have only started the pads and rotor bedding process but it feels good and promising.
    Finally, once subtracted the cost of my old discs which were 60% dead anyway, the overall cost is no more than 1000€.
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  3. MarkCollins

    MarkCollins F1 Rookie
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    Nice job Eric, very tempting

    Were the 550/575 Calipers not an option as I'm pretty sure QV in the UK have successfully fitted this setup to the 355
     
  4. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Very nice visual modification. Do you have pictures of the new mounting racket for the new calipers? How did you get the new ferrari script on the new calipers? That seems like the hardest part. Are you going to do the rears?

    Another upgrade for fade is just to cool the brakes with ducts and then you don't get the extra unsprung weight of bigger brake parts. But visually a great modification and certainly it could be a big improvement if you start tracking the car. Testing will tell you how stunning an improvement you have made. It would have been cool to see data with before and after laptimes on your home track. I bet the improvement is big and the price a bargin. Good job! When I raced my 348 which has the same calipers as the 355 everyone complained about 348 brakes and said I would have problems. I had no problems because I cheated by using huge 3" brake ducts and oversized NACA ducts to channel the air via the foglights I removed. Then I dropped out so much weight that I was just around 2800lbs! Doing those things were like adding a big brake kit. I bet I had one of the fastest 348's in the country.
     
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  5. eric355

    eric355 Formula Junior
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    Thanks Mark.

    Probably they are, but I have not been able to get any drawing or measurement of the interfaces, when it is so easy for Porsche calipers. Also, they are axially mounted, as the 355 ones, which may complicate the bracket if the interface is not exactly the same. Finally the cost for a pair of used 550 calipers will be significantly higher than those Porsche calipers.
     
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  6. sambomydog

    sambomydog Guest

    May 23, 2009
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    What a fantastic set up, well done:) Two questions that i have and hope you can answer. Are you using the standard reservoir and master cylinder, or larger? Can the standard 355 unit cope easily with the extra fluid it has to move? Also whats the brake bias balance feel like?
    But like i said what a brilliant effort:)
     
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  8. eric355

    eric355 Formula Junior
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    #6 eric355, Sep 18, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017

    Thanks.

    You are right, even if the 355 has already some cooling ducts, the design can be improved. i'll do it probably later. Weight of course is the enemy but I don't want to own a race car and keep it close to original so their is no real latitude their ... except if somebody have a very nice set of carbon seats for (almost!) free :)

    I painted the calipers with high temp black paint, then apply a nice Ferrari vinyl bought on ebay, and finished with some layers of clear coat. The calipers spent some hours in the oven for curing.

    Here is a picture of the bracket bolted on the hub.
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  9. gothspeed

    gothspeed F1 World Champ

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    ........................... :)
     
  10. eric355

    eric355 Formula Junior
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    I stay with the same master cylinder. It has the same diameter than the one used by the Porsche with those calipers. Pedal feeling is good, no problem there.
    Theoretically, this set-up should move a bit the balance on the front wheels, more torque for the same pressure, due to the pistons surface increase (+10%) and the increase of the mean diameter of pads contact area. Up to now, it seems OK, I will see while increasing the braking power if the proportioning valve of rear brakes need to be tuned.
     
  11. TopElement

    TopElement Formula 3

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    Those 1 piece rotors are heavy! But looks great, and the extra thermal capacity is beneficial on the track.
     
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  13. Ricambi America

    Ricambi America F1 World Champ
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    The interesting thing here is that if he's using 550 rotors, we might be able to assume the lightweight 2-piece 550 rotors from ******** would be an acceptable substitute too, eh?
     
  14. AceMaster

    AceMaster Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Looks fantastic - excellent job!
     
  15. eric355

    eric355 Formula Junior
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    Most probably but they are 2 times the cost of these ones. It was a bit expensive for a try without guarantee it works. Next time, may be ....
     
  16. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
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    I upgraded my 95 F355 brakes. All it took was Ferodo DS2500 brake pads and fresh fluid.

    I have run 72 minutes (1 full tank of gas) in the heat of Texas summers (102dF) at TWS on these pads without any of the overheating symptoms; comming within a couple of seconds of the lap record*. Earlier that year I DID have a pad fade event on the original Ferrari pads, but not on these.

    (*) 3200 pound cars, 400 HP motors on street tires.
     
  17. eric355

    eric355 Formula Junior
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    That's the set-up I had : braided hoses, DS2500 and fresh RBF600.
    Even with that, I was not convinced at all. Looking at the color of the discs, they were obviously overheated.
    I am probably not the best "braker", but on the same track, my 911 turbo was far more consistent for what regards the brakes.
     
  18. henryr

    henryr F1 World Champ
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    is there any sort of thread that outlines the brake packages that came from the factory on the fcar ? listing caliper sizing, pistons, rotor sizes ?
     
  19. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

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    I will admit that I grew out of my "heavy on brakes" driving style, and that these brakes do get very hot--hot enough to make the rotors turn a nice battleship grey. However, I still got 30 track days on a single set of rotors (5 days on a set of pads). This setup would probably actually overheat if r-compounds were used, and would definately overheat if slicks were on the car.

    I learned my "easy on brakes" style from EFR when I got a ride with him in a F355 challenge car at TWS. So gentle and smooth. Comming down off the banking and then going to 10%-15% brakes for th whole distance from T1 to T2 entrance instead of getting rid of speed right now just before T2E. Was EFR *****footing around? Well lets just say he was driving a car he had never been in, on a course hed had never driven, with a passenger, and was doing his reconnaissance laps within 2 seconds of the lap record on that track for those cars.
     
  20. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Some guys have all the skill. Driving style is amazingly different with different drivers. It is funny to watch guys racing in spec series all with close laptimes and have one guy blow multiple engines and another guy kill brakes and hubs etc.
     
  21. gothspeed

    gothspeed F1 World Champ

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    what a coincidence :p ......... I was just logging in to ask if giro disc made their two piece for the 550 ....... :D
     
  22. saw1998

    saw1998 F1 Veteran

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    Eric, you amaze me! Electronics guru and brakes.... Too much! :)
     
  23. eric355

    eric355 Formula Junior
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    Thanks :)

    I love this car! Next step will be doing her a major, starting early october ...
     
  24. sambomydog

    sambomydog Guest

    May 23, 2009
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    Yes a great job! And thanks for sharing with fellow 355 owners. It never occurred to me that the 550 discs were a direct replacement, great news.
    We have all tried the Ferodo pad route and its just not enough for the hard driver.
     
  25. eric355

    eric355 Formula Junior
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    550 disc is obviously not a direct replacement of 355 disc, but it can be bolted to the 355 hub without any clash and with an offset similar to the 355 disc. In the same way the 512TR disc can be installed also (315mm X 32mm).
     
  26. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

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    EFR said (when I ask) if you drive a 900 HP car that weighs only 1500 pounds with anything but smooth inputs, it will eat you alive and spit you out. He was driving for Dyson at the time (about 4 years ago). I've always attempted to be a smooth driver, and durring my progression from novice through instructor All my instructors noted how smooth I was and how I drove the same line every time. However, after my ride with EFR I redoubled my efforts to be even smoother.

    Imagine being in a challenge car (stiff suspension, stiff seats, helmet banging on roll cage) and being driven aorund so smoothly you could read a book and sip you tea.....at near lap record pace!
     
  27. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Well I wish i could experience that. I was unwilling to dump huge cash in developing the suspension on the 348. A smoother driving style also allowed me to do that by not shocking the system and trying to get the car to do things it could not do with the suspension setup I had. I ran a stiff welded caged car to the suspension towers but big springs, heim joints, and slicks and a lot less weight and well ducted brakes. That allowed me to move pretty quick for a 348 and I pissed off many a 355 owner and surprised 360's. The jerkier the driving style like the bumpier the road means you need cubic dollars for better fully adjustable shocks and the like.
     
  28. gothspeed

    gothspeed F1 World Champ

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    ........ eric ...... you did a great job :) ....... but since I don't use my brakes much ...... I will be going with the 355 two piece ******** front rotor kit (for unsprung weight reasons) ............. unfortunately, this may only happen if I can convince Daniel to sell me a set ...... :eek:
     

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