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RE: UFO vs. G60 Wars, Redux

On Thu, 13 Oct 1999, Graydon D. Stuckey wrote:

> Time for some more stirring... :-)

DOH! Have you ever heard the saying, "Let sleeping dogs lie"??? <grin>

> My car is a '91 V8 5-speed, BBS RC 17x8 w/ Nitto NT555 235/45-17, 
> Bilstein Sports, stock springs, half tank of fuel, me and my 
> three sons 
> (5, 3 and 1.5 years) in the car (probably 4100-4200 pounds overall)
> My sons thought I was nuts! :-)

> My car with older UFOs and Jurid brake pads stopped from 60 
> mph in 129 feet.

EXCELLENT information. As I had said back then (has it really been 6 months
now?) that I had tested *really* worn-out UFO brakes; I wasn't going to buy
a new set of UFO brakes, right before chucking them (actually, I gave the
old ones to ChrisM). My comparison of the UFO brakes to the G60s was not
really fair, as the G60s only had less than 5K miles on them and were in
reasonable condition.

Your results are good news, though, and are worthy data to add to the BIRA
website; may I have permission to do so?

Remember that these were my own test results:

UFO Brakes: 164 feet
G60 Brakes: 138 feet
BIRA.ORG Boxster/A8 Brakes: 126 feet

If we were presume that I would have gotten similar results as you did using
good UFO components (and I believe I would have), then this supports a
couple of theories I've had:

1) the UFO brakes, with their much larger rotors and pads, offer a
significant improvement in brake performance over the stock G60 brakes, and

2) the braking performance of the BIRA kit is at least on par with the
bigger-sized 12.3" UFO brakes (which is expected, as they are about the same
sized components), and

3) that the BIRA brakes offer a significant improvement in brake performance
over the stock G60 brakes: an almost 10% reduction in braking distance using
only stock A8 rotors and stock Boxster pads. Once of these days I'll buy
slotted rotors and aftermarket performance pads and see what they can do.

This was the whole focus of my investigations when I was looking to change
the brakes on my 1991 200q. I blanched at the thought of spending upwards of
$700 for stock replacement parts for the UFOs, and I simply rejected the
notion of spending upwards of $3000 for one of the "Big Red" brake upgrades,
especially those that didn't fit under factory 16" wheels. Ironically, I
thought nothing of spending $1000 to go the BIRA Porsche aluminum monobloc
brakes, especially since they had "Porsche" emblazoned on the side! <grin>.

Note, of course, that I already owned the conversion parts to go to the S6
struts and brakes. If I had had to buy these parts, it would have cost about
$1500 more (I think that's the going price for UFO-to-G60 conversion using
salvaged S-car parts.) This $1500 cost would also have had to be added to
the $3000 for the "Big Reds" conversion plus another who-knows-how-much for
appropriate wheels and tires to fit over them.

If I had kept the UFO brakes but harbored any thoughts of further brake
improvements, I would have been limited to brake pad material only. Cost of
replacement parts are also an issue: $300 rotors and $100 pads for the least
expensive pads. With the BIRA system my future rotors are $110 each ($175
each for slotted) and the pad material options are virtually endless (and
cost $85-180 a set). This was a big factor, especially if I had planned to
run track events and use up brake parts (and I did, and I did.)

Bottom line as I see it: good-condition UFO brakes are good-performance
brakes, and if the car is used for the street I really don't see a need to
change them. Keep them in excellent condition and you'll see a long, happy
service life with them.. The downside is the replacement parts' cost and
availability, plus they're relatively heavy unsprung weight as well (which
doesn't realistically mean diddly to the street driver).

The BIRA brake kits are excellent upgrades for the S-car (or converted UFO)
owner that's looking for a cost-effective ($1000) bolt-on conversion to
high-performance brakes while keeping their stock 16" S-Car wheels, a setup
which is quite capable of high-performance street and track use. They're
certainly no "Big Bertha" conversions, but everyone that has run BIRA brakes
on the track and on the street has been ecstatic with their performance and
their value (we have new email testimonials from Watkins Glen, but I'm
waiting on approvals from the authors to use them on our web site.)

By the way, BIRA has lined up key retailers for our braking systems who will
offer complete ready-to-bolt-on kits for a little more money; the details
should be available by the end of the calendar year. In addition, we have
designs ready-to-go that fit the A4, A6, 5000, 200, 100, and VW Passat; we
are only waiting on demand before putting them in full production (we've
completed all initial prototyping). We are looking for local new-S4 and A8
owners that wish to help us on designs for those cars as well.

We will still continue to offer BIRA memberships to those that wish to
obtain only the brackets and source out their own OEM parts. Details, news,
and contact information on the web site.

Greg Amy
Braking Improvement Research Association