Pad selection is a whole separate DIY/FAQ. I am trying to finish off the brake bleeding DIY first then I'll do a brake pad FAQ.
I am a little particular when it comes to brake pads since I go through so many sets at the track, which carries over onto my street pad choices.
I like how the OEM pads stop - very nice and strong initial grab when the pads are cold or hot and they are very easy to modulate (easy to control the amount of stopping power). But I cannot stand the crazy amount of dust produced by OEM pads. These pads also melt when you use them on the track. There are little bits of pad material fused onto everything near my calipers after I attempted to use OEM pads on the track. Check out Image #07 and #08 in the DIY above to see what I mean.
An cranky old German guy who owns an independent BMW shop once told me that all German OEM pads dust heavily because of an out-dated German TUV law from the 50's that requires OEM brake pads contain a certain percentage of black carbon. With advances in pad material there is no technical reason to still use carbon but the TUV never bothered to remove the requirement. How may Hondas have you seen driving around with completely blackened front wheels due to brake dust? Zero.
If you want completely dustless pads you can go for the AXXIS/PBR Deluxe Advanced which are a ceramic/organic based pad. The only drawback with this pad is that it gives you maybe 70% of the stopping power of OEM pads. You will need to use a noticeable amount of increased pedal pressure during heavy braking. AXXIS Deluxe pads also never squeal and are very easy on rotors which is a bonus. You don't even need to use anti-squeal paste on these.
Another good pad is the Hawk Performance Ceramic, which is a little more aggressive than the AXXIS Deluxe. Almost stops as well as OEM and dusts about half as much. The dust is very easy to wash off compared to OEM pads.
I purchased StopTech Street Performance pads which are an updated version of the AXXIS Ultimate pad. Slightly less aggressive than the Hawk Performance Ceramic but almost no dust. Stopping power is about 80% of OEM. The pad construction is very good, probably better than OEM – i.e. no fitment issues or skimping on quality of the pad backing plates and fingers which results in less likelihood of squeal. This pad can also survive light track duty which is another reason I chose it. Take a look at the close-up of this pad in the DIY above (Image #33/34/35) and you can see the quality of construction.
Straight lines are for fast cars...turns are for fast drivers
'04 M3 - track
'06 650i Cab - daily driver
'02 Highlander - kid hauler
'01 330Ci - winter beater
Last edited by Yorgi; 03-03-2011 at 12:54 AM.