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7 Series - E65 / E66 (2002 - 2008)
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  #1  
Old 10-27-2012, 08:52 PM
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csmeance csmeance is offline
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OEM Brakes vs. Akebono with Zimmerman Rotors Review

About 10K ago I was due for new front brakes and had read a LOT on here about how Akebono Ceramic Euro pads were the best as far as reducing dusting while maintaining great stopping power. Plus I had heard great things about the Zimmerman rotors and how they would hold up!

Well I bit the bullet and bought FRONT Akebono Euro Ceramic Pads and FRONT Zimmerman Rotors (Not slotted or cross-drilled) and had them installed. I was advised to not brake hard during the 500 first miles, and then to break in the rotors and pads by bedding them in properly.

The first 500 miles, I really was weary of my decision because of not having OEM brake pads. Well my concerns were fairly well founded since the braking feel was fairly different than factory. The best way I can describe it is that the pads had NO initial bite and I'd have to press the brakes about 1/2 inch harder to get the same stopping power as with the OEM pads (that were already broken in).

As I said before, the tech advised I wait 500 miles to bed in the brakes and then they would feel a TON better. I waited about 500 miles and did the bedding process and the brakes were quite a bit better. After having them for 10K miles, these are my observations so far:

1. The OEM pads have a bit of initial bite to them and then feel like the trail off, almost like a logarithmic function whereas the Akebonos are a lot more linear with no real bite but then once you press harder you get more stopping power to an extent.

2. The OEM brakes have better stopping power overall than the Akebonos. I feel that the stopping distance has increased SLIGHTLY over the OEM pads and this is probably due to the initial bite factor. It is important to note though, that these pads still have no issue locking up like the OEM pads and allowing ABS to kick in.

3. The difference in dust is ASTOUNDING! I am fairly anal when it comes to having a clean car, and the Akebono's will make a WORLD of difference in this aspect. In about 250 miles of city driving (1 gas tank), the back wheels were VERY dusty and the front wheels looked like they had been washed 10 miles ago! After about 1K miles, I had washed the rear wheels 2-3 times while the fronts I left untouched. The front wheels now have a light coating of dust, something that I'd expect after 50 miles with the OEM pads. One thing I MUST say are bad about the OEM pads -> 2 Things are HORRIBLE about the OEM pads. The first is the dust as everyone knows, but the 2nd is something that most folks won't notice, Iron Filings! The metallic brake dust will stick to the paint and cause little brown spots that have to be removed with a decontamination system (Iron-x or Clay-bar) and can eventually lead to other paint issues!

4. The Zimmerman Rotors are pretty well made, they bolted on without an issue and and the coating on them keeps unsightly rusting away. A VERY well made product that I would be sure to buy again, however I wish they made purpose built slotted rotors to alleviate some of the initial bite issues with the Akebonos.

5. Noise, the Akebono's haven't made a single squeak since they were installed! The rear brakes on my car though on the other hand have been making a little bit of noise that is noticeable in an enclosed parking garage, but not on the streets.


Conclusion:

1. The Akebonos deliver what most ceramic pads offer, less dust, less noise and of course slightly lower braking power. I would rate a 9/10 on value, a 10/10 on noise, a 9/10 on dust and probably a 6/10 on braking. The initial bite is one thing that is hard for me to get over, especially when the pads are only installed on the FRONT of the car and I still get some bite from the OEM rear Metallic pads.

2. Would I buy my exact setup again -> Probably I would go with the same setup I'm running right now, Zimmerman Rotors and Akebono FRONT pads with OEM rear pads. The only thing I would probably change in the future is getting slotted rotors in the front to help the bite.

3. Would I buy Akebono's and Zimmerman Rotors for my WHOLE car -> Probably not, the difference in braking feel to me already is already a bit less than what I'd like, and I can only imagine the brake feel with rear Akebono pads. However I have no issue going with Zimmerman rotors ALL round my car. Depending on the availability of Quality Slotted rotors and the change in bite they give, I may change my stance on this.

The Akebonos' are a great pad and the Zimmerman rotors are great as well. The Akebono's left me feeling a bit less enthralled about my brakes, but in day to day driving and in emergency situations I have no worry that they will take care of me. My concerns with this come with the addition of Rear Akebono pads. With having a 760 and more weight being thrown around, my observations are akin to having a 745 or 750 loaded with multiple occupants. I'm sure many of you will say the Akebono's are great, and they are! But the difference in feel and power makes ME weary of putting them all around my car.
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2012, 10:09 PM
mkmichalek mkmichalek is offline
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Nice synopsis. One question you state that the rotors have a coating on them to prevent rusting. I never bought this brand before, but on other brands you would remove this coating when installing them. If its the same coating that wasn't removed. I would think that it would have some effect on that biting feeling.
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  #3  
Old 10-27-2012, 11:11 PM
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csmeance csmeance is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkmichalek View Post
Nice synopsis. One question you state that the rotors have a coating on them to prevent rusting. I never bought this brand before, but on other brands you would remove this coating when installing them. If its the same coating that wasn't removed. I would think that it would have some effect on that biting feeling.

The coating was removed by the tech, he said that the instructions said not to remove it, but instead to drive and let the coating be rubbed off by the new pads. Rather than risk having zero brakes when I left the shop he drove it around the block and the coating had come off. Plus more the reason to wait the 500 miles to insure the coating wore off before bedding in the brakes.
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:34 AM
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wjjklj wjjklj is offline
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The coating comes off easily when braking the first time. It is called "Z Coating". It is sprayed on much thicker on the hub where it is more susceptible to rust. These rotors are great.


Overall this is a great review. I have these rotors and Akebono pads all the way around. I agree the brake feel is different and you might give up a minuscule amount of braking. Your wheels stay so clean though. Definitely the best mod for this car. I even switched out my sons brand new brakes on his 330ci for these. If I bought any BMW, this would be the first thing I would change.
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:15 AM
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samadkins29 samadkins29 is offline
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Slotted rotor wont help with braking unless your taking your 7 out for a track day. Im not sure where this misinformation on rotors started. But im going to break it down as simply as possible. Your basic non modified rotor are best for street use. If you really want a performance look, then cross-drilled would be your next step. Lastly you can get cross-drilled / slotted. But the slots wont do anything for normal street driving. So we are all on the same page here. Cross drilled - Removed heat and gas from the rotor and pads and Slots - Simply remove the glaze build up and some gas as well. But your pads are not going to glaze over from normal street use. So instead the slots are digging into perfectly good pad. You could say the same for cross drilled - IE your not going to form much heat or gases during normal street use but its still better to get cross drilled only if you feel you need something more than stock.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:21 AM
blue22flames00 blue22flames00 is offline
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nice review, i think this may be next for m as well..
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  #7  
Old 10-28-2012, 06:25 PM
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csmeance csmeance is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samadkins29 View Post
Slotted rotor wont help with braking unless your taking your 7 out for a track day. Im not sure where this misinformation on rotors started. But im going to break it down as simply as possible. Your basic non modified rotor are best for street use. If you really want a performance look, then cross-drilled would be your next step. Lastly you can get cross-drilled / slotted. But the slots wont do anything for normal street driving. So we are all on the same page here. Cross drilled - Removed heat and gas from the rotor and pads and Slots - Simply remove the glaze build up and some gas as well. But your pads are not going to glaze over from normal street use. So instead the slots are digging into perfectly good pad. You could say the same for cross drilled - IE your not going to form much heat or gases during normal street use but its still better to get cross drilled only if you feel you need something more than stock.
If you look back to brake threads from 2011, I said the same thing you just did. However, you clearly said that the slots are digging into good pads. That is exactly what I want, that digging in helps give a MUCH better initial bite to the pad. The real intention of the slots is to vent gasses, however an added benefit was increased bite and performance since the slots add to the friction coefficient of the rotors.
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  #8  
Old 10-28-2012, 10:17 PM
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samadkins29 samadkins29 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csmeance View Post
If you look back to brake threads from 2011, I said the same thing you just did. However, you clearly said that the slots are digging into good pads. That is exactly what I want, that digging in helps give a MUCH better initial bite to the pad. The real intention of the slots is to vent gasses, however an added benefit was increased bite and performance since the slots add to the friction coefficient of the rotors.
I understand your point, but your not taking it on the track. So unless you love to slam the brakes a lot, the slots wont do anything for you. You most likely wont be braking hard enough for the slot bite to really give you a bonus on performance. However every time you break it going to scrape off good pad. But that scrapping is not going to be hugely beneficial for street use. If you look at the super cars(Ferrari /Lambo ..etc) that are sold for street use, they all come with cross drilled only. Its done that way for a reason. If I was mistaken and you do take your 7 to the track, then I would not argue with you about wanting slotted rotors. But again, if you want actual performance on something you drive daily on the street, your better off getting cross drilled only.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:59 AM
oembimmerparts oembimmerparts is offline
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Great write up and findings, That is basically what we always hear is the concern over the cold bite.
In the end the akebonos work great but have a different feel and for users that just can not get over having the oem cold bite I would not suggest going to them. The clean wheels are a huge upside though.

Max
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