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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just fitted a set of these on my car, purchased from Zeckhausen. I kept the original rotors and still had 17% left on the OEM pads at 45,000miles.

My initial impression is that the brake performance is much improved. There is more progressive take up on the brakes right from tip in to heavy pressure. On OEMs it was more on/off take up - nothing on tip in then a bite. Low speed slowing and stopping is much smoother and you dont have to concentrate much to get a soft stop in stop go traffic - this was almost impossible with the OEMs, which which would typically stop with a jerk and a head bob followed by a to and fro body motion. The to and fro motion is still there a little, but much improved. This more progressive take up does take some getting used to because you need to feed in more pressure to get it to stop and when pulling into parking spaces, for example, it feels as though the car is pushing and trying to run away. It's just a change inputs that I'll get used to. I did have one emergency brake situation the day after putting them on and the first thing I noticed was how much smoother the pressure built up rather than full force whiplash on tip in.

They operate almost silently. The OEMs had a squeek and low frequency scouring sound since I purchased the car last summer, with 26,000miles, but I got used to it. I had heard that this squeeking could also be the wear sensors (?). I also replaced the wear sensors. I say the new ones are almost silent, because there is a new sound now, right at the point of coming to a stop there is a chalky chirp (perhaps that's what you guys mean when you say chatter?). Its not all the time, typically more frequent when coming to stop from higher speeds or with the wheel turned pulling into parkings. Its much less of an annoyance than the old pads, so I am fine with it.

The other thing I disliked about the OEMs was excessive dust. One day after cleaning the wheels would be gray. I have posted a before pic (with a typical 400miles of dust build up on old pads) and after cleaning yesterday. I will post another 2 pics after 350miles on the new pads tomorrow evening as I have a highway haul tomorrow morning

Overall I would recommend them. Paid ~$150 for the full set.:thumbup:

Anyone else use their 545/550 as a commuter and log on average 400-500miles a week?? Some people think I am nuts to do this and I should drive a Corolla. My position is that if I have to spend that much time behind the wheel I need to enjoy the ride :)
 

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Odd that you interpret reduced initial bite and lower ultimate stopping power as improved brake performance. Maybe you should be driving a Corolla.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Odd that you interpret reduced initial bite and lower ultimate stopping power as improved brake performance. Maybe you should be driving a Corolla.
The point I was making is that there is very little feel and ability to moderate the brake pressure with an OEM pad. Now there is a linear build up of brake response to the increased pressure on the pedal, on application and release. It isnt dimished braking ability, its a change in the relationship of pedal travel to brake response. I did not intend to convey that there is lower ultimate stopping power.

The post was intended to be informational for those looking to replace their pads with something different. Please keep your sarcastic remarks to yourself.
 

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The point I was making is that there is very little feel and ability to moderate the brake pressure with an OEM pad. Now there is a linear build up of brake response to the increased pressure on the pedal, on application and release. It isnt dimished braking ability, its a change in the relationship of pedal travel to brake response. I did not intend to convey that there is lower ultimate stopping power.

The post was intended to be informational for those looking to replace their pads with something different. Please keep your sarcastic remarks to yourself.
Thanks dwulff for the post and the classy response to a sarcastic remark. :)

The only thing I don't like that much on my car (full stock) are its brake pads (which were replaced by the dealer last year): unnecessary - IMO - effort for a smooth stop, the sounds before full stop and the worst, the lurch/jerk/bob that you captured so well in your write-up. The bimmer tech experts who drove my car admitted that my brakes have an extra bite but thought it wasn't that big a deal. Though I am putting up with it because it does an impressive job bringing the car to a complete stop from high speeds within a comfortable time, I am still trying to look @ ways to stop my car more smoothly during the regular driving that is 95% of the time.

So, your post was informative and it is something I plan to consider. Thanks again!

Was it a DIY?
 

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Odd that you interpret reduced initial bite and lower ultimate stopping power as improved brake performance. Maybe you should be driving a Corolla.
Wtf??? You never heard of personnal tastes? Is the 92 in your name your birth year?
 

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i am more than ready to replace the oem front pads on my 535. i spent more time cleaning the wheels the other day than washing and spray detailing the car. thanks for the write-up on the "Z" pads. i was considering these, bit i'm not so sure now based mostly on the odd sound heard when coming to a stop and the use of his handbrake. i do agree with all that is said about how the oem pads grab and have some noise associated with them. but they work really well, imo. anyone have experience with the Hawk pads?

dn
 

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Thanks for the info,sounds for me also.I am new here been awhile since my last 5.I have a 04 545i now.Had noticed that this forum usually stays mature,especially compared to the toyota site I've been on.I've been on forums for over 15 years and the BMW people seem to stay at a higher level of discussion than the Asian car enthusiast?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
i am more than ready to replace the oem front pads on my 535. i spent more time cleaning the wheels the other day than washing and spray detailing the car. thanks for the write-up on the "Z" pads. i was considering these, bit i'm not so sure now based mostly on the odd sound heard when coming to a stop and the use of his handbrake. i do agree with all that is said about how the oem pads grab and have some noise associated with them. but they work really well, imo. anyone have experience with the Hawk pads?

dn
I wouldnt be put off by the sound I described. It is avoidable of you keep it gentle as you come to a stop. I have only heard it half a dozen times in 5 days at it was always when they were hot and when I abruptly increased brake pressure coming to a dead stop.
I am very happy with the pads.
And I too have many times spent more time cleaning the wheels than the rest of the car. No more!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And there it is, 350miles this morning with some stop go traffic too. Almost no brake dust. On OEMs the fronts at least would be medium gray by now, as seen in the first pic above.
:)
 

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These sound more and more like a great alternative. I drive about 250 miles a week with plenty of traffic: less dust and smoother stops would be great.
 

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And there it is, 350miles this morning with some stop go traffic too. Almost no brake dust. On OEMs the fronts at least would be medium gray by now, as seen in the first pic above.
:)
okay, those look real clean...and you replaced the fronts only [for now]? when i pull my fronts to clean, that's when i'll replace the pads and sensor, then i'll be able to get all the grime off the inner part of the wheel from the "backside". the rears are less bad.

thx,
dn
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
okay, those look real clean...and you replaced the fronts only [for now]? when i pull my fronts to clean, that's when i'll replace the pads and sensor, then i'll be able to get all the grime off the inner part of the wheel from the "backside". the rears are less bad.

thx,
dn
I replaced all 4. They were $72 a pair. I had a friend of mine who is a BMW certified mechanic do the job. I think you may need a GT1 system when you replace the pads to reset the wear indicator.
The sensors were $15 each.
 

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Odd that you interpret reduced initial bite and lower ultimate stopping power as improved brake performance. Maybe you should be driving a Corolla.
As a simple search would disclose, others here have reached the same conclusion as the OP after replacing OEM pads with the low-dust/high performance options offered by Zeckhausen and other speed shops. For years I've replaced OEM pads on the various BMWs I've owned--including my current 650 and 535--with excellent results. I dislike the "grabby" initial feel of the OEM pads, and feel that a more linear response to pedal pressure enhances performance...which is the reason I drive BMWs rather than, say, a Corolla.

Spyder
 

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I'm so glad that you 'performance' drivers have come to an agreement. Sorry to hear that you find the OEM BMW brake pads grabby and difficult to use smoothly. Most drivers like the initial bite and have no problems being smooth. There are aftermarket pads that provide the OEM levels of bite and stopping power with slightly less dust. The no dust pads are considerably less effective both in initial bite and ultimate power. Of course, your car will still stop, just not as well as it did.
 

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I replaced all 4. They were $72 a pair. I had a friend of mine who is a BMW certified mechanic do the job. I think you may need a GT1 system when you replace the pads to reset the wear indicator.
The sensors were $15 each.
forgive my lack of knowledge, as i am new to BMW, but am attempting to learn as much that's needed first. question >>> what is a GT1 system, and if the wear sensor/indicator is ok [no trip/open circuit] then i can replace with new sensor. but if i do a disconnect on the sensor/indicator will i need to do above as you expalained with respect to the "GT1 system" to reset?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
forgive my lack of knowledge, as i am new to BMW, but am attempting to learn as much that's needed first. question >>> what is a GT1 system, and if the wear sensor/indicator is ok [no trip/open circuit] then i can replace with new sensor. but if i do a disconnect on the sensor/indicator will i need to do above as you expalained with respect to the "GT1 system" to reset?


The GT1 system is the proprietary software used by BMW to perform all the OBD communications and settings, anything from turning a headlight on to adjusting valve lift. They like to keep it too themselves so that you are forced to go back to the dealer. It can be purchased independently, but would only make sense for an independent shop who does alot of work on late model BMWs.
From what I understand you should be able to reset the wear indicator, if it doesnt do it itself, through the cluster. However, some of the early models, specifically 04s have needed the OBD hookup to reset it.
The sensors are a wear item, they begin to wear once the pad reaches 50% and that gives you the indicator. If you're over 50% you should replace them at the same time. If not, it'll give you a check control message everytime you startyup once it considers the pads worn out.
If you're into things youself, I'd go ahead and change the hardware and if you cant get the indicator to reset, take to the dealer and ask nicely for them to reset it...
 

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The GT1 system is the proprietary software used by BMW to perform all the OBD communications and settings, anything from turning a headlight on to adjusting valve lift. They like to keep it too themselves so that you are forced to go back to the dealer. It can be purchased independently, but would only make sense for an independent shop who does alot of work on late model BMWs.
From what I understand you should be able to reset the wear indicator, if it doesnt do it itself, through the cluster. However, some of the early models, specifically 04s have needed the OBD hookup to reset it.
The sensors are a wear item, they begin to wear once the pad reaches 50% and that gives you the indicator. If you're over 50% you should replace them at the same time. If not, it'll give you a check control message everytime you startyup once it considers the pads worn out.
If you're into things youself, I'd go ahead and change the hardware and if you cant get the indicator to reset, take to the dealer and ask nicely for them to reset it...
thats some good info, thanks. i had not seen any reference to the GT1 system in many of the numerous threads read. i have no problem with doing the brake work myself, and i'll be getting F/R pads, sensors, etc. i can't be concerned with the reset problem until it occurs, then go from there since it's out of my hands regardless.
 

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If you're into things youself, I'd go ahead and change the hardware and if you cant get the indicator to reset, take to the dealer and ask nicely for them to reset it...
There are many threads on this board that provide instructions for resetting the CBD display, including front and rear pad replacement. There's even a you tube video on the subject. Not difficult at all.

Spyder
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
There are many threads on this board that provide instructions for resetting the CBD display, including front and rear pad replacement. There's even a you tube video on the subject. Not difficult at all.

Spyder
No doubt. We are having trouble however with mine, replacing 2 sensors again today.
 
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