BRAKE COOL­ING 101

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NZ Performance Car - - Contents -

SICK OF COOK­ING YOUR BRAKES AT TRACK DAYS? A SET OF LOW-BUCK BRAKE COOL­ERS MIGHT JUST BE THE AN­SWER. LEARN THE INS AND OUTS, AS WE SHOW YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR OWN

Th­ese tech guides aim to arm you with the nec­es­sary info and knowl­edge to get out there and give it a go your­self — with no pro­fes­sion­als needed and a price tag that won’t break the bank. This month, we delve into brake duct­ing, a cheap and sim­ple so­lu­tion to that en­emy of any week­end war­rior, brake fade, one of the scari­est things that can hap­pen when you’re com­mit­ted com­ing into a cor­ner. Brake fade is caused by over­heated brake ro­tors trans­fer­ring heat into the caliper and, in turn, over­heat­ing your pads — to the point that they dis­in­te­grate — and boil­ing your brake fluid. As­sum­ing your car has vented ro­tors (if not, this should be your first upgrade), the ro­tor will be de­signed to pull air from the cen­tre out­wards. So, duct­ing cool air to the cen­tre back of the hub is a great way to re­duce brake-ro­tor temps, and this will have roll on ben­e­fits for your pads and fluid. Each car is go­ing to be dif­fer­ent, both in terms of the place where you col­lect air from and the place where the duct at­taches to your brakes. But the the­ory re­mains the same: duct cool air from the front bumper to the cen­tre back of your ro­tor. If you have a mod­ern pop­u­lar chas­sis for mod­i­fy­ing, you might be able to pur­chase a com­plete off-the-shelf kit, al­though putting to­gether a kit is a pretty easy op­tion if you have a few ba­sic skills and tools. We should men­tion that swap­ping to a higher grade ro­tor, pad, and fluid is also a good idea to re­duce the ef­fects of over­heated brakes, but adding cool air is go­ing to help if you have a heavy ve­hi­cle or are heavy on the cen­tre pedal.

1 COL­LECT­ING COOL AIR

STEP ONE:

Choos­ing a lo­ca­tion to pick air up from will de­pend on your car and what, if any, kit you have on it. Most mod­ern cars have in­takes on the side of the front bumper, while some kits have them on the side of the cen­tre open­ing (see left). You can also pur­chase fi­bre-re­in­forced plas­tic (FRP) ducts to fix to the back of the bumper to which your duct­ing hose will at­tach. If you’re run­ning some­thing a lit­tle older, like this Mazda 616 (see right), you will need to make some­thing. This par­tic­u­lar car uses a Ford Es­cort front-split­ter pur­chased lo­cally and mod­i­fied to fit the lower valance shape. The cir­cu­lar ducts are al­loy tub­ing with small tabs welded to the back that we then glassed onto the split­ter. Sim­ple, cheap, and ef­fec­tive. An­other op­tion, if you don’t want a mod­i­fied bumper, is to have the duct sit­ting at the bot­tom edge of the bumper so that air trav­el­ling un­der the bumper will be col­lected.

2 FEED­ING THE RO­TOR

STEP TWO:

On the back of your ro­tor, you will want to feed the air to the cen­tre of the ro­tor, so that it will draw this air through its veins and out the out­side edge. Any­thing like the two-piece ro­tor pic­tured is di­rec­tional. There are a few dif­fer­ent ways to at­tach the exit vent — the method you use can be as ba­sic as to ca­ble tie the hose to your strut, al­though this is not a very ef­fi­cient way to do things. We rec­om­mend ei­ther a small bracket that bolts to the caliper mount through the

caliper bolts and holds the three-inch al­loy pipe with a di­rec­tion vent pointed to the in­side of the ro­tor. Do­ing it this way en­sured that the air would be forced to go where we wanted it. An al­ter­na­tive would be ei­ther to at­tach the exit vent to the back­ing plate that most ro­tors have from fac­tory or to re­make the back­ing plate with the duct built-in — this op­tion would en­sure more of the ro­tor would get fed cool air; it’s this style that’s em­ployed by most high-end race ma­chines.

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