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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hawk HP Plus Install

Brake pad changes are generally needed after 20,000 miles of regular driving, give or take. However, if you are a person who uses your car for racing events, it would be a good idea to have a set of more aggressive brake pads. The Hawk HP Plus racing brake pads are good for Autocrossing events, decent for a couple of track days, and everything in between. They are also cheap in price, for their class. Now, before I get into the full brake pad review, let me take a moment to go through some of the afterthoughts of the brake pad change.

After driving for a couple thousand miles, your brakes will be covered in brake dust, dirt, rust, and many other goodies. This makes removing the parts on the brake caliper that much harder. If your horizontal pins don't budge, please use the method showed in the video. If you don't have a center punch, please feel free to use a thin nail, or screw. Basically all you need to do is gently tap it out with a hammer. You do NOT need anymore than light taps. The paint on the brake calipers is extremely soft, so you can chip the paint if you miss your hammer. The cotter pin was also tricky sometimes. You can use a combination of needle nose pliers or a flat head screw driver to pry the cotter pin out.

Pushing the pistons back is very important for installing the new pads. Since the new pads will most likely be a lot thicker, the pistons will need to be moved back for clearance of the new pads. Some people push the pistons back one by one after the old pad is removed. I will tell you now, it is a whole lot easier to push all pistons back with your old pads in place. If you can't think of why, just take my word for it, or try and see for yourself. Pushing the front pistons in was a lot harder to boot. You'll need super strong grip to get it started in order for you to wedge your flat head screwdriver in between your pad and your rotor. There was a technique I used, not shown in the video, which made pushing in the front pistons a whole lot easier. With a piece of cloth, protect the caliper, and clamp the caliper and the brake pad together with a large plier. It pushed the pistons back like butter running through a meadow. As obscure as that similie was, it still worked.

When you buy Hawk brake pads, they will come with a small packet of anti squeal grease. I did not use it at all in this video because these are high performance pads, meant for high performance driving. When the grease heats up to an extreme, it can melt and cause a whole lot of mess. The person who did the brake pad change before I bought the car, used a whole lot of this grease making it hard for me to clean. If you are just changing your pads to regular daily driving pads, then you can apply a thin layer of this grease between the brake pad and the brake shims. I strongly advise that you wear gloves when applying the grease.

The brake pad change took me around two hours including setting up, cleaning up, and shooting the video. I would estimate you guys might take an hour and a half if it's your first time, or 45 minutes if you guys are well versed in this.

Also, final note: PLEASE USE AXLE STANDS. In the video it looks like I did not use axle stands on the rear, but I did. The magic of film is that some things remain unseen. Seriously though, safety first.

Now on to the review of the Hawk HP Plus racing brake pads. It is very well known that these pads make a whole lot of noise. Even with anti squeal grease, some people have claimed the noise to be unbearable for day to day driving. I've sat in my friend's STI track car, so I've actually heard this squeal for myself, and I can confirm that it can be irritating for some people. However, there are some occasions where the user does not get effected by noise problems. My STI does not squeal at all. Infact it makes less noise than my old pads! I'm not quite sure why yet, but it seems to be a phenomenon that happens once every blue moon. I have at least 200 miles worth of driving done to these brake pads after I properly bedded them, and not a peep since. The brake dust generated from these pads are brutal though. After a day of driving, my front two wheels are seriously two tones darker than my rears. I advise you guys to wash your wheels everytime you wash your car if you want your wheels to maintain a nice look. The stopping power on these are incredible. When you brake at 120 MPH, the Hawk HP Plus will begin to pull away from the stock brembo brake pads in performance. A lot of people seem to only care about power, but in my opinion, you need equal stopping power to be safe. The Hawk HP Plus are worth the money if you plan on taking your car to some light racing events this summer. For the price, you probably can't do better.

Special thanks to Apex Performance for the sponsored episode, and being an awesome partner to Machine Zealots. Make sure to check them out for your modifying needs. They also offer free shipping on all Hawk brake pads, and many other products and brands!

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