Time to Get the MX-5 stopping on a dime this month as we head back into the workshop – and massively improve the brakes!
Even in a car that weighs about as much as an empty crisp packet, there’s no more terrifying feeling than piling full tilt into a hairpin bend, stamping on the middle pedal, only to find that the discs, pads, lines and fluids beneath you really didn’t want to play along. We’ve had this a couple of times when really ‘enjoying’ our MX-5, and although we’ve clearly emerged unscathed each time (usually thanks to the sheer chuckability of the little Mazda) it wasn’t really a feeling we wanted to endure again. The simplest solution would be to junk the whole lot and start over, we reckoned!
Luckily for us, a quick run around our packed warehouse revealed a plethora of great braking upgrades that range from mild to wild, depending on your budget. At the top end, should the depth of your pockets permit, you can find stunning big brake kits from the likes of V-Maxx – guaranteed to fill any wheel with aesthetic splendour – and press your nose hard against the windscreen with the merest of touches. A little further down the food chain, price wise, yet no less effective in the real world are the various disc and pad upgrades that we offer. Assuming that your calipers are in good order, splashing a few quid here can quickly elicit you a set of new stoppers that will be more than up to the job of fast road driving – with the occasional track excursion being ably catered for.
Boss Andy decided that we should keep it ‘real world’, and deciding to keep a sensible lid on the budget, we went for a proven set of their EBC discs and Green stuff pads. Not only would these give us a much higher friction co-efficient, and greater resistance to fade than the standard parts, but the higher quality of the disc material would also be more resistant to warping, making them perfect for track day beastings! We also offer a range of race-quality brake lines and fluid too, by the way, allowing you to really raise the bar in terms of pedal feel and active safety.
Techy chief Sean would be on the spanners once again, and as we laid the parts out, we knew we had made a good decision, as they looked rather smart with their grooved and dimpled faces – which will doubtless help face off the pads and let gasses escape. Sean began by slackening the handbrake before removing the calipers and sliders for cleaning and greasing. After backing off the calipers and giving them a good brush up to remove any rust and dust particles from bedding faces, it was time to reinstall the new discs and pads.
Naturally, being a high quality part, these are a direct swap. Copper grease was used throughout, where appropriate, to make sure that nothing seizes in future! The HEL brake lines also use a very smart machined union block to make sure that all the new threaded fittings can precisely follow the routing of the OEM parts. Very impressive! With new fluid poured in the reservoir and bled through, and the handbrake precisely adjusted, we were able to go out and bed the pads in. Even allowing for them to shed their factory freshness, it was very clear that these new brakes were already better than the old units.
After a few miles on the test drive to really bed them down, they were different again. The Green Stuff pads offer excellent bite from cold, and during our somewhat keen thraping through the excellent back roads that surround our HQ, nothing could seemingly phase them, with the firmer pedal offering great feedback and a wonderfully communicative level of retardation that really made the car easy to lean o in the bends. In short, it’s awesome! Not only does it really inspire confidence now, but it also begs you to drive quicker, knowing you can stop when you need to! If you have an MX-5, click here to give yours the same treatment!