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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looked through a lot of info about better brakes for my 2002 convertible. Articles about vette calipers, cadillac (i think) cals, 'big brake' conversions requiringlarger wheels, etc. I dont want to change my wheels---I have 6 sets of the stock factory mags.Guess Im stuck with the stock rotor width. Not going to be racing with a 3.8 mostly day driver but I want to STOP when I need to. Been looking at a complete power stop kit but it looks like they just rebuild stock single piston calipers and paint them red.

After reading, I think that slotted and drilled rotors are a waste of money and the drilled can crack, so solid rotors for me. A big firebird racing guy has an article about cryo rotors cracking too. Also several articles about single piston being beter than double?
My cars a 3.8...I just got it and have not had the wheels off. I friend wrecked his 2002 V-8, and gave me his vaned, double piston fronts and stock front rotors with only 18,000 miles on them.. I assume they are heavier duty than my 3.8? If the same, they look strong enough to get the job done. If not the same, they should bolt right on, correct? I also got his complete master cyl--will that be the same?

So I guess maybe I should POSSIBLY just get new rotors, if after market rotors give better stopping power or at least less fade? If stock rpotors are good enough then my final plan is just better pads and brake lines?

My original $700 power stop plan then goes to the prices of pads and lines. Good enough?
 

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I checked with the 93-02 firebird parts manual. It would seem that all 98-02 cars get the same master cylinder. The dual piston brake caliper should bolt right up. And brake lines should be the same.

Of course, take this with a grain of salt as I have never done the swap.
 

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We have a member here running 11 second quarter miles who has no issues pulling down his speed in the quarter-mile enough to use the first turn-off at the strip. He has a stock brake system. Unless you start autocross, you will not need more.

Pads will make the biggest difference.

The pads we use are a compromise between "silent" , "effective" , and "long lasting".

Better performing pads would make a night and day difference, but as I said, that comes with noise and reduced lifetime.

Know what else has a major impact on braking? TIRES!

THE RIGHT TIRES AND BRAKE PADS WOULD DO THE MOST TO TRANSFORM THE SYSTEM.

As to "more pistons are better", piston count has more to do with rotor diameter and physics than anything else. It's all about maintaining even pressure across the pad. As rotors get larger, pads get longer. With our rotor size, single pistons are adequate. Dual piston calipers is an OEM upgrade for the 4th gens, but the extra perfomance is little if measurable. You could have 100 piston calipers and with the wrong pads and tires it will perform worse than "factory".

...you want SOLID performance? Get good quality Performance pads and spend $1,000+ on tires. The best street tire? Not mileage rated. They lose 75% of their grip by 10,000mi and become more slippery than a Prius tire on snot in the wet. While good though, the grip they have is phenomenal! Pulling hole-shots in the pouring rain with the LT1/6-spd is well within their abilities as is cornering with the same Gs wet or dry. When they wear enough though, they can bite (and kill) you if you are not conscious of the "lost grip". One day that's a 60MPH corner, the next? 40MAX. :)

Braided brake lines are a good call too, but, would make the least difference all said and done. That's really a performance item not really required for regular street use, but your vehicles are all probably due for new brake lines anyway. ...might as well do them, it's relatively cheap.

There's a 3rd thing that affects braking too. SUSPENSION!

Multi-piston calipers and slotted/drilled rotors has literally nothing to do with anything.

The important bits are pads, tires, and suspension.

...and you get what you pay for with all of these!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks VERY much. Ive been suspecting as much and initially was going to blow about 5 grand into the underside. I think you are correct. Im just going to do stock rotors, better pads, better shocks, maybe a frame connector and Im still trying to decide about using new lower springs but dont want to throw geometry off past where it can be corrected. I think these cars are low enough anyway?? What brand tire do you recommend?
 

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DELCO NERD
1993 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, LT1 5.7L V8
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Are you experiencing braking problems now? If so, can you describe them? It could be a simple fix. Also, you mentioned "new brake lines." Are you talking about brake hoses or the steel lines?
 
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