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South Dakota Tech Program Graduates In High Demand

The automotive repair industry, in certain pockets of the country, has a labor force problem. There either isn’t enough technicians to go around, or not enough properly trained technicians to go around. This isn’t the case in Sioux Falls, SD. What...

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Automechanika Frankfurt 2014 Wrap Up: Photo Gallery

Aftermarket News Managing Editor Mark Phillips represented the Babcox Media team at Automechanika Frankfurt 2014. You can catch up on a lot of last week's news from the show at Aftermarket News or the Counterman Twitter account or just take a look...

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Auto Care Marketing: Price Sensitive vs. Fear Sensitive

For 2014, I changed my health care insurance from a traditional plan to a health savings account (HSA). Basically, the first $2,500 (pre-tax) of medical expenses are on me. I was confused at first, but soon found that it did have some entertainment...

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Volkswagen: Engine Does Not Start

Vehicle: 2001 Volkswagen Passat GLX, 2.8L Complaint: The customer says the vehicle will not start. Cause: Confirmed the customer’s complaint and found the vehicle did not start. Connected a scan tool and found the following codes: • 17978...

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Audi: Vibrates at Idle

Complaint The customer says that the check engine light is on and that the vehicle vibrates at idle. Cause The customer’s complaint is confirmed, with the vehicle vibrating at idle, but the vibration was not felt at high speeds. A scan tool found...

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Step-by-Step Lexus Fuel Pump Replacement

We will use a third-generation 2006 Lexus LS430 as our case study for this fuel pump assembly replacement. First, discharge the fuel system pressure, disconnect the negative battery terminal and drain the fuel. Be sure to remove the rear seat cushion...

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Midtronics Launches Informational Microsite

  Midtronics, Inc. has launched an informational microsite — or mini website — to provide customers with detailed information about the company’s newest diagnostic platform — the DSS-7000 Battery Service Diagnostic System. The microsite...

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German Tool Specialist KC Tool Announces Addition of Gedore Tools

As of August 1 KC Tool became the first certified reseller of Gedore Tools in the United States already adding more than 2,500 Gedore tools to its selection of German made tools. KC Tool plans to add an additional 6,000 Gedore Tools over the next few...

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United Stationers Expands Into Auto Aftermarket

United Stationers announced Sept. 11 that its wholly owned subsidiary, United Stationers Supply Co., signed an agreement to acquire MEDCO, a U.S. wholesaler of automotive aftermarket tools and supplies, and its affiliates including G2S Equipment de Fabrication...

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Driveability Diagnostics and Direct Injection

Direct injection is becoming standard on more and more late-model vehicles. These systems can be a diagnostic challenge, but with the right foundation, problems can be solved profitably. Years ago, all a low-level technician needed to diagnose a fuel...

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A/C Oil Service: Avoid Compressor Failure With Proper Maintenance

HVAC systems often fail because the air conditioning compressor fails. Not following the proper service procedures or compressor oil recommendations could be factors that contribute to premature compressor failure. Refrigerant Since the mid-‘90s,...

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How Ford's New Grille Shutters Control Airflow

Some new Ford vehicles feature active grille shutters — a new system that optimizes aerodynamics by using vents to control airflow through the grille to the cooling system and engine compartment. If air is required to cool the engine, the vents...

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Home Brakes High Performance Brakes: Carbon Ceramic Rotors

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While it may seem like these systems are untouchable like some super models, this expensive option on some high performance vehicles could be the brake of the future if they manage to bring the costs down.

Ceramic composite rotors are extremely durable. In fact, manufacturers claim that they’ll never need replacement — at least with "normal" driving. They’re also resistant to the kind of distortions and wear that leads to pedal pulsation — merely an annoyance in the “real world,” but a noticeable performance issue on the track.
Manufacturing
The brake discs are formed from a specially treated carbon-fiber compound that is silicated in a high-vacuum process at higher temperatures then any stop could produce. Not only are the resulting discs much harder than standard discs, they are more resistant to heat. The process used to produce the discs for CCB is complex and time-consuming  and costly when compared to cast iron.

The carbon fibers are blended with a resin of carbon and silicon. The mixture is pressed into a mold to create the basic disc shape, including its internal cooling vents. Using heat up to 3,000º F, the resin is converted to silicon carbide, a material nearly as hard as diamond. This is the “ceramic” in “carbon ceramic.” If you tried to machine these rotors, you would need diamond tipped bits in your brake lathe.

The low thermal expansion of the brake discs prevents deformation under heavy braking. Furthermore, the ceramic brake discs are totally resistant to corrosion and offer more favorable noise-damping properties.
 
Advantages
Because of their exceptional performance in extreme conditions, ceramic composite brakes were developed for use in high-level motorsports competition. Porsche was the first automaker to apply them for road use, with Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes included as standard equipment in the Porsche GT2 and Carrera GT and as an option in most other models.

Ceramic composite brake discs provide a 50-percent weight savings compared to conventional metal discs. This reduces unsprung weight, enhances shock absorber response and vehicle handling, and also improves fuel efficiency and contributes to reduced emissions.

Ceramic composite brake discs have an extremely hard surface that provides consistent frictional values throughout the deceleration process, even in braking from extremely high speeds and at high operating temperatures, such as those generated from repeated braking. But the system also provides benefits in low-speed situations.  In the event of an emergency stop, the technology does not require heavy pedal forces or outside technological boosting assistance to achieve maximum and immediate stopping force.

With cross-drilled discs and pads that are resistant to water absorption, the ceramic composite brakes provide superior response in wet conditions as well as dry. Because of their hard surface and immunity to salt corrosion, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes have an extremely long operating life.
Service Life
Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes have been on the market for almost 10 years. There have been no recalls or lawsuits. There have been some complaints on low speed noise, but Porsche’s advice is to warm them up.

The only real complaints with the ceramic disc have come from weekend racers who have experienced cracked discs due to extreme abuse. Porsche’s advice to these drives is to check for cracks before they head out to the track. With the replacement costs of four disc and pads costing more than $20,000, many are switching to cast iron rotors and semi-metallic pads.  
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Andrew Markel

Andrew Markel is an ASE Certified Technician and former service writer, and he brings this practical knowledge to the Brake & Front End team as editor.

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