Upgrading my stock non-performance GM Brakes on the third gen f-body

This is my blog for upgrading my non-performance Camaro.  Unfortunately, my 1988 Camaro did not come with the 1LE brakes, so I’m stuck with the stock 10.5″ disk brakes on all four corners.  Since I live in Canada where car parts are expensive and shipping charges are a rip-off with the duty and taxes, the most cost effective option for me was to upgrade what I have.

Most people will say upgrade to the LS brakes or something better.  (That’s the 1998-2002 Chevrolet Camaro brakes, which are very good or the C5 Covette brakes.)  However, it was more than double the cost of upgrading my stock brakes here in Canada.  In fact, most car parts here are more expensive when bought retail and when you buy through mail order, you end up paying UPS or FEDEX high brokerage fees as well as duty and taxes.  So I’ll document a way to somewhat get around that (sort of.)

I relied a lot on the book Brake Systems by Mike Mavrigian & Larry Carley to guide my decisions as well as a few articles from various magazines and some great discussions over at thirdgen.org for this project.   Also, although most people just slap on new rotors, calipers and pads, there are some checking of run-out that you’ll need to do with some precision tools.

Some important links:





There are only so many ways you can upgrade a stock system without replacing the whole thing.  Since I’m trying to keep the costs down while getting more performance, I’ll be addressing some inherent flaws as well as the strengths of the stock system.

To give you an idea of performance (which was considered good back in the mid 1980’s!)

1988 Road and Track Special : (Back to V-8 Basics by Ron Sessions http://www.thirdgen.org/rt-camaroiroczvsmustangho-1988 )

Stock Brakes:  Braking 60MPH-0 = 154 ft.  Braking 80MPH-0=266 ft.

When the 1LE brake package came out, the 60MPH-0 Braking performance was 135-140ft according to June 1990 Motor Trend Secret Chevy’s.   http://www.thirdgen.org/secret_chevys_mt_june_1990     (Keep in mind, that was without ABS)


With today’s supercars braking performance from 60MPH-0 there is a lot of room to improve.



Everyone touts the LS1 brakes.   They were better.  Not super-car better but according to Road and Track:

January 2001 Road and Track (Sibling Rivalry)


An LS1 Equipped Camaro SS stoped from 60MHP-0 in 129 Ft.   This was 25ft. better than the stock 10.5″ GM Brake system.  (Also, this was probably with ABS.)


As time progressed though, even the LS1 brakes were not good enough (but still a cheap upgrade if you lived in the USA as salvage yards had them for cheap!)


Using this study here:


A sample of vehicles in the 2006-2007 model year, the average 60-0 stopping distance of those vehcles was 111.8ft  with a maximum distance of 126 ft.  The best distance that year was 104ft by a 2006 Buggatti Veyron 16.4.    The slowest to stop was a 2006 Ford Escape XLT FWD at 145 ft.   The single stop from 60-0 makes a good metric for day to day driving because it mimics a real life panic stop on the highway.  (Although it is over the legal speed limit in many places.  For you metric people this is 96.56KPH)

So the goal for this project is to see how well I can get the stock 1980’s GM four disc setup to stop with some minor upgrades and some precision measurements.  It would be nice to say that the upgrades would get me to the 2007 average 60-0 stopping distance at preferably at 112ft but this would be a rather unreasonable goal considering the 20 years in technology gap.  Even setting 126ft is a maybe.  It’s currently 2012 and the new 1LE Camaro stops from 60-0 in 108ft.




So let’s see how well, in a single stop I can get the stock non-performance 10.5″ Delco Morraine GM brakes to stop.

Some people will argue that this isn’t a true racing system.  Well, fair enough.  When you’re on the brakes all the time in the corners, you’re putting a lot more demand on the brake system, and brake fade can happen with any brake system.  We will discuss the main disadvantages of the stock system in another post, but mostly it’s heat rejection.  But my car is mostly a street car with some autocross and limited track days.  I’ll have to report on that way later, after I test my stock brakes.   But for now, let’s see what happens with a single stop.  It’s November 2012 as I write this.   It’s been 24 years since my car rolled off the factory with the stock 10.5″ delco morraine GM brakes.  Performance from 60MPH-0 has gone from 154 ft. down to 135ft with the 1LE.  Then down to 129ft. with the LS1 brakes.  With the new 2012 1LE camaro’s they are down to 108 ft.  That’s 46 ft of stopping distance improvement in 24 years for stock GM brakes!