Thursday, July 24, 2014

This Is What Melted Brakes Look Like

A 3,400-lb race car, street pads, heavy foot, 3 1/2 hours of endurance racing on a hot day? Read what happened to Andy L. during our Park Bench Racing team's third driving stint at the July 21, 2014 Chumpcar race --

"During my driving stint the brakes started to feel funny and not work right. After going over 100 mph down the front straight, I started braking for turn 1, brakes popped and lost most of their effectiveness. Decided to go straight and take escape road and stopped before reaching the end. Safety crew escorted me to pits where we found brake pad worn out, rubber boots melted/burnt, and backing plates against the rotors. One piston melted/wore through backing plate. That piston was the one that popped as brake fluid was leaking from it. Put caliper back together, bled brakes and installed an old set of old brake pads to get our next driver out on the track."

A backing plate with a shape that resembles a slice of bacon from this angle... 

... and looks almost transparent from here. 

A piston with a backing plate melted onto it

 Rubber boots melted off - we were probably lucky the brakes didn't catch fire
and witnessed a small miracle with Andy getting us back on track.


  1. This is an inexcusable oversight by GM and Buick. It's a well known fact that many older Americans drive this particular brand and model. It's also well known that many of these owners also pose as "Snow Birds", elderly northerners who race en mass at very high speeds to southern climes as the fall comes to a close and the threat of snow looms. How are these components supposed to withstand 1,400 mile races to warmth with the brakes being continually dragged for that entire time and distance ?!?!?! Those who remain in the north seemingly are obligated to drive around all year long with one foot on the brake no matter what driving motion is occurring at any given time, albeit in slightly lower temps, for appointments concerning the bluing of their hair, etc. Given all that, Buick should be well aware of the duty requirements of these brake components and should have engineered them accordingly. I'm smelling a class-action lawsuit here. In the meantime, I'd suggest looking for the Buick Century Track Edition and swap the brakes off that onto your vehicle.

    1. Excellent analysis, EJ. I think GM's best defense is that they've never sold Buick to anyone without blue hair and that their testing has been optimized for the driving habits of their typical customer. Who in their right mind would take a Buick and turn it into a RACE CAR?!