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 Mazda MX-3 Brake FAQ 
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Joined: November 30 2001, 3:01 AM
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Post Mazda MX-3 Brake FAQ
Not going to complete this all at once & would like help from people here.

~~~FAQ Begin~~~
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Mazda Brake FAQ
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Applicable Models
-1990-1994 Mazda Protege (all models)
-1991-1996 Ford Escort (all models)
-1991-1996 Mercury Tracer (all models)
-1992-1996 Mazda MX-3 (all models)
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Topic Overview
-Introduction
-Basic Brake Information
-Factory Brake System Overview
-Tips & Tricks (to optimize your existing braking system)
-Pad Materials: Organic vs. Semi-Metallic vs. Ceramic
-Rotors: Blank vs. Cross-Drilled vs. Slotted
-Master Cylinder Mod/Upgrade
-Stainless Steel Lines
-Brake Fluid: DOT3 vs. DOT4 vs. DOT5 & recommended Brands.
-Available Big Brake Kits
-Available "Do-It-Yourself" Options
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Introduction:
Many believe the stock braking system sucks, but with a proper diagnosis and replacing a few parts your system can be brought to life again. Simply overhauling the system using OEM-spec parts can make a tremendous difference. THe problems most people face are simply due to 10+ years of neglect on the previous (or current) owners part. There are a few myths & tips that you should know about braking systems in general that you may want to try before thinking about upgrading components within the sytem.
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Basic Brake Information:
This FAQ assumes you know how a hydraulic brake system w/booster works. To find out the basics about Braking systems (like the difference between a Disc-type or Drum-type) research http://www.howstuffworks.com.
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Factory Braking System Overview:
First lets get down to the basics of the factory Mazda braking system. There are two front brake options available and four rear brake options equipped on all of the applicable models.

Front Brake Options:

9.3" Ventilated Discs w/"13 18V" Calipers
--1990-1994 Mazda 323
--1990-1994 Mazda Protege SE/DX
--1991-1996 Ford Escort Base/Pony/LX
--1991-1996 Mercury Tracer Base

10.1" Ventilated Discs w/"22 14V" Calipers
--1990-1994 Mazda Protege 4WD/LX
--1991-1996 Ford Escort GT/LX-E
--1991-1996 Mercury Tracer LTS
--1992-1996 Mazda MX-3 (all)

Rear Brake Options:

9.0" Rear Drums
--1990-1991 Mazda 323
--1990-1991 Mazda Protege SE/DX

7.9" Rear Drums:
--1991-1996 Ford Escort Base/Pony/LX
--1991-1996 Mercury Tracer Base
--1992-1994 Mazda Protege DX
--1992-1996 Mazda MX-3 RS

9.9" Solid Discs
--1990-1994 Mazda Protege 4WD/LX
--1990-1997 Mazda Miata
--1991-1996 Ford Escort GT/LX-E
--1991-1996 Mercury Tracer LTS
--1991-1996 Mazda MX-3 GS (Note: the MX-3 uses mitsubishi sourced rear calipers with these rotors that are NOT interchangeable with the other models listed here)

Master Cylinder Options:
7/8" Bore Master Cylinder:
--All Other Models

15/16" Bore Master Cylinder:
--1992-1996 Mazda MX-3 GS

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Tips & Tricks (to optimize your existing system):
Before spending money and unnecessarily replacing parts you should check a few things out.

(.:1:.) "Brakes Pulsating" or "Making Rubbing Sound".
This is typically caused by warped rotors and can typically be remedied by simply replacing the rotors or having them resurfaced (if they are still thick enough to be within spec). Expect to pay $20-25 usd for new front or rear rotors and $8-10 to have your existing rotor resurfaced at a mechanic. Buying poor quality rotors will have an impact on how likely your rotors will warp. If you warm your brakes up significantly too often they are more likely to warp. If you warm your brakes up in the rain and drive through a big puddle you have a much higher chance of the rotor warping. These are just a few things to think about. Having higher quality rotors like Brembo or the OEM Mazda parts could be the difference between a warped and long-lasting rotor.

(.:2:.) Something Everyone seems to overlook when it comes to Calipers.
As mentioned above there can be a pulsating or "rubbing sound" caused by the rotors. This problem can be exponentially worsened if your rotors "sliders" are frozen.

One thing people seem to overlook (or their mechanics fail to ever check) are the sliders on teh front and rear calipers. The sliders are the sleeves with the rubber accordian boots over top of them. The mounting bolts go through these sleeves to mount the caliper to the wheel. The sliders are designed to move the caliper in accordance with the rotor. As the pads wear down, the caliper will slide further over, allowing both pads to contact the rotor for even wear.

According to the factory shop manual these sliders should be re-greased every 30,000 miles (which is also when they call for a brake "check"). Hardly anyone I know of actually does this. Over time, the grease dries up or squeezes out keeping them from sliding freely. This can lead to the caliper "locking" in place. If the caliper doesn't move with the rotor, a warped rotor will rub against the pad on the caliper making a noticeable pulsation in the pedal. ALSO the wear on the inside and outside pads can be affected (one does all of the work while the other barely ever contacts the rotor).

SO....be sure to ALWAYS grease your sliders and make sure they move freely every time you replace the pads or check your brake system!!! This will make the MOST improvement in your braking performance next to bleeding.

(.:3:.) Bleeding....duh!
Face it....bleeding your brakes properly is a pain in the a--. Most self-bleed kits don't work for s--- and finding a proper tutorial is also difficult. The haynes manual explanation is pretty good and there are a couple ways to go about bleeding your system properly. "Speed Bleeders" are also helpful, they are simply replacement bleeder screws that have a one-way valve that will allow fluid out, but not let air back in when you bleed. THere are also bleeder kits with a reseviour you hook a line into that has a one-way valve. These kits are more reliable and work better than the pressure bleeders you can buy for home use. (the kind with the hand pump or pressurized tank).

As for the basics of two-man bleeding, it is quite simple. Have the master cylinder reseviour full and cap off while doing any bleeding. Work from the furthest caliper or wheel cylinder (right rear) to the closest. So the sequence is (right rear), (left rear), (right front), (left front).

Procedure:
-Loosen the bleeder screw (typically 7 or 8mm's in size). Once it is loose, close it and put the bleeder hose onto it. route the other end of the hose to a empty cup or jar for the waste fluid
-Method 1: Tell the person in the car to push down on teh pedal slowly. While they are pressing down open the valve and close it BEFORE they reach the floor.
-Method 2: Tell the person in the car to pump the pedal quickly 5 times and hold it down. Once they have done that, open the valve. The fluid should rush out pretty quickly.
-Repeat until no air bubbles are visible coming out of the teflon bleeder hose. I find using Method 2 a couple of times at first & using Method 1 for teh last couple strokes the best way to do it.
-Repeat for all brakes and MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THE RESEVIOUR AT LEAST HALF-FULL!!!!! If you run it empty you will have to re bleed ALL of the brakes and the clutch which is not fun!

(.:4:.) Proper Brake "Burnishing" or Break-in Procedure:
Most brake-parts manufacturers, a well as OE automakers, have specific brake-bedding, also known as burnishing, procedures to ensure that new brake pads are cured properly prior to regular operation and to establish the desired material transfer between the rotor and pads. The best procedure I could find information about was the procedure recomended by Bendix dubbed "30/30/30". This name is given to the procedure in reference to the critical target values to aim for: Perform 30 stops from 30 MPH with a 30-second cooling interval between stops. Bendix recommends that the 12-foot-per-second decel rate still be adhered to, but advises that this means a gradual, gentle stop for those of us who don't have our own data aquisition system on-board of our cars. Following this procedure beds the pads to the rotors (and shoes to the drums if applicable) and deposits the necessary friction material from the pads/shoes to the rotors/drums. This is why you should always RESURFACE YOUR ROTORS when you install new pads. This should ensure optimum brake performance and longevity.

(.:5:.) More to come.....
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Last edited by Gro Harlem on May 11 2005, 2:41 PM, edited 2 times in total.



May 10 2005, 9:06 PM
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Joined: November 30 2001, 3:01 AM
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If anyone wants to contribute, be my guest. I"m going to post this same FAQ on the protege board and hopefully get input from them as well.

Seeing how the brakes on all of those models use teh same calipers, we can probably gain some great insight!

I have a lot more to add, but I can only write so much at a time.

I've already read a bit about slotted vs, x-drilled vs blanks, so i'll write aboutt hat.

I honestly do NOT know much about semi-metallic VS kevlar VS ceramic, etc......so someone care to elaborate?

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May 10 2005, 9:08 PM
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Joined: August 13 2001, 2:01 AM
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Location: Atlanta, GA.
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As far as I know, The RS uses different front calipers and smaller rotors than the GS. This info is solidified by the parts that I have. We have found that a GS spindle weighs alot more than a RS which led me to ask why. The reason is that the GS spindle is heavier, but also the caliper and rotor are too. This means that somehow, although I haven't measured, there is more mass meaning larger. So I'd check that part if you can or maybe someone else has more confirmed info. FYI, I can't see a visible difference in the RS or GS calipers, but they use different part numbers.
2nd, Ceramic pads have a higher friction coefficient than most metalic or semi metalic pads, they also give off less dust and have a higher heat capacity. (I'm sure my terminology isn't 100% correct so feel free to correct me) Metalics (these aren't really sold anymore that I know of b/c they make god aweful amounts of noise without much benefit) have the least friction coefficient, second are the semis, third are ceramic and fourth and best are organic. It seems as a general rule that the less friction the longer they last. Also the easier you'll crystalize them, meaning much less braking power. The better friction ones last less, but rub off more pad when braking thus dissipating the most hot portion faster thus less crystalization thus better harsh condition performance. (hope that made sense)
3rd, rotors, I don't truely know diddly about rotors, but do know that slotted ans CDed are much more prone to break under heavy braking than just slotted or CDed. And totally as an observation all race cars that I've ever seen use slotted only, the pattern seems to vary widely, but they all have slotts and no drilled ones at all. Even Porsche wich come factory with drilled have slotted on their stock factory GT3 Racers.
My .02 if it helps :D

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May 11 2005, 12:22 AM
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