Wilwood Brake Upgrade - How To

Discussion in 'Fiesta ST Chassis Upgrades' started by joe@2j-racing, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. joe@2j-racing

    joe@2j-racing Active Member


    As far as OEM brakes go (for a sub compact) the FiST brakes are pretty damn good. I havent had a chance to track the ford pads so I can comment on how well they hold up to abuse but most of the articles dont mention any issues with fade.

    The main reason we went with the Wilwood was the weight savings vs OEM. The Wilwood kit offers 12.2 rotors (2 piece) with super light hats and 6 piston forged aluminum calipers. I chose the drilled and slotted rotors for even more weight savings (black e coating as well). The weight savings over stock is pretty substantial, esp considering most of it is unsprung.

    OEM, per side: 26.8lbs
    Wilwood, per side: 15.8lbs
    Total Weight Savings: 22lbs



    Set aside about 1.5hrs to do the swap, probably less as its so very straight forward. Remove the wheel and disconnect the brake hose at the chassis. Install the wilwood fitting and supplied clip on the OEM hard line at the chassis. Using one of the plastic caps that covers the wilwood fitting during shipping, leave it on the bottom so the fluid doesnt drip. Unbolt the brake hose bracket from the Strut. Next remove the caliper from the upright/spindle. Finally, remove the 3 bolts that hold the backing plate to the upright.

    Using the Wilwood instructions as a guide, install the wilwood bracket using the supplied bolt/washer and sleeve - note the orientation of the bracket. Install the wilwood hubcentric ring, rotor (after attaching the hats to the rotor) and lock in place using a single lug nut. This will keep the rotor flush against the upright. Locate the smaller supplied bolts and washers and grab two shims per bolt. Hold the caliper in position over the rotor and install the two shims between the caliper and bracket to center the caliper on the rotor. Tighten all the bolts. Next, install the wilwood pads, locking pin and install the brake hose fitting to the back of the caliper. Slide the rubber o-ring over the brake hose and attach to the supplied brake hose bracket. Attach the brake hose to the wilwood fitting you installed earlier against the hard line, attach the wilwood bracket/oring to the strut and attach the end to the caliper. Finally follow the wilwood directions for bleeding the calipers and bedding in the brakes.


    After bedding them in, the increase in braking force is huge. Way more feel and initial bite while still being easy to modulate on the street. The ABS system appears to work just as well as before. I'll update that more when I have a chance to put her on the track. What is way more apparent is the how the weight savings improved how fast the car accelerates. It flat out pulls now. Like the car picked up at least 15whp. I cant explain how 22lbs of unsprung weight has helped the little 1.6L. This, by itself has made this a worth while mod.

    BTW, the entire OEM kit will be up for sale if anyone wants it.


    smatty, eeboxer and RodMoe like this.
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  3. stuntdoogie

    stuntdoogie Active Member

    SiCK! This is a must have down the road for me after tune, intake, exhaust, coil over mods. Gonna work 7 days a week for the next 6 months if I have to lol
  4. WScottCross

    WScottCross Well-Known Member

    Looks phenomenal! Will a 16" wheel still fit over that setup?
  5. Zormecteon

    Zormecteon Active Member


    Is that the brake kit listed for 17" wheels on a 2011 Fiesta?
    Is there only a set for the front or all the way around?
    How do you make the brakes balance front and rear?
  6. RodMoe

    RodMoe Well-Known Member

    In for info
  7. wash

    wash Active Member

    Keep an eye on your rotors and probably buy a set of plain spares.

    Drilled rotors are known for cracking. Its the stress riser combined with heat cycling that does it.

    As for acceleration, reducing unsprung weight does not help you there. What can help is reducing the moment of inertia which is not only rotating weight but how far that weight is from the axis of rotation. The point is light weight rotor hats barely do anything because they are close to the axis and the Wilwood rotors are larger diameter than stock so that's going to hurt unless they are super light which can be a negative because you need a certain amount of thermal mass to soak up the braking force without overheating your pads and cooking your brake fluid.

    For acceleration, light wheels and tires can help a lot more just because of how much weight they carry far from the hub.
  8. D1JL

    D1JL Well-Known Member

    My question is; with that much brake in the front and no increase in the rear, does the car nose dive?

  9. joe@2j-racing

    joe@2j-racing Active Member

    I wont know the true bias until I have the car on the track - which is also impacted by the tire compound I'll be using. But for on the street, with the OEM tires - its a near seamless bias difference over stock. Excellent bite, no ABS intervention on hard braking. We can also play with pad compounds before using an adj proportioning valve. Brake dive doesnt change. You can play with anti-lift/pro-dive or anti-dive properties of the lower control arm by raising or lowering the rear mount of the LCA. I prefer an ALK for more front bite by dropping the rear of the LCA 10mm. More on that later.

    I believe there may be a rear kit, but I didnt ask Wilwood. The problem is always the parking brake feature. This is the standard 2011 Fiesta front kit.

    The issue with rotor cracking is a common misconception (chinese pot steel rotors, heavy chassis - +2tons, etc). Given the weight of the car and our history with wilwood, we've never had a rotor crack under hard abuse. And we typically haul down 2900lbs from 150mph. I highly doubt anyone would ever have an issue with these rotors on our cars. We're in our 6th year of running the SRP rotors.

    Also, believe what you may about unsprung weight and its effect on the performance on our cars, but the car flat out flies with the reduction of 22lbs hanging off the chassis. Yes, rims have a larger impact. But show me a rim that weighs 11lbs less then ours? I'm not here to promote this kit, or sell it to you. I'm here to win races. And I can say with 100% certainty, these brakes greatly improve how your car accelerates. Anyone who buys a set will concur with us.
    JohnzyST likes this.
  10. joe@2j-racing

    joe@2j-racing Active Member

    This is how I drive and unless you're on the track, doing the testing and providing real feedback - then the second hand info you heard and what you think you know doesnt mean squat in the real world. Following what the books say doesnt automatically give you results. Otherwise every carmaker would have the perfect car. Look at BMW - their 3 and 4 series steering and chassis are shit now. I'm laboring my point but the deal is - your car will haul ass by shedding this weight. Plain and simple.

    2JR Z1.jpg
  11. RodMoe

    RodMoe Well-Known Member

    Not to be a smart azz butt.....When you say show you a rim that weighs less than ours do you mean the Factory rim or do you have some hiZoot rim that you use?? Thanks for the effort and sharing
  12. wash

    wash Active Member

    My information is second hand, I haven't cracked any drilled rotors but I have been told by racers that their rotors cracked and they have shown me the cracked rotors with little hairline cracks around almost every hole drilled.

    After seeing that I decided I didn't want any first hand cracked rotors so I never buy drilled or slotted, I rely on brake pads for grip and brake ducts for cooling.

    Beyond that, once upon a time I drilled lots of rotors. It was a job, we did it right with the radius chamfering tools and the product was guaranteed. We probably drilled as many warranty replacement rotors as anything else, that was built in to the margin.

    Some people just want the look, some people think that drilling and slotting will increase performance and some people are trying to fix a problem by replacing a part that isn't broken.

    You are right that those brakes might help acceleration when you drive like in that picture, with one front wheel in the air, the electronic limited slip will use the brakes to send torque to the wheel with traction, better brakes should mean better torque transfer. Other than that, physics is physics. A reduction in unsprung weight is great for handling but unless you change the moment of inertia a lot, brakes are not going to feel like 15 HP.

    It doesn't matter that its hard to find wheels that save more than about 7lbs a corner, its all rotational weight unlike the weight of the caliper.

    But weight doesn't tell the whole story, you could have two wheels that weigh exactly the same but behave differently. A wheel with a light rim and a heavy hub is going to beat a wheel with a heavy rim and a light hub every time. Tires are a slightly different case because their diameter is usually different from one brand to another which changes the effective gear ratio.

    In my opinion it makes sense to start with the best tires you can find, add the best wheels and then add brakes to help with your braking, not acceleration.

    As for who will concur, you are a racer, how about some telemetry data so we can see it?
  13. joe@2j-racing

    joe@2j-racing Active Member

    Unfortunately data is worthless without a baseline. I didnt run the traqmate on the stock brakes. I drive based on feel and anyone who tries this mod will agree with what I am saying.

    Initially I ordered light wheels and better tires (see prev posts); however, the information posted on the Team Dynamics wheels was false and I was left with a wheel that weighed 20lbs, 3lbs heavier. To this day, the information on this site has not been changed so it continues to mislead users.

    Back to the point I mentioned, we've run the SRP rotors without fail for 6 years. We have experience with that product and I stand by it in my race car. We are not compensated by Wilwood (we receive contingency from Hawk). What we do create are the fastest FWD drive cars in the US. Taking a torsion beam Nissan Sentra to Global Time Attack wins and national championships. Wash, you dont need to believe what I am saying, but you should respect the depth of experience we have. I can explain it to you but I cant understand it for you.

    This is our 265whp Sentra, running 225 tires, and weighing in at 2750lbs

    From Wilwood:
    SRP Drilled Performance Rotor & Hat Description

    For custom, show and high performance sport driving, SRP rotors offer the high tech look and improved performance of a directional cross-drill and face slot pattern. In addition to the aesthetic appeal, the venting and cleaning action of the hole and slot pattern helps to reduce pad glaze and minimize irregular pad build-up on the rotor faces. The results are a smoother engagement feel at the pedal and consistent response from the pads. Each rotor is precision machined to less than .001 tolerance for overall flatness, parallelism, and radial run-out on long grain carbon iron castings. The rotors are finished with a black electro coat to provide corrosion resistance.
  14. RodMoe

    RodMoe Well-Known Member

    Ok thanks on the wheels.(sorry I did not reread the whole thread I had heard of the over weight wheels I just forgot it was You.. My bad for being lazy :( )

    I take it the black wear off were the pad runs on the rotor ..

    Oh also thanks for one of those "Aha" moment while watching your vid (without reading the text overlay) I went Hey I have driven this track !! well in Xbox !! LOL dang Forza !! nice and thanks
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  15. Sekred

    Sekred Active Member

    I love the brakes, my concern was increasing unsprung weight buts that not a issue. The only thing that would piss me off is the visual size difference with the tiny rear discs which remind me of bicycle brakes.
  16. wash

    wash Active Member

    Data is meaningless without a baseline and impressive claims are meaningless without data.

    The cracked rotors I saw were from 3,000 +/- lb cars (Porsche 911) and I heard about cracked rotors on cars that weigh less than 1,000 lbs (SCCA DSR).

    My depth of experience may not be as great but I can tell when someone has stepped in it...
  17. joe@2j-racing

    joe@2j-racing Active Member

    Passing along the info Wash. Take it as you wish, its clear you've established yourself as "inexperienced" Try doing things on your own instead of passing along unrelated third part details that confuse the reader.
    Smokin likes this.
  18. BRGT350

    BRGT350 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I cracked the cross-drilled Brembo rotors on my ZX3 on track, but it is ok since rotors are a throw-away item anyway. I put down my personal lap record before getting a terrible vibration under braking. I brought the car in and noticed the rotors had cracked. Ordered a new set in the morning and put them on a few days later. No big deal. It never hurts to have a back-up set of rotors laying around just in case. Pads, rotors, and tires are wear items that you should just plan on using up if you are running the car hard.
    joe@2j-racing likes this.
  19. wash

    wash Active Member

    Well I've seen more cracked rotors than you so I think the experience I have is relevant.

    Up until now I haven't done much racing because its expensive and risky, you never know when you're going to break an engine or wreck the whole car. If you're trying that with your daily driver, you better have some serious cash reserves.

    So far I've been smart enough not to wind up broke with a wrecked car.

    I'm risk averse and know the value of a dollar.

    I didn't want to say this earlier but when you buy something and feel good about it, you can convince yourself that it feels better just because you want it to feel better. That's why we time laps, run telemetry systems and test before the race.

    15 horse power from brake rotors: B.S.

    Maybe if you went from really heavy cast iron rotors to carbon-ceramic but all you got was an aluminum hat.

    I would be surprised to see light wheels and tires have an effect on acceleration similar to an honest 15 horse power. On the other hand I would expect braking improvements and possibly handling improvements (due to unsprung mass) to maybe equal stock wheels + 15 horse power but on acceleration alone, probably not.

    Two options you should consider:

    #1, drop the hyperbole.

    #2, back it up.

    If you can do #2, I'll apologize and admit I was wrong. I don't think I will ever have to do that.
  20. joe@2j-racing

    joe@2j-racing Active Member

    Wash, we all get it - you dont like to mod your car, you are risk adverse and this mod isnt for you. My suggestion is stop being a troll. We all know you'll never buy this kit, even tho you touted the fact that you'd have the lightest FiST around. How's the moonroof working out for you?

    I've gone through most of your posts and you seem to badger most people for showing alternative fixes to issues or mods. Start providing some real benefit to the forums and leave out the "holier than thou" attitude.

    Point is, I swapped the brakes and the car pulls like a train now. I know a thing or two about driving so you may want to consider what I say. Or not, I dont really care.
    Smokin likes this.
  21. joe@2j-racing

    joe@2j-racing Active Member

    Well said. My sentiments exactly!

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