Sunbird update: BPTS

All the brake and suspension work on the bird has been finished up and it’s been back on the road for a few weeks now. The only other thing of interest that happened when wrapping it up was having to set the camber using trigonometry and gauge pins because for some stupid reason the alignment shop wouldn’t do it. Their numbers were helpful, but that was about it.

The handling is much improved from the poly bushings and endlinks and all the other new hardware. It is not rock solid; but that’s to be expected from run of the mill street friendly struts. It has been restored to its potential, which in my opinion is still a very capable handler and is much more enjoyable to drive.

The brakes, on the other hand, I am pretty impressed with. The lack of ABS clutter is nice, and the stainless flex lines have given it a firmer pedal feel. Where it really shines is the Hawk HPS pads and the new rotors. I’ve never tried any kind of performance pads before, but they have really made a drastic difference. This may be a modification that will be added to the snow tire category of items you didn’t know you couldn’t live without until you tried them. When you hit the brakes, it’s a nice feeling to know the things are going to grab like mad and stop you quick.

A quick comparison.

I compared the braking of the 93 four door to the 93 two door to get an idea for the difference and improvement. A couple things to note first; the four door has a full interior and is heavier where the two door has next to no interior and is pretty light, and I don’t know exactly what brakes are in the four door, but considering that the dealer it came from sold it with junk tires and a bad crank sensor, it’s unlikely there is anything fancy whatsoever with its setup. I couldn’t really do a direct before and after with the two door because the brakes were old and spongy to begin with, whereas the four door’s brakes have always felt really nice.

The tables have turned a little now, giving the edge to the two door. Surprisingly, the four door’s pedal feel is pretty solid despite its rubber flex lines – I’m not really even sure if I could tell in a blind test which car had the stainless flex lines or not, which is an interesting thing to note for the budget conscious. I still like the fact that they’re not going to rot off, regardless of their firmness. The pads are where you can tell the real difference. It’s not just the weight difference, which would be evident if you were doing something like 60 to 0 tests, it’s more of the feel – the pads grab and bite harder than the regular ones. I know this is nothing quantifiable, but still is worth mentioning and trying yourself if you’re after some more stopping power – and why wouldn’t you be? It could be the difference between hitting something and not.

One thing that remains to be seen is how long they’ll last. I think I still will find them worthwhile if they hold up half as long as regular pads just because of the gains you get. My last generic-parts-store-special pads lasted me 40k miles or so. In the end, the upgraded pads are well worth the extra few dollars spent if you ask me, and I likely will be doing the same thing to the four door when the time comes.

Bring it on.

Bring it on.

Leave a Reply