Sometimes with these project car updates, I need to over elaborate on things to achieve the desired word and image count. It’s likely down to my ambition exceeding my ability to get things done, but it frightens me how often these posts come around.
This is the seventh consecutive monthly instalment on Project GTI in the ninth month since I bought it, but it’s probably the first time I’ve looked at the car and started to see things coming together.
Last month, we gave the car a bump in power courtesy of Revo Technik and TG Performance NI, but with power comes great responsibility as a wise uncle once said.
The stock brakes on a GTI are adequate and perfectly fine for road use, but start to hammer them and they come undone pretty quickly. I tried a pad upgrade beforehand, but ultimately decided to do things right and do it once, so that I never have to worry about upgrading the brakes again.
I’d seen Tarox brakes being deployed on a couple of MkVII GTI and R Golfs in the UK, and having spoke to a few owners and getting great feedback, I felt that this was the direction I wanted to go. In particular, seeing them on a friend’s Golf R was the ultimate decision maker.
A couple of phone calls were made, some e-mails sent, and after a little bit of time I was the owner of brand new set of Tarox B360-8s Super Sport calipers with 360mm 2-piece discs. I did say I never wanted to worry about brakes again…Install
I was actually on holidays for the last two weeks and a bit (went to Florida, hired a Mustang, did a skid, came home) so could only set about getting them onto Jessica (she has a name now, think Jessica Rabbit) this week. Honestly, we only set about installing them earlier today.
Sorry about missing that deadline, Pedey.
I’ve no problem tackling small things on the car, but when it comes to critical parts I much rather leave it to the professionals. Plus, it’s far easier to take photos of someone else doing the work than trying to do everything yourself.
So, we would be pretty much overhauling the majority of the braking system on Project GTI. The front axle would be treated to the new 8-piston calipers, plus 2-piece discs, Tarox Corsa pads and braided lines.
The rear would get upgraded discs and pads whilst retaining the stock calipers. The rear brakes on a front-wheel drive car don’t need to deal with even a fraction of the work that the fronts do, so I felt retaining the OE calipers was the right decision. We would also flush the standard fluid and replace it with Tarox’s own high performance fluid.
I’ve already cut considerable unsprung weight from the car with the RAYS Volk Racing ZE40s (5kgs per corner), so I was conscious of how much bulk the new setup would add. Both the new calipers and discs are considerably larger than the stock items.
Remember this photo later for comparison purposes.
For the sake of science, I ‘borrowed’ the bathroom weighing scales from home to carry out this test. That’s the stock front caliper with pads included weighing in at 6.5kgs.
The Tarox caliper weighed in at 1.1kg less, which was a pretty big surprise if I’m honest. The discs were a slightly different story, with the significantly larger 360mm discs weighing in at 1.3kg more than the standard (and heavily worn) discs. In total, I’ve added around 400gm of weight to the front axle, which in a fully-laden street car is actually pretty insignificant. When you weigh up (sorry) the performance benefits of the new setup, it’s a cost that I’m happy to pay.
The original brakes came off in a straightforward manner, so we could immediately set about getting the new parts on.
Everything was included to make this a bolt-on direct replacement. No fabrication was needed at any stage, just simple assembly. In fact, it was considerably more difficult to get the original parts off. This bracket is required to allow the caliper to sit precisely on the new disc. The flexible rubber brake line has been replaced with a stainless braided equivalent.
With everything trial fitted and double checked for clearances, we (actually, just Flip) set about installing everything permanently.
The MkVI GTI – as I’m sure other generations and models too – runs a fairly simple brake pad wear sensor solely on the front passenger side wheel. It effectively works as a circuit until the pad wears down enough to break the circuit and it triggers a warning inside the cabin on the instrument cluster. It’s redundant for anyone who keeps an eye on these things anyways so we decided to bypass it.
We removed the wear sensor from the previous pads, cut the wire, opened the insulation and joined the two wires inside together before re-insulating them and reconnecting it to the car whilst securing it in a good location. Once the circuit stays complete (which it will now do indefinitely) I don’t have to worry about any warning lights or the car’s electronics throwing a hissy fit.
I think it’s the first brakes I’ve ever owned with a quick change system for the pads, which should come in handy in the future.
Whilst Flip set about doing the opposing side, I went for a look around the workshop. That AE86 is new…
I was joined on my adventure by shop dog, Kouki. She’s great for chasing invisible things and eating my sandwich. Good dog.
Meanwhile, Flip was finished with the driver’s side and already moving onto the rear. I’m clearly of great help as you can tell. Whilst he works on the rear, I’m going to fill you in on a couple of things I learned whilst researching these brakes before ordering them. I’m keen for this not to sound like an advertisement, so please bear with me for a bit.
As I said previously, there were a couple of things that swayed me towards Tarox. The company has a solid motorsport heritage; Keke Rosberg’s F1 World Championship-winning car ran Tarox brakes back in 1982. Each brake caliper is hand built and hand inspected before being shipped, and every brake kit is tailored to suit each specific chassis and to work with that car’s exact setup. Tarox make everything in-house, so they have full control over their product.
One of the things I only learned afterwards is interesting too. I was led to believe that drilled discs can suffer from structural instability after some usage, where the discs can begin to crack around the holes. This is still true, but what Tarox has done differently is to countersink the holes to stop this from happening. It’s a real anorak detail, but one that I now really love.
And back to Flip, doing his thing.
Removing the rear caliper carrier – so as to remove the original rear disc – turned out to be the most difficult part of the job due to one of the spindle-type bolts being both awkward to get at and really, really stuck. Once off, it was a simple case of installing the new rear discs and pads.
With everything fitted and everything double checked, it was time to flush the old fluid out and refill with new stuff. Tarox quite kindly supplied plenty of brake fluid for this task, so I got into the car and pumped that brake pedal until it came back to life; and then I pumped some more.
Once my legs muscles could support me, I was able to watch the proverbial cherry being put on the cake. One of the reasons I chose the ZE40s was for their exceptional amount of room to accommodate a large brake setup.
Needless to say, I won’t be running smaller wheels on the front any time soon. Whilst it’s definitely close, it’s not too close if that makes sense, and there’s enough breathing room between the caliper and the wheel that it’ll never be of any concern.
The rears remain the same size but look much fresher.
With everything torqued up, I went for an easy test drive to make sure everything was working properly. Out of the box, the performance is seriously impressive. Moving in slow traffic, they’re light and easy to modulate; they’re not grabby or anything. In fact, they could pass for the stock brakes for feel under normal driving circumstances, which is a great thing in my opinion.
They’d literally only been fitted a few hours before I sat down to write this post, so I can’t give you the full picture of their performance just yet. At least not an honest version, so that will have to wait for a little bit further down the line. Initial impressions though are that they’re perfect for daily driver purposes (they work great from cold), but when you lean that little bit harder on them once they’ve warmed up, they start to come into their own. I’m excited to see how they hold up.In Other News
It’s not been just brakes this month, we did make some other upgrades to allow for the Revo Technik software.
Since I’m on the subject of Revo, I made a short video to demonstrate the capabilities of the SPS Pro unit that was installed during last month’s update. Warning! This is a video for the hardcore automotive nerds and is intended to demonstrate just some of the features of this nifty piece of hardware that can convey ECU data through the car’s MFD in a clear and logical manner. There’s also some diagnostic and comfort features, along with a stopwatch that can be used to time accelerations sprints or lap times. Everything can be controlled easily with the car’s MFSW buttons and all of the factory menus and screens are retained.
Oh, you can also change your engine map back to stock or update it to suit a better fuel source. Groovy.
The main goal here was to remove some of the slop and movement out of the drivetrain, without negatively affecting noise, vibration or harshness (NVH) in the cabin.
The Neuspeed torque arm insert is a simple and cheap modification which reduces a lot of the slop in the gearshift. Even with a DSG box, you can get a slight delay and a little jolt especially going down through the gears. This has completely eliminated it and gearshifts are both crisp and almost imperceptible now. It has introduced a tiny bit of NVH in reverse gear, but it’s hardly noticeable already and something that I’ve no issues with.
We also changed out both the engine and transmission mounts for 034 Motorsport Street Density grade mounts. I done a lot of research on these and ultimately decided on the 034 based on reviews from others about their advantages versus their downsides.
034 engine mount on the left, stock on the right.
As to be expected with a more solid mount, there’s the slightest increase in NVH, but again I only notice it because I’m in the car every day of the week. It’s already faded away so I can’t feel it anymore (or I’ve gotten use to it already), but it’s another case of being happy to take the downside (even calling it a downside feels like an exaggeration) for the advantages.
The advantage being that my engine doesn’t feel like it’s trying to escape from the car anymore. Which is good. It’s also future proofed the car in that regard if I ever go for a K04 turbo upgrade.
This was a productive month and I feel as if I’ve rambled on for long enough at this point, so it’s time to say goodbye.
Tar Ox really make beautiful brake systems. Dread to think of the price U0001f62f by the way, whereabouts did you order them from? (For future reference)
Looking good, Paddy! I reckon it's about time to close up that wheel gap now, ay?
A bit of a nit pick, but you weighed the front OE caliper with the bracket, and the TarOx you measured the caliper only
@Guest I'll grab a few extra for the next time
LukeEVOVIII I dealt directly with Tarox, but AwesomeGTI would be one of their resellers who I usually buy from.
@Guest Strangely it doesn't bother me that much, but it's going to be addressed...
that Brake is nothing done halfway. Futureproof . and nice looking, and the best weight investment
the torque arm insert is also on my shopping list, incredible how much movement you feel from the engine under acceleration in oem set up
Hey, I recognize those valve covers in the Bonus Images! Amandaae86 on Instagram!
Hey I did brake stuff too. Yours is 5000% nicer looming however. The finish on those clappers us quite yum.
Paddy McGrath Awesome Update on your car Paddy.
What was the none starting issue you had with it? has it been sorted now?
Does that brake fluid really have a 300C bp? If so, how come it's not a known entity amongst amateur racing here in the US?
@lms Good catch.
Sweet set-up, Paddy. A "BBK" on anything is always a nice upgrade, whether performance, luxury, etc.
Loving your updates Paddy McGrath. Curios, did upgrading from single or twin piston calipers to eight (!!) require any change to the master cylinder or does it move enough brake fluid?
Never heard of that company but man they look nice. Love the candy apple finish.
What does the 360 on the caliper mean?
8-piston calipers....I'm impressed! But you're right, better addressing it once and forever than having to worry about stopping power after every performance upgrade.
Some cracking upgrades there Paddy which will certainly allow you to move forward on the project with confidence now (and stop).
Tarox discs were the first ever brake I did back on my first Fiesta XR2 MK1. I think the were 40 groove discs? Seeing you do this really makes me wanna get round to the rear of my FRST. I've been eyeing a set of Hi-Spec 2 piston handbrake calipers to be rid of the old rusty rear drums and balance the braking performance out. Having 325mm discs and 4 piston billet calipers on the front does feel a bit weird under heavy braking.
Best of luck with the rest of the Golf Paddy, looking forward to seeing further updates
davey_bevan Ah, forgot all about that!
Actually, I'll write a full comment above rather than re-editing the story but it - eventually - got sorted.
Riddlah For such a cheap modification (think the part was around €40) it makes a big difference, even in a DSG car.
BusBuddha Great spot! Flip was responsible for the body restoration and paint on it. Can't wait to see the car finished.
SnoozinRichy I wasn't expecting the finish to be quite so good on them!
@SkepticalApexer Yes, which puts it at approximately 20c over ATE's Type 200 boiling point which I have on my shelf in the garage (for comparison).
I'm not an amateur racer in the US, so I can't really tell you why.
RaphaelMay1 Paddy McGrath The brakes were built specifically to work with the factory MK6 GTI master cylinder, so haven't had any issues or strange feelings. They've felt remarkably good from the get go, even on a short journey immediately after installation and bleeding them.
Buick Man Tarox are definitely a big name on this side of the water, I can remember them for as long as I've been interested in cars.
The brakes' model name is B360-8 which I'm going to guess means a 360mm disc capability with an 8 piston caliper.
koko san Exactly, it's done now and can focus on other things next.
TurboHippie The lines were Goodridge, if I recall correctly.
Keep us updated on the RST, it's been a while since I've seen one in the wild!
You may not run into brake fade with this setup, but if you do there is a simple improvement you can make - remove the dust shields inboard of the front rotors. On a stock GTI brake setup the removal of those shields makes a noticeable difference in reducing fluid temperature and ultimately reducing fade.
Good choice on the red and those wheels. The look is similar to my MK5. Looks great!
Great addition to the car. I've got Tarox brakes products on my track car and I've just fitted them to my Edition 30, will be testing them out over the next week or so. They performed well on the track earlier this month so I'm hopeful they'll be as good on the road in a bigger car.
Tempted to go for a big brake kit like yours next!
Will do Paddy, many thanks. And great post as always
I'm getting sad looking at all the things you're doing to your Golf that I want to do to mine Keep it up the car is awesome!
Can't beat a fettled CVH!
Evan Walsh Thanks, Evan!
Jay_TrackAddict There are never good enough reasons to not spend money on your car. You can live in your car, but you can't drive a house. That's my motto.
GregPattman Great tip, thank you! Beautiful MK5 too, have you fitted the MK6 lower rear bumper and diffuser?
90nissanS13@my350z I love a decent brake setup, so many benefits to the everyday performance of a car.
Thanks to http://www.livefyre.com/profile/103778951/'s prompt below, I actually forgot an entire thing that happened over the course of the last month. Rather than edit the story, I'll just write it here...
When I visited Qatar earlier this year, I came back to a GTI with no electricity. We jumped it, I got home and it promptly died again. Diagnosed it as a bad battery, changed it and everything was fine right up until the day before the last Auto Heroes event, where the car displayed the same symptoms and wouldn't start. Voltage was reading around 8V, the chances of getting a second bad battery were just too high so it was clearly a drain on the car.
We jumped it again, drove it around for a short while where the alternator would charge the battery back to over 14V pretty quickly but once it was switched off, you could watch the voltage plummet on the gauge. I don't like electrics at the best of time, so arranged to drop the car off at the main dealer and try get it sorted under warranty. Obviously the car is quite modified at this stage, but the dealer and I basically agreed that if it was an issue caused by a modification, I would pay for the repair and vice versa. Thankfully, it only took them less than a day to discover a faulty ignition switch and they held up their end of the agreement. A new ignition switch, new battery and labour all covered under warranty.
A rare tale of a happy experience at a main dealer, but can't say I would expect anything less from them. They've been superb from before purchase and continue to be so.
I now have a GTI that I no longer worry if it's going to start every morning, which is nice.
Looks great, Paddy! Cool that you chose for the 'Japan sport' style discs, to stick to your theme! Now please find a way to colourmatch the rear calipers And I have to say that your car comes together way faster then I would have tought, but it looks amazing!
Paddy McGrath GregPattman That is an Oettinger rear valance - the last part of the kit I had on there. After I got serious about track days I removed the Reiger front lip and side skirts and reverted to the stock parts (but painted tornado red). Here are some more pictures if you're interested:
i'd never heard of Tarox before and at first I was skeptical because it seems every man and his dog has a brake caliper brand these last few years. and they all look mysteriously similar, the same aluminum 4, 6 or 8 pot shape and finish as what China is popping out.
Paddy McGrath thats what I've been trying to tell my wife for years... Although I'm not sure I can get away with building two cars....
Trust me, Tarox has been around a while and they're a seriously trusted and capable brand.
GregPattman Paddy McGrath That's a really serious build, kudos to you. Do you have a build thread anywhere?
Leroy P You're right, there are an awful lot of new parts companies popping up and it's becoming increasingly difficult to tell them apart. At least Tarox have genuine motorsport heritage, they started out in F1!
IsaacDC My plan for the meantime is to not look at the different coloured calipers at the same for a bit. Or just leave enough brake dust build up on the rear so as to not be able to tell the difference.
Even though I'm not a Golf fan, I enjoyed the article. Any pics or info on the RX8?
I'm glad you didn't put the foglamps in yellow like pretty much everyone do with their Golfs. Looking better with every mod Paddy, keep up the good work.
From now on you will be called BrakePaddy McGrath.
Sorry, couldn't resist.
EvolveWRC Funny you say that, they do illuminate yellow but only because yellow light cuts through fog better. They're off 99% of the time.
hcram39 I've read this so many times and I don't get the reference.
I feel old.
It's just a dumb pun. A post about brakes. Brake pads. Haha.
hcram39 It's an awful pun, but it's approved
So any plans on upgrading tires? Those brakes are totally overkill for the mediocre summers you are running. I guarantee you that you would never see brake fade on those tires with a decent set of pads some cooling and fluid. Of course being a VW theres a good chance that its about bling and talking about "how sick your tune is bruh" instead of actual track performance.
MagicDoritoEngine I always enjoy when someone creates an entirely hypothetical situation in their own head, and then uses it to make a sly dig at another enthusiast. It's hilarious.
As a matter of fact, I just swapped new tyres on yesterday. I prefer to stick with the same brand on all four corners so am trying Kumho's KU36 Ecsta XS on the front as they're not an overly expensive tyre and have great reviews and feedback from drivers both in the US and the UK. I'm curious as to what the wet weather performance will be like on the road, seeing as it's pretty much always raining here.
For some good all-round performance tyres id highly reccomond the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 2 tyres. My dad runs them on his Merc and it sticks to the road like shit on a blanket in wet and dry
Paddy McGrath MagicDoritoEngine sorry it came out a lot meaner than I meant it to be, its frustrating to talk to (normally VAG group owning) friends who all "HAVE" to run a BBK when they are rolling around on all seasons and never running on track. I am guessing you mostly just concerned with hooking up? it is a handful with the extra power.
MagicDoritoEngine Paddy McGrath No worries, I get where you're coming from. I think of them as irony brakes, but this won't be one of those builds.
It's driving really nice at the moment, I think an LSD would be a huge upgrade along with some suspension upgrades but I'm thinking of going down a route less travelled with that area.
No real build thread. Just few threads on various topics on GolfMKV.com under the handle "Meat". I sold the car a while ago and miss it all the time. I have been eyeing tornado red MK6's and 7's as of late though.
Sorry I have to break the news... Golfs are utterly boring cars. Even the light mods can't change that. Sounds dull, looks like a grocery cart.
@avu You're boring. Like a grocery cart.
Paddy McGrath Yeah I know Suppose I should get a Golf then. Somehow I don't feel the urge to do so. Like my boring Mazda MPS way more. I had the MK II quite a few years back though
@avu Paddy McGrath Hahaha
The MPS is pretty damned rare here, would love to try one. The MKVI is very sedate as stock, but it has responded really well to tuning so far. It definitely has more of an edge compared to when I bought it.
Paddy McGrath Just to clarify - never once thought it's a bad car. Just far from being exciting. Lets say "ganz richtig", even in GTI flavor. My friend has a MK VII GTI - still nope for me. But to each his own. Glad you take pride and pleasure in modding and driving your wheels, it's what matters after all.
Looking forward to the next entry in Project GTI series
@avu Paddy McGrath Thanks!
I pretty much agree with you BTW, stock GTIs are very reserved but I understand why they are the way they are.
You have me researching MPS' online now to learn more!
this may seem like a loaded question - it is - but honestly - is it worth putting $2700 of brakes on a Golf? I wrestle with upgrading my TDI Cup brakes to R32 - and I find it hard to justify that price
Just that over the years, I've never seen testing done to prove that stopping distance is vastly improved from stock - since it's largely about tire size and compound - and I'm certainly confident this set-up you have now won't ever fade on a track - but really - who's on a track that often?
just curious on some further insights
I won't speak to the value question as it's not my money, but eliminating fade is desirable for those who see track time often. When I had my MKV (on factory brakes with Cobalt Friction pads, Castrol fluid, Bildon metallic bushings, dust shield removed and custom brake ducts) I routinely did one track day per month and it wasn't uncommon to get some fade at the end of 30-45 minute sessions depending on which track it was. Anything you can do to eliminate fade is value added IMO.
MPistol That's a good honest question.
They are absolutely 100% overkill for my current needs, but, and it's a big one, I'm now set with brakes for the life of the car. I spoke about this previously but I made lots of mistakes on the E90 build where I ended up constantly upgrading the same parts again and again until I achieved the desired result. In the long run, I probably ended up spending twice what I should have and it's something I want to avoid doing again. I do have an overall plan in my head for what I want to achieve with Project GTI. It may not make sense immediately, but it should do when it all comes together at the end.
Also, there's probably two areas of a car's performance where it's perfectly fine - IMO - to overspend and to go OTT: tyres and brakes.
I'm curious as to why you didn't go ahead and install wheel studs while you had it all apart.
Crazy Germans and their wheel bolts...
TylerHorne They're in the post!
I was about to say "I read the damn post. No mention of studs." Got lost in translation a bit.
TylerHorne Hahahaha, sorry!
Paddy McGrath MPistol appreciate the feedback - I totally get your reasoning, having spent my share on part after part after part and never taking the plunge on THE part.......... maybe it's time
Been away for far too long, and this seems like a good recent post to resume. If I haven't been keeping up very well on here, it is a godsend I still have been able to lurk on Instagram. Been loving the progress Jessica is making (A+ name reference if I've ever seen one), and the brakes squeezed in those rims just pop so right. Did a quick bit of digging and those brakes are a serious penny, but I checked out the rest of the feedback, and I'm excited to see what kind of gate having those big old shields up front will open up to in the future.
As always, looking forward to more.
TylerHorne My MKIV is plagued with the same cancer, I wish I had done the swap when I did a complete four-corner brake refresh last year. It's a complete nuisance to swap wheels minimum twice a year being stuck up here in Canada.
I went a slightly different, yet similar route with the Brembo GT BBK on my MKV to go along with the K04. Honestly the brakes are one of my favorite upgrades. Have you considered going with R32/Golf R brakes in the rear? I think that's the route I'll be going in the future. Its a decent upgrade without a huge price and circumvents the parking brake integration issues that even some of the high end options run into.
Also, what's the deal with the crazy piston counts on Tarox calipers? I'm not saying its a bad thing. I just haven't seen anything about the theory/science behind why they do that.
Would love to see more of that Zenki
Would love to see a feature on that green S14...