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      10-01-2012, 01:31 PM   #1

Drives: 2013 Estoril 328i M Sport
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beverly Hills, CA

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eclipsisNA | Ceramic Pads and Their Affect on Brake Dust

One of my main issues with the stock M3 (or any stock modern BMW for that matter) is how much the stock brake pads dust. Every single M3 I work on has severe brake dusting, and the easiest way to get the wheels to look 100% is to remove them, agitate the dust with a strong wheel cleanser, clay bar the stuck on dust, and then seal them. The problem with this is that after the process is completed, it won't take much mileage for the dust to reappear and we're back at square one. If you've ever cleaned your wheels before, you'll know that it's not a fun process and it takes a good deal of physical effort.

The ideal solution to this problem is to stop the wheels from dusting so intensely. When I purchased my first E92 M3, the first modification I made was to install ceramic brake pads. The difference in dusting levels was immediately noticeable, but I didn't know what the quantifiable difference was. So I thought a little visual test was in order.

Fast forward to April of this year when I already had my 2nd E92 M3 for a while. I got married on April 29th and gave the wheels a thorough cleansing before the big day. I decided not to wax or seal the wheels to test how easy it would be to remove the ceramic dust without the aid of any LSPs. Exactly 6 months to the day after I last cleaned my wheels, I removed all four wheels to clean them after 4,332 miles of use (wheels were last cleaned at 9,357 miles, I'm at 13,689 miles now). Removing the ceramic dust is extremely easy in that it is not as strongly adhered to the wheel's surface as the stock pad's dust. As mentioned before, a stronger cleanser, more pressure against the brushes, and use of a clay bar is needed to address the stock dust. With the ceramic dust, I wouldn't even need to remove the wheels to get them in near 100% condition; I could use long wheel brushes with minimal pressure to clean the barrels and any crevices. The ceramic dust practically falls off the wheels on contact with the brushes.

The pictures below illustrate the massive difference between the two types of pads. After 4,332 miles, the wheels still have considerable gloss with light dusting not being a major visual distraction. The takeaway here is that I could live with the level of gloss on the wheels after 4,332 miles, which is a huge feat for these pads. The stock pads on the other hand, after only several hundred miles, make the wheels look like they were powder coated a dark bronze shade. I can't emphasize enough how big of a difference the ceramic pads made in the amount of dust produced by the brakes. The two major benefits:

1. Dusting levels are massively reduced
2. Dust produced is much less "sticky" than stock dust

When I mention these pads to clients, they always ask if there's any degradation in stopping power. According to tests I've seen performed elsewhere, these pads actually have more stopping power than the stock pads. If any pad experts want to chime in with more technical details on stopping power, it would be appreciated. I couldn't feel a physical difference in stopping power between the stock and ceramic pads, but again I'm not an expert on that topic.

The bottom picture is of a recent client's wheel after only several hundred miles since its last cleansing.

These are the pads I purchased (Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic pads): &

Keep in mind that the wheels in these pictures were placed on foam pads for protection against the ground.

Dusting after 4,332 miles:

Left side dirty, right side after cleansing (not a massive difference in condition):

Client wheel using stock brake pads after several hundred miles:

Last edited by eclipsisNA; 10-02-2012 at 10:55 AM.