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Season Your Rotors

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Occasionally I read (or speak to folks at the track) about people complaining of warped or cracked rotors after a track day or few and then find out they didn't take the steps to "season" the rotors properly. I have baer slotted/drilled rotors and spent 1 week doing this painful, but necessary process. After 10 track days of fast and hard driving and multiple sets of Hawk pads, the rotors are in fine shape (pics forthcoming).

Here's the process I used, taken from here[1]. YMMV.
And this process DID make me nauseous. lol :-\

[1] http://www.baer.com/tech-center/season-your-rotors


Season your rotors

The first step in preparing the brake system for duty is to “SEASON” the rotors. The most visible effects are that of burning the machine oils from the surface of the iron and establishing a wear pattern between the pad and rotor. The most complex task it performs is that of relieving the internal stresses within the material. If you’ve ever poured water into a glass of ice and noticed the ice cracking, then you’ve witnessed first hand the effects of internal stresses.

By gradually heating the material, the crystalline matrix will reconfigure to relieve these internal stresses. After these stresses are relieved, the rotor is ready to accept the heat of bedding pads. Heating the rotors before they are fully seasoned can result in material deformation due to the unrelieved internal stresses in the material. This deformation may cause a vibration from the brakes.

Rotors need to be gradually elevated to “race” temperatures before any severe use. A “nibble”, or slight vibration, normally indicates rotors that were heated too quickly. After initial “Seasoning”, when running your car at open track events or serious canyon carving, you should use the first lap of a session (or first couple miles of open road), to warm the brakes as well as the engine, gearbox, etc. Where an engine turns chemical energy into motion, the brakes turn that motion into thermal energy.... and lots of it! And where there is no cooling system for the brakes as there is for the engine, and there’s not, the brakes could use the courtesy of a warm-up lap.

Remember to ALWAYS WARM THE BRAKES before any heavy use!

Seasoning Procedure:

Before you begin, please note: The following represents the minimum recommended, “Seasoning” process. If your situation offers any opportunity to perform gentle preliminary “Seasoning” outlined in Step 2 below for a longer period of time, this will generally render even better performance and increase further long-term rotor life. Use the vehicle for 5 to 6 days of gentle driving. Use the brakes to the same extent that you used the stock brakes, DO NOT TEST PERFORMANCE or ATTEMPT HEAVY USE UNTIL ALL ITEMS OUTLINED HAVE BEEN COMPLETED. It is imperative that excessive heat is not put into the rotors at this stage. They need temperature-cycling to relieve the internal stresses.

Note: Zinc plated rotors (which are an extra cost option) need a couple of extra days of driving to wear through the plating before “Seasoning” actually will begin. Find a safe location where the brakes can be run to temperature. Your goal is to gradually increase brake temperatures with progressively faster stops. Start by performing four 60 to 70 mph stops, as you would in the normal course of driving.

Next, perform four medium effort partial stops (about 50 %) from 60 mph down to 15 mph. Follow this with five minutes of freeway driving with LITTLE to NO BRAKING to allow the rotors to cool.

Then, perform four medium-hard effort partial stops (about 75 %) from 60 mph down to 15 mph. Follow this with ten minutes of freeway driving with LITTLE to NO BRAKING to allow the rotors to cool.

Park the car and allow the brakes to cool overnight to ambient temperature. You are now 50 % done with the rotor “Seasoning/Bedding” procedure proceed to STEP 4 the following day.

Return to the safe location where the brakes can be run to temperature. Make sure the brakes are warmed to full operating temperature and then, perform four medium effort partial stops (about 50 %) from 60 mph down to 15 mph. Follow this with
five minutes of freeway driving with LITTLE to NO BRAKING to allow the rotors to cool. Then, perform four medium-hard effort partial stops (about 75 %) from 60 mph down to 15 mph. Follow this with ten minutes of freeway driving with LITTLE to NO BRAKINGto allow the rotors to cool.

NOW, make six HARD partial stops from 60+ mph down to 15 mph or until rotors have reached an operation temperature of between 900 and 1,100° (Note: Temperature paints to accurately measure rotor temperature may be purchased from Baer Racing). Every effort should be made to perform this procedure without locking a wheel. Follow this with ten minutes of freeway driving with LITTLE to NO BRAKING to allow the rotors to cool.

Let the system cool off over night. The rotors are then ready for the next step in Preparing your Brake System: Bedding Pads.

If any of this is unclear, or you have comments, please call the us at (602) 233-1411
 
Always a good idea and this is one of many methods prescribed by the rotor manufacturers to season the rotors before bedding pads and certainly before track use. I always try to get a decent amount of street driving on them before seasoning and bedding them too.

That said, if you're driving like your hair's on fire and using an aggressive pad compound, and want to go fast, you're still going to eat up rotors ;)
 
Where do you guys do this bedding process??? I have done it each time I have changed rotors, although struggle to find a good local street to do this and it is always a challenge with other cars eventually showing. Tough to be aggressively braking with someone following. I have yet to need to swap rotors at a track but that day will happen. Are you following the process at the track, including the cooling time which clearly would cut in to track time?
 
LS110 said:
Where do you guys do this bedding process??? I have done it each time I have changed rotors, although struggle to find a good local street to do this and it is always a challenge with other cars eventually showing. Tough to be aggressively braking with someone following. I have yet to need to swap rotors at a track but that day will happen. Are you following the process at the track, including the cooling time which clearly would cut in to track time?
Move to South Dakota ;D Less than 800,000 people, 83,609 miles of highways, roads, and streets and 77,000 square miles of land. PLENTY of room for seasoning rotors.
 
cloud9 said:
Move to South Dakota ;D Less than 800,000 people, 83,609 miles of highways, roads, and streets and 77,000 square miles of land. PLENTY of room for seasoning rotors.
LOL - You are dead on. I am trying to do it in the Twin Cities before I head up to the track and am always finding traffic. I am fairly sure someone called a cop on me once, but thankfully he just drove by me as I saw him soon enough.
 

Sesshomurai

LS110 said:
Where do you guys do this bedding process??? I have done it each time I have changed rotors, although struggle to find a good local street to do this and it is always a challenge with other cars eventually showing. Tough to be aggressively braking with someone following. I have yet to need to swap rotors at a track but that day will happen. Are you following the process at the track, including the cooling time which clearly would cut in to track time?

Yeah, this can be tricky without drawing attention. I have a country road (paved) near me, but then I always seem to get someone showing up behind me and have to pull over.

@Sako
Bedding pads and seasoning rotors serve two different purposes actually!
 

Sesshomurai

Here are some pics I took today of my front driver side rotor.

Now I know I will get flamed for showing off my drilled rotors and some consider it "posing" to use them, but for me they work, and I drive them hard (140+ mph at VIR).
The important thing with this type of rotor is doing the above procedure and giving the metal time to restructure/strengthen.

I will probably switch to slots only when I start racing, but still consider these great rotors and my braking performance is superior to stock. In fact, all my instructors always comment on my braking quality.

I used the above seasoning method and these pics show the rotors after 1 set of Hawk +, and 2 sets of Hawk Blues and about 10 or so full track days. And WITHOUT the brake cooling ducts (which I'm adding shortly).

rotor1.jpg

rotor2.jpg

rotor3.jpg

rotor4.jpg

rotor5.jpg

rotor6.jpg

rotor7.jpg
 

drano38

Wayne
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cloud9 said:
Move to South Dakota ;D Less than 800,000 people, 83,609 miles of highways, roads, and streets and 77,000 square miles of land. PLENTY of room for seasoning rotors.
Yep, I drive out of my big town of 500, turn onto a county tar road, and go. If someone catches up, I pull over at the next gravel road and let them by.
 
darreng505 said:
Here are some pics I took today of my front driver side rotor.

Now I know I will get flamed for showing off my drilled rotors and some consider it "posing" to use them, but for me they work, and I drive them hard (140+ mph at VIR).
The important thing with this type of rotor is doing the above procedure and giving the metal time to restructure/strengthen.

I will probably switch to slots only when I start racing, but still consider these great rotors and my braking performance is superior to stock. In fact, all my instructors always comment on my braking quality.

I used the above seasoning method and these pics show the rotors after 1 set of Hawk +, and 2 sets of Hawk Blues and about 10 or so full track days. And WITHOUT the brake cooling ducts (which I'm adding shortly).

rotor1.jpg

rotor2.jpg

rotor3.jpg

rotor4.jpg

rotor5.jpg

rotor6.jpg

rotor7.jpg


what is your brake setup, then?
no mods to calipers / master cylinder, no brake ducts? assume ss lines / good fluid? hawk pads / what rotors?
 

Sesshomurai

Yeah. Stock setup except motul 600 dot4 fluid. Still researching bbk' s tho.
 

steveespo

Lord knows I'm a Voodoo Child
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Darren
Get ducts and stainless lines on there ASAP. They will prevent fade and extend pad, rotor, fluid, caliper, and bearing life tremendously and also may save your life at VIR. Best $350 you will spend. Also remove rear dust shields helps the rear rotors and axle bearings, I will probably rig up some hoses along the axle tubes to blow air at them before Road America, another place that kills brakes right Gary?
Steve
 
steveespo said:
Darren
Get ducts and stainless lines on there ASAP. They will prevent fade and extend pad, rotor, fluid, caliper, and bearing life tremendously and also may save your life at VIR. Best $350 you will spend. Also remove rear dust shields helps the rear rotors and axle bearings, I will probably rig up some hoses along the axle tubes to blow air at them before Road America, another place that kills brakes right Gary?
Steve
I can't believe I have the balls to drive RA flat out. I must be brain dead or just ignorant :eek: The wife watched a Z06 go into Canada Corner a couple corners ahead of me last year watching from the stands with a couple friends. He said his foot went straight to the floor when he went to start braking. My one friend says "he's goin' in kinda hot" as he hit the sand trap at a buck 30. She said it was like all hell was breaking loose until the "thunk" when he hit the tire wall several hundred feet off the track, then it was dead silence. I came around the corner and it looked like Hiroshima because the mushroom dust cloud was 200 feet in the air. It wasn't until the next lap around that I could even make out two faint headlights way back in the woods where it stopped as the dust finally started to clear. I figured the wife would tell me that's the end of this BS, but when I got back to the paddock, all she could say was "well that wasn't so bad, he walked away". Of course there is a fair amount of life insurance in place. ::)
 

Sesshomurai

steveespo said:
Darren
Get ducts and stainless lines on there ASAP. They will prevent fade and extend pad, rotor, fluid, caliper, and bearing life tremendously and also may save your life at VIR. Best $350 you will spend. Also remove rear dust shields helps the rear rotors and axle bearings, I will probably rig up some hoses along the axle tubes to blow air at them before Road America, another place that kills brakes right Gary?
Steve

Yeah. I read ya. I delayed doing it until i got better with the car and now its time.
 

Grant 302

basic and well known psychic
LS110 said:
Where do you guys do this bedding process???

I use an empty industrial area with 50-55 mph roads near the freeway. I do all the stopping around a block making right hand turns. Then head to the freeway for the cooling periods. Come back and repeat for the next cycle.

You're in SoCal too, right? Shouldn't be hard to find a place like I use.
 
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