Recommendation: Front Pads for 2008 BMW 528xi

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Mar 16, 2009
Southeast Michigan
My brother e-mailed me today. His 2008 BMW 528xi has 69K miles on it and I guess there's some kind of indicator saying that he'll need new pads in approximately 1K miles. I've done pads and rotors on three cars before. A 98 Grand Prix, a 99 Grand Prix, and an 02 Civic. The instructions/procedure for doing the BMW look pretty much the same. Anyone have a 5-Series and have a pad recommendation? I took a peek at AAP's site and saw Akebono, Wearver, and Beck/Arnley as options. When replacing the pads, I should really get the rotors turned, right? (That's assuming there's still enough thickness to be turned.) If they need to be replaced, AAP listed Akebono, Wearver, and Beck/Arnley as options just like the pads. Thoughts and input appreciated, as always. cheers
The Centric's on Rock Auto are a "favorite." My mechanic likes ATE on foreign cars. Both are available, at a significant price difference.
Originally Posted By: barlowc
When replacing the pads, I should really get the rotors turned, right? (That's assuming there's still enough thickness to be turned.)
BMW's stance on the subject is that they don't recommend turning the rotors. They recommend replacing both pads and rotors at the same time. The old rotors will typically not make it through a second set of pads and you don't want to be putting on new rotors on old pads. As far as brands, I'd actually recommend sticking with OEM. I've tried aftermarket pads such as Akebono which although helped reduce brake dust, were not as good performance-wise as OEM. By the way, you will also need to purchase a wear sensor. I don't think one comes with the pads.
Dont turn the rotors, measure them with a dial caliper to see if theyre still within spec, which should be stamped on the hat of the rotor. I think its 27.6mm but its been a while. As far as pads, Id go with Akebonos. Ive had good results with them so far on my S4, as well as other customers BMWs. Otherwise ATE, Textar or Pagid are OE. I cant stress enough to try and avoid cheaper pads. BMW stresses their brake pads much differently than many manufacturers and can lead to chipping, cracking or fracturing of the pad. The DSC system in the car "preps"the pads if it senses you lift the pedal suddenly by bringing the pads within 1mm of the rotor face and priming the abs pump. If in the rain, depending on what wiper speed, it will bring the pads into contact with the rotors very slightly, wiping the face of the rotors and drying the pads. It can heat the pads to cooking hot in an effort to keep them dry in a heavy downpour if it has to. It uses the brake wear sensor to measure the pad life/depth, so its important to replace the sensor everytime.
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Stoptech ST are inexpensive and outperform every other street pad I have used, including Axxis Dlx/Ult, Hawk HPS, EBC (all), Akebono Euro Metallic/Semi-Met, Cool Carbon, OEM, and about a half dozen others. Very good stopping power, long life, very low dust, strong initial bite even in subzero temps, no noticeable performance degredation in wet (tires lost traction before brakes lost clamping power, and that is with Michelin PS2s/Pilot Super Sports and Pirelli P-Zero Nero/Corsa System tires), and when bedding them initially they only lost about 10% of their power after 13th consecutive 70mph-5mph full-powered stop (it was literally accelerate to 70mph in 6-7sec then immediately slam on brakes then fully accelerate, and so on... I had smoke coming from wheel wells before I noticed a loss of grip). I use them on my 325i daily driver with Stoptech slotted rotors, Stoptech SS lines, and Motul RBF600 fluid as well as on my 328 with its 6piston 14.8" 2pc slotted floating rotors front / 4piston 14.25" (same 2pc slotted) rotors rear Big Brake Kit with ST SS lines and RBF600 (for the street, different pads for track). I have not yet had to replace any of them, with over 60k hard miles combined. Seriously, for the price, they are fantastic. I don't know that I will ever buy anything else, and I used Axxis Ultimates for a long time but these have them beat in every way.
Thanks for the input thus far! Would Wearever rotors from AAP be a bad choice? Right now I can get them for $56 each (they're usually $108) minus 15% and I'll get a $50 off coupon good on purchases of $100 or more. I could then use that coupon towards a set of Akebono Ultra Premium Ceramic "Euro" pads which run $111. Total cost for new front rotors and pads would be about $170.
I would avoid those generic rotors. The cooling veins are always spaced wrong and are often too thick.
I agree with dparm 100% This is a >$50k, 4500lb+ sport sedan. Do not buy any brake parts because they are inexpensive. DO buy the best performing parts you can get. The Stoptech pads I mentioned should be around $75 per axle, and some decent E-Coated Centric Slotted rotors around $175 per axle. It is not cheap, but it is not like dropping $6k on a front and rear Big Brake Kit. The price to performance ratio is, however, probably the best you will find. Also, I recommend going with slotted (never drilled) rotors because the Stoptech pads are designed to work with them so there is little or no loss in pad life, they have more consistent braking, they work very well in the wet, and the newer ones have slots that do not extend fully to the inside or outside edge of the disc so there is no loss of structural integrity.
My brother was asking what I thought of this POWERSTOP Extreme Performance Brake Disc and Pad Kit. He's keen on the look of slotted/drilled rotots. I can't remember where I saw them, but last night I also saw plain Brembo rotors for a reasonable price. RockAuto has StopTech Street Performance pads and Centric SportStop Drilled and Slotted rotors which would be $325 shipped. Thoughts on those options?
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Stoptech has a terrific pad formula for their performance kits. If that is what you're looking at look no further. It's a proprietary product and is the BEST blend of performance and manners I've ever used on my car. Note that I have 4 piston fixed Brembos on all 4 wheels. Drilled rotors are for bling only, DO NOT use them unless you are just looking for looks.
Originally Posted By: SteveSRT8
Stoptech has a terrific pad formula for their performance kits. If that is what you're looking at look no further.
Sorry, my previous link was the wrong one. It should have been this. POWERSTOP Extreme Performance Brake Disc and Pad Kit.
Barlowc: get the StopTech/Centric from RockAuto!! Make sure the pads are "Stoptech ST Street Performance Pads" and get SLOTTED Centric rotors, NEVER DRILLED. Slotted allow for the prevention of gas buildup between rotor and pad surface as well as stopping water from creating a barrier, they really help keep the pads' contact surface perfectly smooth and even, they don't compromise disc strength at all, and Centric makes them so the slots don't extend to the edge of the rotor face which is ideal. Stay away from Brembo Blanks. They are worse than OEM, although OEM are decent... Point is, the Brembo blanks just suck. The company makes fantastic BBKs, and have one of the top caliper designs on the market for multi-piston calipers, but they are not especially known for the discs. I personally went with Stoptech Monobloc calipers for my 4wheel BBK instead of Brembo's Monobloc offering because the ST kit was $1895 less, was 6piston/4piston f/r versus 4/4, has better pedal modulation and stopping power (in part due to more progressively sized pistons), reduced unsprung weight by a hair under 4lbs more than the Brembo kit, and the ST monobloc calipers, being one of their flagship products, are available in an awesome "bare aluminum" (I would call it a mix between brushed aluminum and satin nickel) with the StopTech logo in any color you want (I went with Red to match my BBS center caps) and they are coated in like 20 layers of some special ultra high temp clearcoat... Mileage in the 5 digits on the kit, street and track, and I swear just 3min with a hose and quick detailing spray and the brake dust is completely gone (been having my buddy who owns a body shop look into this stuff bc I really want to have some other parts coated in it). Anyway, I have been guessed it... Stoptech ST pads in them for street duty and I can't tell you enough how awesome they are. I also have the same pads on my 325i, with the slotted rotors, and perfection! 1/10th the brake dust but 15-20% better bite. Win-Win. Honestly, while you are replacing this all anyway, I say spend an extra $90 and get the 4wheel set of Stoptech Stainless Steel Braided brake lines... Pedal feel is significantly better, and they will outlast your car. You will never have to worry about brake lines bursting on a hot day, or even the brake pedal going to the floor, as these do not expand. Throw in some Motul RBF600 brake fluid and you are set, my friend! That will give you excellent performance for 4yrs or more, easily double that if it is like 90% highway (although you will need to change the fluid, obviously). Please, Private Message me if you want to know anything more, to see pictures of how they look on my 325i (non-BBK car, 328Ci has BBK but is stored for winter), sources for buying them, or anything else! I am HAPPY to help! SteveSRT8: We agree! They really surpass everything else, don't they? My friend spent $8k on a full Brembo BBK for his '02 M3, the Gran Turismo kit with 8piston 15" front and 4piston 14.3" rear and after we installed my kit and bedded it, he was jealous! Granted, Brembos do have that look that is subtle but for those who know what they see, it says "I am a monster... My rotors are bigger than many cars' wheels!", although some of the subtlety is lost when they are bright red 8piston calipers with their 2pc 15" floating rotors both slotted and drilled (though their ultra high end drilled rotors, the BBK ones that are $500 and up PER CORNER, use some special manufacturing process, and the insides of each hole is plated with some exotic sounding metal like cadmium, never rust, and the holes vary in size from like 3-4mm to 8-9mm which helps load distribution or something... Those, I would be okay with having on my car haha).
I was not impressed with the Stoptech pads for street use. I removed them after a few months and went to Ferodo DS2500s. The stock Pagid-Textar on my Audi were actually really good for DD duties.
Continued thanks for the input guys! In trying to keep things within budget and fitness-for-use (i.e. as a daily driver), I'm wondering what you think about the following combination: StopTech Street Performance Brake Pads Centric Plain 120 Series Rotors Given that the vehicle is used as a daily-driver, generally driven reasonably and doesn't see any track time, we just want to replace the brakes and keep them at the level of performance and quality that you'd expect from a BMW. We don't want to cheap-out, but the primary goal isn't really to increase braking performance.
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