Tip : How I modify and get more life out of brake pads

Heres how I get more life out of brake pads, driving a crg road rebel with V11 brakes. The new pads cost around 50 - 65 euros per caliper - the costs quickly ad up - specially if using soft pads

I have used brake pad shims on my karts - they push the piston back into the bore but its not a perfect solution to the problem in my mind, heres why:

The karts I have had have worn the pads the similar way - the pad develops a wedge shape in use, gradually the wedge gets steeper and steeper. The pad gets thinner and thinner from above but stays thick and meaty closest to the hub. Cause of this, I believe, is that most calipers arent stiff enough - they open up. Or they cant stand against forces if pistons are allowed to come out too much. They deflect when brake pressure/piston is pushing against the wedge -->open up and system becomes a loop accelerating pad wedge formation

By shimming the pads, the traditional way, you cant get rid of the angle if the worn pad has developed one. So the piston is forced to tilt more or less when hydraulic fluid is pressing it agaisnt the backing plate thats in an angle. This eats the caliper bore, causes brake drag and so on

The shim stack has a flaw in itself as it is being kept in place by pad pins - the pins move, the holes in shims arent tight, pins arent tight to the caliper - so in effect by pressing the brake the shim stack has a chance to move, to be pressed little bit here, on the next corner little bit there and so on. The shims are thin sheet metal - its easy to dent or form sheet metal with hand tools. Now consider hydraulic piston pushing the shim stack - you are in effect forming it with a ram. It becomes a bit springy stack , like a belleville spring if shims dont stay perfectly straight

I like to have as firm brake pedal as possible - I try to eliminate any flex / delay from the system, the moment I hit the brake I want reaction

So I experimented a bit and just welded a washer to the backing plate. I wasnt sure would friction material delaminate from the backing plate because of the heat etc but didnt have issues. I use TIG and only weld 4 short seams on each washer, 4-5mm long. I have done this to several sets, front and rear pads, and have had zero issues. Wouldnt dare to weld all around as the heat would go sky high, long weld distorts the backing plate a lot = most likely prys the friction material of the plate

Heres how I do this :

The used pad has a wear mark on the back side where the piston has been pushing. I measure the diameter and source a bit bigger washer or cut from thick walled pipe or machine from solid. The washer should have slightly bigger diameter than piston - the pins, pads have play , piston should always be on solid surface all round - not on edge of the washer. The washer needs to be few millimeters thicker whats needed - to have enough material for truing after welding. I place washer on wear marks - eyeball the perfect place - write down measurements and grind the backing plate clear ready for welding

I tack the washer to the backing plate at couple places - making sure theres zero gap to backing plate. I want to keep overall temp to a minimum - to play it safe - so I only weld one seam, then move on to other brake pad. I keep jumping around untill all of them have 4 seams, 4-5mm long.

After welding - the washer needs to be trued to the friction face. I have done it by file, angle grinder, belt sander or in a milling machine - what ever way - just using dial caliper and continuously checking that washer comes true with the friction material. I prefer milling machine and parallel bars as its fast and true

As the washer is now welded on - it doesnt move, its rigid, its true —> perfect for firm pedal, no drag and 0 wear to caliper bore

In the photos I have old pads from last season. The washer is still within 0.5mm compared to friction face but was in need for shim - the piston had come some 3mm out of the bore. Just welded new washer on top of the old one- I am only after one more weekend from these pads. Before welding milled some ventilation channels to the old washer. I feel they are not doing any harm - just keeping the piston little bit cooler

Its easy to see from the photos how canted the backing plate vs pad was before the washer, several millimeter difference in thickness across the pad. Thats a lot for piston to handle

I have run oem crg pads right to the metal - havent had issues with the pad material coming a part or anything like that.

This is what I have done and it has worked for me. Its a mod that might cause serious consequences if something fails - its brakes Im messing with - but Im also driving flat out to a corner at over 100km/h kart skippin and sliding so its a risky sport to begin with :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Use your own judgement if deciding to try this out. Most likely banned mod in races, by rule makers and so on


Here are few updates for racers who are running on tight budget

As the pads dont wear much nearer the hub, there was plenty of meat left - so decided to turn the pads upside down. I cut the original tang away and welded to the backing plate a piece of sheet metal, added the washer and machined it level to pad. To cut sheet , weld, machine one pad took me 20 mins

Then got lazy and just welded the original tang back. Saves quite a bit time and looks better. This is now my no 1 choice

As can be seen from the photos its possible to use friction material evenly from the pads. It takes some time to flip pads upside down but havent had any other downsides - Havent used new pads this season at all

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That’s crazy from more than one perspective.

Is it safe? Seems pretty clever.

Ive got ask. How much are paying for pads?

Curious what brake system you have as that’s some severe uneven pad wear…

I’d a little concerned about the pad adhesive with the heat of welding. Sure, pads get hot in normal operation, but I can’t imagine it’s anywhere close to what it might see when the backing plate is being welded.

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CRG Ven05 by the looks of it. Pretty well regarded brake system for the last decade

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About 50-60€ per caliper

Yeah looks like my Ven05 system that I had. Excellent stopping power, but I never saw uneven wear to that extent even over multiple seasons of road racing… braking from 105MPH

I am using V09-V11 crg set up. Gold color calipers. I dont know how many miles the system has seen. Has the caliper slowly opened up and that causes wear to be uneven :man_shrugging:

Some caliper designs have tendency to flex - open up when brake is applied. The caliper body itself isnt stiff enough. Some time ago my friend was having hard time with his new billet calipers in his rallycar - the pedal feel was spongy and he tried several bleeding methods if the system had air etc. Finally took the front wheels off and put a big clamp over the calipers - the pedal got firm. He joked that now he has to find a wheel that fits over the clamps so he can go rallying :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Typically spacers are added to the back of the pad to keep things true, but I’m not sure if that’s applicable to the 09-11 system?

About 10 years ago, there was a spat of pads coming off the backing plate. In a single speed, that’s a problem but in shifter probably less.

Generally you’ll see uneven wear on a pad like that from excessive trail braking in a kart. I used to get it pretty bad after racing at Road America since the track pretty much requires trail braking to run fast with how low grip the surface is. When you have the kart under load while braking, the caliper itself isn’t lined up square with the disc/axle, which gives you that angled pad wear.

Most of the radial taper wear is due to the difference in rubbing speed at the outer radius of the disc/ rotor relative to the inner/ axle radius…
Most work is done at the outer radius so the pad wears more
Some brake manufacturers mitigate this effect by shaping the pad to put more pad area to the outer radius.

You’re right. I was confused looking at the pads and couldn’t tell where the top/front of the pad was. I don’t typically notice the top of the pad wearing more than the bottom but I’ve also never paid much attention to the wear that way