Reviews

Various Magazines - Xmas Gifts for Petrolheads

Various Magazines - Xmas Gifts for Petrolheads

PB BRAKES BBK KITS  From £759

Searching for the undisputed ultimate Christmas gift? Or maybe you’re just looking to treat yourself to some serious stopping-power. Either way, there’s no denying that nothing says “I love you” like wanting to keep someone nice and safe, or just giving the gift of making their car real-world faster.

PB Brakes offer one of the most comprehensive range of big brake kits on the market and, because they come direct from their factory, they always manage to keep the prices at rock-bottom. These also come with a huge choice of customisable options, at least one for every taste, and the sheer performance they serve up is simply epic.

So, what’s the best bit? Well, that’s easy. All their kits look and perform like they cost a damn sight more than you’ll have to pay. After all, that’s what we really want from an Xmas gift, right?

PB COILOVERS From £599

If there’s one truth in the tuning world it’s that a car is not truly modifi ed until it’s been lowered. So, why not make someone’s Xmas by giving them the one mod that everyone actually wants? You know it makes sense!

PB coilovers offer an equal improvement in stance and handling for a price that no one expects, they’re certainly on par with similar chassis products that come in at two or three times the money. Best of all, there’s loads and loads of core applications available too.

Fully height adjustable, with a choice of 30-damping setups, these monotube items have been specifically designed for fast-road use making them far more forgiving than the more common (and rather harsh) race-spec setups. They’ll be at the top of many a Christmas list this year, including ours.

Retro Cars - Ask The Experts

Retro Cars - Ask The Experts

ASK THE EXPERTS

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED...

Slamming on the Anchors

This month we head over to Taiwan to ask Dan Newton, boss of PB Brakes, all your questions...

 

What are brake pads made of?

Brake pads can be made from a variety of different materials. Your standard street compound pads are usually a non-metallic composite of various synthetic materials. They offer great cold bite and very low noise, but the drawbacks are they lack friction and will start to fade at relatively low temperatures. At the other end of the scale you have race compounds, which are either fully metallic or ceramic in composition. They offer much higher levels of friction and are a lot less susceptible to fade, but usually need warming up to optimal temperature in order to work properly. The cold bite is poor, they munch down your discs like there's no tomorrow, can be quite noisy, and you'll be lucky to get 1000 miles out of them. Great on the track, awful on the street. A good middle-ground option is a sport compound pad. Made from semi-metallic materials, the cold bite is good, and the warm bite is even better. You may or may not get a little noise depending on the application, but it's a small price to pay for big gains in friction and reduced fade.

 

What does the DOT mean in brake fluid and what should I look for?

DOT is a system created by the Department Of Transport in the US to arade brake fluids based on their boiling points. DOT4 is the one you want to go for as it's minimum boiling point is 230°C, more than enough for street applications. DOT5 has a higher boiling point, but it's silicone based, which isn't suitable for most braking systems.

 

Why do all cars have bigger brakes on the front than on the back even when they're rear wheel drive?

The reason for that is the front of the car is usually where the oily bit goes, so it's already heavier than the rear without passengers. Then combine that with the fact that the weight of the vehicle shifts to the front when you brake, and it means you need more stopping power on the front end to slow the car down effectively. This is why the brake bias on most front-engine cars is around about 70-percent front and 30--percent rear.

 

Can you get uprated drum brakes?

Not really. Drum brakes on passenger cars are pretty much obsolete these days, so they aren't really worth upgrading. You're best off with a disc brake conversion kit instead.

 

Why is it important to change your brake fluid regularly?

Glycol-based brake fluid is hydroscopic so it loves to absorb moisture, which is always going to find a way into the brake system via micro pores in the cap, lines and seals. This is a bad thing since it dramatically reduces the boiling temperature of the brake fluid - 3-percent water in DOT4 fluid can reduce the boiling point by up to 50-percent! That's dangerous because bubbles are compressible, which causes at best a spongy pedal feeling, and in extreme cases it may go all the way to the floor without actually stopping the car!

 

Why are bigger discs better than smaller discs?

One word - torque! When you increase the diameter of the disc, the amount of braking torque also exponentially increases. So in theory the bigger the disc, the faster you'll stop. However, there is a limit as to how big you can go. You're limited by how much grip your tyres allow, once your discs are over a certain size you'll brake so hard that the ABS will initiate in order to prevent the tyres from losing traction, and whatever gains you made are out the window. Brake pads can also be a limiting factor as your bog-standard street compound will just melt if subjected to more torque than it can handle. You also need to consider that brake discs are fairly heavy items, and increasing the weight that each wheel needs to rotate is going to have a noticeable effect on your acceleration. This maximum recommend size of discs depends on the car, but generally speaking, heavier cars require larger discs for effective heavier cars require larger discs for effective braking, and lighter cars can get away with running smaller discs.

 

Why do performance brake discs have grooves and holes in them?

There are a couple of reasons for having drilled holes or slots (or both) in your discs. The friction created between the pads and disc produces a lot of heat, which leads to brake fade. The holes and grooves help the heat to escape and keep the discs nice and cool. They also help to channel water and other unwanted material away from the contact surface to maintain maximum friction. The discs are actually cast plain, then once they have been milled down to a smooth surface the pattern is engraved onto them by CNC machine.

 

Why do people fit braided hoses?

Braided hoses comprise of a Teflon inner wall, with strands of stainless steel braided on the outside for increased durability. One advantage is that they expand a lot less than your OEM rubber hoses, which allows you a much firmer brake pedal. A firmer brake pedal means more feedback and ultimately better braking. The other big advantage is safety - they're almost bulletproof!

 

Why are some rotors 1-piece items and others 2-piece?

It all comes down to cost really. Your bog-standard OEM discs are usually cast in one solid piece as this is most cost effective way to manufacture them. 1-piece discs are fine for popping down the shops to pick up some milk, but push them too hard or take them on the track and they will fade within a couple of laps at race speed. When you're flying down the straight at 130mph and you hit the brake pedal, the last thing you want is for it to sink right down to the floor because of fade. The best solution is to upgrade to a set of 2-piece discs with billet aluminium centre caps. The contact area between the actual disc and centre cap is minimal, which greatly improves dissipation by allowing the heat to escape, whereas 1-piece discs tend to retain it. Another advantage of having centre caps is aluminium dissipates heat more effectively than steel, and it's a lot lighter too. The next step up would be 2-piece floating rotors. The centre caps on these have even less contact area with the disc, allowing ridiculously efficient cooling. A little overkill for most street cars, but worth every penny for many a full-blown race weapon.

 

Why are ceramic brakes silly money?

Ceramic brake discs are made from a compound of carbon and ceramic. The manufacturing process is complicated and lengthy, with one disc taking around a month to produce. That accounts for some of the cost, and the rest? Well, ceramic brakes are usually sold as add-ons for supercars so they're bound to be over-priced - it's not unusual to be charged 3-grand for an electric window motor on these right?

 

Why are fixed calipers supposed to be better than floating calipers?

Most cars as standard come with floating/ slider calipers that have one, or if you're lucky, two pistons on the inner side of the caliper. So when the hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder forces the piston(s) against the pad, the whole caliper is pulled inward as the pads clamp down on the disc, hence the name 'floating'. One downside of this is the pads on the outer side of the caliper tend to wear unevenly and you end up with something that resembles a door wedge. Another is that since the piston(s) needs to travel so much, the brake pedal can feel spongy and unresponsive. They can also become a bit sticky as they age. On the other hand you have fixed calipers with multiple pistons on either side. Since the pistons are clamping from both sides, the caliper doesn't move and remains 'fixed' in place. This allows for much more even pad wear and a firmer, more responsive pedal feel.

 

What's a hydraulic handbrake?

A hydraulic handbrake replaces the conventional cable operated unit, connects directly to the main brake system, and uses the same hydraulic pressure to clamp the rear calipers. The advantage of that is it's a lot more powerful than the standard part, but they're illegal for street use and an automatic MOT failure. That's because handbrakes are sometimes referred to as 'emergency brakes', if your main brakes fail it acts as a backup device. The law states that the handbrake must be cable operated and fully independent from the main hydraulic brake system.

 

How do I perform the perfect handbrake turn to impress the ladies?

I've often pondered the same question. Ask Ken Block and let me know what he says.

 

What is bleeding brakes and why does it have to be done?

Over time air will find it's way into the brake system, so it needs to be released every couple of years. The problem with having air in the system is, unlike brake fluid, it's compressible. This cause your pedal to become spongy, and if too serious can lead to complete brake failure, so it's really important to bleed the brake lines before it gets to that stage.  

Fast Car - Audi TT review part 1

Fast Car - Audi TT review part 1

FAST Projects

MIDGE'S AUDI TT 225

MORE ENGINE PROBLEMS FOR THE TT SO IT MUST BE TIME TO STOP!

With my new custom exhaust in place I was kinda hoping I'd have a big, fat power graph to show you after the final mapping. But unfortunately that particular dyno session came to an abrupt halt this month when the TT blew a gasket. Quite literally.

Luckily it was only the small metal item between the tubular manifold and the turbo, so I'll have to get it in the workshop and swap it out as soon as I get half a chance. By the looks of it, it's been blowing for a little while too. I just never noticed, because the straight through-system is pretty loud anyway. It's right bugger of a job though. I'll also need to take off the manifold and turbo to check the faces are flat and there's no cracks. Before getting it all back together and strapped down to finish my mapping session at Sanspeed. All this trouble for six quid's worth of gasket. A few four-letter words were uttered that day I can tell ya!

Anyway, the good news for the month is that my new rear brakes are here and I've got to say that makes me feel a whole lot better about life in general. I ordered these puppies from PB Brakes a couple of weeks ago specifically to match the badass 330mm 6-pot kit on the front. To be honest, the TT already stops on a sixpence (or whatever my old man meant when he used to say that) with just the front sorted, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of modifying overkill - the best performance is 'more' performance and all that. Besides, those standard-sized rear brakes just look a bit, well, shit in comparison. That's nothing a set of monster 304mm rotors and 4-pot calipers can't sort out.

Matching them up is not the only reason I chose another PB kit though. Not only do these guys ship direct from the factory (so you save on the usual extortionate middleman markup). But they're also the only conversions on the market to have a patented line-lock system available. This clever gadget can be specified for just 100 quid over the normal kit price and it's designed specifically to accept the standard handbrake cable. This means I won't have to find an extra spot calliper to get it all working and pass an MoT. Which is nice.

As for the callipers, I've chosen a powdercoated red finish to match the front, but it's worth knowing they offer a whole range of anodised colour and logo options too. They also come with the stainless-steel brake lines and every single fitting needed to get them on. Basically speaking, it takes out all the hassle and comes in at a bargain price - what's not to love?

Speaking of fitting, admittedly I haven't quite got around to that part yet. The truth is I've been a little preoccupied of late. Turn the page and you'll find out why...

Fast Car / Audi Tuner - Line locks review

Fast Car / Audi Tuner - Line locks review

Features

UK Road Legal

Direct Replacement Part

The only solution

Technology is a wonderful thing. I love the fact that all my music is on my phone, I love that your massive 4K Smart TV can be now be nicely curved instead of flat. I love the new Apple Watch (as poncey as that sounds) even though I can’t afford one and, as for my iPad, I never go to bed without it! (I bet you don’t you mucky bugger -- Jules).

The same can be said for new cars. Technology crams our motors with sweet gadgets, they handle better than they used to and just how cool is it that an insurance-friendly 1-litre Fiesta nowadays can be faster than the XR2i your Dad had in the garage 20-years ago?

The thing is though some car manufacturers, not least the German ones, always have to take things a bit far, and that’s because they hate you messing with their creations - especially the brakes.

 

E-Brakes

Modifying for us is in the blood. When it comes to choosing wheels on the bigger cruisers out there we like them super-wide and fookin’ massive and that means puny little brake discs just won’t cut the mustard. Performance is one thing, but for sheer looks you can’t beat filling you wheels with a huge brake setup, especially on the rear, something that manufactures tend to neglect.

And therein lies the problem. In the UK you need a handbrake to pass an MOT but many modern cars (with plenty more on the way) are now using electronic handbrakes making fitting a rear big disc conversion next to impossible. Just was wrong with a bit of old skool cable eh?

It’s this that makes this patented product from PB Brakes not just a work of engineering genius, but the only solution on the market.

 

What it does

These electronic line locks have been developed as a direct replacement for the OEM part and require no modification for fitting - they simply slide onto the standard electronic handbrake motor.

By sitting in-between the master cylinder and caliper, when you apply the handbrake it closes a valve forcing fluid into the caliper, causing the pistons to lock up the disc. Simple, effective and, unlike hydraulic handbrakes, totally road legal.

 

Need a spot caliper?

With most rear brake conversions, particularly on those cars that utilise a conventional cable system, a small secondary ‘spot caliper’ is necessary to lock up the disc for the handbrake. The modifications needed for fitting along with the caliper aren’t necessary cheap, and they’re not especially pretty either. The PB system is the only one where there’s no need for any secondary calipers, it all works through their aftermarket kits.

Don’t worry if your car doesn’t run a new-fangled E-Handbrake either they have the only patented solution for cable handbrakes too.

 

Applications

This electronic product is brand-spanking-new and, because of all the engineering and testing involved, applications are limited to Audi’s A5/S5, A4/S4, (B8) and A3/S3 (8V) platforms, BMW’s 5-series (F10, F11 and F18) and Z4 (E89), and every single Mk7 Golf. That said they’re developing several new applications which will be available before you know it too. Give ‘em a shout and see what they can do for you.

Fast Car Magazine - PB Brakes Review

Fast Car Magazine - PB Brakes Review

FAST PROJECTS

GLENDA'S AUDI A6 AVANT

DON'T STOP ME NOW, I'M HAVING SUCH A GOOD TIME, I'M HAVING A BALL...

I'll be honest, progress on the AS has been pretty slow of late but, that's about to change. Over the next few months I'm going to be looking at making some significant changes to my trusty steed in what will be a complete refresh for 2015. Over the coming months my plans include a colour change, some new wheels (hopefully), some interior upgrades and as you can probably guess from these pictures some new stoppers.

In fact, as I write these very words the brakes are on route to me in Bristol all the way from PB Brakes in Taichung City Taiwan.

Main man Dan Newton, at PB even sent me a picture of TNT picking them up for delivery from PBHQ. So, why have I ordered my new brakes from the other side of the world? Well, because buying these direct means no middlemen hiking up the cost and some serious savings for me. If I were to buy brakes of this quality in the UK, they would be well out of my price range.

Obviously you still have to account for delivery and import taxes when buying from abroad, but don't let this put you off as there's still great savings to be made. The main thing is to make sure you buy from a reputable company that you can trust, which is another reason I chose PB Brakes. They recently supplied brakes to our Midge for his Audi TT build and I also dealt with them when I got my 304mm 6-pot brake kit and coilovers for my DC2 a few years back, both of which were awesome.

Aside from the price and quality, another great reason for choosing PB is the amount of choice they have when it comes to deciding on your dream brakes. For rotor sizes you can choose from 286 to 405mm, with either drilled, slotted or a combo discs, and caliper sizes range from 4 to 8-pot. Then there's the colours, choose from 18 anodized finishes or 14 different powder coated options. Nice.

So what have I gone for? Well, I've gone big with a 380mm 8-pot kit with the drilled and slotted disc with red powder coated calipers. Fingers crossed the TNT man will be here soon, maybe if I stare out the window he'll get here a bit quicker...

Ding dong... Well would you Adam 'n' Eve it? Within a few hours of writing the above a very nice man just arrived with a big package for me (oh behave -Midge). From Taiwan to Bristol in just 5 days, amazing!

Fast Car Magazine - PB Brakes Review

Fast Car Magazine - PB Brakes Review

FAST PROJECTS

MIDGE'S TT 225

IT'S TIME TO GET THE STARTING AND THE STOPPING SORTED...

Well it's been a long road, but my engine is built. She's in the bay and everything is bolted back together. I'm so close to the start up now I can literally taste the super unleaded and I'm understandably nervous. Very nervous.

Over the last few days I've been on the case ordering all the very best fluids I'll need to get her running. So while I was waiting for those to arrive there was one last big thing on my to-do list - fit my monster front brakes.

The truth is, even when the car was mapped at 260-odd bhp before I didn't trust the stock brakes. It's simple tuning rules right? Put up the power - get better stoppers. With a brand new engine build and a stonking hybrid blower I knew I'd need something a bit more meaty up-front. So I ordered this awesome 6-pot kit from PB months ago. The big box has been sitting there in the corner of the workshop just looking at me. I just couldn't resist it any longer.

Now I haven't had a set of PBs before, but I've heard nothing but good things. I know our Glenn has had a few sets over the years (and raved about them) and plenty of people say you won't get a better kit for the money. I'm guessing that's because they come straight from their factory and not through a dealer. That's why the price is so good - normally kits like this can cost double. They've won more than a few awards in the past couple of years and I also like the fact that they do a bigger range of fitments and anodised or powder-coated calliper colours than anyone else. Being a bit of a traditional chap I've gone for bright Porsche-like red.

Anyway, I basically measured up the biggest set I can fit under my wheels with their handy template and, as it turns out, that was this massive 6-pot 345mm kit (I kinda wish I was running 20s so I could bang on their gargantuan 405mm 8-pot kit though). The quality is spot on and absolutely everything you need is there in the box, right down to the hardcore braided lines, threadlocker and even a little bottle of calliper touch-up paint - a nice, er, touch that.

Fitting is pretty easy too and they look so good. I'm saving some pennies for a rear Mt to match up. I can't wait to get these out on the road and bedded in so I can really see what they can do.

Back to the engine and I've had the long, laborious process of filling stuff up and checking for leaks. My tip of the day would be to do each job one at a time so you don't get confused and put the wrong fluids in the wrong places. That way you won't be a dickhead like me and dump a load of power-steering fluid in the coolant (oh yes he did - Jules), and end up having to flush it all through numerous times. With the coolant filled (three times), power steering and clutch/brakes bled the last couple of jobs were probably the most crucial.

First up, filling the gearbox with the only fluid good enough to do the job, Red Line MT-90. I got mine from the guys at Old Hall Performance - they're UK distributors and they were very helpful in sending over the right amount. Filling an Audi box is a challenge in itself so you really don't want to run out.

Secondly, the engine oil I've gone for Millers Competition Running In mineral oil. It's basically the best money can buy... 

 ... and it's still only 26 quid for five litres. Which is good because over the running-in period I'll be using at least 10 litres of the stuff, followed by their awesome super-high-end Nanotech Synthetic stuff to keep everything in line. Engine oil is probably the most important thing to research when you're doing a build like this and, after doing plenty I'm more than confident this stuff will get me where I need to be.

As for the start up? Well I've cranked it over with no plugs, checked I have good oil pressure (which I have) and refitted all the plugs and coil packs. All I need to do now is turn the key and pray it doesn't blow-up in my face!

 

THIS MONTH

PARTS

PB Monster 6-pot kit .... £929

Millers Motorsport Running In Oil, 5 litres (x2) .... £52

Red Line MT-90 Gear Oil (3 litres) .... £55.50

Total .... £1,036.50

 

Contacts

PB Brakes – www.pbbrakes.com

Millers Oil – www.millersoils.co.uk

Old Hall Performance – www.oldhallperformance.com

Fast Car Magazine - 2013 Budget Braking Award Winn

Fast Car Magazine - 2013 Budget Braking Award Winn

We're not quite sure how they do it, but the bods at PB Brakes continue to manufacture some super-high quality 4 to 8-pot big brake kits at the fraction of the price of everyone else. It's not just that either, they also offer a bigger choice of anodised and powder-coated caliper options than anywhere else on the market too. If you're hoping to fill your big rims with for reasonable money, then look no further.
Fast Car Magazine - WTFAQ

Fast Car Magazine - WTFAQ

WTFAQ

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED!

BRAKES

 

Here at FC we're often asked technical stuff via the mediums of email, Facebook and being shouted at in the local Maccie Ds. Now obviously we are pretty amazing but, contrary to popular belief, we don't know absolutely everything about everything. Luckily though, we happen to have a team of industry experts on hand to deal with the really tricky stuff. This month we head over to Taiwan to ask Dan Newton, boss of PB Brakes all your questions about stoppers...

 

Q. Why do people fit braided hoses? What do they do?

A. Braided hoses comprise of a Teflon inner wall, with strands of stainless steel braided on the outside for increased durability. One advantage is that they expand a lot less than your OEM rubber hoses, which allows you a much firmer brake pedal. A firmer brake pedal means more feedback and ultimately better braking. The other big advantage is safety. They're almost bulletproof! Useful if you have problems with people sabotaging your brake lines as you sleep.

 

Q. Why are bigger discs better than smaller discs?

A. One word: torque! When you increase the diameter of the disc, the amount of braking torque also exponentially increases. So in theory, the bigger the disc, the faster you'll stop. However, there is a limit to how big you can go. You're limited by how much grip your tyres allow. Once your discs are over a certain size you'll brake so hard that the ABS will initiate in order to prevent the tyres from losing traction, and whatever gains you made are out the window. Brake pads can also be a limiting factor as your bog-standard street compound will just melt if subjected to more torque than it can handle. You also need to consider that brake discs are fairly heavy items, and increasing the weight that each wheel needs to rotate is going to have a noticeable effect on your acceleration. This maximum recommend size of discs depends on the car, but generally speaking, heavier cars require larger discs for effective braking, and lighter cars can get away with running smaller discs.

 

Q. Why do performance brake discs have grooves and holes in them?

A. There are a couple of reasons for having drilled holes or slots (or both) in your brake discs. The friction created between pads and disc produces a lot of heat, which leads to brake fade. The holes and grooves help heat escape and keep the discs nice and cool. They also help to channel water and other unwanted material away from the contact surface to maintain maximum friction.

The discs are actually cast plain, then once they've been milled down to a smooth surface the pattern is engraved onto them by CNC machines. The pattern on most brake discs flows in the same direction as the internal veins, which reduces the strength of the discs. Ours flow in the opposite direction, as we found this doesn't decrease the strength as much without affecting the function.

 

Q. Why is it important to change your brake fluid regularly?

A. Glycol-based brake fluid is hydroscopic, so it loves to absorb moisture, which is always going to find a way into the brake system via micro-pores in the cap, lines and seals. This is a bad thing as it dramatically reduces the boiling temperature of the brake fluid — three per cent water in DOT4 fluid can reduce the boiling point by up to 50 percent! That's dangerous because bubbles are compressible, which causes at best a spongy pedal feeling, and in extreme cases it may go all the way to the floor without actually stopping the car!

 

Q. Why are some rotors one-piece and others two-piece?

A. It all comes down to cost really. Your bog-standard OEM discs are usually cast in one solid piece as it's the most cost-effective way to manufacture them. One-piece discs are fine for popping down the shops to pick up some milk, but push them too hard or take them on the track and they will fade within a couple of laps at race speed. When you're flying down the straight at 130mph and you hit the brake pedal, the last thing you want is for it to sink right down to the floor because of fade. The best solution is to upgrade to a set of two-piece discs with billet aluminium centre caps. The contact area between the actual disc and centre cap is minimal, which greatly improves heat dissipation by allowing the heat to escape, whereas one-piece discs tend to retain it. Another advantage of having centre caps is aluminium dissipates heat more effectively than steel, and it's a lot lighter too. The next step up would be two-piece floating rotors. The centre caps on these bad boys have even less contact area with the disc, allowing ridiculously efficient cooling! A lithe bit of an overkill for most street cars, but worth every penny for a full-blown race weapon.

 

Q. Why are ceramic brakes silly money?

A. Ceramic brake discs are made from a compound of carbon and ceramic. The manufacturing process is complicated and lengthy, with one disc taking around a month to produce. That accounts for some of the cost. And the rest? Well, ceramic brakes are usually sold as add-ons for supercars so they're bound to be over-priced — it's not unusual to be charged three grand for an electric window on these, right?

 

Q. What does the DOT mean in brake fluid and what should I look for? 

A. DOT is a system created by the Department Of Transport in the US to grade brake fluids based on their boiling points. DOT4 is the one you want to go for as its minimum boiling point is 230°C, more than enough for street applications. DOT5 has a higher boiling point, but it's silicone based, which isn't suitable for most braking systems.

 

Q. What are brake pads made of?

A. Brake pads can be made from a variety of different materials. Your standard street compound pads are usually a nonmetallic composite of various synthetic materials. They offer great cold bite and very low noise, but the drawbacks are they lack friction and will start to fade at relatively low temperatures. At the other end of the scale you have race compounds, which are either fully metallic or ceramic in composition. They offer much higher levels of friction and are a lot less susceptible to fade, but usually need warming up to optimal temperature in order to work properly. The cold bite is poor, they munch down your discs like there's no tomorrow, can be quite noisy, and you'll be lucky to get 1000 miles out of them. Great on the track, awful on the street. A good middle-ground option is a sport compound pad. Made from semi-metallic materials, the cold bite is good, and the warm bite is even better. You may or may not get a little noise, depending on the application, but it's a small price to pay for big gains in friction and reduced fade.

 

Q. My BMW has an e-brake, but can I still have a big brake conversion?

A. Up until recently, you couldn't upgrade the rear brakes on a car with an electronic handbrake without losing that function, which wouldn't be street legal. However, we have spent the last couple of years developing a new electronic line-lock system that will retain the OEM handbrake on these cars, and it's finally ready! So far we have adapted the system to work with a few Audi models and the new BMW 5 Series F10, but we're working to increase the available applications all the time. You can order it from our website as part of a rear brake kit.

 

Q. Why are fixed calipers deemed to be better than floating calipers?

A. As standard, most cars come with floating/slider calipers that have one, or if you're lucky, two pistons in the inner side of the caliper only. So when the hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder forces the piston(s) against the pad, the whole caliper is pulled inward as the pads clamp down on the disc, hence the term floating. One downside of this is the pads on the outer side of the caliper tend to wear unevenly and you end up with something that resembles a door wedge. Another is that since the piston(s) needs to travel so much, the brake pedal can feel spongy and unresponsive. They can also become a bit sticky as they age. On the other hand you have fixed calipers with multiple pistons on either side. Since the pistons are clamping from both sides, the caliper doesn't move and remains fixed in place. This allows for much more even pad wear and a firmer, more responsive pedal feel. But the benefits don't end there. Our PB fixed calipers are all forged from aerospace grade 6061 T6 aluminium, which makes them a hell of a lot harder, stiffer and lighter than their cast-iron counterparts. The monster 8-pot calipers that we include with our 405mm kit take toughness to the next level with their monoblock design.

 

Q. Why do all cars have bigger brakes on the front than on the back even when they're rear-wheel drive?

A. The reason for that is the front of the car is usually where the oily bit goes, so it's already heavier than the rear without passengers. Then combine that with the fact the weight of the vehicle shifts to the front when you brake, and it means you need more stopping power on the front end to slow the car down effectively. This is why the brake bias on most front-engined cars is around 70 percent front and 30 percent rear.

 

Q. Can you get uprated drum brakes?

A. Not really. Drum brakes on passenger cars are pretty much obsolete these days, so they aren't really worth upgrading. You're best off with a disc brake conversion kit instead.

 

Q. What's the biggest brakes I can fit on my car?

A. Well, the only real physical obstruction is the size of your wheel, but there is a sensible size limit for every vehicle. Remember that episode of Top Gear where they spent three grand upgrading the brakes on a Renault Avantime, only to find it made the car's lap times slower? That's because they went too big and the car didn't have enough power to handle the added weight and increased wheel diameter. Had they gone for a smaller kit and retained the same wheel size, the lap times would definitely have shown improvement.

 

Q. I've been told I need a spot caliper for a rear conversion. What is that?

A. Handbrakes on most vehicles still use brake shoes and drums that are integrated into the rear discs. Upgrading the rear brakes with this system is fairly straightforward, as most conversions also have integrated drums fixed to their rear discs. However, recently more and more cars are moving towards systems where rear OEM calipers double-up as handbrakes. One solution is a spot caliper, which is basically a small single-piston caliper that connects directly to your handbrake cable, and must be used in conjunction with your main rear caliper. There are drawbacks, namely they usually don't come with any form of installation hardware, so you have to make a set of custom mounting brackets yourself. They're also pretty expensive. It wouldn't be unreasonable to expect to pay around £300 for parts and labour. Then once it's installed you now have six calipers to buy replacement pads for, rather than four. Fortunately PB Brakes is here to save the day! We have a much more convenient and cost-effective solution, in the form of our patented line-lock system. This allows our rear calipers to act as handbrakes, much like the OEM parts. The line-lock modules come already attached to our caliper mounting brackets, so they are a direct bolt-on and require no modification. And the best part, they are a fraction of the cost at £100 a set!

 

Q. What's a hydraulic handbrake?

A. A hydraulic handbrake replaces the conventional cable-operated unit, connects directly to the main brake system, and uses the same hydraulic pressure to clamp the rear calipers. The advantage is that it's a lot more powerful than the standard part. But they are illegal for street use and an automatic MoT failure. That's because handbrakes are sometimes referred to as 'emergency brakes', if your main brakes fail it acts as a back-up device. The law states that the handbrake must be cable operated and fully independent from the main hydraulic brake system. With a hydraulic handbrake, if a brake line rupture causes your brakes to fail, then the emergency brake will fail too and before you know it you've wrapped yourself around a tree. Not ideal!

 

Q. How do I perform the perfect handbrake turn to impress the ladies?

A. I've often pondered the same question. Ask Ken Block and let me know what he says.

 

FAQ OFF

What is bleeding brakes and why does it have to be done?

Over time, air will find its way into the brake system, so it needs to be released every couple of years. The problem with having air in the system is, unlike brake fluid, it's compressible. This causes your pedal to become spongy and, if too serious, can lead to complete brake failure. So it's really important to bleed the brake lines before it gets to that stage.

Performance Ford Magazine - PB Coilovers Review

Performance Ford Magazine - PB Coilovers Review

Cubby's Mk2 Focus ST

This month I prepared the ST for its rolling road marathon! We tested the Anembo Engineering inlet plenum along with five different engine maps and the results were very interesting! Take a look in our tech section in next month's issue for the results...

The PB coilovers also arrived this month so I decided to get them on as soon as possible. The swap over was a relatively easy job since the front shocks were already assembled. I removed the old shocks and adjusted the camber tops with as much positive camber as possible as a starting point. One thing to note is, due to the design of the ST, once the shocks are fitted in place it's not possible to adjust the camber since the suspension turret is enclosed. I made sure the ride height was the same on both shocks using a measuring tape then fitted the front struts. I left the height adjusters loose in case I needed to adjust the ride height. I also set the compression settings to 15; this was again a starting point of halfway since there are 30 settings.

The rear setup was even simpler. I removed the pinch bolt that connects the bottom arm to the hub and the one that connects the shock to the hub, allowing me to remove the rear springs. Then the shock can be removed by removing the two 10mm retaining bolts in the inside of the suspension turret. Next job was to set the springs and shocks to the correct height. For the springs it was a bit of guesswork. I made them 20mm lower than the Eibach's since I wanted the car to sit a bit lower at the back. To set the shocks I compressed the lower arm to the point that the hub retaining bolt would fit. I then adjusted the shock to the correct length so the hub retaining bolt for this would also fit. The compression was set to 15 on the rear, just like the fronts.

When I let the car down off the ramp the front sat perfectly but the rear was too low! I then simply lifted the ramp back up, locked the front adjusters and turned the rears up four full turns. To adjust the rear it was easier to take the shock and bottom arm pinch bolts back out and after the second attempt the car set perfectly.

Out on the road the ST felt like a different car! There was no body roll anymore and the car felt so agile and the steering was so responsive. It's been a while since I drove a car on coilovers so it took a little while to get used to. The ride quality felt no different to the Eibach springs I previously had fitted so the kids won't be jumping about in the back and after a week of driving I decided to...

...stiffen the front up to 23 and the rear to 20 making things a little firmer without sacrificing much ride quality.

PB will send these coilovers to Europe for £599 including shipping and for an extra £50 it will add a set of camber adjustable top mounts. It stocks these for a large range of Fords; for more details check out its website A huge thanks to Dan from PB Brakes, these shocks have transformed the ST. Now all I need to do is convince the missus that a Knockhill track night is a good idea!

Wheels Asia - PB Brakes Review

Wheels Asia - PB Brakes Review

ABSOLUTELY PHAT!

The old saying about good things don't come cheap and vice versa might hold true for some applications but this is all about to change thanks to PB Performance (PB stands for PhatBoy) — a major player in the afterrnarket big brake kit & suspension industry that is already sweeping Europe and America by storm; now has its sights on Singapore.

With rave reviews coming in from various renowned international aftermarket car publications all complimenting that PB brakes combined outstanding performance without burning a hole through your bank account, the Wheels team were intrigued by the chance of being able to test a set of PB Performance's Big Brake Kris on our demo vehicle, a Subaru Impreza WRX when local distributor here, Racing Marche approached us. Now you might ask, why the need for oversized brakes when the standard ones from the factory should do just fine. Well, for normal cars, usually the standard brakes might be just enough for city limits, but once your vehicle reaches expessway speeds and the need for rapid deceleration arises, many drivers will attest stock brakes just won't cut it. Hence, the need for increased braking effectiveness. In the case of our lmpreza, the need for enhanced braking prowess is even crucial. With stock factory horsepower ratings being in the range of somewhere between 220 - 230bhp, the Subaru has had some work done to it and is now pushing somewhere within the range of 320. The standard fruit 4-piston caliper and 300mm rotors just won't stop the car fast enough. PB Performance recommended a 6-POT, 356mm rotor setup, which require a minimum of 18" rims to clear and would dramatically improve braking on all levels not to mention fill up the gaps within the wheels to the hilt! Installation was superbly fuss free as everything required is already included in the kit and no further modifications were needed. Each PB BBK has been specifically designed for your vehicle (the list of applications available for big brake kits from PB is extensive, so there's definitely a brake kit available for most major makes and models). PB Performance offers 8 different sizes of calipers to perfectly match each rotor diameter, and are precision engineered, utilizing state of the art CNC technology and only the finest materials.

WHAT GOES INTO PB PERFORMANCE BIG BRAKE KITS?

PB rotors are manufactured from high grade FC250 alloy with an anti-rust coating. Large vents found within the construction dissipate heat more efficiently. Center caps are made from aerospace grade aluminium and are subjected to a hard anodizing electrolyte treatment for improved durability. Each rotor is manufactured to a tolerance of +/- 0.02mm to ensure perfect balancing. Rotors are available in drilled, slotted, or drilled+slattecl patterns for no extra cost. Floating rotors are also available as a payable option. PB Calipers are made from high quality aluminium; squeeze forged, and finished with an anti-rust coating. They include internal oil and dust seals for protection against the elements. Calipers are available in 18 anodized or powder coated finishes for massive personalisation. PB also manufactures their own high quality street and race brake pads. They include heat plates to improve heat dissipation and reduce noise. Replacement pads are not specific to PB Brake kits and are available from other major brake pad manufacturers as well. Street-pads have an optimal operating temperature of 0-450C, while Race-pads have an optimal operating temperature of 80-7000. Each kit includes a set of DOT compliant stainless steel braided brake lines, with waterproof PVC coating. They are vehicle specific, so additional adaptors are required. The lines also have clips attached to make it even easier when installing. Brackets are made from a high strength steel alloy, manufactured specifically for each vehicle application. Again, no modification or adaptors required.

PUTTING THE BRAKES TO THE TEST

Installation went without a hitch and just under 2 hours, which included bleeding the brake fluid, we were ready to set off. Of course, during the initial running-in period, we were very gentle with the brakes, but right off the bat, we could feel that brake responsiveness did improve drastically We did a good 200km before truly exploring the PB prowess. There's no nose dive even with the massive 6-pot calipers clamping down, brake bias remained impressively neutral. Braking was progressive with none of that twitchy neck snapping reflex action commonly associated with overly sensitive BBKs. The brakes stopped convincingly every time without any fanfare or noise, the Wheels team were impressed. We realised how late we could brake into a corner now and we could carry more speed too thanks to the effectiveness of the new brake kit. Most importantly, a common complaint from other Big Brake Kit owners are how dirty and noisy the car gets when they apply the brakes, with PB Performance however, there's none of that metal screeching sound whether its early in the morning when you just move your car out of the parking lot of even after hours of continuous abuse. The pads are also low dust; hence you won't be seeing your nice expensive rims being caked in a layer of brown brake dust anytime soon. In summary, PB Performance's Big Brake Kits indeed do live up to their name and truly exceeded this editors expectations. They represent true value for money and deliver outstanding performance and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who is serious about upgrading their brakes for safety and peace of mind, not to mention the anodized finishing looks truly stunning!

For more information on the full range of PB Performance Brakes and Coilovers do contact Racing Marche Tel:9168 4138

Wheels Asia - PB Coilovers Review

Wheels Asia - PB Coilovers Review

ALL COILED UP!

PB Performance isn't just about Big Brake Kits that were featured in an earlier issue of Wheels Asia; the company has also been making waves in the European and US aftermarket scene with their fully-adjustable coilover suspension systems.

After reading rave reviews of PB's Coilovers all over the Internet and numerous international magazines giving their seal of approval, not to mention PB's involvement in various European autocross and rallying events, I was convinced of their performance potential. The WRX was previously fitted with a popular Japanese brand set of coilovers that was meant more for track than actual street driving. Even at its softest setting, the ride was jarring, motion-sickness inducing and just plain uncomfortable. Sure it excelled at the track but I was spending more than 90% of my driving time commuting around Singapore, the bumpiness made it all the more unbearable. It .was definitely time for a change. Prior to getting my coilovers changed, I was already testing PB Performance's Big Brake Kit, which I was very impressed with its performance, quality and pricing. PB's Coilovers are no exception as well. The coilovers are fully height adjustable with 30-stage adjustable damping, high-grade steel springs and backed with a one year guarantee! PB has even gone one-step further than the competition by offering tailor-made coilover kits for any application. From custom spring rates to ultra low ride heights, drivers can even choose between black or white springs and camber plates. Installation was fuss-free as the PB Coilovers come with top mounts already fitted eliminating the need for spring compressors. With the coils in place, I took the WRX out for a quick spin and the result was immediate, I was no longer being jolted up and down in my cabin repeatedly. Instead, the dampers literally soaked up any road irregularity with ease, comfort levels were akin to near stock settings. Throwing the car into quick successive turns and bends, the PB Coils held up very well too with very little tipping or flex. At the time of this story, I've had the PB Coilovers on the WRX for nearly two months, it's definitely well suited for daily street driving without sacrificing comfort nor handling performance, minus all the drawbacks commonly associated with other aftermarket coilovers. A perfect balance for anyone looking at purchasing set of coilovers that allow you to go for the occasional track day, while still maintaining good road manners while driving on our streets, and the best part, it will not cost you an arm or a leg.

For more information on the full range of PB Performance Brakes and Coilovers do contact Racing Marche Tel: 9168 4138

KIT INCLUDES: 4 x Suspension dampers (either one piece or 2 piece dampers depending on vehicle 4 x Damping force adjustment knobs 3 x Ride height adjustment tools 1 x Instruction manual with guarantee documents

FEATURES OF PB COILOVER KITS: Monotube dampers with rubber top mounts as standard. Camber plates or camber adjustable pillow ball mounts are available for most vehicles for GBP50 extra. All kits are damping force adjustable with 30 settings to choose from at the turn of a dial. Coilovers are also fully height adjustable and with most kits, the ride height can be increased as well as decreased from standard. Springs are constructed from SAE-9254 cold-wound steel and are protected by a high strength surface coating, which is available in black or white. Customers have the option of choosing our recommended spring rate or their ow custom rate.

Performance Ford Magazine - PB Brakes Review

Performance Ford Magazine - PB Brakes Review

"Cubby checks out three different braking options for the Mk2 Focus ST, comparing standard, budget and six-pot conversion options."

Most modern performance cars have k, ample stopping power when they roll out of the factory. So far we have looked at making the Focus ST more powerful; now it's time to make sure with this additional power we can get it stopped. There are two main reasons behind upgrading the braking system: the first is to shorten stopping distance; and the second is to reduce or eliminate brake fade when out on track.

We will be testing the stopping distances of the standard setup, upgraded discs and pads and a set of replacement six-pot calipers with larger rotors. Each setup will be fully bedded-in before testing. The tests will consist of eight consecutive 60mph to stop tests discarding the worst result from each, recording stopping distance, time and peak G-force. The stats will be recorded using the Racelogic Drift Box so we know they will be truly accurate. The tests will be carried out on the same day on the same stretch of flat road with an ambient temperature of eight degrees. The rear discs and pads fitted to the car are EBC USRs with Redstuff pads; these will be used on each test. Tyres are Falken 235/35/195 with 4mm of tread remaining.

Before we start to go into the stats lets look at some other important braking facts. Travelling at 60mph you will be covering 88 feet per second. The average reaction time for an alert driver to identify a hazard and press the brake pedal is 2.5 seconds. At 60mph you will travel 220 feet before you even start to slow down. An average European compact car is 14.5 feet long so your reaction distance at 60mph is 15 car lengths, that's quite a scary statistic! The Highway Code states that braking distance from 60mph is 240 feet.

EBC USR FRONT PISCS AND REDSTUFF PADS (320mm)

The main difference with the EBC setup is the Redstuff pads. These are specially designed for vehicles over 200bhp and produce low levels of braking dust. The compound of the pads is designed for street/fast road use. The discs are covered with a protective coating which takes a fair bit of braking to wear off, but helps protect the rest of the disc from surface rust which is nice. They are also slotted, which stops the pads from glazing over when under high temperatures. Once bedded in you can feel a difference straight away, the initial bite is better and the overall braking power feels stronger. The stopping distance has been reduced by eight feet which is around half a car length and stopping time is reduced by 0.4 of a second.

PB BRAKES SIX-POT CALIPERS AND 356mm ROTORS

This setup is the next level of upgrade after a simple disc and pad replacement. The standard single piston calipers are replaced by six-piston billet alloy items that are available in 13 different colour variations. The rotors are grooved and measure a huge 356mm, the flexi hoses are also braided to eliminate a spongy pedal at high temperatures. The kit also comes with a billet alloy mounting brackets for the calipers. Larger 380mm rotors are available but won't fit under an ST's 18-inch wheels. Powdercoated calipers, floating rotors and custom caliper logo design are also available at an extra cost. After bedding the overall strength of the brakes becomes apparent! The initial bite is phenomenal and the stopping power amazing. We have shaved 23.9 feet off the stopping distance which is just over one-and-a-half car lengths and stopping time is reduced by 0.8 of a second. From an initial 3.2-second stopping time the PBs have reduced this by a third!

Comparing the stopping distance of a Standard ST to the other vehicles we have listed, before any upgrades it performs well but it's nothing to get excited about. After the EBC upgrade the brake performance is more like you would expect from a hot hatch, slotting in between a Subaru lmpreza and a 350z, which for less than £325 is a worthwhile investment. The PB setup pushes the stopping power to the next level with a 60mph-zero in a shorter distance than a 355 Ferrari! Although we are only testing stopping distance it's worth mentioning that the PB setup will perform better on track as the large rotors and braided hoses will help eliminate brake fade. Depending on your budget each of these kits are an good improvement on the standard setup but if you're planning on going out on track then PB's are the setup for you.

Fast Car Magazine - PB Coilovers Review

Fast Car Magazine - PB Coilovers Review

Ever since I bought the DC2 I've been pretty happy with the suspension set up, as it came already fitted with Tanabe coilovers when it was imported. The only slight issue I've had is the ride height - yep they just don't go low enough. So I decided it was time for a change.

Now if you've been following my projects over recent months you would've seen the PB 6-pot brakes I've fitted. WelI, I was so impressed with the price and quality of the brakes I decided I'd give their coilovers a try too. I'm glad I did too; they are a fantastic bit of kit.

As you'd expect they are fully height adjustable and they go pretty low, in fact, I've still got plenty to play with. Also there's 30 stage adjustable damping high grade SAE-9254 cold-wound steel springs and they even come with a one year guarantee.

And get this, if needed PB can even tailor a kit especially for your application. Everything from custom spring rates to super-low ride height. You can even choose between black and white springs and front camber plates.

Installing was dead easy, as they came with top mounts already fitted so no spring compressors and no hassle. Plus there were no seized bolts or nuts, thanks to my obsession with copper greasing everything in sight. Whilst I had the suspension off I also finally fitted my Eibach lower control arms too. The rear view of the Tag has never looked so good.

I'm on impressed with these latest upgrades. The DC2 now sits lower, looks better and handles better too. Next on my job list is to get the wheel alignment sorted, as it definitely feels a bit out again. Anyway, until next month readers.

Fast Car Magazine - PB Brakes Review Part 2

Fast Car Magazine - PB Brakes Review Part 2

Braking news people [see what I did there?) my new PB Brakes are fitted, working, and they are seriously awesome. Also, fitting took less time than it takes our Lee to do his hair. Which is 1-hour 52-minutes if you were wondering...

As mods go, the fitment went like clockwork. Nothing snapped or sheared off during the removal process, and everything in the kit fitted perfectly. Even the monster 6-pot calipers that I thought might catch on the inside of my 18 inch wheels had mm perfect clearance, exactly as Dan Newton, head honcho of PB Brakes promised.

As a kit I can't recommend it highly enough. The large 304mm FC250 iron alloy vented brake rotors dissipate the heat perfectly, whilst the combo of 6-pot aluminium calipers and high performance fast road pads have pretty much halved my stopping distance. In fact, they have already saved me from a near front on collision an the way to work (that wasn't my fault, may I add). So they've definitely passed the test!

What I love about PB Brakes is not just the performance, but their range, as they tailor 8 different sizes of caliper so they suit each size of rotor. Impressive stuff really, as a lot of higher priced brands only offer two or three sizes.

Also, with 18 different anodized and 14 powder coated colours to chose from they took great as well. There's even the option of adding your own logo design to the caliper (for a small extra cost). So you can look good stopping tool And the price? Well you can't really argue with that!

Fast Car Magazine - PB Brakes Review Part 1

Fast Car Magazine - PB Brakes Review Part 1

Brakes, stoppers, binders, anchors, call II- em what you will; what you are looking at here is the most important part of your car. Don't stop you die, it's as simple as that. And if you can stop faster and even more efficiently, well that means more fun, which is precisely my aim with my latest mod.

The DC2 has pretty decent brakes as standard, but it's a 20-year-old car and things have moved on somewhat with brake technology - so I've decided to replace the front set up with these super badass 6-Pot calipers and 304mm discs from PB Brakes.

Chances are you haven't heard of PB Brakes, and there's a good reason for that as they are pretty new and actually sell direct lathe UK via Taiwan. This means no distributors, no dealers, no middlemen, and results in you saving some serious cash. Happy days.

For some reason Taiwanese made products often get a bad and undeserved stick by the keyboard warriors, when the truth is Taiwan has a great auto parts industry and is one of world's leading manufacturers.

As you can imagine I get my hands on a lot of products, and these are as good a quality as anything else I've seen. From the high-grade vented FC250 iron alloy brake rotors, to the high-performance street compound pads, stainless steel braided Teflon brake lines and 6-pot aluminium calipers it all screams quality.

Anyway that's enough of my jibba-jabba I'm off to the workshop to get these bad boys fitted. Make sure you check out next month's mag to see them fitted and tested.

Banzai Magazine - PB Coilovers Review Part 2

Banzai Magazine - PB Coilovers Review Part 2

As revealed last month, the superbly quick production and delivery of the revised collar size for the PB coilovers forced my arrangement of the project's new wheels and tyres. After a few weeks of running around on the new arch-filling rolling stock, I've had opportunity to analyse what they're like to livewith, mostly in testing weather conditions. I'm pleased to say that there's been only a negligible loss in steering precision and ride comfort despite the lower tyre profile; and bizarrely, the tread pattern appears to be quieter on the motorway than the original dB series Yokohamas, though I do not have a decibel meter to prove this conclusively.

I wouldn't normally dream of fitting larger diameter wheels without an appropriately lowered ride height, but as the date for my return to Torque Developments International (TDI) for the suspension fitting was in sight I decided to endure the quirky stance. I think the multi-spok design of the Blitz wheel works well against the Euro-friendly shape of the Yaris. But my goodness they are a pain to clean. Because of this I've been doing my best to read the road as far ahead as possible to avoid pressing the brakes and engulfing them in a plume of pad dust. Most of the wheel is accessible by hand with a wash mitt: it's just the inner crosshatch that's proving particularly difficult to clean with anything other than a toothbrush.

Before getting on to the new developments of this month's update, I'd also like to report that the Voris sailed effortlessly through its first scheduled service (10k miles). The work was despatched ell iciently by my local dealer while I waited, the car emerging cleaned and vacuumed throughout. It was an altogether pleasant experience, lubricated with a couple of cups of decent coffee while I watched the morning news.

The work is no less efficient at TDI and the workshop is equally pristine, which is partly why the Essex outfit is my preferred tuning partner. Now that he's well practiced taking the Yaris's suspension apart, workshop manager Dennis Hayes made short shrift of deconstructing the front-end. After removing the original top mount bearings and bellows-shaped rubber boots from the MacPherson struts, they were located over the new collars and secured between the cup-shaped adapters and the car's fixed top mounts. It all went together perfectly.

We hadn't noticed this previously but the two lower mounting holes on the coilover bodies are slightly elongated. This was a fantastic bit of foresight on the part of PB as we hoped it would allow us to marginally increase the front camber values without resorting to shims or adjustable top mounts, thereby helping to tuck in the tops of the front wheels. Remember I'd commented last issue that the arches had looked over-stuffed and that the wheels stood slightly proud of the bodywork. We'd soon discover during the geometry setup if these holes were enough on their own.

The third mounting hole on the coilover body is for the anti-roll bar drop link. The original part cannot be used here as the distance between mount and bar is reduced, so PB has supplied an adjustable version instead. With the car still raised off the ground on its jacking points and therefore no tension being applied to the bar, Dennis bolted on the drop links, ensuring that their lengths were identical and that the gaps between the arms and driveshafts were also equal.

Moving to the torsion beam rear-end - always a much simpler setup - the springs can be removed from their mounts by compressing the coils with your hands, while the shocks come out after loosening just two bolts on either side. Height adjustment in the new suspension setup is provided by an adjustable alloy platform underneath the shortened springs. But unlike other setups I've seen, PB's platform is securely bolted to the vehicle, which makes it highly unlikely that the spring could ever be accidentally dislodged from its location.

After lowering the car to the workshop floor, the ride heights were approximately set and I was ushered out onto the roads of Thurrock to gently settle the suspension. The heights were then checked and adjusted so the car sat as I wanted - as always, equalising the arch gaps and with a slightly nose-down attitude. In terms of measurements, this turned out to be a genuine 40mm drop at the front and 45mm at the rear, with plenty of further adjustment available either side of these figures if necessary.

Instantly, the visual effect of the wheels and sharp-edged design of the third-gen Yaris gelled. and TDI's staff members were genuinely surprised at the transformation this relatively modest drop had made to the car. Its persona suddenly changed from white goods shopping trolley to a small car with a mean streak in its personality. To see what I mean you'll have to wait for the full reveal in a future issue.

A full geometry session followed using TDI's impressive John Bean laser alignment machine, which conclusively proved the worth of those elongated and slightly offset mounting holes - the negative camber they've generated has tucked in the front wheels perfectly. All toe and caster values were then readjusted to within manufacturer tolerances, so there shouldn't be a negative impact on tyre longevity or handling. I'll let you if that proves to be the case later on too.

The PB coilovers offer 30 steps of damping adjustment from a positive-click dial at the top (it's a little fiddly but not impossible to adjust under the front scuttle panel), and the value I'm currently happiest with is an equal 18/30 front and rear. The ride quality has firmed up somewhat but because the damping is well controlled it never feels crashy, harsh or as if the car is bouncing along. Many people have not even noticed that it's running aftermarket suspension, which I suppose is a good thing. The one thing I have noticed, however, is that I appear to have a slight rubbing sound emanating from the nearside rear when the suspension compresses suddenly over a bump. It doesn't appear to be too harsh but needs sorting nevertheless, perhaps with some gentle arch rolling. Still, Toyota's PR man did tell me to make sure I filled those arches.

Banzai Magazine - PB Coilovers Review

Banzai Magazine - PB Coilovers Review

First things first, I'm pleased to say that my Modellista goodies have arrived from Japan via Jesse Streeter's part-sourcing service. From Spotting them on a website to actually having them in my hands has taken a little over a month (possibly an extra week than usual due to coinciding with Obon) and cost an eye-watering £460. The papers themselves amounted to £345 (£93 for the eyebrows and £252 for the interior panels), which means the remaining £115 can be attributed to postage to Jesse's place, his commission, PayPal fees, overseas shipping to the UK, and then import VAT and clearance fees. None of these extra costs have been unreasonable but when piled on top of each other have bumped-up the price considerably. What's more, I'm yet to sort out the painting of the eyebrows.

In other news, another large parcel has found its way to me from the other side of the world. It came from PB Coilovers in Taiwan and contains... well, the clue was in the name... my coilover suspension setup. I've mentioned before how tempting Taiwanese brands look in today's cost-conscious market. Indeed, as the engineering and construction appears to be comparable with that coming from Japan, there shouldn't be a stigma attached to buying goods from a different island in the same East China Sea. Much of the industrialisation of Taiwan came courtesy of Japan anyway, during its time as part of the Japanese Empire in the early parts of the 20th Century.

PB Coilovers is run by ex-pat Dan Newton, and dealing with him via email was as quick and easy as it would have been with a company based here in the UK (PB sell direct to the customer rather than through a distribution network). Cost was actually less of a factor in deciding to run PB suspension than discovering the company was possibly the first in the world to produce a specific setup for the third-gen Yaris and that it had already supplied examples to customers in USA, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and China. Time is of the essence with this project, and that immediate availability really swung it for me.

Delivery time was incredibly quick. The carriage box was disappointingly nondescript in appearance but its contents appeared every bit as good as I've found in big-name manufacturers. Fitting was arranged with my trusted experts at Torque Developments International (TDI), where technician Matt Levine wasted no time removing the windscreen wiper mechanisms and entire scuttle panel area to get to the front top mounts.

Examination of the instructions showed that the OEM top bearing needed to be pilfered from the standard setup and inserted onto the new shock absorber shaft, where it was supposed to locate over a collar and be secured between a cup-shaped adaptor and the car's fixed top mount. Unfortunately, this collar turned out to be approximately 1.5mm too large to fit inside the OEM bearing, which was a cause of great confusion to us because this precise setup had been successfully installed in all the countries mentioned earlier.

An email was fired over immediatly to Dan at PB showing photos of the precise measurements of the incompatible components with a digital vernier caliper. Despite the eight-hour time difference, Dan was able to pick up his emails immediately, and with a bit of to-ing and fro-ing for further explaination we quickly worked out that while the collar in question was correct for the Yaris models supplied elsewhere in the world, my car is a European model built in Valenciennes, France, and it clearly has a slightly different suspension setup. Nobody knew that until this juncture.

It was slightly frustration not being able to get the coilovers on straightaway but this is simply a teething issue that has materialised because we're working on such a new application. PB is already on the case machining a pair of collars of the right internal and external diameters. These should be with me imminently, and as soon as I recieve them I'll book another fitting slot with TDI. It's comforting to know that all future purchases of PB coilovers for the European-spec thirs-gen Yaris will now automatically be supplied with this adjusted collar. Another good to come out of this slight delay is that it is giving me a chance to sort out new wheels and tyres on the cars. More on that next month...