Rob Kinnan
June 1, 1999

Step By Step

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Steeda’s Brembo brake upgrade for the ‘94-later Mustangs includes two Brembo four-piston calipers, pads, two new Power Slot 13-inch rotors, new braided stainless brake lines and fittings. Price is $995.
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Remove the stock brake line fitting using a fitting wrench, or chances are good you’ll round off the nut. Once the line is loose, pop off the clip holding the flexible hose to the bracket and pull the line free.
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Remove the two bolts holding the caliper in place and pull the caliper off the rotor. Save the bolts—you’ll reuse them with the Brembo caliper. Once the caliper is off, remove the rotor.
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The brake line bracket on the driver’s side has a little nub that holds the stock brake line in position. It must be removed for the new line. We used a dremel tool, but the bracket is only held in with a single bolt, so it’s easily removed if you want to do it with a file on the bench. The passenger side bracket doesn’t need modifying.
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Slip the new rotor into place over the studs and hold it down with one lug nut, just to keep it from flopping around while you install the caliper.
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The caliper comes with the pads already installed. Slip it over the rotor and attach it to the spindle using the stock bolts. There are no adapters or any other finagling—it just bolts right on. Then attach the braided line using the supplied fitting.
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This photo shows how the caliper bolts to the stock spindle. Brembo made these calipers specifically for the SN-95 Mustang and a 13-inch rotor.
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Bleed the system, bolt the wheels back on, and you’re done. You’ve just installed Brembos on your Mustang. This photo shows a prototype kit, with a standard rotor, but production kits will come with the Power Slot rotors.

Big brakes are one of those upgrades that seem to be on everyone’s wish list. We can’t tell you how many letters we get from readers showing us pictures of their cars with descriptions of all the mods they’ve done. After that always comes the list of stuff they want to install in the near future, and it almost always includes big, nasty brakes. There’s a good reason for that. Stock Mustang brakes (with the exception of the Cobra) suck. They’re fine for one or two stops, but take a few laps of an autocross or road course, or get hot and heavy on a long, winding, canyon road, and those stock brakes will fade faster than Milli Vanilli’s career.

Brake fade, if you’ve never experienced it, happens when the brake fluid overheats, and is characterized by a loss in brake effectiveness and a horribly spongy pedal—it kinda feels like there’s air in the system. If you keep working the brakes, eventually they’ll fail altogether, and they’ll only come back after they’ve had plenty of time to cool down. Fade is caused by heat, and brakes get really hot, especially after continuous use like that found in road racing or canyon burning. That heat makes the brake fluid boil, which screws everything up and makes the pedal go to the floor. That’s why road-race cars usually have some form of ducting from the front end to the brakes to get some cool air to them. Another way to shed heat is by using parts that radiate the heat more effectively. This is the reason behind thick, ventilated rotors and bigger calipers. The more surface area there is, the more heat can be radiated away from the brakes.

Stock Mustang brakes (again, with the exception of the Cobra) not only fade quickly, they don’t stop the car as effectively as the aftermarket kits for a number of reasons. For one, the 12-inch rotors of a stock GT can’t compare to the leverage effect of a 13- or 14-inch rotor typically used in aftermarket kits. Second, the stock calipers are a single-piston design, compared to aftermarket two- or four-piston calipers. More pistons mean more clamping force, which stops the car more effectively. Think of a disc brake like this: Imagine spinning a bicycle wheel, then stopping it with your thumb and index finger. The wheel is the rotor and your fingers are the brake pads. Now use the thumb and index finger on both hands. You’ve just created a four-piston caliper, which makes it easier to stop the wheel. A side benefit of four-piston calipers is that they’re not as affected by heat (and therefore more resistant to fade) as a single-piston design.

That’s why a good aftermarket brake system (Baer, Brembo, SVO/Cobra, Stainless Steel Brakes, and so on) not only stops the car quicker, but also doesn’t fade nearly as quickly. But these kits cost money, usually well over $1,000 for each end of the car. Steeda and Brembo have come up with a more affordable upgrade that allows you to put Brembo brakes on your SN-95 Mustang. Installation is the easiest of any brake kit we’ve ever seen, and it comes with top-quality parts that will haul your pony down like you’ve thrown the Titanic’s anchor out the window.