Jim Smart
September 1, 2010

When Todd Gartshore from Baer Brakes called, he was excited about the company's latest idea-a compact Baer disc brake package that's small enough to fit inside 14- or 15-inch factory wheels. It's a very effective high-performance disc brake that will improve a vintage Mustang's stopping power without having to step up to larger 16- or 17-inch wheels. At press time, Baer's new Street-Strip 4 disc brake is available only for the front. In a few months, however, Baer will have rear disc brakes ready for the Street-Strip 4 system, making it a complete four-wheel disc brake package.

Fresh from Baer's new skunk works facility in Phoenix, the Street-Strip 4 features all-new S4 billet four-piston calipers, which are fully DOT compliant with dust and moisture boots. The aluminum forgings are machined to perfection with stainless steel pistons and coated with a tough powdercoating in just about any color. The S4 calipers are fitted with anti-vibration/noise abatement springs for extra quiet operation. New hubs are already packed with high-temp grease and fitted with bearings and seals. All you have to do is slip them on your existing spindles.

At press time, hubs are available only for the larger '70-up Mustang/Maverick/Granada style spindles. By the time you read this, you will be able to fit the brakes on pre-'70 drum and disc brake spindles.

The Baer Street-Strip 4 system includes DOT certified, braided stainless steel brake hoses; CNC-machined aluminum brackets; 11 x 1-inch ventilated two-piece rotors with aluminum hats; DecelaPad high-friction ceramic brake pads; and all hardware. You can get into these compact high-performance disc brakes for $895 plus shipping and handling.

"Bedding" the Brakes
When it's time to bed your new brake linings, follow Baer's instructions. "Bedding pads has a couple of very important effects," Todd tells us. "The friction material in semi-metallic brake pads is held together by an organic binder. As pads get hot, the binder boils and gasses off from the top surface of the pad. As this bedding takes place, friction material makes proper contact with the rotor."

To "bed in" new rotors and pads, first season the rotor with your own heat treatment. Drive normally for 250-300 miles to get the rotors toasty. This should season the rotors so they conform to the shape they're going to be. Brake rotor warpage typically begins with poor break-in. Worse yet, you're stuck with the warpage no matter how many times you have the rotors turned. Warpage becomes a dynamic of damaged rotors and it's difficult or impossible to get rid of. Proper break-in is crucial for long life.

With seasoned rotors, it's time to "bed" the pads. Baer advises that you perform four repeated light to medium stops from 65 to 10 mph. This warms the rotors. Next, perform three light stops in succession, followed by eight heavy stops just shy of wheel lock from 65 mph down to 5 mph. Drive for ten minutes with no braking to cool brakes. Again, perform three light stops in succession followed by eight heavy stops. Drive for 10 minutes with no braking to cool the brakes.

You should know your brake pads and how to treat them. Metallic racing brake pads are noisy. They want extreme high heat or they aren't as effective. Switching from carbon metallic pads to semi-metallic pads is never recommended according to Baer. Problem here is carbon buildup on the rotor, which makes brakes unsafe. Carbon must be burned off the rotor surface via hard braking before they will be safe. Follow proper break-in procedures to ensure long brake life and reliable performance.

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