The stopping performance of the standard braking system on a Mustang GT can be questionable at best. In a Mustang that’s been modified to go fast, like our 2013 Mustang GT, Project Silver Bullet, scrubbing off the momentum created by the supercharged Coyote engine can be downright frightening. That’s why we turned to LateModelRestoration.com for a brake upgrade.
LateModelRestoration.com offers a variety of brake upgrade kits for the S197 Mustangs. A decade ago, the best Mustang brakes available were the dual piston 13-inch Cobra setup, or if you could swing it, the bigger 14-inch 4-piston Cobra R package. Mustangs today are heavier, and make even more power than even the halo cars of that era, requiring better, and more advanced brake systems. LateModelRestoration.com has the needs of most Mustang enthusiasts covered with a variety of OE style and aftermarket brake system options. Most of these systems can be installed in a couple of hours by just about anyone, using only basic hand tools.
This GT500 front brake upgrade from LateModelRestoration.com consists of all Ford parts for easy installation.
For Project Silver Bullet we chose to go with the GT500 15-inch package from LateModelRestoration.com, part number LRS-2120AK . LateModelRestoration.com’s Jeff Jimenez tells this is a wise choice for many enthusiasts because, “The 2013 GT500 front brake kit features Ford original brake components. This provides customers with OEM level fitment with great braking performance.”
The GT500 Brembo six-piston calipers feature stainless steel pistons in an aluminum caliper, with OEM dust boots. The staggered size optimizes pad wear, while the stainless pistons reduce heat transfer to the brake fluid.
The massive 15-inch rotors, and six-piston Brembo calipers give more stopping power and less brake fade. -Jeff Jimenez
The stock Mustang GT brakes use a meager 12.4-inch front rotor, barely adequate for daily use, let alone on a modified car. The stock 12.4-inch rotor has a total circumference of 38.94-inches, while the GT500 15-inch unit has a massive circumference of 47.1-inches; that’s a big jump in surface area for the brakes to be applied every revolution.
Having a greater surface allows heat to dissipate faster and more evenly than on a smaller brake system. This reduction in heat means less brake fade under hard driving conditions, which in turn gives more consistent braking performance. They also feature a Brembo engineered cooling vane design. “The massive 15-inch rotors and six piston Brembo calipers give more stopping power and less brake fade,” says Jimenez
Going To Bed
The anti-corrosion zinc coating needs to be removed from the rotors by completing several low speed parking lot stops before doing any street driving.
To help break in the pads and rotors, Brembo recommends performing 30 stops at lower speeds, with a half-mile cool down driving between each stop to bed in the rotors. Bedding should be followed by a long driving cool down period where the brakes are used very little if at all.
The calipers are a two piece design, featuring six stainless steel pistons. The greater number of pistons utilized in these calipers provides increased clamping loads from the brake caliper.
The calipers also feature pistons on both sides of the rotor. This allows the brake pads to be applied evenly to the rotor, while increasing the braking forces and giving more stability to the caliper. Stability comes from the caliper design, which does not utilize a sliding pin system. These type of system have a reputation for flexing under extreme braking conditions.
The staggered piston sizes help contribute to even pad wear by spreading the load across the surface of the pad. The stainless steel piston construction does not conduct heat as well as other metals, transferring less heat into the brake fluid.
These features add up to shorter stopping distances and brakes that should respond consistently – whether driving on the daily commute, mashing the brakes after a quarter mile pass, or during an autocross or road race event.
Our brake kit also included a set of OEM hoses needed to connect the GT500 calipers to the hard-lines, as well as a set of Ford brake pads. The aluminum calipers are finished in black and contrast well with the Transparent Smoke finish on our Forgeline wheels. The black finish also won’t make the brake dust too obvious after we’ve put them through the paces. Other features include a drop-in pad design for quick and easy pad changes, as well as floating anti-rattle hardware.
The beauty of a factory style replacement system like this one is that it was designed by Brembo in conjunction with Ford engineers, and is already optional equipment at the OEM level. What this means for end users is that this brake system is fully compatible with the car’s original ABS system, spindles, and the rest of the brake system hydraulics. With this OEM design there are no warning lights, no odd ABS activation, and no funky pedal feel.
Top Row: Left: With the car supported and the front wheels removed, the first step is to disconnect the brake hoses from the hard line. There are caps supplied in the kit to prevent a large volume of brake fluid from leaking. Be sure to clean off any brake fluid that gets on other parts immediately as it is highly corrosive. Center: Next remove the two bolts that retain the caliper bracket to the front knuckle/spindle. Right: The caliper can now slide off the rotor, depending on the brake condition, some prying may be required to get the caliper off the car. Bottom Row: Left: With the caliper out of the way the rotor can be easily removed from the hub. Center: The standard GT brake dust shield won't clear the GT500 brakes and is not reused so it too must be unbolted and removed from the car. Right: With everything removed make sure the face of the hub where the new rotor will mount is free of rust, dirt, and debris so that the rotor mounts true to the surface.
This brake kit is something that can be easily installed in any Mustang enthusiast’s driveway with a few simple hand tools, a jack and a jack-stand. -Jeff Jimenez
For those familiar with replacing brakes this job will probably take an hour and a half to two hours. The process is a fairly straight forward nuts and bolts-type job that anyone competent with hand tools should be able to perform. “This brake kit is something that can be easily installed in any Mustang enthusiast’s driveway with a few simple hand tools, a jack and a jack-stand,” Jimenez says.
Top Row: Left: Installation is pretty much the reverse of removal. The new 15-inch rotor goes on first. Center Left: The kit includes the same Brembo calipers, rotors, and brake pads as used on the GT500. Center Right: The caliper is bolted on next, but the pads aren't installed yet. Right: The correct brake hoses are included with the kit, these attach to the new caliper differently than the base model Mustang GT brakes. Bottom Row: Left: We removed the cap from our hardline and attached the new GT500 flexible brake hose. No adapters are required. Center Left: Now the pads can be dropped into place, If you plan on running different pads for the street and the track, this design makes swapping those out as easy as removing the center retaining bar. Center Right: The retaining bar goes in place next, this is what holds the pads in place. Right: Last the anti-rattle clip is put into place. The only thing left to do is bleed the brake system and perform the bedding procedure.
Since only the front portion of the braking system is opened, only the front brakes need to be bled. Wheel compatibility does come into play with this system; unless you ordered the optional 19-inch wheels on your GT you’ll need a different wheel to clear these brakes. Jimenez informed us that LateModelRestoration.com has tested a variety of their wheel offerings for fitment and can advise customers ordering these brakes what wheels they carry that offer proper clearance.
Side by side, our stock brakes vs the new GT500 kit.
How Does It Stop?
We took Project Silver Bullet out for a few test stops prior to performing our installation, what we found was that the car stopped at a best distance of 120.8 feet. This is probably slightly better than stock since our Forgeline wheels and Mickey Thompson tires offer better grip and a larger footprint for stopping than the original equipment wheels and tires.
With our GT500 front brakes from LateModelRestoration.com installed we were able to pull the reins in on the car in 111feet. That’s nothing to sneeze at, in fact it puts the performance of Silver Bullet’s brake system in the same range as many more expensive cars with much larger tires. While we reduced our total stopping distance by 9.8 feet, we also noted that the brakes feel much more consistent after each braking stop and fade less once they are hot.
With our brakes squared away, we’ve now taken care of one more part of our formula for our Project Silver Bullet to be a fantastic all around driver’s car, track day Mustang and quarter mile beast.
Our new brakes not only work great, but they also look great behind our Forgeline wheels.