Lee’s 996 Carrera diary: performance brake upgrade
You may have read from my last 996 Carrera diary entry that I was on the lookout for some twisty roads after having the excellent Bilstein PSS10s fitted. Well, it happened: I took the 911 up to Scotland for a weekend touring from Pitlochry, just above Edinburgh, across to the Isle of Skye and back down via Glencoe and Loch Lomond.
Returning to the south coast, I realised two things. First, I’d by now accumulated 5,000 miles of driving (including one track day!) in the Carrera 4 since I bought it in February, which was the point at which I’d previously said I’d treat the 996 to an oil change. Second, my brakes were crap, and needed a change.
My 996 had a major service (including the obligatory oil and filter change) just before I bought the car, but I’ve since been wilfully advised by a number of specialists to change the oil at an increased rate over 996 factory service intervals, just to be on the safe side. Considering the M96 engine’s reputation with IMS issues as a case in point, I figured for the cost of a few litres of Mobil 1 and an oil filter, it’s a price worth paying. Having fresh oil will keep the engine optimally lubricated and protected, and of course there’s a chance when extracting the old oil to check for significant detritus that could hint at imminent catastrophe from an IMS failure (even though the reality is, by this stage, the news isn’t going to be good anyway!).
I booked the car in to RPM Technik to carry out the oil change. I always favour RPM when it comes to service and maintenance, and not just because that’s where I purchased the car from; the 996 911 is a real favourite at RPM and Ollie and Darren, two of the company’s directors, have 996s themselves, which means genuine empathy is guaranteed for any work undertaken. For an owner such as myself, that means a lot.
Having my car on the ramps served as a good time to upgrade the brakes, and here I went for EBC discs and pads all round (I brought these along on the day and Ollie agreed to fit them with a labour charge). EBC’s Yellowstuff pads appealed as they’re designed for fast road and occasional track use, which typifies what I use my 996 Carrera for. The discs are cast iron and made to OEM specification here in the UK, complete with drilled slots to aid heat dissipation.
The difference, already, is positively startling. I previously had to really jump on the middle pedal to get my tired factory brakes to scrub any speed, and even then brake feel was minimal (I had brake lines renewed when I bought the car and calliper pistons checked so this wasn’t a question of hydraulics). It wasn’t confidence inspiring at all.
Even though I’m still bedding in the EBC brakes – I’ve done circa 400 miles thus far – the merits of the high-friction surface on the face of Yellowstuff pads is giving me a confidence in stopping ability that should always have come with a 320hp 911 weighing 1,430 kilos. Brake pedal feel is also noticeably increased, too, for added inspiration at the wheel.
EBC claim the pads’ high friction surface improves brake effect by 30-40%, which I’d say is absolutely spot on, and they’re still very capable even from cold. EBC also promise me there’s no such ‘fall off’ from heavy brake use and while I’m yet to significantly test that, a track day at Brands Hatch in two weeks should make for a worthy baptism of fire. So far then I’m pleasantly satisfied with the performance of the brake upgrade – just as well, as stopping is important!