Knowledge Base:  
Wilwood Caliper Break In Procedures
Last Updated: 08/27/2013

Pad and Rotor Bedding: Bedding is a "real conditions" heat cycle and the final step in preparing the pads and rotors for service. All pads especially cast iron rotors that will be operated at sustained high temperatures will provide longer service life and smoother braking when properly bedded. Bedding can be done either in the vehicle or on a special bedding dyno that can realistically duplicate the torque loads pressure and temperature that will be realized in the vehicle.

Rotor Bedding:
Rotor bedding is an essential element to high level performance and durability. It is most critical with cast iron rotors. Cast iron is extremely well suited to use as a brake rotor but it can be susceptible to thermal stress distortion and even cracking if subjected to rapid changes in temperature when it's new. The cracking sound that you may hear when pouring a favorite beverage over a glass of ice is thermal shock. A proper bedding cycle will gradually bring the rotors up to temperature and then allow them to cool slowly and completely in order to "season" and relieve any remaining stresses from the casting and machining processes. With some compounds a layer of pad material may also be embedded onto the rotor face. It is important that this "transfer layer" be deposited slowly and smoothly. Otherwise pedal pulsing and compromised friction values can result.

Pad Bedding:
The bedding process is the final "heat cure" for the pads. This final bedding cure differs from an oven heat cure in such that the oven heat cure does not include the pressure torque and elevated surface temperatures that are necessary to properly condition the pad for service. As it is with the rotors new pads must be gradually brought up to temperature and then slowly cooled. If the pads are put into hard service right from the start damage from fractures or accelerated deterioration due to extreme temperature variations between the surface and the body of the pad can occur. Overall poor performance with the potential for rotor damage are often the results.

Bedding Steps:
Once the brake system has been tested and determined safe to operate the vehicle follow these steps for bedding of all pad materials and rotors. 1. Begin with a series of 8-10 light stops from approximately 30 MPH down to 15 MPH allowing 20-30 seconds for cooling between each stop. 2. Progress to series of 8-10 moderate stops from around 45 MPH down to 30 MPH allowing the 20-30 second cool down period between each stop. 3. Proceed with a series of 8-10 hard stops from 55-65 MPH down to 25 MPH allowing 20-30 seconds of cool down time between each stop. 4. Drive at a moderate cruising speed with the least amount of brake contact possible until most of the heat has dissipated from the brakes. Avoid sitting stopped with the brake pedal depressed to hold the car in place during this time. Park the vehicle and allow the brakes to cool to ambient air temperature.

During the bedding process a more positive feel from the brakes should develop. This is an indication that the bed in process is working. If any level of brake fade is observed during the hard stops it may be an indication that the brakes have been more than adequately heated. Begin cooling the brakes with light driving and without brake contact immediately.

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