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    Thread: Brakes not responsive enough for my liking, where do I start with troubleshooting / upgrading?

    1. Member
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      08-09-2012 12:05 PM #1
      I recently got me a 2011 A3 2.0T Quattro TFSI. Right now it is bone stock.

      I love the car but not its braking capabilities and I want to fix it.

      The A3 feels less responsive when braking compared to my previous B7 A4.
      I guess to put it in layman's term it doesn't stop fast enough.

      How do I tell if it's the brake pads, or tires, or if that's just the natural way the A3s are? I heard that the brakes are smaller than the A4 and that may be the difference I feel?

      FWIW, I drive semi-aggressively but I don't track the car. Not yet anyways.
      2003 Platinum Grey MKIV Jetta 1.8T Tip[sold]
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      08-09-2012 12:14 PM #2
      Stickier tires will always allow the car to stop better, so that is not to be overlooked.

      I've found that a nice aftermarket pad and OEM rotors works just fine. I'm running StopTech street pads and OEM rotors, along with Tyrolsport bushings and braided steel lines, and I'm pretty happy with how my brakes perform on the street

    3. 08-09-2012 12:16 PM #3
      what tires current on car?

      i agree with tbomb, better tires wil get you to stop faster and more responsive.

      Bigger brakes doesnt do much xcept more initial brake torque feel.
      hirro

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      08-09-2012 12:26 PM #4
      Stock tires: Continental ContiProContact 225/45R17


      Quote Originally Posted by tp.wannabe.s3 View Post
      what tires current on car?

      i agree with tbomb, better tires wil get you to stop faster and more responsive.

      Bigger brakes doesnt do much xcept more initial brake torque feel.
      2003 Platinum Grey MKIV Jetta 1.8T Tip[sold]
      2002 Dolphin Grey B6 A4 1.8T 5spd Quattro[sold]
      2005.5 Quartz Grey B7 A4 2.0T 6spd Quattro[sold]
      2011 Brilliant Black 8p A3 S-Tronic Quattro

    5. 08-09-2012 12:32 PM #5
      ahh yea those are all seasons , try some summer tires and your brakign will be better
      hirro

    6. Member trucaliber's Avatar
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      08-09-2012 12:32 PM #6
      Upgrade all eight pads to EBC Redstuff or comparable Hawks pads. Less dust and better grip. Lighter wheels will help a bit as well. A3 brakes are as good as B7, but just takes a heavier foot for the same stoping power.

    7. 08-09-2012 12:47 PM #7
      to add on true caliber.

      I have HPS front and OEM rears

      Rears dust like crazy
      after 1 week rears are black while fronts have no dust. wow!

      The HPS do require some heat before you can feel the bite
      hirro

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      08-09-2012 02:06 PM #8
      Thanks guys.

      If I had to choose one for now, which would be the bigger bang for the buck? Pads or tires?

      The OEM brake pads and the stock tires all have about 4k miles on it so I'm essentially throwing away something that is still rather new and replacing it with better performing ones.
      2003 Platinum Grey MKIV Jetta 1.8T Tip[sold]
      2002 Dolphin Grey B6 A4 1.8T 5spd Quattro[sold]
      2005.5 Quartz Grey B7 A4 2.0T 6spd Quattro[sold]
      2011 Brilliant Black 8p A3 S-Tronic Quattro

    9. 08-09-2012 02:08 PM #9
      tires, u will feel more grip
      hirro

    10. Member SilverSquirrel's Avatar
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      08-09-2012 02:20 PM #10
      I just went from those contis to some bridgestone re970as, much better braking, better ride qual. more grip overall.

      But dont overlook the big picture... you went from a b7 QUATTRO, where the rear wheels benefit from engine braking effect, to a fwd A3, or if you have quattro a3, the haldex clutch is open when off the throttle. Its a bigger difference than you realize.
      Audi is the girl who was really cute in high school, but now puts on way too much makeup in order to try and hang out with the hot girls.

    11. 08-09-2012 02:31 PM #11
      so its like a center 1 way for braking.

      rc cars use rear wheels for braking if it has 1 way.
      hirro

    12. Member SilverSquirrel's Avatar
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      08-09-2012 02:37 PM #12
      yup. thats why quattro was banned in racing against rwd cars, as far back as the late 80's, like the trans am series.

      quattro lets you brake way late in the corners...... which is very fast.
      Audi is the girl who was really cute in high school, but now puts on way too much makeup in order to try and hang out with the hot girls.

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      08-09-2012 02:50 PM #13
      You may have hit the nail on the head... I had expected my A3 Quattro to drive like my old A4 Quattro, but clearly it doesn't, probably based exactly on what you mentioned. Never crossed my mind when I was buying, but as i drive it more and more especially in rush hour traffic, the more obvious the lack of braking power gets.

      I gotta see if my local tire companies will buy my like-new tires for a lower price if I purchase some new tires from them. Am thinking of the continental dws super high performance all season (can't go summer tires only as I live in the midwest and no room in garage for 2 sets of wheels). prices seemed very reasonable and good reviews

      Quote Originally Posted by SilverSquirrel View Post
      I just went from those contis to some bridgestone re970as, much better braking, better ride qual. more grip overall.

      But dont overlook the big picture... you went from a b7 QUATTRO, where the rear wheels benefit from engine braking effect, to a fwd A3, or if you have quattro a3, the haldex clutch is open when off the throttle. Its a bigger difference than you realize.
      2003 Platinum Grey MKIV Jetta 1.8T Tip[sold]
      2002 Dolphin Grey B6 A4 1.8T 5spd Quattro[sold]
      2005.5 Quartz Grey B7 A4 2.0T 6spd Quattro[sold]
      2011 Brilliant Black 8p A3 S-Tronic Quattro

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      08-09-2012 06:53 PM #14
      If you can swing wheels and pads do it. You can swap pads now before your rotors are too tore up. EBCs take a long time to bed. But I swapped mine around 8k without problem.

      Does your ABS kick in at all? If not just stand on the pedal harder.

      Whenever my wife drives my A3 she complains about the tough brake pedal. Her B7 brakes are much softer. Steering on the other hand is flipped the other way. A3 is loose and B7 is tight.

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      08-10-2012 10:46 AM #15
      The car now has 17k on it, what is a typical lifespan of the rotors with about 60% city 40% hwy? The pads though I believe are new (I bought the car from the dealership at 14k and they put new tires and pads on, I believe)

      When I brake, I brake hard enough that all the stuff on my seats go flying forward, but not so hard that the ABS kicks in. The stopping distance is one of the things I hope to reduce.

      My B7 was a 6MT and I typically kept it in lower gear maybe that helps with stopping too, the DSG seems happy in 4-5 all the time

      Maybe I just need to stomp harder.

      Quote Originally Posted by trucaliber View Post
      If you can swing wheels and pads do it. You can swap pads now before your rotors are too tore up. EBCs take a long time to bed. But I swapped mine around 8k without problem.

      Does your ABS kick in at all? If not just stand on the pedal harder.

      Whenever my wife drives my A3 she complains about the tough brake pedal. Her B7 brakes are much softer. Steering on the other hand is flipped the other way. A3 is loose and B7 is tight.
      2003 Platinum Grey MKIV Jetta 1.8T Tip[sold]
      2002 Dolphin Grey B6 A4 1.8T 5spd Quattro[sold]
      2005.5 Quartz Grey B7 A4 2.0T 6spd Quattro[sold]
      2011 Brilliant Black 8p A3 S-Tronic Quattro

    16. 08-10-2012 11:42 AM #16
      my fronts were still 70% when I swapped them out at 60k miles

      rears were gone at that same time.

      yes dsg will keep it in those high gears like a regular automatic. to keep it smooth and no jerking around l
      hirro

    17. Member mattA3's Avatar
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      08-10-2012 11:43 AM #17
      I saw noticeable improvement going to Hawk HPS pads on new rotors over the OEM. Also installed Tyrol bushings which give a better pedal feel. Still running OEM lines but will upgrade when its time to do a brake fluid flush.
      2007 A3 Premium, DSG, Lava Grey, Votex body kit, BSH PCV, Comp Catch Can, APR Stg1.

    18. 08-10-2012 11:49 AM #18
      I prefer OEM lines over the SS lines. Feel 0 difference
      hirro

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      08-10-2012 12:05 PM #19
      you maybe an excellent driver, but 95-99.9% of people are horrible and an accident waiting to happen. Lower your blood pressure and increase your life span and dont drive aggressive in heavy traffic. i used to drive like that and honestly it isnt worth it. Save spirited driving for when it is fun, on the open road, emtpy snow covered roads, lonely twisty roads, and empty parking lots. Not trying to be a d*ck, just a good life lesson.

      get some good brake pads and switch. less dust, more stopping power and bite. OEM pads are worthless compared to hawk ceramics or the like.

    20. Member kgw's Avatar
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      08-11-2012 02:05 PM #20
      Multi-pot brakes will do that:


      This 6-pot system I recently put on is the ****. . . Touch the pedal in everyday driving, and they instantly respond. If the need to stop faster arises, I just push harder; the harder I push, the faster I stop. No jerkiness, no lockup, just hauls the car down fast.

      I am always in manual mode with the DSG, never in auto mode. Having the DSG ecu tuned, ie, HPA or UM, will make it even better.

      The Gen 2 Haldex will also increase your smile factor. . . I am in Sport mode most of the time, but when the twisties appear, I switch it to Race mode.

      I didn't do all of this at once due to cost, but spread it out over several years. I am really enjoying this A3 platform.

      Quote Originally Posted by aspw View Post
      When I brake, I brake hard enough that all the stuff on my seats go flying forward, but not so hard that the ABS kicks in. The stopping distance is one of the things I hope to reduce.

      My B7 was a 6MT and I typically kept it in lower gear maybe that helps with stopping too, the DSG seems happy in 4-5 all the time

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      08-11-2012 05:55 PM #21
      brake response or bite is mostly brake pad compound.

      stainless lines might help a little with feel.
      tires only matter when you're overpowering the ones you have, not response impact.
      multipot rotors look great, apply pressure more evenly, but won't really do much for response.

      most importantly, and before you buy anything, bleed your brakes to make sure there is no air in the lines.
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      08-12-2012 12:17 AM #22
      Seeing how the A3 Quattro has a bit more weight then its FWD, its roughly 3461 Lbs, Curb weight.. I'd say upgraded pads, keep rotors stock, if that doesn't help then, slotted rotors & Stainless steel brake lines.. In some shops that's considered a Stage 2 Brake Upgrade..

    23. Member kgw's Avatar
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      08-12-2012 05:10 PM #23
      Good tires: check.
      Good pads: check.
      Good suspension: check.
      Good driver: check. ()

      Add multi-pot calipers: even better. . .

      I drove with the oem brake hardware, using Hawk Ceramic pads, for several years. Quite tolerable. The TAR-OX 2-part discs, with their street pads, and the 6-pot calipers weigh in at less than oem: big plus. The overall improvement in braking: even bigger plus!
      Hey, that's my experience. I'm not going back. . .


      Quote Originally Posted by theblue View Post
      multipot rotors look great, apply pressure more evenly, but won't really do much for response.

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      08-13-2012 01:24 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by kgw View Post
      I am always in manual mode with the DSG, never in auto mode. Having the DSG ecu tuned, ie, HPA or UM, will make it even better.

      The Gen 2 Haldex will also increase your smile factor. . . I am in Sport mode most of the time, but when the twisties appear, I switch it to Race mode.
      DSG vs. Haldex, which do you feel gave you the bigger bang for the buck? I'm not convinced I'd even notice the Gen 2 Haldex unless I was really pushing it on a track, which will in all likelyhood be never. Am I wrong?

    25. Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      08-13-2012 04:13 PM #25
      RS4 reps will help
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      When i'm lookin' to get er to spread 'em I usually just throw copious amounts of alcohol at the situation.

    26. Member kgw's Avatar
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      08-13-2012 05:23 PM #26
      It's hard to choose between them, but for daily driving enjoyment the HPA DSG tune. It makes manual mode fantastic: no automatic upshifting, so no surprises in corners, and it only downshifts if the rpm gets close to stall speed, ie, stopsigns, slow traffic. You choose the power band.

      That said, the Gen 2 Haldex is xlnt! Sport mode is better than the oem mode, but where it really shines is in Race mode. I've got a roundabout on my daily driving routes, and you can feel the car is more "connected" to the road in Race mode. Since the rear wheels are pushing harder, there is less centrifugal force trying to displace the car laterally would be my layman's explanation. You get more engine braking effect in Race mode as well. Quite noticeable.

      Quote Originally Posted by kharma View Post
      DSG vs. Haldex, which do you feel gave you the bigger bang for the buck? I'm not convinced I'd even notice the Gen 2 Haldex unless I was really pushing it on a track, which will in all likelyhood be never. Am I wrong?

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      08-14-2012 02:10 PM #27
      I, too, came from a B7 A4 to the A3 and was very disappointed with the braking. My car had about 2K miles on it when I bought it and the brakes got worse and worse (at 23K miles now). I had them changed about two weeks ago to Hawk HPS pads and it has been an improvement. Turns out I glazed my OEM pads about 50% through. I had chunks missing from my rear pads. Just terrible. After I properly break these new ones in, I'll have a better idea of how they perform. I have about another 200 miles to go before I can start hammering them like I used to on the OEM ones and my previous A4 (which NEVER had issues and I NEVER changed the pads on in 50K miles of ownership). That'll be done after tomorrow when I drive it up to Dallas.
      2012 BMW 135i M Sport

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      08-14-2012 07:20 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by kgw View Post
      Add multi-pot calipers: even better. . .

      I drove with the oem brake hardware, using Hawk Ceramic pads, for several years. Quite tolerable. The TAR-OX 2-part discs, with their street pads, and the 6-pot calipers weigh in at less than oem: big plus. The overall improvement in braking: even bigger plus!
      Hey, that's my experience. I'm not going back. . .
      it's static mass on the calipers so it doesn't matter, in most meaningful upgrade you're going to bigger heavier rotors unless you get expensive 2 piece.

      I've run hawk race pads (blues, ht-10s) of the same compound on my evolution 8 with 4 pot brembos, and also on my current E30 track car which has super small generic sliding calipers. It's no surprise that they bite exactly the same.
      2007 VW EOS 2.0T, APR stage 2
      2006 Audi A3 2.0T DSG, sport, winter, APR stage 2
      2002 BMW X5 4.4 V8
      1989 BMW 325i 5spd, M50 motorswap, stripped for track duty

    29. Member kgw's Avatar
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      08-14-2012 11:08 PM #29
      Lighter 320mm 2-piece rotor/hub assembly. . .


      Lighter wheels and tires: it all works better than before. Including the lighter calipers. Less unsprung mass. Yes, one thing helps another!



      Quote Originally Posted by theblue View Post
      it's static mass on the calipers so it doesn't matter, in most meaningful upgrade you're going to bigger heavier rotors unless you get expensive 2 piece.

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      08-17-2012 04:37 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by tp.wannabe.s3 View Post
      I prefer OEM lines over the SS lines. Feel 0 difference
      I upgraded to stainless steel brake lines when I installed Hawk HPS pads onto existing rotors at about 50K. While initial bite improved a little bit, everyone tells me that is almost all due to the new pad choice. However, pad and rotor wear also worsened quite noticeably compared to OEM, with lip on perimeter of front rotors. So I went back to OEM pads and rotors (for the fronts only) at about 90K, with the back unchanged.

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      08-18-2012 10:00 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by davis_449 View Post
      I, too, came from a B7 A4 to the A3 and was very disappointed with the braking. My car had about 2K miles on it when I bought it and the brakes got worse and worse (at 23K miles now). I had them changed about two weeks ago to Hawk HPS pads and it has been an improvement. Turns out I glazed my OEM pads about 50% through. I had chunks missing from my rear pads. Just terrible. After I properly break these new ones in, I'll have a better idea of how they perform. I have about another 200 miles to go before I can start hammering them like I used to on the OEM ones and my previous A4 (which NEVER had issues and I NEVER changed the pads on in 50K miles of ownership). That'll be done after tomorrow when I drive it up to Dallas.
      Did you change only the OEM brake pads to hawk HPS, but kept your rotor as is?
      2003 Platinum Grey MKIV Jetta 1.8T Tip[sold]
      2002 Dolphin Grey B6 A4 1.8T 5spd Quattro[sold]
      2005.5 Quartz Grey B7 A4 2.0T 6spd Quattro[sold]
      2011 Brilliant Black 8p A3 S-Tronic Quattro

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