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Esprit Brake Upgrades

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51 replies to this topic

#1 Bibs


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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:13 PM

If you've upgraded the brakes on your Esprit please post details below and what was involved inc work/costs and how you feel the results have panned out. Please be honest, I'm hoping to collate this in to a wiki article for current & future owners to use as a reference guide.

Please state info along the lines of; model of Esprit, old system, new system, cost, what you (or your spannerman) had to do, was it worth it and so on.

Thanks :(

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#2 Alex--GT3--


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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:29 PM

Hi Bibsmeister,

my 6-pot Hi-spec upgrade is fitted Sat at PMN engineering and so will be able to review monday after they have bedded in a bit. I will inlcude costs etc. For you.


#3 rocket63



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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:46 PM

Ok. I have done an upgrade. I will write it up as soon as I have got some time :(

Caught between a rock and a hard place in a catch 22 situation, So its 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. Your damned if you do, but your damned if you don't so shut your cock!!!!!!!!!!!


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#4 andydclements



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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:48 PM

Wilwood rotors, bells from rallysport (have to be machined to requirements), callipers from a donor GTO twin turbo, pads, ali mounting block for callipers (pretty basic block with 4 holes drilled in).

Came to around 600-700, but would have been less as that included a spacer ring being made that wasn't required and having an additional bleed hole placed in each calliper (the Nissan callipers I didn't use).

Really quick, nice and progressive, really needs 17 inch wheels but you could do the same with a marginally smaller disc under 16 inch.

#5 Quicker



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Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:13 PM

Very timely thread - I need to do this....!
Lou Senko
Austin, TX
more, more, more....

#6 cjtpb13



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Posted 12 May 2009 - 08:07 PM

1994 S4 with original TMC brake system

Upgraded to:

12.19" Vented Rotors on all four corners
6-Pot Wilwood calipers on the front
4-Pot Wilwood calipers on the rear
Stand alone parking brake caliper on each rear caliper
Hat, Bracket, and all necessary hardware included
All Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines
All Brake Pads, Front, Rear, and Parking

System was ordered in August of 2008 and Installed September 2008.

At the time the Brake Upgrade was a total cost of $3,700.00 USD with $151.90 USD shipping
My Garage which performs the work on all of my cars charged me a total of $325.00 USD to install.

All parts were ordered via Lotus Prepared By Claudius in Cerritos CA USA. I was pleased with my transaction and my correspondence with them.

I could have done the work myself but as a few of the people here know my time is very limited due to my international business.

I have since placed approximately 10,000 miles on the system. The difference is amazing. I still have the standard pedal feedback unique to the Esprit. However, Stopping distances are significantly lowered and the security of knowing that you can knock off speed quickly is a relief. One of the best modifications that I have so far done to the Lotus. Increasing power and speed is great as long as you can reverse the effect. At this point still plenty of pad left and rotors look as they did once out of the box. I have noticed that there is no pull with these as I had with my TMC brake system. I seated and seasoned the brakes using the method used by most racing crews. No warping or wearing of the rotor and I am hard on brakes. ( firm believer in using the brakes to bleed speed when the radar detector sounds off...lol )

Any question please feel free to PM me anytime. I hope I covered all information in here.

Attached Images

  • lotus_rear_brake_setup_2_1.JPG

Edited by cjtpb13, 12 May 2009 - 08:08 PM.

#7 Advantage


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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:30 AM

Oooh, good thread. I used the factory AP calipers from the Parts Sale which were very reasonably priced and contained everything needed to fit a Brembo car. The discs (rotors) are from PUK and were a touch expensive at around 1000 euros, but I like 'em a lot.
The pads are standard 350 Sport fit as supplied in the caliper kit and seem to be wearing well.

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#8 SE Owner :-D

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:40 AM

1989 SE Original
1st Upgrade PNM Hi-Spec 4pot kit Front and Elise Brembo Rear With grooved discs and Hawk, EBC Red, Mintex C-tech all round and then finally Pagid Blue. All hoses stainless - loadsa money to fit Sportomotive...parts took ages to come and slowed things - result OK but the car subsequently got faster due to upgrades in performance...

2nd Upgrade V8 Brembo Caliper Fronts with drilled and grooved EBC Discs, EBC Red Pads, Elise Brembo Rear with Pagid Blues - V8 Hubs fitted to incorporate OZ futura wheel modification and longer S350 wheel nuts and hoses. I would recommend this and suits my driving now with current performance although my car is running about 30% less than it can due to a few niggles. I would NOT recommend the company who fitted the calipers as they were not fitted correctly resulting in a near fatal accident and took over 6 months to do 2 weeks work.

I want AP's next but am not prepared to pay 1000euros for discs.

Edited by SE Owner :-D, 13 May 2009 - 09:42 AM.

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#9 jfitz981



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Posted 13 May 2009 - 02:23 PM

Great idea for a topic thread! I wanted to add a question: Many of us have the pre-brembo setup and we need to fabricate mounting brackets etc to get the good brake set ups to work. Would anyone be willing to share their braket dimensions or the skematics of what they created on order to get the better brakes to fit?
Great info so far!

#10 superdavelotus



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Posted 14 May 2009 - 09:43 AM

I can get these discs and bells for S350 or 2002 AP calipers for about 650
Here is a picture of them


#11 SE Owner :-D

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 10:47 AM

Cheers Dave - you tease!

Now are there any AP calipers for sale cheap....?
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No I don't like the Europa, Evora or Exos.

"Like a cockmonkey with 3 cocks."

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#12 peter_england99



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Posted 14 May 2009 - 11:17 AM

The pads are standard 350 Sport fit as supplied in the caliper kit and seem to be wearing well.

Hi Graham,
Nice set up. I'm sure I've seen it somewhere else. Oh yes, same as mine, with the exception that I no longer have the standard pads. The standard pads were great, but squealed a bit on my car and eat the rotors (much brake/rotor dust)! Hence have now gone to Red Stuff. Lot less rotor ware, but the bite isn't as good.

On a GT3 with the reduced car weight, must be absolutely fabulous.


#13 martynv



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Posted 14 May 2009 - 05:50 PM

I upgraded the brakes all round on my 89 SE a couple of years ago using kits from PNM.

Bit's / Costs

Hi-Spec 4-pot Front Sloted disc kit from PNM + braided hoses
V8 Rear Brembo kit with Sloted discs from PNM + braided hoses
Hawk Fero carbon front pads, Standard rear pads

1295 (deal at donington show)

S4 rear caliper adapter brackets + mounting bolts from London Lotus

Front Disc securing bolts from Christopher Neil

Spring washers for front disc mounting bolts
Shakeproof washers for brake lines
8 ish


I fitted all of the bits myself and it took two days to do the fronts and a day and a half to do the rears. Everything was pretty much rusted solid as you would expect on a car of this age and I used and air driven impact tool on most of it and would highly recommend this unless your very strong or mad !


Front brake hoses were really difficult to remove from the front where they are secured and in the end the best method was to cut the flexible pipe back as far as possible and then with a spanner on the back-nut and a deep 15mm socket on the remainder of the pipe wizz it off with an impact tool. One of the front outer bleed nipple threads wasn't too good a fit and brake fluid leaked over the caliper and dissolved some of the laquer on the caliper. Front hoses aren't long enough to reach to the recommended securing point on the hub carrier, so I refited the plastic spring protectors from the original hoses and sliped a cable tie round the hub on one end and another on the front union end.

Rear caliper mounting adapter plates supplied where poor and on receiving the second set from PNM and finding yet more wonky threads and poor alignment I used the genuine Lotus parts instead. The right hand rear handbrake cable is shorter than the left hand one, a feature of the original set up and this makes it very difficult even after slakening the cable right off to get the cable on the right hand caliper. In the end I had to remove the lever, fit the cable and then fit the lever back on to the caliper whilst holding tension on the caliper handbrake mechanisim.


High speed braking on the Motorway etc is now very much improved and feels much more powerful and secure as well as running dead true which is very reassuring. Low speed braking is now more predictable and the pedal feels rock solid.

Martyn :animier:

#14 drellis



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Posted 14 May 2009 - 09:15 PM

The sport 350 caliphers and disks are a very close fit under s4s wheels, ie credit card. Not had a problem but not been on track, hoping the caliper itself does not expand too much!

#15 ILoveEsprit



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Posted 17 May 2009 - 07:55 AM

I've got a complete set of HiSpec front & rear system (4 pot) with brackets, s/teel braided hoses & bolt kit for my 90 NA from PNM.

The whole set of brakes costs me with shiping to SG around 1429.

The car is still sitting in the workshop and will be ready by next week. Just have a look at the car yesterday and was told by my mechanic without any problem fixing it on the rear.(with handbrake)

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#16 cweeden



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Posted 17 May 2009 - 09:12 AM

Hi All,

Below is a modifies PM I sent to another lister because I am lazy, if it doesn't make sense in places that is probably why. :)

I opted for AP 343mm x 32mm at the front and I am still 100% stock on the rear but may need to do some work there. The standard front discs are 320mm x 32mm !!

These were the bolted type and drilled to keep the stock look. This was probably not the best choice for several reasons. The calipers are only rated for 330mm (I knew this ahead of time and checked with AP if I could go larger and there were no real concerns from them) so when I spaced out the caliper to take the larger diameter I had to drop the pads slightly in the caliper to clear the outer edge of the disc.

The additional diameter has slightly altered the brake bias a little too much to the front, the rears barely get tickled.

While they were brilliant at the Nurburgring for a weekend they have subsequently developed high spots giving brake juddder. I think the floating variety would have helped here. Since they are less than 2000 miles old (one weekend at the Ring and two track days). Despite the judder they still worked well to stop the car even from a few 160mph (indicated, 150mph on a GPS :baby: ) runs at RAF Odiham. I will look to get these re-surfaced rather than replaced but may have to change for floating grooved discs in future. I was using Pagid Orange pads and have switched to Pagid Blue's to see if the judder is reduced temporarily.

I too spoke with BG Developments in the early stages but they didn't seem very reactive and nothing much happened. I had my gearbox upgraded by GTO Engineering and they recommended Anthony at http://techcraft.co.uk. He was very professional and fought me when I wanted to do something that wasn't 'proper' engineering. He virtually insisted on machining my existing caliper mounting brackets to insert spacer pillars rather than just sandwich spacers between the caliper and the bracket. I can't knock him for integrity. :D

I supplied my original disc and bell for Anthony to take measurements from. The cost for the discs, the bells (which were subcontracted out I think, but were really nicely made and hard anodised) and the caliper mount machining and spacers was about 1250, it may have been more but I can't really remember (I think it is denial) so not cheap but not extortionate either.

I added braided hoses to the front and back (but I missed the links that join the fixed pipe from the chassis to the rear suspension arms so they are on my todo list) and I used Castrol SRF to prevent boiling.

I may play with 6-pot calipers on the front which will fit the 343mm discs better and move the 4-pots to the rear but I am having a garage built so money is tight. I haven't even thought about disc sizes for the rear yet.

I am not sure if Anthony will remember me since the work was done about a year ago now but hopefully he will still have the dimensions!

If I had to choose again I would recommend 330mm x 32mm floating discs.




#17 Bibs


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Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:12 AM

So what is to stop me from buying any calipers, getting a mount made and sticking them on my car?

What are the restrictions on what discs I can use? Can I have bells made up to match my current config and add rotors to match the calipers? How do I ensure the rear brakes are still in proportion to the fronts?

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#18 Jonathan



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Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:27 AM

Nothing really, your main restrictions are the wheel inner diameter.
The caliper and pad determine the disk width/thickness.

The 17" standard front wheel limits the disk and the caliper otherwise the wheel would not fit on !

The other consideration is un-spring weight, brake balance and so on.
Yes you should be able to have rotors made for you etc.

I'm also going the AP route (sometime before I die) with a standard off the shelf 330x32mm part which is only 220 inc each, genuine AP product. You'll need a new hat/bell at about 80 but they are re-usable. 5mm spacer on the calipers and you're done, S350 braking kit for under 900 !

This is a tried and tested copy of the Lotus setup on the V8 so it should be OK balance wise.
However to adjust the balance you can increase the pad on the rear, increase the disk size and or add a brake balancer.
In my case I'll just copy the S350 set up again and go for a larger disk on the back, dont see the point re-inventing the wheel tbh.

Makes me smile seeing what some vendors and what they charge for brakes, some are good value but some are a complete rip off.

Edited by USAndretti42, 28 May 2009 - 01:58 AM.
I'm sure I had just read that quoted text

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#19 Espritment



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Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:49 AM

It's the first time an Esprit has been raced in South Africa, and I had great fun this week end in Phakisa Raceway, Welkom, but did find that the brakes were a problem in standard form, even after using Castrol SRF fluid. I will have to look at upgrades similar to what some of you have done. It's a lot to ask from a 1100 Kg car in their standard form, in race conditions.
Enjoy 'em, respect them and keep them running !

#20 jfitz981



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Posted 26 May 2009 - 04:44 PM

I am truely showing my inexperience here but...who cares...I think this is worthwhile to know.

My ultimate goal is to upgrade to an AP racing brake upgrade but the costs of doing so are high is I buy the Lotus products. Could someone break down for me what I would need to buy from AP racing to create my own setup that would mimick the S350 setup? This way I could start piecing together the parts I would need.
Thanks so much

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