Re: Ceramic Brake Pads

From: Joe Levy (
Date: Sat Apr 03 2004 - 10:21:10 EST

> I'm a little shocked to hear about Andy's friend and
> his experience with them. Sounds like they were going
> thru some extreme duty though.
I'm the guy, and Andy is my son as well as my friend. And here's the story:
2000 Durango 5.9 Engine, 3.92 Rear, Fastman TB, Tow Package, Tekonsha
Prodigy brake controller. At 28,000 miles installed Powerslot Rotors and
Raybestos QuietStop pads. Had fried the rotors while towing a 4000+ lb
trailer and the previous brake controller failed.
At 49000 miles, towing a Coleman Cottonwood (base wt 1650 lbs) and gear
cross country (estimate 2200-2500 lbs total wt.), 7% Grade coming into
Virginia City, Montana, and a 25 mph limit at the bottom of the grade.
Had to brake hard. Could smell the pads (or was it overheated fluid)
from 100 yds away even 1/2 an hour later, but no effect on braking other
than a small squeal with no load that disappeared when I hit the brakes.
  As time went on, the noise got progressively louder and lasted longer.
Les Schwab Tires in Portland, OR, pulled a wheel, but not calipers, and
found everything OK. I pulled and re-lubed the caliper pins in South
Lake Tahoe. They were bone dry. Didn't help. Squeal continued to get
worse - could now hear it even after hitting the brakes - but braking
held up OK, and we eventually made it home (at 57,000 miles). Pulled
both fronts when we got home - one pad on each side had a full-length
crack down it. Replaced the pads with Bendix TitaniuMetallic and noises
I'm sure we overheated the pads. Ceramics are lousy heat transfer agents
(used as heat buffers on the Space Shuttle), and when we stopped shortly
after that "excursion", they just continued to soak in that heat because
it wouldn't dissipate fast enough.
Another positive came out of this episode as well - what I thought may
have been another incidence of warped rotors (would have figured,
looking at the heat history) turned out not to be. The rotors are fine
and the slight pulsing I had been getting has disappeared as well. Now
have about 61,000 on the Durango (it got retired from towing 2 weeks
ago), and brakes are doing fine.
But, I'm not alone. A number of the folks in the Durango Owners Club
have ditched their ceramics in favor of semi-metallics. In defense, a
number of folks are pleased with the ceramic pads as well. The current
group favorite are Hawk Pads.


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