I've always been very happy with my big brake upgrade way back in 2001. They were powerful and reliable. The only problem I had with them was that the supplied Green Stuff pads seemed to loose their bite and as a result they had become a little wooden and lacking in feel They had also started to squeal under light application. During the early part of 2008 I bought some new pads to see if I could bring them back to life. I went with Ferodo DS2500 pads and they were very good, great bite from cold. The only problem was they squealed just as much as the Green Stuff's had been. I stripped and applied copper grease again but they were the same.
During the Spain trip they were getting really noisy, whenever I slowed down from 40mph or less they would scream my presence to all nearby, which got a little tiring after a while. It had got to the point where I was having to try to drive around the problem, I would brake hard and then back off and then brake hard again, as it seemed that the harder I braked the quieter they were. It doesn't make for a very smooth drive though, not great on a 500 mile, day long drive.
The next trip was Le Mans a month and a half later and they were worse still, making a racket from seemingly any speed now. Even the other se7ener's commented on it - so it must have been bad! I lived with it for the rest of the year but I wasn't happy and really couldn't find a solution that I could try. I chamfered the leading edge of the pads, put more copper grease on, etc, no change.
So, during the first drive of 2009 I had exactly the same and it reminded how much it was annoying me and detracting from having an enjoyable drive. I decided enough was enough and managed to swing past the Caterham parts department on a business trip to collect a set of the AP brakes. I fitted these over the following weekend and bled the fluid through a couple of times before heading out to bed the pads/discs in. Initially they were scary, I could barely stop at the end of my road which was a wake up call. I drove carefully to the nearest duel carridgeway and made a couple of runs of getting up to 60 - 70mph and then braking down to 5 - 10mph before accelerating back up again - obviously this can only be done with low traffic levels and with a careful eye on the rear view mirror!! By the second run up the duel carridgeway the brakes were coming good, the pedal was a lot firmer and was offering stronger braking.
The only snag - at the end of the road was a roundabout controlled by traffic lights. I was heading home and needed to stop for some lights and the pedal went completely to the floor. Fortunately I was still being cautious and was traveling slowly and had left a big gap so had enough time to pump the pedal which fortunately came back and I stopped. The rest of the drive home was very cautious but I also was trying to provoke the same to happen where I could safely do so. It didn't do it consistently but it seemed that when it did do it it was when you were gently braking, almost pausing on the pedal. A hard shove and it was always fine, the pedal was firm and didn't sink. I got home and checked everything over and couldn't find a problem, posted on Blatchat and thought it was probably the master cylinder seals. I was pretty much resigned to having to buy a new one (£120) when I was checking the rear bleed screws again and noticed the inside of the rear wheel was wet. I pulled the wheel off and found the slave cylinder was leaking - the only reason I can think that I didn't spot this the first time was that I backed the car in and at some point turned it around and therefore checked the wrong side next. A new cylinder was bought and the fluid bled through yet again and no problems since. Phew!!
So, how are the AP's - well, great actually. They have OK feel even with the standard pads and offer huge stopping power, but I would like to try something with a bit more feel, but I'll try to get some life out of these pads first. They still squeal a little at slow speed when you are trundling up to a junction or through busy traffic. Under normal braking they are silent though. I will monitor as I am starting to wonder if my hub is warped slightly as the noise isn't a constant squeal, but rises and falls with the speed of a wheel rotation. Argh - a job for the winter months I think, the car is far too much fun at the moment.

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