Overview

Original cars shipped with Wilwood brakes which were later upgraded to Brembo brakes. In addition, there is a Brembo street/track option anda carbon ceramic option. The following table provides a high-level comparison.

   Wilwood  Brembo  Brembo Street/Track Carbon Ceramic
Street Use Yes Yes No Yes
OEM No Yes Yes, GT Series  Yes
Rotor Type Two-piece One-Piece Two-Piece Two-Piece
Front Rotor Diameter 13.00 in. 13.98 in.  15"  15.50 in.
Front Rotor Thickness  1.10 in.
~1.25 in.   36mm, Min 35.5mm (discard thickness)
Front Pistons  4  6 6
Rear Rotor  Diameter 12.00 in. 14.37 in.  13"  15.00 in. 
Rear Rotor Thickness  .80 in.
~1.10 in.   34mm, Min 33.5mm (discard thickness) 
Rear Pistons   4
Weight       Varies, Each rotor is individually marked as to min weight. 
Pricing & Availability No longer available Included in kit $8.500 as an upgrade $16k+
  More info More info More info More info

In general, the standard brakes are really amazingly effective.  They are designed for much heavier cars, and thus can slow the SL-C with ease.  For track use, the standard brakes can be used with appropriate pads (don't run street pads on the track- you'll ruin them and probably the rotors as well), and will work well in HPDE or track day events. Several track day cars run the stock brakes with success.

You can find a nice overview of brake rotors, pads and fluids here.

Stoptech has a great video here that is a great explainer about high-performance brakes and some of the issues that are part of designing and using brakes suitable for our cars.

Here's a nice graphic from Brembo showing how the intended use for their different brake packages:

For our cars, the standard brake package is their "OEM" set, and the optional upgrade is their "GT" series. The Brembo racing brakes discussed in the next section are also available from Superlite, along with the correct uprights, etc.- call the factory for current specs and pricing, as they vary.

Race Brakes

If you are racing your SL-C, there are racing brake setups that are available, as used on the original championship-winning factory SL-C, and similar systems on current racing SL-Cs. Contact the factory for more information. These upgraded brakes typically require different caliper brackets, and sometimes different uprights. Expect costs to be very high for the very best brakes.

Brake Bias

Sometimes its OK to be biased. :) At least when brakes are concerned! It's important to get exactly the right amount of pressure to the front and rear brakes to make them work optimally.  That's called getting the bias right in your braking system. Read all about it in the overview of how to set brake bias on the Tilton pedal set that is included with the kit here.

Brake Lines

The kit provides custom CNC bent stainless steel brake lines.  The kit comes with stainless clips to hold the lines to the chassis.  However, there are a variety of ways to attach them to the chassis. Made4You produces a wide range of clips in variety of materials, styles, sizes and colors. Some of their products are available from Summit Racing. For example, MFY-1018813 (Single in Red) and MFY-2028813 (Dual in Red).   Another source is LSBilletworks, who make a wide range of billet fastening solutions for hoses, tubes, etc.

As of Summer 2014, cars now ship with brake lines that are intended to go outside the footbox, a change from the previous design.  This makes maintenance easier, as well as improving ergonomics (as one of the lines no longer is close to the left foot).  Taking the lines out of the interior as much as possible also makes cleanup in the event of a spill easier as well.

Brake Pressure Switch

The kits ships with a typical hydraulic brake pressure switch that is plumbed in the front brake circuit, and uses hydraulic pressure to close a simple SPST switch to indicate that the brakes are on, so that the electrical system can light the brake lights.

However, this stock switch only activates when there is considerable brake pressure. That means the brake lights come right on when you stab the brake pedal, but light applications of the brakes will normally not generate enough pressure to close the switch- so the brake lights stay off when you are lightly braking. 

For racing, you can look like the King of the Late Brakers. And there is no reason to let you competitors know when you are just brushing the brakes, is there? But for driving on the street, some drivers consider this is a safety issue, as you really don't want that blue-haired person behind you that is cruising with their Camry to be surprised when you are slowing the car. Luckily, there is an easy, cheap solution- just replace the original switch with a low-pressure switch.  Painless makes part # 80174 that works well. These are readily available from the usual sources, including this one from Summit.  

These switches are a direct replacement for the stock switch, though the terminals may vary, so be prepared to splice them in if needed.

Braking Effort

Some drivers are surprised by the amount of effort needed to achieve maximum braking force with these brakes.  Usually, that's because they grew up on power brakes.  Manual brakes typically take  more pressure to achieve the same braking force compared to power-assisted brakes, which makes sense.  So don't surprised if you find that you need to press harder on the pedal than you might have needed to with your street car with power brakes.   Don't make the common but incorrect assumption that a lower effort pedal means better brakes- that's not true at all: it just means that the effort to achieve a certain braking level is less.

If the brakes feel wooden, and even with effort, don't seem to stop the car well, there are two things you can check.  First, the pads are probably not "bedded in".  Every car needs this to get the proper pad/rotor interface.  There are plenty of sites that tell you how to bed in brakes, but here is one to start.

If your brakes are properly bedded in, and you still feel the brakes don't stop well enough even with sufficient effort, you can consider different pads.  Pads for the Camaro SS are plentiful, and there is a wide range of pad compounds available.  Check with the pros at your local race shop to discuss your needs.Finally, if you decide you just need power brakes, they can be fitted.  There is a section below that discusses how to adapt a power brake system that does not require a large booster, and will work for the SL-C.

Warped Rotors

We haven't seen anyone complain of this, but thought a section covering the topic might be useful.  The bottom line is that if you have a vibration under braking, and think it's warped rotors, it probably isn't.   Truly warped rotors are very rare, and to our knowledge, there haven't been any on any SL-C.

That doesn't mean the vibration you might feel isn't real-- it just means there is likely another explanation.  In fact, even measuring the rotor thickness along various places around the friction surface may in fact turn up different thicknesses, but that doesn't mean the rotor itself is warped.

In the vast majority of cases of braking-induced vibration, the cause is uneven deposition of pad material on the rotor.  This can typically be caused by poor or nonexistent bedding procedures, or less commonly in an SL-C, by keeping the brakes applied at a stop after very heavy braking.

There's a great article on the subject from Tire Rack that describes the problems and solutions.

Parking Brake

The factory offers a comprehensive parking brake setup as an option.  This is a great solution for those cars that want or need (for state inspection purposes) a parking brake.

The factory park brake system uses a conventional manual handle like many cars.  Some owners have mounted the handle in the center console.  Others have mounted it to the left of the drivers seat, where there is a fair amount of space.

Several builders looking to avoid a brake handle in their cockpit have installed an E-Stopp Brake.  This is a great solution for those owners who want to have a cleaner, less cluttered interior.  With solutions like this, only the handle is replaced by the E-Stopp or similar system-- the cables, calipers, which are part of the parking brake remain the same.

Similar solutions using a linear actuator to pull on conventional cables or push a master cylinder for a hydraulic park brake can be fabricated by the builder.

In any case, if you use an electrically assisted system like the E-Stopp or a similar home-brew solution, check with your state inspection station (if you need inspections where you live) to be sure that it's legal in your jurisdiction.  Because these are new, some inspectors don't know how to handle them-- that's why it pays to have the rules for your state in hand first.

Power Brakes

Power brakes can be added to the SL-C if needed, though with some effort and possible compromises.  The twin brake master cylinders must be replaced by a single dual-piston MC, and the bias bar is removed.  Front/rear balance can be adjusted by selecting a master cylinder with the appropriate bores, and additional fine tuning may be able to be accomplished with an adjustable brake pressure regulator as commonly found on race cars.

Some fabrication will have to be done to adapt another cars booster system, for example the hydroboost setup from a Mustang.  The hydroboost system uses a pump for pressure, and does not rely on engine vacuum. The biggest issue will be actuating the booster from the pedals; possibly the easiest solution to this would be to remote-mount the booster and master cylinders outside the cockpit as the MCs are in the picture of the RCR demo car.  This gives maximum flexibility for pedal box placement, as well as allowing plenty of room to mount the now-longer setup in the car.

This exploded drawing shows a typical dual-piston master cylinder.

The drawing below shows a complete, typical hydroboost power brake setup from the Ford family (77-80 Lincoln Versailles, 82-89 Lincoln Continental, 96-04 Mustang Cobra and others).

Whatever master cylinder you choose should have bores that are the same as the original master cylinder bores intended for these brakes.  Too big a bore and effort will be too high.  Too small of a bore will lead to a long pedal (meaning that the pedal travel to get full braking effect is too long) and mushy brakes.

Note that your engine will have to run a power steering pump or similar to run the power assist unit.  The power steering box in this drawing is superfluous for the SL-C.