Piston Picking


Can I get your opinion on an item? The
phenolic brake caliper pistons—Raybestos
has these. It seems to me that these
would be insulating in nature. Is it better
to have an insulator between the pad and
the caliper or is it better to have a steel
piston to draw heat away from the pad?
This is for high-performance thrashing of

The phenolic was supposed to prevent
stuck pistons, but I have had them stick
even with phenolic and DOT5 silicone
juice. When these came out around 1976,
some guys were worried that the phenolic
would crack, but that worry seems to be
for naught.
There is very little contact between a
steel piston and pad anyway, I think that
has little effect on lining material temperature.
Better to ensure that there’s
no splash shield and wheels with lots of
venting. You might also fashion air scoops
that would bolt on where the splash
shields were.

In the mid-’70s, Ma Mopar introduced phen0lic caliper pistons (r.), supposedly to reduce
instances of frozen calipers. From firsthand knowledge, this didn’t help much, if at all.
From a brake fade point of view, I think there’s little, if any, difference. Bottom line: Use
whatever is handy.

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