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 Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder

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98riv65lark
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PostSubject: Front-end Vibration During Braking   Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:22 pm

Ive been having this problem since Ive owned the car but has become increasingly annoying. When I step on the brake pedal travelling over like 20mph the front vibrates violently. I have changed the brake rotors, brake pads, and tires. I also had an alignment done on the car. The car will not stop shaking has anyone else expirienced this problem?
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:35 pm

Are you sure it's the front end? Can you see the steering wheel move as you feel the vibration?

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'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:06 pm

I had that at one time. It would occur the most at downhill speeds (around 50mph) during braking. It was a warped rotor.
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:19 pm

Have you changed the rotors in the rear also? If it does it when braking, it's brake related.
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:22 pm

wow man dont know what to tell u except MAYBE the rotors u got are ALREADy shot or Maybe Struts IDK that wouldnt only be during braking
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98riv65lark
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:23 pm

AA - Yes the steering wheel shakes when the brakes are applied.

98Riv98 - I was thinking about doing that KYB swap but I cant really justify spend my entire paycheck on a pair of struts.
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:39 pm

When you changed your pads, did it look like they had even ware on the pads. If it's uneven ware you may caliper issues in addition to the warped rotors.
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:46 pm

They looked like they were wearing evenly. I cant imagine how expensive calipers would be to replace. Could it be that the A-Arm bushings are bad? There seemed to be some play when pulled from side to side when I had the wheels off.
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:42 am

I'm thinking tie-rod ends could cause this, but they'd have to be really bad. Inspect them as well as upper/lower ball joints. Still sounds like rotors, but if you're sure they're straight... dunno

Did the problem get better at all when you changed the rotors, or did everything stay exactly the same?

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'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:50 am

Did you also do your rear brakes AND rear rotors?

A minor shimmy from the rear seems to really shake the whole car.
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Fri Mar 16, 2007 9:09 am

The problem didnt get fixed the last time I changed the brake rotors.
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Fri Mar 16, 2007 9:17 am

Bad rear rotors can indeed shake the whole car, but they shouldn't make the steering wheel pull left/right in your hand. Mine were about as bad as they get, and that's the way I could tell.

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'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:35 pm

Do you have aftermarket rims with hub-centric rings?
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:00 pm

No stock rims.
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:43 pm

theres also inner tie rod ends..that reside inside the rack...an are made of a nylon material... PITA to change....along with the LCA busshings...there are no upper ball joints...jack the front end up..an see if theres any movement vertically..and horizontally in the wheel....
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:51 pm

Is there any better than OEM product on the market for a our LCA bushings? There is horizontal movement from the LCA.
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Fri Mar 16, 2007 7:50 pm

i dont think so...no poly or anything... i just did stockers...i did my whole front suspension....an while braking the whole lower Control arm would flex ..causing a *clunk*
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:13 am

Well it seems as if the alignment I just had done on the car kinda sorta fixed the problem. The vibration during braking is now just a light shudder. Deffinately more comfortable to drive. Alot smoother.
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PostSubject: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Sat May 23, 2009 11:25 am

Since I bought my Riviera in mid '03, I've managed to change the rotors 5 or 6 times, I can't remember which. The reason for replacement: brake judder (shimmy). On average, I can get a pair of front rotors to last between 30-35k miles before they start vibrating beyond acceptable limits.

Why was this happening? My first thought was poor rotor design and/or iron quality. I figured the cheaper, solid Chinese replacement rotors I used were warping over time. The solution? Maybe try a drilled set from eBay. Result: the judder came back right on schedule. Next I tried a quality set of (EBC) slotted rotors with the F-Body caliper upgrade. Result: judder came back again.

During the quest for ideal rotors, I tried various pad compounds as well, including metallic, ceramic, and composite blends. I found no real answer to the judder problem here, but I did find a noticeable difference in how they performed. Metallics are noisy, ceramics are clean & quiet, and the premium composite blends (ferro-carbon) seem to offer the best stopping power.

But in researching I found that warping doesn't just happen. The cause is usually the uneven distribution of pad compound, created by a combination of factors including installation, driving habits, and choice of pad compound. This uneven pad disposition can lead to hot spots on the rotor, which can then lead to warping over time. See StopTech's info here: http://www.stoptech.com/tech_info/faqs.shtml#25

So maybe the pads had more to do with things than I thought. I'm still not sure, but I'm working on it. Currently I'm running a club/autocross pad that's pretty noisy and dusty, making it barely acceptable for street use, but it's more abrasive when operating cold, so in theory the discs will be "cleaned" during start-up. This will wear the rotors down over time, but if it keeps the pad compound more evenly distributed, maybe they won't warp. I will see.

One thing I found rather interesting is the install instructions that come with most better quality rotors. Here's what came written on the box of my new Royalty rotors. Following this procedure is required for their lifetime warranty to be effective:

1) Remove old rotor.

2) Carefully clean rotor mount and hub to ensure they are free from rust & scale.

3) Check brake caliper position for full retention ability.

4) Disassemble all caliper slider mechanisms, remove all scale and rust, smooth file or sand as necessary to provide smooth surface on slider faces.

5) Apply small amount of high melting point grease sparingly to sliders. Reassemble caliper.

6) Fit new brake pads. Failure to fit new pads invalidates warranty and will cause high spots on rotor. Rotor will overheat and vehicle may suffer loss of brake in early driving miles. Do not install caliper at this time.

7) Install new rotor and secure with two wheel nuts finger tight and inspect rotor for run-out (before fitting wheels). If run-out exceeds .003" remove rotor, rotate rotor one bolt hole and repeat. If run-out still exceeds .003" there is a run-out fault on the vehicle which must be rectified before proceeding. Obtain On-Car Brake Lathe and skim rotor to bring within tolerance or use tapered shims to correct. Run-out in excess of this figure will cause "brake judder vibration". This is not a warrantable condition.

8) When satisfactory run-out is obtained, remount brake caliper with pads, mount wheel nuts, then finger tighten.

9) IMPORTANT: Tighten wheel nuts with vehicle hand brace or torque wrench using gradually increasing torque figures and tighten wheel nuts diagonally. The common fault when installing new rotors is to tighten with air gun to torque figures way above what is required. This pulls the rotor surface to one side, creates significant run-out, will cause disc thickness variations, and eventually brake judder.

10) Check brake fluid level and pump brakes to bring up pressure. Follow vehicle manufacturer instructions in all respects in addition to the above guidelines.


Get all of that? Seems more complicated than how I've always installed rotors (clean the hub and slap them on), but I complied and did each of these steps. Seems the Royalty Rotor company is more concerned with judder than I am! The EBC rotors came with similar instructions. Most interesting I thought is step 7, the part about measuring run out. For this step I moved my bench vice down on the floor next to the rotor (car is on jack stands), clamped a dial caliper with depth probe touching the portion of the rotor furthest away. Spinning the rotor by hand, I could see the variance in run-out. It took partial 3 rotations of the new rotor, but I finally got it perfect:



Here is the same run-out test of my old EBC rotor, still mounted in it's original position. As you can see, the deviation is double the permitted .003":



So I learned the rotors were in fact warped, but I also learned the hubs are not perfect, as the new rotor measured .005" run-out when first mounted, then rotated 3 lugs to get it back to zero. Makes me want to try rotating the EBCs to see how close to zero I can get. Other than the run-out problem, the EBC rotors are in great shape, and I really liked their performance when new.

If anyone has anything to add, I'd appreciate the feedback. Today I'm checking the rear rotors for run-out, as they've been starting to vibrate. I want to try cleaning the disc surfaces, as well as rotating them on the hub for less variance. Wish me luck!

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Sat May 23, 2009 2:07 pm

Great info AA, I'm definitely going to look at that, will be replacing warped rotors soon and my dial indicator is ready to help me out!!

Those are nice thorough instructions. Clearly a good product!

-Derek
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Sat May 23, 2009 5:27 pm

If you don't want to put your bench vice on the floor, there's a nifty device you can buy called a rotor run-out gauge. It's just a micrometer on a flexible gooseneck with a grip clamp that you mount to the caliper bracket. A little pricey, but surely saves time:


_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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AA
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:30 pm

Recently I replaced the front rotors and upgraded to Hawk HP+ pads front/rear. I believe the old fronts were actually warped, as measured run-out with dial calipers was evident. Good news: after 4,000 miles, the new fronts seem to be holding up very well.

The rear rotors, however, were not replaced with the install. They are Brembos I installed about 28k miles ago, and seemed fine. But I noticed shortly afterward the car juddering a little during high speed braking. This was confirmed as rear rotors by a test of engaging the parking brake at speed.

Inspecting the rear rotors, I could see several fine deposit marks on the discs. They look like thin lines moving from inside to out, maybe 4 or 5 around the disc. I saw these when I installed the rear pads and tried to sand them off with a wire brush, but they wouldn't go away. My assumption is this was uneven pad compound (pad imprinting) from the previous HPS pads, and the plan was to use the HP+ pads' higher abrasion to "sand" the rotors through several miles of cold braking.

So far, it seems to be working. I could swear the vibration is now less than when I installed them in May. If the rear rotors continue to get better, this may be a solution to my rotor problem. Time will tell, so I will keep updating as I notice any change.

Interestingly, the BMW 5-series owners seem to have just as hard a time with their brakes as we do. It appears their big, heavy beemers may actually have it worse, considering how their owners drive sometimes. Here is an interesting read on the subject at bimmerfest.com: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3254996

There is a resident expert, Dave Zeckhausen, known as "Dave Z", who really seems to have figured out why brakes have the problems they do. He is in agreement with StopTech's write-up papers and sites them often. Dave created his own bed-in procedure, which he feels is crucial to keeping brakes judder free: http://www.zeckhausen.com/bedding_in_brakes.htm

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:44 pm

Ok, so I've put ~7000 miles on the new Royalty rotors and HP+ pads (front) and HP+ pads (rear) installed May of this year. Rear Brembo rotors stayed from the previous F-Body install of April '08.

One of the only problems I had (mentioned in above post) was the older Brembos seemed to give some vibration, but the hope was to eliminate this by using the more abrasive HP+ pad compound.

Well, it seems to have worked. The rear judder seems to have been eradicated since the install of HP+ pads. I can now stop hard at 80 mph and judder is almost undetectable. Engaging the parking brake at that speed will produce a slight shake, but it's nothing like 3 months ago. I think it will be gone in another thousand miles.

I now have about 32k miles on the Brembo rear discs in total. The vibration was so bad about 5k miles ago that I actually purchased a pair of replacement rotors a couple months back, after which I noticed some slight improvement. But now I can say they are almost fulled 'healed', so am keeping them on. The deposit marks mentioned in the above post are all gone now, having been scrubbed away by the HP+ pads.

Btw, the newer front rotors are performing perfectly, with no judder at all.

It's worth noting - the pads alone didn't revive the rear rotors, imo. I think driving style helped the pads do their job. The reason being, I tried obsessively to keep the pads working in abrasive mode (cold, friction) rather than in adherent mode (hot, heat transfer) as much of the time as possible. Although I did often work the pads enough to get them hot, depositing a layer of compound on the discs, I beforehand always tried to stab the brakes hard to use the abrasiveness to clean the rotor surfaces. In a sense, I am "bedding in" the brakes on a frequent basis. This is why I think my rear rotors are now clean and "straight". Truth is, I don't think they were ever warped. I believe these guys at StopTech were right on about pad deposition causing judder, and not actual warping.

Also, I have been very careful not to stop the car fully after a very hard decel, and if I do, I have made sure to always throw the car in neutral so as not to keep the pads touching the rotor surfaces. This isn't really that hard once you practice. I do not use the parking brake when the brakes are hot, either.

So why HP+ pads? Simply because their window for working in abrasive mode is larger than most semi-metallic, and organic compounds. Since the HP+ must heat up to higher temps before they go adherent, they will scrub away at the rotor surface more with each braking event than your everyday pad compound. They are more abrasive than the HPS, so they are slightly better for scrubbing rotors, but otherwise the HPS are a great (quiet) performance pad. All-out race pads are most abrasive, and work in a much higher temp range, so would be ideal for scrubbing cold rotors, but they are expensive, noisy and dusty.

What about rotor wear? I think there is some increased rotor wear, but if that's what it takes to keep the discs working smooth and judder-free over 35k miles, I'd rather take that route. The good think about using a slotted rotor is that you can tell when they get worn, as the slots get very shallow in depth, or even can go away, so this can be used as an indicator. Rear rotors are solid, so not too worried about wearing them out.

Pad wear with HP+ pads has been so far excellent. They are a dirty pad, but not as bad as I'd anticipated. They are noisy at times, but in everyday driving, you learn what speeds and pressures create squeals, and how to adjust for them. Believe it or not, the noise is a positive trait that actually encourages hard, short braking events, which results in less noise, and helps keep the discs free of compound build-up, glaze, dirt, etc.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:21 pm

Thanks for the tips AA, I'll be stopping my car harder than before! It's tough because I do a lot more city/lower speed driving, so the brakes get hot and stay hot, and I don't have many opportunities to 'clean' the rotors, but I will start braking later/harder a bit more often.
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying and Correcting Disc Brake Judder   Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:41 pm

Even with city driving, make your braking events happen more suddenly, with less dragging of the pedal, and your brakes will stay a lot cooler. Also, braking late and hard makes for better economy, as you will roll through a lot more yellow lights than if you braked earlier and lighter (the way 95% of drivers do it). Problem is, easing into the pedal for long, smooth stops heats up the pads and rotors more than it helps to stop your car!

The downside is you must constantly be aware of people behind you. It's a good way to encourage a rear-end collision if you aren't careful, or to make other drivers think you are a jerk. Stay clear of larger vehicles for sure. If someone is tail gating your ass for fun, oh well. It'll be their fault! Also, you must have the pads that can really stop the car quick. Waiting that extra second means the car must brake on a dime.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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