With Project RSX humming along at full song and poised to pounce on apexes with a quick flick of the wrist, it's time to focus our attention elsewhere. The Acura RSX Type-S is a powerful performer and we've done our best to hone its talents under the hood, at the corners and on its sheetmetal. In this installment, we're going to address one of the more important systems on any car-the brakes. As we mentioned in last month's "Brake Upgrade Buyers Guide," brakes impact performance, style and safety.
Cross-drilled and/or slotted rotors are big attention-getters but they do much more than drop jaws. It's all about outgassing-the term for evacuating the build-up of gases from the space between the pad and rotor. Under repeated hard stopping, so much heat is generated that a layer of gas forms between the pad and rotor.
When you depress the brake pedal, proper contact is denied with unmodified rotors and the car resists slowing down. This scenario can really elevate the pulse on twisty canyon roads. The efficiency (or lack thereof) of the OE brakes, weight of the car and driving habits all conspire to promote this phenomenon. The vanes or holes in upgraded rotors give the gas a way out. In most kits the rotors are bigger, giving the braking system more swept area and more bite. Add to this an upgraded caliper with four or six pistons and the clamping force of the brakes is even more dramatically increased. Note that some big brake systems may require an upgrade in wheel size. Calipers are usually made of aluminum versus the cast-iron units on many OE systems so you can shave off some unsprung weight when you upgrade, which further increases the stopping performance of the system.
The installation of brakes for some cars is simple and straightforward; on other applications, it can be a challenge. As with any modification, a well-designed product is key to a headache-less install, excellent performance and a long service life.
When it came time to put together Project RSX, we heard Wilwood was continuing its advancement into the import market and had already developed a kit for the RSX. Wilwood, a well-recognized name in NASCAR ranks, began producing import kits a year or so ago. It was wise to not only manufacture parts for the popular Honda and Mitsubishi models, but also get ahead of the curve and produce kits for up-and-coming stars like the RSX.
The major steps of the installation are outlined in the accompanying photos. Hurry up and stop.