You're going downhill fast. The curve ahead is a difficult, sharp right hander. You've run through this mountain road a hundred times, and now, with your more powerful engine, you're making record time. You approach the turn, quicker than you ever have and see the tree that marks your braking point. You stand on the pedal...but there's nothing. The car continues forward, too fast, and that feeling in the pit of your stomach grows as you approach the retaining barrier. A loud "crack," a few thousand dollars worth of body work, and a renewed sense of one's mortality later, you decide it's time for new brakes.
Of course, if you're astute, you could learn about the importance of a high-performance brake system without the damage and fear. Adding power to a car is fun, of course. Who doesn't want to be pushed deep into the seat when the loud pedal is smashed to the floor? But those corners--or quick-changing stoplights--can appear without warning, and if you aren't prepared, you can find yourself in trouble fast.
Luckily, there are plenty of braking solutions, even for cars as new as the Acura RSX Type-S. Though it's been on sale for barely a month, aftermarket companies of all varieties are already lining up with enhancements to the sport coupe. Among them is Wilwood Engineering, a company that started designing brakes in 1977. Wilwood's brake designs were initially targeted at stock car racing. By the early '80s, the brakes had become well known in all racing communities. As the company's reputation grew, it became an obvious choice for enthusiasts looking for enhanced braking performance.
Already offering kits for the Civic and Integra, the RSX was a natural next step for the company. The RSX Type-S already comes with a good-sized brake package, 11.9-inch vented rotors. However, a single-piston floating caliper--not the best solution for high-performance braking--clamps the rotors. Testing has shown the RSX to be good in stops; however, if you plan on hitting the track, you'll want more on your side.
The Wilwood upgrade consists of 12.19-inch rotors, lightweight four-piston calipers, steel-braided lines and Wilwood's own PolyMatrix brake pads. The rotors are a two-piece assembly. This allows the hat and rotor to expand at different rates as they heat up, reducing the likelihood of the rotor warping. In addition, the caliper is a non-floating design, which means it's solidly mounted to the spindle. The four pistons (two on each side) press equally hard on the rotor for maximum efficiency.
Installation of the brake kit is relatively straightforward. As always, it's important to have a good working knowledge of brake systems before you start; if you're uncomfortable doing it yourself, take it to a qualified mechanic. The Wilwood kit comes with everything needed for installation, including all mounting hardware and complete instructions.