156 Brembo brake upgrade - No Do$h
Confession time.

The standard brakes on an Alfa 156 leave a lot to be desired. Make it a 156 Sportwagon Turbo Diesel (about 20% heavier than a 2.0TS saloon) and they are a recipe for disaster. There, I've admitted that my rash purchase of an Italian car may not have been 100% wise.....

I've sourced a full new set of Brembo 4-pot calipers, appropriate discs, pads and steel braided houses (as fitted to the 156 3.2 GTA) for £550 but they will require that I fit a 15mm spacer on each wheel as I have the Veloce 16" as opposed to the GTA or Selespeed 17". This disc size isn't the problem, it's clearance on the calipers. The spacers will be installed with longer wheelbolts.

I intend having the geometry checked out by Micheldever once everything is set up, but I would appreciate knowing what difference, if any, I may experience with the wider track. In particular I am interested in additional wear and tear on what is widely recognised as a fairly finely tuned suspension setup. I already have a knocking from the OSR which I suspect is a bush* (156s are famed for this) and don't want to make matters worse.

All help gratefully received.


*I plan on having the bush replaced at the next service, due in a few weeks, but is there anything I can do in the meantime to relieve the bush problems?

And yes, I will be telling my insurers about the changes.
156 Brembo brake upgrade - Ben {P}
Intersting idea with the brakes.

However, if you are switching to four pot calipers which have a different total caliper area than the original pads you will have changed the pressure ratio of the braking system. I would check the spec of the master cylinder on the car the parts came from. If it is different, and will fit your car, i would strongly advise you to fit one to your car, otherswise the results from your brake upgrade could be dissapointing. You could end up with big pedal travel.

I had trouble getting a satisfactory result when upgrading the brakes on an old Jetta 16v i had. I changed the whole hub assembly, discs calipers, and changed the brake hoses throughout the whole system. I fitted a 22mm mastercylinder as found on golfs mk.2 and 3 with 280mm brakes. Results were quite dissapointing. the brakes were only good once i changed the whole master cylinder and servo setup for one from a corrado vr6 with a 23.something mastercylinder.

I fitted wheels with different ofset to my car too, but the difference was not as great as 15mm each side. It made a noticeable effect to the handling, and the car tramlined slightly more (I fit slightly wider tyres at the same time). I found i got a bit more grip, but the handling was not as predictable. I would not recommend changing the track. As you require 15mm each side machining the calipers will not be an option. I think you need to go for the bigger wheels. A bit more grip will result in a bit more wear on the suspension if you use it, and not if you don't.
156 Brembo brake upgrade - No Do$h
That confirmed a few of my suspicions.

I may just opt for the hoses and upgrade the pads on the current calipers to Ferodo DS2500, see where that gets me. I don\'t really want to ditch the wheels/tyres as I fitted new Michelin Pilots all round this summer and it\'s more expense than I really want to see. The amount of offset needed to fit these calipers was my major concern.

Thanks for the detailed and informative response.
156 Brembo brake upgrade - Ben {P}
Sorry i was in a bit of a hurry and didn't write too well above.
Changing the track will make a difference. I would try driving the car with spacers to simulate the change after fitting the big brake set-up before you do it.

One thing you soon realise with trying to modify a car properly, is that all changes you make affect many other aspects of the, which then need to be changed to realise the full benefits, or limit any particular vice caused by a modification. This means cost!

Make sure you upgrade all hoses etc.

If you already have the calipers you could go to somewhere and have some carriers made to use smaller discs that would fit under your wheels.

Alternatively, you could stick with the calipers you have and get some carriers to allow you to fit some slightly larger discs.

For these bits i could contact a bloke called Jeff at high spec brakes in dartford (www.hispecbigbrakes.com) but do a goole search on that name first, a few people have been unhappy with the customer service. Or try rally design for braking parts www.raldes.co.uk

Can't comment on the pads- not used them. I have used and liked Pagid Fast Road pads which used to be sold at a good price by german and swedish. Other than that EBC greenstuff are good.
156 Brembo brake upgrade - No Do$h
Haven't made the purchase yet.

Given the propensity of the 156 for signalling every imperfection in the suspension and tracking, I think I will pass on the Caliper/Disk route.

There has been a lot of debate on a dedicated Alfa site on different pads and although the greenstuff ones got a good write-up, the DS2500s (a fast road pad) were generally rated above them, even when used with the standard discs.

Value my car