Q: Why are your T4 and 6P calipers better than similar in price calipers from other manufacturers?
A: Caliper stiffness is ALWAYS our first priority in any caliper design, but there are several other important criteria as well. Several design features make the T4 and the 6P calipers superior to the others on the market in their respective price ranges and some costing much more. Here we’ll address each one of the concerns and questions typically posted on some the forum’s and explain in detail why our designs are superior to our competition.
- Caliper finish – Calipers are offered Powder Coated as the standard finish, but are also available Hard-coat anodized. Typically, we use the hard-coat anodized versions in Off-Road racing applications as they have superior wear resistance compared to powder coating. This is important as it is common for the wheels to pack up with mud, rocks, etc… Not much of an advantage in road racing, but it does have a more purposeful look and hold’s up well to high temperatures if the system is overheated. Powder coating is quite acceptable for most uses and almost all of our competitors use powder coating for their road going and sportsman level competition calipers as well.
- Internal Cross Over - A quick look at the highest end calipers being produced today will show that more and more now feature internal cross over’s. There are far LESS things that can go wrong with this arrangement. To ease any concerns about leaking, the calipers have been tested at up to 6000 psi with no mechanical failure of the caliper bodies, and while the o-rings did fail, it was in excess of 4000 psi which is about 3 times higher than any hydraulically operated brake system is operated at. Also the internal cross over design absolutely eliminates the chance of the cross over’s being damaged as a result of debris. The absence of the frequently necessary channels to route external cross-over tubes also adds to overall caliper stiffness (more on caliper stiffness in a moment).
- Single bleeder – Since the air is pushed up simultaneously on both sides of the caliper, it bleeds faster and more efficiently than 2 bleeder calipers. And with one less bleeder there is one less thing to worry about.
- Pad changes aren’t as fast as a quick change type of caliper design, like those typically used in endurance racing like our 6R, but there are only two bolts to get the caliper off, so it’s still a very fast process. At least as fast as calipers that need to have two or more bridge bolts removed in order to access the pads. In some cases faster as you don’t need to hold the other end of the fastener to loosen or tighten them.
- Now to the most important aspect of caliper design…stiffness – The reason you need to remove the caliper to replace the pads on the T4 and 6P calipers is that the pads don’t come out of the top of the caliper. This is due to the large radius corners at the opening in the top of the caliper. The large radiuses help resolve two key problems inherent in virtually all caliper designs. They help to minimize caliper flex as the result of the piston acting on the caliper body when the brakes are applied. (This is what most people think about when they think of caliper flex, and the only thing some caliper manufacturers know to exist).
But, it is not the only distortion (flex) the caliper is experiencing during heavy braking. It also resolves another phenomenon that happens during heavy braking. Since the calipers are only mounted on one side of the caliper, as is the case with all automotive mounting configurations; the opposite side of the caliper wants to move in the direction of the rotor rotation due to the friction of the outboard pad “pulling” the caliper with it. This action causes the caliper to distort, or “twist”. This also affects pedal firmness and modulation.
Some caliper designs incorporate elaborate, spider web type, bolt in bridges at the top of the caliper to help minimize this. The bolt in bridges do a good job of minimizing caliper flex in a number of directions, but there are a few downsides…You still need to remove the fasteners to access the pads. And, they restrict airflow, reducing the pumping efficiency of the rotors so the systems typically run hotter than with our design. Other designs simply use a single bolt or two from one side of the caliper to the other in an effort to help minimize caliper distortion, but the design is antiquated, does little to eliminate the second condition outlined above; and STILL requires removal to change the pads.
In addition to the large radius corners, Baer also employs a 6 bolt per caliper design to fasten the two halves together on both the T4 and 6P calipers (6S and 6R calipers feature a Monobloc design) compared to most competitors four bolts. More bolts equal an increase in caliper stiffness.
Additional items to consider when comparing Baer T4 and 6P calipers to our competitors
- Piston placement and pad shape – the most efficient pad shape is one that is long in length and short in height, compared to a pad with the same area that is short in length and tall in height. The reason that the longer pads are preferred is simple leverage. The shorter pad height allows the pistons in the caliper to be placed as far away from the hub center as possible (read; close as possible to the rotor edge). This has the same effect as running a larger diameter rotor without the weight penalty. This is also the number one reason 6 piston calipers are typically superior to 4 piston calipers. It has nothing to do with clamping force or pad surface area.
- Pad availability – The decision to design our calipers to use the 1997 to current Corvette (6P) and 1998-2002 Camaro/Firebird (T4) is no accident. The above referenced reasons are why; a long, short in height pad shape. The other reason for going with these two pad shapes are that they are available from virtually every aftermarket pad company in the world, so whether you need a street compound or a competition compound, you are sure to find what you need. The two pad shapes also allow us to employ factory style, anti rattle and wear plates for superior resistance to wear and noise abatement.
- Manufacturing techniques and materials -Both calipers are machined from billet extrusions, not cast aluminum like a majority of the calipers in this category. Extrusions are basically billet bars that are forged into the rough shape of the caliper prior to machining.
- Inset dust and weather seals - Unlike a majority of the competitor’s calipers, Baer utilizes both pressure seals and wiper seals. The wiper seals are inset back into the bores to avoid being over-heated and failing. Most competitors either don’t use wiper seals at all which greatly reduces the reliability of the caliper or employ dust “boots” or seals that contact the back of the pad, which often results in the boots or seals failing when used in a competition environment.
- We are the only company that addresses pad knock back issues on rear applications that use axles with c-clip retained axles with our patent pending, VeriSlide brackets.
- The S4, T4, 6P, 6S and 6R calipers as well as the racing versions (GA4, 6PSC, and 6RTT) calipers are all made, 100% in the USA at our manufacturing facility in Phoenix, AZ.
If any of this is unclear, or you have comments, please call the us at (602) 233-1411