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BMW M3 (E36)   (1995-1999)

 Zeckhausen Racing sponsored E36 M3 competing in the 2008 Targa Newfoundland

Click wheels for a close-up of the StopTech big brakes

Why Upgrade your Brakes?

Big brake upgrades give your car greater resistance to fade by absorbing and shedding heat more efficiently.  Stock brakes were designed for one or two stops from high speed, not repeated heavy braking events with limited time to cool off.  For fade resistance on the track, size really does matter.  On the street, fixed-mount, multi-piston calipers yield a firmer pedal and quicker reaction time in panic stops than stock, floating calipers.  A mere 0.2 second reaction time improvement can translate into 21 feet of stopping distance at 70 mph.  On the street, quicker reaction time can help you avoid an accident.  You don't need to be a racer to benefit from brake upgrades.

If you track your car regularly, your stock brakes probably are not up to the task.  The correct approach is to start with better brake fluid, more aggressive brake pads, cooling ducts, and stainless braided brake lines, addressing problems as they arise.  But as you progress from novice to intermediate to advanced, carrying more speed into the braking zones, your track events will be characterized by boiling brake fluid, sinking brake pedal, and pad fade.  Losing confidence in your brakes makes you slower and takes the fun out of a track event.  Big brake upgrades allow you to dive deeper into the braking zones and brake harder than you ever thought possible.  Even more than horsepower, brake upgrades allow you to gobble up the distance between you and the cars ahead of you.

Zeckhausen Racing can help you choose the most cost-effective way to improve your brakes.


Big Brake Kits

StopTech big brake kits are designed for each vehicle with optimum front-to-rear brake torque balance, resulting in the shortest possible stopping distance of any aftermarket brake upgrade and total compatibility with ABS and electronic stability control.  Fixed-mount, multi-piston calipers produce a firmer pedal feel and quicker reaction time than stock brakes in panic stops.  Every StopTech application is track tested and fine-tuned as part of the development process.  StopTech is the only major big brake kit manufacturer to use application-specific caliper piston sizing.  See: Track testing write-up

StopTech big brake kits are available with red or black calipers standard.  Silver, gold, blue or yellow calipers are available at no additional cost and add about 30 days to the delivery date.  Slotted or drilled rotors are available.  Drilled rotors are recommended for the street, while slotted rotors may be used for street or racing.  For vehicles driven where salt or chemicals are used to melt snow and ice, optional zinc plated rotors are recommended.  Add $100 to the price of any kit for zinc plating.

StopTech's ultra-high end Trophy Sport and Trophy Race brake systems are now available.  20% lighter calipers and extreme heat resistant natural anodized finish for heavy racing applications.  Click here for our Trophy brakes announcement in our latest magazine ad.

Will your wheels clear a StopTech big brake kit?  Click here for a comprehensive set of wheel fitment templates and instructions for using them.

Click Here for Replacement parts for your StopTech big brake kit

To purchase a StopTech brake kit on-line, click here: and enter the part number into the Product Finder, or simply click on your make, model, and year car for a complete listing.  Or feel free to call us at (800)222-8893 x1 for help selecting the proper big brake kit for your needs.

Front 13" brake kit with ST-40 4-piston calipers, floating 332x32mm AeroRotors, stainless steel braided brake lines, and high performance street pads



Front 14" brake kit with ST-40 4-piston calipers, floating 355x32mm AeroRotors, stainless steel braided brake lines, and high performance street pads



Rear 13" brake kit with ST-40 4-piston calipers, floating 332x32mm AeroRotors, stainless steel braided brake lines, and high performance street pads




Centric Premium rotors are identical in dimensions to the factory originals.  During assembly, rotors are straddle cut for the most accurate machining, then double disc ground for optimum parallelism, minimal runout, and near zero thickness variation.  A non-directional finish is applied for better initial pad bedding.  All surfaces, including the hat, are machined and non-swept surfaces are electrostatically coated with a durable, black finish for corrosion protection and good looks.  Finally, rotors are computer mill balanced to incredibly tight tolerances.  You won't find better replacement rotors anywhere.  Click here for video with more product details. 

Centric Premium High Carbon rotors utilize an advanced metallurgy that reduces pad squeal. The proprietary Molybdenum and Chromium alloy resists rotor cracking during heavy track use and increases the friction level, improving brake performance and stopping power. Increased Chromium and Carbon content is also more resistant to surface oxidation.  For some applications, directional internal cooling vanes are used for improved cooling over the straight-vane factory rotors.

StopTech Sport rotors offer the advantages of Centric Premium High Carbon rotors, with the addition of slotting and/or drilling for higher bite and friction and more consistent brake pad performance over the pad lifetime.

How to choose between them?  Slotted rotors provide additional bite and maintain consistent friction level over the life of your pads.  These are ideal for aggressive street and even road racing applications.  Slotted and drilled rotors offer even more bite and stunning looks, but should be used on the street and not for racing.  If you want slotted or slotted and drilled rotors and there is no pricing listed below, send an inquiry to orders@zeckhausen.com and we can let you know if they are available.  Or check our on-line store, which has many more vehicle listings:  STORE

Make sure you install your rotors properly.  See: How to Properly Install Plain, Slotted or Drilled Rotors

(Centric Parts is the parent company of StopTech .  StopTech rotors start as Centric High Carbon blanks and are machined in the USA on computer-controlled milling machines.)

To obtain information about any rotor, click on the part number (if a link is present) for details, including rotor drawings, replacement thickness, critical dimensions, and weight.

To order, click here: and locate your vehicle brand along the left side of the store page.  Or call us Monday - Friday at (800)222-8893 x1 for help selecting the proper parts.

Centric Premium High Carbon Rotors

Front 315mm x 28mm 1-piece vented rotors

Rear 312mm x 20mm 1-piece vented rotors

$78 each

$76 each





StopTech Sport Slotted Rotors

Front 315mm x 28mm 1-piece vented rotors

Rear 312mm x 20mm 1-piece vented rotors

$125 each

$115 Each





StopTech Sport Drilled Rotors

Front 315mm x 28mm 1-piece vented rotors

Rear 312mm x 20mm 1-piece vented rotors

$128 each

$123 Each






Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines

Improve pedal feel by replacing stock rubber lines with StopTech stainless steel braided Teflon lines.  Stock lines expand under pressure, contributing to spongy pedal feel.  StopTech lines reduce pedal travel and firm up pedal feel, allowing precise brake modulation.  Useful for drivers who "heel-toe" downshift, providing a more stable platform from which to modulate the throttle to match engine revs to transmission speed.

StopTech lines are covered with stainless steel weave to provide support and protect from abrasion and impact.  The stainless braid is molded inside a layer of clear plastic to protect the lines from the environment and to protect your car's suspension and delicate sensor wires from the "hacksaw effect" possible with uncoated steel braided brake lines.  These lines are DOT compliant and may be legally used on the highway, unlike lines sold for "off-road use only."  StopTech lines have been tested and approved by the TUV for sale in Germany.

100 percent tested!  Every StopTech line is tested at 4,500 psi before it is packed and shipped.  Most manufacturers perform no pressure testing.  Some test random samples from their assembly line or test to lower pressures.  No other company tests every single brake line.

When installing a front big brake kit, Zeckhausen Racing recommends upgrading your rear brake lines.  4-wheel big brake kits come with front and rear steel braided lines, so no additional purchase is necessary.

Each brake line kit includes parts for both sides of your vehicle.  To order, click here: and locate your vehicle along the left side of the store page.  Or, feel free to call us at (800)222-8893 x1 for help selecting the proper parts.

Front stainless lines for stock brakes

Rear stainless lines for stock brakes (4 line set)






High-Performance Brake Pads

Instructions for bedding in new brake pads

To order pads, click here: and then locate your vehicle along the left side of the on-line store page.  Or, feel free to call us at (800)222-8893 x1 for help selecting the proper parts. 

(Click here to order brake fluid!)

StopTech Street Performance brake pads offer an unusual combination of good bite, low noise, and extremely wide temperature range, making them ideal as "dual use" street to medium track pads. Included with StopTech big brake kits and available for most OEM calipers.  Zeckhausen Racing's preferred high performance street pads for aggressive drivers.





Centric Posi Quiet Semi-Metallic pads offer a high friction level across a wide temperature range. Very low dust, low noise w/OE designed composite shims to reduce pad vibration and squeal.  Easy on rotors.  Better performance than typical low-dust pads.  Give up the dust without giving up the performance.





Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic pads offer extremely long pad life and very low dust, keeping wheels cleaner than most other pads.  Quiet and rotor friendly.  Excellent friction level for improved pedal feel, making it an appropriate choice for performance cars.  Composite shims on every pad help prevent low-speed brake squeal.  Stop washing brake dust off your wheels every few days!





Hawk HPS high performance street pads have low dust, low noise, and low rotor wear.  Slightly higher in friction level than Hawk Ceramic pads with a similar MOT of around 750 degrees F.  Not recommended for track use, as their friction level falls off rapidly when the MOT is exceeded.





Hawk Performance Ceramic street pads have extremely low dust, low noise, and low rotor wear.  These represent the latest technology in street friction.  Not for track use.





Hawk HP PLUS high performance street pads have moderate dust, moderate rotor wear, very high initial bite and a Maximum Operating Temperature (MOT) slightly higher than Hawk HPS.  They tend to be noisy, often squealing under light braking, although proper bedding can help.  Ideal for autocross and may be used for track days on lower horsepower cars.  Not recommended for heavy track use, as friction level falls off rapidly when MOT is exceeded.





Hawk HT-10 Race pads have good modulation and release characteristics, making them ideal for the "weekend warrior."  Moderate rotor wear, moderate dust, a stable torque curve, above average bite, and a MOT of 1,400 degrees F.  Recommended for the front of front-engine cars for casual track use, as well as for the rear of club race and professional race cars.





Hawk DTC-60 is a member of the "Dynamic Torque Control" race pad family with similar characteristics to DTC-70, but less initial bite, slightly lower friction and an optimal temperature range starting 100 degrees F lower.  An ideal rear pad, when used with DTC-70 in front, for racers who prefer split friction levels.  May be used in front on lower horsepower cars or on cold days when DTC-70 can't be heated sufficiently.  Relatively low rotor and pad wear.





Hawk DTC-70 is the most serious member of the "Dynamic Torque Control" race pad family, with an average level of friction among the highest available and an incredibly linear pressure to torque relationship. The result gives the driver an unparalleled ability to modulate brake torque at the limit of tire adhesion, while keeping pedal effort low.  Relatively low rotor and pad wear for such an aggressive pad.





PFC 11 Race pads were developed from the legendary PFC 01 compound, with improvements to bite, modulation, and release characteristics.  Very high average torque output, rising over its operating temperature range, and a MOT of 2000 degrees F.  Excellent bite, low rotor wear, and average pad wear.  For most applications, these replace the 01 compound.





PFC 08 Race pads have smooth initial bite, with torque rising slightly over its operating temperature range, and a MOT of 2000 degrees F. Very low rotor wear, and the best pad wear of any PFC race compound. Ideal for endurance racing.





Ferodo DS2500 Club Race pads can be used on the street and for light to medium track duty.  Good cold bite, but can be noisy.  Proper bedding can help reduce this noise.  Less compressible than other pads, giving it excellent pedal feel and good modulation.  The average friction level of about 0.50 remains constant at any speed and at temperatures up to 1,000 degrees F, after which it falls off slowly.  Frequently used in the rear in conjunction with Ferodo DS3000 in front.






Replacement Brake Pad Wear Sensors

BMW uses wear sensors to monitor the condition of your brake pads.  Although your BMW has eight brake pads, on most models, only two pads are monitored for wear - the driver's side front inboard pad and the passenger's side rear inboard pad.  Thus, you should only order one front and one rear sensor.  When a monitored pad has worn below 2mm, the rotor chews through a plastic bump on the sensor and slices a wire.  This causes an open circuit, triggering a warning on your dash, either an idiot light or "CHECK BRAKE LININGS" message.  Once a warning has appeared, the sensor has been destroyed and must be replaced.

Each Centric replacement sensor comes with a wire and connector that clips into your BMW's wiring harness.  The other end (shown below in the enlarged gray box) clips into a slot at the top of your brake pad, with the plastic bump facing TOWARD the rotor.

E46 M3 sensor shown - your BMW model's sensor may have a different appearance

After replacing pads and sensors, the dash warning will still be illuminated.  However, you do not need your BMW dealer to reset the warning message.  To reset the warning on most pre-iDrive models, turn the ignition key to the run position, but do not start the car.  After about one minute, the brake pad warning will reset.  For newer models, the technique to reset the warning may vary.

To order, click here: and then locate your vehicle along the left side of the on-line store page.  Or, feel free to call us at (800)222-8893 for help selecting the proper parts.

Brake pad wear sensor






Performance, All-Season, and Winter Tires

Besides brakes, tires are the most important component in determining stopping distance.  It's literally where the rubber meets the road.  Selecting the right tire for your driving conditions can make a tremendous difference.  For example, if you live in Florida or southern California and are driving on all-season tires, you are leaving huge performance gains on the table!  A good set of summer-only performance tires can literally transform the handling and braking capabilities of your car.  In fact, if your goal is to minimize stopping distance, you're better off going to Tire Rack's web site and buying tires first, before spending any money here on better brakes!

For the best selection and prices, we recommend Tire Rack.  From Maximum Performance tires to All Season tires to Snow Tires, Tire Rack has it all.  Tire Rack also offers wheel and tire packages and can even tell you which wheels will clear your StopTech big brake upgrade.  Click the Tire Rack icon below for your best deal on wheels and tires. 

For wheel fitment information for cars equipped with StopTech or other big brake kits, contact Luke Pavlick at (888)541-1777 x362.

Tire Rack- Revolutionizing Tire Buying


Internet Resources for E46 3-Series information:





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We are located in Fairfield, New Jersey


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Copyright 2015 Zeckhausen Racing, LLC
Last modified: 9/18/2015