• Protip: Profile posts are public! Use Conversations to message other members privately. Everyone can see the content of a profile post.

Mixing Brake pads?


Experienced Member
13 May 2000
Lake oswego, OR
I just read in the FAQ not to mix Race compounds with Street compounds. Here is my question. I am currently running Porterfield R4-S on all 4 corners. I am planning on switching the front's (since they are fairly worn) to Hawk Black pads. Is this going to cause a problem? I didnt see any mention in the FAQ about Hawk Black pads, so maybe someome here has some experience with them. Please let me know as I am planning to go to PIR this weekend. (If it doesnt rain yet again. This is 5 track events now it has rained on me)
Well... I'm going to go out on a limb here. Some people will probably disagree with me, but what else is new?

Theoretically, you shouldn't mix brake pads front vs rear, just like you shouldn't mix tires front vs rear. The car is set up to be balanced with the same type of pads at both ends. However, as a practical matter, the car will still function if you mix them - and this means you will need to keep in mind that you may have some imbalance front vs rear. If you have better braking at one end, this creates the possibility that that end may lock up the tires sooner than the other end (keep the ABS on!) and/or that one end may suffer overheating more than the other. If the types of pads are similar in characteristics, the imbalance may be minor, but if they are dramatically different - as track pads are from street pads - the problems can be serious. It's all stuff to keep in mind before proceeding.

Now, as for your specific situation... What is your intention? The Porterfield R4S is a street pad, and the Hawk Black is (I believe) a track pad. The fact that you're moving to the Hawk makes me suspect that you'd like to try track pads - and, as is typical with track pads, you intend to swap them for the track, and not use them on the street. Now, if this is the case - why wouldn't you want to get a set of the Hawk pads for both ends to use on the track? You'll still be able to use the Porterfields after you swap back to go home, no? So why would you be mixing the pads?
Hawk Black pads are not really indicated for NSX track use. That is why you don't see anything about them in the FAQ.

Hawk Blacks on the front with Porterfield R4S on the rear is almost certainly going to give you uneven brake bias. I have never tried them, but I think the Hawk Blacks may actually grab less than the R4S, esp. once you get them good and hot, because the Blacks are a light duty track pad whose primary attribute is being inexpensive.

If this is true, it's probably not really what you want because you do not want your rears to lock up before your fronts.

[This message has been edited by Lud (edited 04 June 2001).]
I was told by the gentleman at the race shop where they sold them that the hawk Black's were a pretty heavy duty track pad. the Hawk Blue's were supposed to be less track oriented. It was also my understanding that Porterfield R4-S's were a street pad and so should grab LESS than the Hawk Black's. Having grabbier brake's up front shouldn't REALLY make that big of a difference I think..but I will go buy a set of Hawk Black Rear's and try them out as a set.

Although it sounds like they aren't all that great of a pad..

Basically it sounds like the Black pads are cheap. Blue sounds like a much better choice. But maybe the Blacks will be closer to the Porterfields.

The disadvantage of having a lot more grip up front is that you won't be able to maximize your turning or braking at all four corners, but that's not as bad as having a lot more grip in the rear!

[This message has been edited by Lud (edited 05 June 2001).]