Everything you ever wanted to know about how to make your Grand Prix to slow down! (Get it...instead of making it faster....yeah get it...nevermind)
Let us start with what you have in Stock form.
-1997-2003 GP’s GT/GTP Front brakes all have 11” Vented Rotors with a Single Piston sliding Caliper
-2004-2008 GP’s Base/GT/GTP/Comp G’s Front brakes all have 11.7” Vented Rotors with a Single Piston sliding Caliper
-2005-2008 GP’s GXP’s Front brakes all have 12.7” Vented Rotor with a Dual Piston Sliding Caliper
All Grand Prix’s Front Brake rotors are vented and are 1.25” thick. They also all are 5x115 bolt pattern and have a 70.3mm bore.
-1997-2003 GP’s GT/GTP’s all have 11” Solid rotors with a Single Piston sliding caliper, E-brake is inside the rotor hub (Same as the GXP’s)
-2004-2008 GP’s Base/GT/GTP all have 11” Solid rotors with a Single Piston sliding caliper, E-brake is spring loaded in the caliper
-2005-2008 GP’s GXP’s all have 12” Vented rotors with a Single Piston sliding caliper, E-brake is inside the rotor hub
Grand Prix’s braking bias in stock form is about 90% front and 10% rear. I am going to break down the brake upgrades by the front and then by the rear.
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Okay let us go ahead and break a few myths here. DRILLING Rotors does nothing for you, not unless you are running a 14” brake setup and track racing the car. It is all simply for aesthetics, Drilled rotors need to be molded (Casted if you will) in that form in order for them to be effective. Rotors that drilled after they have been made are weaker and more prone to crack. So I know some of you are thinking “But what about the GXP Rotors?” Yes those are drilled; they were molded that way, not drilled after the fact, which makes them a worthwhile rotor. Name brand rotors such as Brembo and Powerslot tend to mold their rotors with the drilled and slotted options.
With all that said, I know some of you have had good experiences with some of the stuff on eBay and there is a good explanation for that. Daily driving on eBay Drilled/Slotted rotors is not really all that aggressive on the brakes. If some of you were to use them on the track in extreme conditions I’m sure a lot of you would start see the cracks, but most of us don’t track our cars in a Road Course/AutoX. So this is just a little info on Drilled and Slotted rotors, use this info how you want.
I am one for putting a nice set of pads on the car; they can all make a huge difference. My personal top 3 picks are:
-EBC Red <<TERRIBLE PADS; Harsh on rotors and can cause permanent damage (Just went through a set on a different car...never again. EBC changed something and now their pads are terrible).
Of course Napa, Advance Auto Parts and AutoZone all carry some decent pads. I do recommend going to at least a nice Ceramic compound to start, anything is really better than the OEM option. This goes for picking any pads on all the Setups I will be discussing. I also tend to find that the best prices on pads tend to be from AJUSA.com, they tend to have really good deals and decent shipping prices.
Brake Lines are very important and should be replaced over time; they can wear over time and get weaker. I would suggest at any point you do your brakes to upgrade to Stainless Steel Lines. They give your braking a much firmer feel as they don’t let the pressure expand the line as much as the stock rubber lines. ZZP sells a version with extended front lines, if you are going to do the SS Line upgrade; I personally think this is a must to do.
Bleeding the brakes
This is a good how-to:
How to Bleed Brakes - wikiHow
Stock Upgrade (No caliper changing)
This upgrade is just giving the car a fresh set of rotors and pads, nothing to difficult. There is a lot of good info on here about picking your rotors. OEM, NAPA, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, etc. all carry good rotors. I currently have RotorPros rotors that are molded with the Drilled form. They can be found on eBay for $200 for all 4 Rotors for both 97-03 & 04-08 GPs, excluding GXPs.
Slight upgrade for the 97-03 GP’s
A slight first upgrade for the 97-03 GP’s is to get the 04-08 GP’s Front Caliper and use their 11.7” rotors as well. The caliper bolts and banjo bolts are all exactly the same and everything bolts right in with the right rotor and pads. A reason this is a good upgrade is because going from a smaller diameter rotor to a larger diameter rotor is always a good improvement. A good analogy is this: Try to push open a door close to the hinge, and then try to open the door halfway out from the hinge and lastly push the door open at the opposite end from the hinge. Which was easiest? Well obviously the furthest point from the hinge. The same kind of principles occur with braking, the further the caliper is away from the center point the more efficiently the car can stop.
Good places to pick up this upgrade are either ZZP or W-Body Store. Or you can watch for used 04-08 calipers and piece this together yourself.
Moderate Upgrade for all GP’s except GXP
A good upgrade for all is the F-body upgrade. This is an upgrade that uses a 12” setup (grab 98-02 F-body Rotors, DO NOT USE 04+ GRAND PRIX ROTORS, THEY ARE NOT THE RIGHT SIZE) and using the calipers off of a 98-02 F-body V8/V6. This caliper is a dual piston sliding caliper. There are two options on picking the caliper, you can either A) just pick up F-body calipers and use them or B) Pick up Corvette C5/C6/Z51 Calipers which are also Dual piston sliding calipers, but you will also need to get the F-body caliper bracket (Part #: 18026163) as well as F-Body brake pads. The difference is negligible between the two; the corvette calipers have a smaller piston diameter and are supposedly stronger. You will also need the F-body banjo bolt.
Installing this setup has two options as well, A) drill the caliper brackets out and tap them so that you can use the GP’s caliper bracket bolts (this link talks about everything for this option: F-body Caliper and 12” Rotor Upgrade) or B) use a spacer bushing and use the F-body caliper bolts with the brackets (this link talks about everything for this option: Link Click Here). Option B is obviously cheaper and both options work well, I currently run Option B.
The stopping force is definitely an improvement over stock, I would recommend this option as a start for most, and this kit can be either pieced together using eBay or just pick up the whole kit from either ZZP or W-Body Store.
Lastly this upgrade can still fit 16” wheels with the correct offset.
Bigger is always better, The GXP upgrade
GXP upgrade is just like the F-body upgrade, it’s a direct bolt in though. There is no need to use spacers or tap the bracket. GXP calipers do use the F-body banjo bolts though. Nothing much more to say here as this all just bolts right in. I would recommend the OEM 12.7” rotors; they are $60 a piece and are molded with the drilled effect. This can be picked up at ZZP or pieced together (hunt eBay or RockAuto).
This setup also requires 17” wheels with a correct offset (despite what ZZP says)
For those of you looking to get non-drilled rotors, you can take a look at the Buick Lacrosse Super rotors. You could also take advantage of their calipers as well.
Even Bigger is always better
There is a 13” brake option that is a dual piston sliding caliper that ZZP and W-body Store sells, I have not been able to figure out where the calipers come from and what vehicle the rotors come from, but I will update this info as soon as I do. This upgrade is again a straight forward bolt on if you buy the kit from ZZP or W-body store.
Baer brakes also makes a kit for us that uses their own calipers, pad, and rotors. Parts would be limited and only available through them which is the only downside, not really sure what the price on the kit is or where to find it, but there are a few GP’s with them on their cars.
The Size does matter Option
Using the GXP rear caliper and brake setup will require a bit of work for the 04+ guys, but the 97-03 guys can just bolt the GXP rear rotor and rear caliper right in. For the 04+ guys, see here:
Grand Prixs Of North America • View topic - Complete GXP Brake setup on a 04+ with working E-brake
This is the only upgrade for the Rear that we have. I would recommend this upgrade only if you have an itch to burn some money and have every modification possible. This upgrade is nice because you do get a vented rotor in the rear.
Anybody who wants to contribute more info, you are more than welcome to. Upgrading brakes is not too hard, anything from the F-bodys, as far as the really expensive kits go can be used as long as you can find a rotor that will work as well on our car.
Thanks for reading.