One problem we ran into with a recent inspection was that we observed a taper in the width of the rotors. The outer half inch was narrower than a reading farther in toward the center. This was most likely due to the caliper spreading out as the brake force was applied to the pads. Interestingly, the pads were not worn to a taper, but the rotor was.

As previously stated, we need to note the position of the brake balance bar at the pedals. The bar should be centered within 1/16 inch. If not, think about making changes to the bore sizes in either the calipers or masters or both. Also check the bushings in the brake pedal and make sure there's no excessive play.

Note the look of the brake fluid including color and texture. If the lines are rusting, the fluid will be a rusty brown. If moisture has invaded the fluid, the color might be a more milky white, usually more toward the calipers. Check for leaks around every connection and around the caliper piston bores.

Maintenance The maintenance of the brake system will consist of the following. If any questions arise during this process, consult with your brake manufacturer. It is as interested in your system working correctly as you. Your success is its success too. The primary functions of brake maintenanceare on the following page:

A. Brake Pad Replacement Make sure the compound you have been using is correct for the type of car and racetrack you will be racing on. If you're moving to a new track next year, or going on tour, you will need to re-evaluate your brake pad selection.

Taking rotor temperatures during the season will help you make an informed decision. When talking to the brake manufacturer, temperature information will be most helpful. You might have to experiment when in a new setting, so be prepared to buy more than one compound.

B. Rotors You will either keep and run your old rotors or select new ones. If the present rotors are scored, tapered or otherwise not smooth, you will need to turn them or replace them if there is not enough material to do so.

Take a close look at the rotors and make sure there are no cracks that represent structural problems. Many rotors have small heat cracks in the surface that do not reach the edge. But, if you detect a crack that starts at the edge, the rotor is not safe to use any more. Remember that a broken rotor almost always occurs at the most critical moment in the lap, on initial entry to the corner where speed is high and the need to slow down is the greatest. Don't take a chance with a cracked rotor.

If brake cooling has been a concern, see if you can find a rotor that will pump more air to improve cooling. Inspect the air hose location and device that directs air to the center of the rotor to see if you can improve the cooling of the rotors.

C. Calipers Remove and disassemble the calipers. Always rebuild your calipers at least once a season. This includes replacement of the seals and pistons, and honing the bores according to the manufacturer's specifications and recommendations.

You will want to clean and chase the fitting threads in the calipers. Check the bolts, cross tubing and O-rings and replace as necessary. Most brake companies will recommend replacing any part that is suspect. And don't forget what we mentioned earlier, take note of the alignment of the caliper and mounting plate to the rotor. This is critical to proper brake efficiency.

D. Master Cylinders Remove and disassemble the master cylinders. All rubber parts are to be replaced. The bore needs to be honed as per the manufacturer's specs. Note the condition of the clevises and where the tubing is connected. Clean and chase the threads where the brake lines attach.

Cracks such as this one in the middle of the photo running from the inside edge of the rotor can't be tolerated. This rotor can fail at any time and should be discarded. This could be caused by any number of conditions including racing accidents.

All O-rings, seals and dust covers must be replaced. Never use a seal twice. These items are relatively inexpensive and could cost you much more in repair fees if the brakes fail.