The braking system on the Mitsubishi FTO is quite conventional, featuring vacuum servo assistance, vented discs on the front and solid versions at the rear. All facelift models, so that's post 1997 vehicles, have anti-lock braking or ABS, which was a fairly rare option on the earlier models. The handbrake, via twin cables, operates on the self adjusting rear calipers, utilising the the same brake pad as the foot brake.
The non MIVEC models, have smaller 256mm diameter vented front discs with single piston calipers, whereas the MIVEC version are fitted with 276mm diameter vented front discs and two piston calipers. The solid rear 259mm brake discs, calipers and pads are the same across the whole FTO range.
Minor vibrations felt through the pedal under braking can often be cured by replacing the brake pads, but more serious dynamic vibration, often felt through the steering wheel as well as the brake pedal, is often down to deterioration of both the brake pads and variations in the surface of the disc itself. These symptoms are often incorrectly referred to as 'warped 'discs. Whatever, the only solution is to change both brake discs and brake pads.
If you think you may need new brake pads, before ordering check the condition of the brake discs. Apart from obvious scoring, look out for corrosion around the centre boss of the disc, the outer edge and the ventilation slots around the periphery. Don't forget to have a look on the inside of the disc as this is often the worst area for rust.
Don't be tempted to save money by refitting used pads with new discs. Brake performance will be compromised and there is the possibility of damaging your new discs and thus affecting service life.
Upgrading to MIVEC front brakes
A useful and straightforward upgrade for the lesser powered models (GR,GS and GX) is to fit the larger front brake discs and twin piston calipers from the Mivec engined versions of the FTO such as the GPX and GPvR.
You will need a pair of 276mm front discs, a pair of twin piston calipers complete with carriers/slides and a set of suitable brake pads. These items will fit straight on to GR hubs and drive flanges without modification and the standard brake master cylinder/servo arrangement seems to handle the conversion without any problems of excess travel or increase pedal pressures.
The MIVEC front set up is quite satisfactory for most normal road applications, but for track days you will need to consider a change of brake pads to something more suitable. Mintex, Ferodo, Allied Nippon and Jurid all produce decent products suitable for higher braking temperatures. Drilled or drilled and grooved discs can also aid brake cooling and maintain braking efficiency under more extreme conditions, albeit often at the expense of increased brake pad wear rate and noise.
The rear brake set up on the FTO, apart from the obviously essential handbrake, doesn't really do too much and if well maintained it is more than adequate for both road use and with perhaps with the addition of performance brake pads, even the occasional track day.
See brake fluid tips below.
When changing or uprating your brakes, don't forget to pay attention to your brake fluid. Brake fluid has a service life of approximately 3 years and the main reason why it should be changed regularly is that it is hygroscopic, ie it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. This absorption of water can seriously affect the performance of brake fluid at high braking temperatures.
Excess pedal travel experienced after sustained heavy braking, often incorrectly attributed to 'brake fade', is far more likely to be as a result of the brake fluid's lowered boiling point due to water contamination.
Use a good quality DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid - and always from a sealed container.
Boring but important
Although we have been very careful in the compilation of the advice pages of our website and the content is thoroughly checked by our panel of specialists, we cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage caused if you decide to follow the advice contained herein. Please bear in mind that a job which may well be a piece of cake on a vehicle lift could easily turn into a total nightmare when lying on your back in the front street in the regulation puddle. Don't tackle any work unless you are confident that you fully understand the complexity of the job you are undertaking. Make sure that you have the correct tools to hand, always wear the appropriate protection and never, ever work under an unsupported vehicle. If you are not entirely confident that you can complete the job, then it should be entrusted to a specialist.
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