Project Civic SI Wilwood Front and Rear Brake Upgrade

by Aaron LaBeau
Wilwood Civic SI Front brake kit
Wilwood's front brake kit for the Honda Civic shown in all its glory before we attempt to beat the ever living hell out of it.  As we moved through the install we were impressed at how the complete the kit was with all the included clips and mounting brackets.

When people ask what having the Willwood brake upgrade is like my response is comparable to my 3 year old Son's when I ask how his day was.  It's about as anti-MotoIQ as it gets when I state the brakes are WOOOSSSHHH!  But, that's the sound they make when you really clamp on the binders and the pads brush across the cross-drilled and slotted rotors.  Big brakes are commonplace on track cars but on street machines you rarely see anything like this unless you have an STI or EVO badge.  More than anything else, this upgrade to our project has elicited the most conversations, typically, from drooling valet attendants who also drive Civic SI's.  Oh and in case anyone is wondering my 3 year old's response is a big fat raspberry every day when I get home.

Wilwood Honda Civic front brake rotor
Civic SI big brake kit
The massive 12.8" front rotor (shown above) and the 11.75" rear rotor (below)

Rather than facing a very real fear when adding 50% more power down the road we've decided to keep graying hair at bay for a while longer.  Enter the Wilwood Forged 6R Narrow Superlite Big Brake kit or in Wilwood speak the FNSL6R.  The front brake rotors are massive 12.8" iron rotors with a black electro coat to keep the rust at bay.  Topping the rotors are aluminum black anodized top hats with all the fasteners, washers, brackets and braided lines for a complete installation.

Wilwood 6R Caliper Honda Civic SI
The fire engine red paint draws attention to these massive 6 piston calipers. The piston area of these calipers is nearly double the stock piston area.  There's 36% more pad area than stock for the front brakes as well

The Hero doing all the work here is the mighty forged 6R caliper weighing in at a stout 4.9 pounds. The caliper is stress-flow forged from premium grade aluminum alloy billets.  Stress-flow forging realigns the internal grain structure of the metal to flow within the contour of the caliper body.  The attention to the caliper strength is a tip of the hat towards racers worried about caliper flex.  The forged 6R also features a unique six piston differential bore configuration of various piston sizes which provides balanced loading for even pad wear and creates a highly efficient thermal barrier to reduce heat transfer from the pads to the caliper body, seals and fluid.  Being familiar with the noise associated with racing brake kits adapted to street cars, happily, this system also is equipped with SRS bridge plates which eliminate pad rattle and dampen the vibrations that can cause pad squeal.

Wilwood Rear brake caliper for Civic SI
The rear calipers and rotors are a nice touch, providing a balanced braking system and great aesthetics at all four corners.

In a rare move Wilwood also has a separate Civic rear brake upgrade with 11.75" rotors and aluminum top hats that nearly eclipse the stock SI front brake rotors and are a full inch larger than stock.  The rear caliper is a single piston design with an internal mechanical lock for the parking brake and intended to work in conjunction with the front brake kit for a balanced braking system.  The CPB caliper is a floating design that attaches to a fixed radial mounting bracket.  This allows the caliper to be used in a variety of applications but requires some shimming work during the install to ensure proper rotor/caliper orientation.

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Thursday, June 06, 2013 7:07 AM
Do the calipers only come in red? Black goes unnoticed to reduce theft temptation.
Nick B
Nick Blink
Thursday, June 06, 2013 7:44 AM
Yes the calipers do come in black as well.
Thursday, June 06, 2013 7:49 AM
Dave Coleman
Dave Colemanlink
Thursday, June 06, 2013 2:35 PM

You mention that the calipers have nearly double the stock piston area vs. stock. While this might be true, it's not actually the right measurement to look at. The piston area of an opposed-piston caliper like the Wilwood can't be compared 1:1 with those in a sliding caliper like the factory one. Sliding calipers generate clamping force from both the piston sliding out of the bore, and the bore sliding back off the piston, so the clamping force comes from 2X the piston area. On an opposed piston, it comes from 1X the piston area.

This is actually good news, since doubling the working area of the pistons would result in really grabby brakes and a really long, soft brake pedal. Sounds like the working area is actually slightly less than the stock caliper, which is exactly what you want for good pedal feel.
Thursday, June 06, 2013 3:50 PM
Whoa, Dave's back.

While I knew that the clamping force was different for those types of calipers, I had no idea that less equaled more in some cases.
Thursday, June 06, 2013 4:18 PM
Thanks for the comment Dave. I simply compared the math my non-engineering brain could make sense of. I leave the technical elements to you, Kojima and Khiem.
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