I got my 'new' brake bits for the XT last weekend, and found the time yesterday to fit them. It was dark and cold by the time I had finished, so I waited until today to test them. Whoopee! The front brake is now as good as it ever was. The caliper is a much newer one (with uncorroded pistons), and I have fitted an overhaul kit so it more-or-less as good as new. I can make the front tyre squeal on a dry road now. This is good.
Freezing my knackers off last weekend was worth it.
(Note to fellow bikers: I have now fitted 'proper' EBC brake pads to replace the ones I got off eBay last year. The cheap GoldFren pads were much less good than even the worn-out ones they replaced, and the braking was marginal. On a light and relatively slow bike like the XT, this is perhaps bearable, but I would not risk GoldFren pads on anything heavier or faster. If you Google it, reports are very variable - from excellent to rubbish. There's a feeling that a lot of the pads bought from eBay may be conterfeit, and that genuine GoldFren pads are good. In that case, I must have bought the knock-offs, but I wouldn't risk buying them again.)