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Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing.
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:32 am    Post subject: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

I surely am not the first person to post a thread like this but here it goes.
If this goes against The Samba policies then please let me know and I will wait until the time is right and post it in accordance with the policy.

Sometime soon I might be looking for some guinea pigs for some brake kits I am trying out.
I do not have a business (yet) but was kind of thinking that I might try to put together a decidedly DIY type kit that might help out the more budget minded among us.
The good news is that the bracket I have will work on both the early and late model Vanagons.

I first had the set up mounted and functioning on an 85 tin top.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I did not really get to abuse it much before I took that van apart to make it 4 wheel drive.

I sold that set up to someone on here but have not seen it pop up anywhere.

Anyway I am putting the same set up on 1990 tin top as we speak.
I hope to have that mocked up as soon as I get the brackets from the laser cutter.

It does seem strange to me that no one offers a brake kit for the early spindles.
I suppose it's simply because there aren't any calipers that will bolt on to the early spindles without an adapter bracket.

Perhaps companies don't want the liability if their bracket fails.

At the same time, however, people do not hesitate to sell rear disk brake kits that come with adapter brackets. Think

Anyway I am comfortable running my brackets and hope to really abuse them in the coming months.
Curious if anyone else might be interested in trying the set up out.
More or less I would supply the brackets and hubs at a guinea pig price point and you would source the necessary rotors and calipers.

This does require a few simple mods to be done by the end user.
It also requires at least a 16 inch wheel and I am not absolutely certain what wheels these will fit under.

They obviously fit under the Sparco terras in the pic above and I am currently trying to make them fit under some Mercedes 16 inch steelies.

There are a couple of mods that need done to the caliper that should be able to be done with nothing more than a grinder.

On the early vans with the stamped steel lower control arm I did have to grind the pinch weld a little and weld it back up in one spot to clear the caliper.

If I recall there was also a little grinding at one point on the spindle.
I will look back at my old pics to get all of those details.

If you were somewhere near southeast Ohio I might even be willing to give you a hand with the install.
Other than that, obviously, I would be here for support before, during and after the install.

If for what ever reason the set up does not work or you just hate it then it can easily be reverted back to stock.

Anyway I would really like to try my set up on my van first before I trust offering them to anyone else I just thought I would test the waters a bit to see if anyone else might be interested.

I will post more details as parts come in and I do some of the mods.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:42 am    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

I toyed with the idea some years ago for our 82 and may have started a thread, but got some Hawk pads on close out that were really for the same era Porsche 911 and the van stops ok with decent pedal feel.

Not sure what the rules are, but couldn't help but notice your pictures are minus your adapters, and no details on what calipers you are using. I've seen a lot of calipers and with the machining on the outer edge, they don't look like any I have seen before.

Are these single piston floaters or are they dual piston fixed calipers. I'm not a sue happy person, but an aftermarket brake kit must have some liability attached. You only need to be named in a law suit to have to defend yourself in court now days.

I'm not sure flagging these for off road use only would save you from a law suit. More information would be appreciated, unless these are trade secrets in which case, the mods may see this more as an advertisement for a "better mousetrap". Thanks for sharing. Mark

edit: I did not start a thread, but contributed to this one. https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=654916&highlight=
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:48 am    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

I may be your Guinea, and will be in Mansfield late summer.

If you need high-caliber photos, graphics, and writing for PR, let's talk.

PM sent. Cool
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

There is some concern of liability and probably even legality in some states but for now I am just going to feel things out.

There is nothing particularly trick about my brackets and I feel they are plenty robust.
Realistically before I pass them off to anyone I will probably load up the drawing at work and run some stress analysis on them just to make sure I have not overlooked something.

I will post up more details when I am at home and have access to more of my pictures.
For the record they are modified 2000 Audi S4 calipers and off the shelf rotors from the same car.

These calipers and rotors were also found on the front of a 2004 Audi V8 Allroad.

They are a floating 2 piston design that has 4 pads per caliper.

The rotor is 12.6 inches (320mm) in diameter and 1.18 inches (30mm) thick

They are pretty serious stoppers.

There may be a range of years that had these calipers but I have not gone that far to sort out what that range might be.

I will say that the calipers were not super easy to source used compared to some but I have done it twice now without too much issue using car-parts.com.

There are even reman calipers on Rockauto for less than $150 each for those not opposed to such a thing.
For cost savings I would probably even go with some Rockauto Vanagon rotors to turn into hubs.

That's kind of the idea behind this "kit" is that you have some control over how much it will cost you.
If you wanted you could go buy all new OEM parts or you can scrounge the yards for the stuff you need.

I had a thread on here of the first install but it got wrecked by the photo hosting site that shall not be name in an attempt to have its name stricken from all of the internet to be forgotten forever.

Ok that's all for now
More details at beer:30
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:13 am    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

Dang, 15" wheels,

Yes I would love to get brakes like that without messing with my spindles, carry on!
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valvecovergasket
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:32 am    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

curious to know more info on those sparco wheels too... like the look of those on the subarus ive seen them on
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

I'll be in Athens and Nelsonville for the music fest this summer- If you get anything going I'm interested. 84 adventurewagen.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

valvecovergasket wrote:
curious to know more info on those sparco wheels too... like the look of those on the subarus ive seen them on


They look fantastic on MacJack's Syncro.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=...p;start=20
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

Hey Gang sorry I bailed on the details update that I promised last night.
My wife and I ended up going out with some friends instead of being responsible adults.

As far as the 15" wheel thing that was mentioned, I don't think it would be all that tough to sort out something for 15 inch wheels as long as people are ok with brake adapters.

Actually the rotors I am running on the back of my van might be a good fit for a 15 inch wheel set up.

The calipers that I am currently running may even work if I made a new bracket to move them in a little.

I have actually been eyeballin a few Subaru calipers in case I can't fit the S4 calipers under my 16 inch steel wheels.

These have a few advantages over the Audi bits.

If you get the right ones they are still a 2 piston sliding design.
They appear to have much less bulk on the wheel face side of the caliper.
Lastly, they should be a lot easier to come by and cheaper at the same time.
Just a quick look at Rockauto shows them at half the price of the Audi units.

I am not going to lie, if I did not already have the Audi calipers that I have I would probably be ordering some subaru bits and making some new brackets.

I may have to anyway if I can't get the S4 calipers to fit my current wheels.

That whole thing needs a lot more research before I can say if any of it would even work.

I will just say to all the early van 15 inch wheel people, don't lose hope.
There may be something in the pipeline but for now I need to focus on the set up I have.

Speaking of the set up I have, lets take a look at a couple more details.

Please keep in mind that all the stuff I am about to show you is from the initial development and install on my 85 tin top.

My bracket looks a little like this.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Tough to tell in this pic but there are some stand-offs on the back side to get all the spacing just right.
You can actually see the one on the left that is stuck in the bracket but has not had the hole drilled yet to bolt it on.
The two stand-offs are actually welded to the bracket in the finished design.

There is a possibility, in the future, that I will have some brackets machined as one piece but that's out a little bit until I get all sorted out 100%.

Eventually the bracket had to change shape a little because if you turned really sharp it would hit the lower ball joint stud.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I made a small mod to make it work.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


There was also the issue of the caliper hitting the lower control arm that you can just see in this pic.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This is why I cut the pinch weld off in that area and welded it back up.
If you did a bit of grinding on the arm and the caliper you might be able to get away without the welding part.

Here is the set up all bolted on and ready to rock.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This might be hard to spot but in this crappy pic you can just see in the lower right part of the pic that there is a little flat spot on the right side of the bolt hole.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

That's the only mod to the spindle and still easily accomplished with a grinder.

Last on the list is the caliper mods.
I really hoped that I could do all of this without mods to the parts that might need replaced in the future but I failed.
I accepted this because, to be honest, rarely have I ever had to change a caliper on anything that I have ever owned.
I don't really consider it a wear item.
You can get pads and rotors off the shelf and use them but if you need a new caliper you will have to bust out your grinder to make it work.
Not ideal but it is what it is.

As I mentioned, all of this could be done with a grinder in a pinch.
Actually the only part I machined on any of the mods was the outer face of the caliper to clear the wheel.
Here is a before shot.
We are focusing on the middle part.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

And here is a shot of after.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Of course you can see this work in a couple of the other shots as well.

Lets cover the last part of the caliper mods.
You can see in this pic that the lower bolt hole on the spindle is tucked up in the caliper a little bit.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


As the pads wear the part that is on the other side of that hole will come towards the hole.

As such that part of the caliper needs clearanced a bit.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I need to verify this once I get my new set up together on the new van but that piece may not need that much room.
I might have gotten a little carried away when I did these because I did not have the spindle with me when I did the work.

I apologize if this is a little hard to follow but I did not really take any of these pics back then with with the intent of explaining to someone else how to install it.

I will cover all of this in more detail once I start putting the system on the new van.

So that about covers my idea on the brakes and some of my thoughts behind the system.

For those interested in the Sparco Terras, the ones I got were for a 2004 Mercedes CLK 320
Looks like all they have left is white.
https://www.tirerack.com/wheels/results.jsp?&a...toModClar=
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Bladeserpent
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 12:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

Whatever happened to this thread?

I've been trying to upgrade my brakes for my 82 van, but it's extremely hard to find 86+ front spindles anywhere.
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 12:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

Oh it's still happening.
My laser cutter sorta let me down so I don't have the new brackets yet.
I also tore my whole front suspension apart so the brakes are on the back burner at the moment.

I bought material to cut and drill my own adapter plates because I got tired of waiting on the laser cutter to cut my parts.

I will likely work on the brake brackets concurrently with the rest of the front suspension mods as I will need the brakes in place to get the whole front end set up.

Probably have the brackets sorted in a week or so.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:39 am    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

I'm super interested in this project! I'm also a B5 S4 guy and have 2 spare sets of rotors and calipers. Please keep us updated. Very Happy
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:11 am    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

My brake build got stalled out for a minute because I ran into yet another issue with yet another transmission.

I think I have the trans sorted and actually got back on the brakes last week.

This was probably one of the more important steps in making this work, machining the hubs.
You start like so.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Then you end up with this.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Toss the old rotors and you have these.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


They need a good run through my bead blaster but they function like so.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I you may have noticed that I took a light pass on the snout of the hub.
This step was probably not necessary and I would not do it on new hubs but I just wanted to clean it up a bit.

I will also be making a hubcentric ring that will make sure the rotor is centered over the hub when the wheel is bolted down.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The rotor fits pretty snug over the hub but I want to make sure that the set up can tolerate any variances in any new rotors that I might buy.
As such a hubcentric ring makes the most sense as the hub bore is pretty consistently machined on each rotor.

As I mentioned previously, my laser cutter apparently quit caring whether or not he made my parts and I still have no brackets.
I sent the drawings twice an even called to make sure they got them the second time and I still have no parts.
That was a couple of months ago.

I am going to track down a new laser cutting facility but it looks like I will be cutting these ones myself.
It's a pretty simple procedure but not nearly as easy as emailing a drawing and getting 10 sets of brackets a week later.

Anyway I am not sure when I will actually get to installing the brakes as I am working on a few other parts of the van first.
I am excited to see if these brakes will clear my wheels so maybe I will tinker with it a bit.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:32 am    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

if you can eventually confirm these can fit under 16" steelies, Im on board for a set.
guinea pig or for cash.

I think as a kit, all I would need is your brackets and turned hubs.
as you put in the thread, the rest is off the self (with a little finessing).

but these look great!
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

Well I have not mounted anything permanently yet but I did fiddle with them a bit in some down time.

Effectively the S4 rotor already functions as a 7mm wheel spacer since it is between the wheel and the hub.

It seems that I need another 5-7mm more clearance to clear the caliper without doing anything to the outer face of the caliper.

After working out the math and asking around a bit I am simply going to run a 7mm spacer so I do not have to do anything to the outer face of the caliper.

This spacer will also have the necessary elements to function as the hubcentric ring to insure that the wheel bolts on concentrically with the hub.

If you were afraid of a 7mm wheel spacer, you could grind or machine some of the caliper off and run a thinner one.
However, I figured I would just leave the caliper alone and take advantage of the spacer to get my hubcentric rings at the same time.

Actually a 5mm spacer may work but to be on the safe side I decided to add a couple of mm for any variances that may pop up and maybe to keep things from getting stuck between the wheel and caliper.

So to answer your question, yes these will technically fit under a 16 inch steel wheel, assuming it has similar dimensions to the Mercedes steel wheels that I am running.
It may be as simple as running a little more spacer or maybe a little less if you are lucky.

I totally missed my deadline for getting my van finished and therefore having the brake parts ready.
since then I have kind of been slacking with my build but really hope to be driving it sometime soon.
I keep picking at it a little at a time.
Right now I am shooting for sometime in November to actually have it on the road.
I still have not sorted out a reliable supplier to get some of these parts made but to be honest I have not really tried that hard.

Either way sometime soon I will contact people and get some parts in some peoples hands to try out.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:17 am    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

Take it for what it's worth, I have experienced that small brake pads have a tendency to squeak. I attribute that to the mass of the brake pad. Larger pads do not vibrate as much. Less vibration, less noise.

While working on the McLaren SLR, they originally had small brake pads for the front. They were so noisy and the clients were not accepting that this is normal. Their answer was to remove the bridge and convert the 4 brake pads into 2. The pads were huge but that fixed the noise issue.

I hope you do not run into the same issue. I certainly would have got another type of caliper. Maybe Audi got it right. I know McLaren/Brembo struck out on their first attempt.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:30 am    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

From the pictures, it looks like the bracket is 1/4 steel or stainless steel. If you have a dxf file of them I could possibly cut a few for you. Send me a PM if you'd like to talk about it
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

foodeater wrote:
From the pictures, it looks like the bracket is 1/4 steel or stainless steel. If you have a dxf file of them I could possibly cut a few for you. Send me a PM if you'd like to talk about it


It's actually 3/8 steel

If you can cut that I might be willing to give it a try.

Are you cutting with plasma, water or laser?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Brakes For Early Vans - Prototype Testing. Reply with quote

I would be cutting with a Laser (2500W), I can cut 3/8" but I'm not sure if I have any 3/8 steel on hand. I will have to take a look in the shop tomorrow. I know I have 1/4" steel/stainless on hand, but I do not usually have 3/8". We did a job with 3/8 a few months ago, but all the cut-offs may have been recycled already.

Through our main supplier, the smallest sheet I can order is 48X96, so probably not worth it unless I already have it on hand.
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