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Disc Brake Conversion.... Audi parts?
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wbx
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 6:19 pm    Post subject: Disc Brake Conversion.... Audi parts? Reply with quote

I'm looking at upgrading the brakes on my '84 westy since, well, they suck. They pretty much sucked since new and it is time to make things safe. There are a few people out there doing this, notably smallcar.com:

http://www.smallcar.com/brakekitft.htm
http://www.smallcar.com/brakekit.htm

But the prices they ask are really steep for me, and they don't list an option for the front disk upgrade for years pre-'86.

Fastforward.ca has a very nice write-up of a front disk upgrade and clearly spells out which components to use, but this is specifically for a syncro.

http://www.syncro.ca/audibrakes/default.htm

So my questions are:

1) How are the uprights on a pre '86 different than on an '86 and later
2) How are the hubs different between a syncro and a 2wd (besides the obvious attachment for a CV joint... i mean dimensionally)
3) Is smallcar also using Audi rotos and calipers (5000S/100/200 series?)

If I can get some help with this, when i complete the conversion (not for several months), I'll post all CAD data and what-not so people can do this on their own.

Thanks,
-Damon
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D Clymer
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The rotors Smallcar is using are the same 276mm rotors David Marshall showed in his writeup. They are from 1986-1991 Audi 5000/200 turbo cars. The twin piston calipers are also from the same application. They are commonly known in the VW/Audi circle as G60 calipers.

On a Syncro the disc and hub are separate just like on VW/Audi cars so you can just substitute the Audi 276 for the Vanagon disc. On 2wd Vanagons the hub is part of the rotor. That's why converting a 2wd is so much harder. You have to come up with a hub that will fit the Vanagon spindle. It looks like Smallcar is using the same hub included in the South African big brake kits. I'm not sure where they're getting them, but that is the whole key to fitting the Audi 200 brakes on a 2wd Vanagon. They resemble bay window bus hubs, but I know for a fact the bus used a smaller inside bearing so that wouldn't work.

But, yeah, if you can figure out where to get those hubs, the rest of the parts can be had cheaply used or rebuilt. Of course you can always take a Vanagon rotor to a machine shop and have them machine it down to just the hub, but it would be nice to find something easier.


David
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klucz
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, the warning on those Audi brake conversion ads is rough. Has anyone actually done this, or the S. Africa parts, or something else? I'd like to hear what the actual results are.

I rebuilt my 84 Westy brakes with OE parts and high temp fluid and it stops fine. But I guess the Syncro is heavier.

Also, there was a great cover article in GRM about upgrading brakes (couple years ago I think). All the details including cylinder size, booster pressure, fluid type, pedal length and travel, rotor size and type, caliper size and type, pad compound, and much more I cant memember. All add up. The main thing was that swapping out may not do any good if all the parts don't work well together.

Anyone?
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r39o
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A set of SA front hubs will cost you about $160 plus shipping via the guy in Germany. I have not tried the various wholesalers.

Thanks for the info about G60 calipers. I have an almost new pair of real G60 calipers and the matching discs, which are 4 hole, I think, to match the G60 wheel. 5 hole rotors are cheap enough.

The difference between early and late uprights is the caliper mounting bolt holes. The later are further apart, if I understand it correctly.

My idea is to machine a pair of old Vanagon rotors to turn them into hubs. We have a brake good brake lathe and my brother tells me we can do it.

I have a later parts van to take the uprights from.

I just have to start this process.

This is my attempt at bigger brakes for my 85 Westy with the early sucky brakes.

-Walt
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r39o
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8419p27 wrote:
Damn, the warning on those Audi brake conversion ads is rough. Has anyone actually done this, or the S. Africa parts, or something else? I'd like to hear what the actual results are.

I rebuilt my 84 Westy brakes with OE parts and high temp fluid and it stops fine. But I guess the Syncro is heavier.

Also, there was a great cover article in GRM about upgrading brakes (couple years ago I think). All the details including cylinder size, booster pressure, fluid type, pedal length and travel, rotor size and type, caliper size and type, pad compound, and much more I cant memember. All add up. The main thing was that swapping out may not do any good if all the parts don't work well together.

Anyone?


What's GRM?
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mr_vanagon
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have long thought about big break kits and lowering springs in the same way. They look cool and I'd never knock somebody who used them but it seems to me that a lot of time and engineering went into deciding what materials to use and how big to make the rotors, etc. While I'm OK at turning wrenches, engineering is not my bag. I'll stick with stock even if giant brakes seem like a better idea to some.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 85 and earlier brakes really suck on a Westy. I am only doing this because the brakes suck so bad. Otherwise, I too, would leave well enough alone.
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mr_vanagon
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

39o,
I can see where you're coming from. I've driven a few early vanagons and I was pretty underwhelmed. Pretty glad I lucked into an '89GL.
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got a set of the calipers and rotors off the Audi when I got the rims. Paid $120 for the 4 Audi 5000 turbo rims rotors and calipers from the junkyard. What amazed me, is the brakes and rotors where new when the guy wrecked the car. Great windfall for me.

I just have not gotten around to modifying the calipers yet. Next fall maybe, just too involved with the engine replacement job ro get too concerned. Besides, when I rebuilt the rear brakes drum system (new shoes, pistons and drums). The vans braking improved so much it has become a low priority to convert the front disks.

There is this difference in opinion on the procedure from Fast Forward's write up, found this on the web:

"installed ceramic pad set(relatively cheap) with wires
wires don't bother me, useless aniway, can be cut off.
Caliper carriers need to be modified and NOT the way explained
on Syncro.ca mod page.
had to abandon using a set of Audi 5000T alloys that were just
modified for Syncro hubs when i discovered problem, brake pads
were sticking out past rotors and calipers rubbing against wheels
Managed to install 15" Passat steel wheels and they barely clear calipers
but need to redo it, got another set of carriers to do it right
new mounting holes need to be milled at ab. 3.50" distance equaly
spaced from original holes and also moved toward...
well it gets tricky here, but you can figure it out when doing job
the goal is to move caliper toward center of the hub by ab. .15 to .19,
There was another, smaller issue with length of
mounting bolt, suggested bolt length was longer than needed
had to cut a piece off.
The bolts i used were 5/8-18, 10.9 grade(if i recall it right)
perfect substitute for hard to find and expensive M16x80
bolts recommended, 2 3/4" long is about right
If you get used calipers rebuild them yourself, they are old and
need to be cleaned, new o-rings and dust seals plus scratches on pistons
removed also new sliding pin boots"


I'll do a write up when I finish it up.

Cheers,
james
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wbx
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogpilot wrote:
There is this difference in opinion on the procedure from Fast Forward's write up, found this on the web


Could you post a link to that article, or is that all of it? What were they putting the new brakes on?

My plan is not to just replace the front brakes, but to do everything all the way around. Looking at the smallcar site, the rear is relatively simple to do. I can easily machine the rear hub, and I work with sheetmetal vendors all the time who can lazer cut me some caliper mounting plates.
The fronts are my concern. I'm still trying to figure out how the syncro hub and 2wd hubs are different. Don't they use the same disk rotor? Also based on your and r39o's posts, it would seem the earlier uprights would be better for the front calipers as the holes are already closer to the hub. (although i thought i heard the opposite at one point)

I feel like this is well within my mechanical capabilities, but my current problem is two fold - not a lot of money to throw at it, and not very much information (right now).


As for the stock brake system, I completely rebuilt it (all new hydraulics, pads, etc.), and while slightly better, I have more than once almost rear ended someone (admittedly equally driving error as bad brakes).
My only concern with swapping a complete audi disk setup would be brake bias, but that is easily solved with an adjustable proportioning valve.

If someone can clearly outline the difference between the syncro and the early model hub/uprights, i would very much appreciate it. Thanks a ton for all the replies thusfar, though!

-Damon
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should have taken the whole motor (and wiring harness)
the audi 5cyl does fit in http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_page.php?pic_id=260766
either a bellhousing from the guy in germany, an adapter from www.tiico.com (SA supplier) or if your crafty DIY which i'm still working out the kinks on..
theres a plethora of information on the net about doing 10valve Turbo swaps into NA Audis, i'd imagine once the bits are bolted together, the wiring rules would be the same.

I know my 168hp 87 audi 5000 turbo quattro goes like a bat outta hell once rolling, and I'm looking forward to that kind of highway HP on my 87 syncro camper project.. then i'll have twins, non-identical but 2 87 VAG AWD 5cyl turbo vehicles.

Dogpilot wrote:
I got a set of the calipers and rotors off the Audi when I got the rims. Paid $120 for the 4 Audi 5000 turbo rims rotors and calipers from the junkyard. What amazed me, is the brakes and rotors where new when the guy wrecked the car. Great windfall for me.

I just have not gotten around to modifying the calipers yet. Next fall maybe, just too involved with the engine replacement job ro get too concerned. Besides, when I rebuilt the rear brakes drum system (new shoes, pistons and drums). The vans braking improved so much it has become a low priority to convert the front disks.
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was all I found. It was on the Yahoo forum. I asked the lad up in Canada what he thought, but I never got a reply. I suppose I will have to do some careful fitting myself when I do the machining.

Rather than re-engineer the entire vehicle, I opted to go for the 2.4L. It should be on a pallet next week. That way I can drive rather than wrench. I've been spending the time replacing all the hosing I can while the tunnel is empty. Also having fun with black goo doing the CV joints, ball joints and lots of rubber bits.

Besides the water boxer is fun, like an English vehicle. Has personality and needs attention. Same personality as Dogs Cats and, no I won't say it.
Cheers,
James
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Wellington
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looked at doing this brake upgrade myself. From what I can tell the 85 and earlier use a twin pison caliper, one on either side of the rotor with a fixed caliper.
The 86 and up use a sliding caliper and I think a single piston on the inside. This makes the rotors different, and the offset of the caliper mounting different.
The synchro uses a different rotor again and the half shaft uses a bearing much like all newer fwd cars, where as the 2wd uses wheel bearings in the disc.
The audi caliper is a sliding caliper and therefore the mounting of the caliper more closly matches that of the 86+ uprights.
I'm waiting for someone to chime in here who a while ago said they were going to make some kits, possibly using MB parts!
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r39o
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric the Norse is playing with brakes. He should still be trying to find the pictures of the rear disc brakes too. Eric where are the pix?????? Did you finally find that CD??????

I have an extra set of 85 uprights off a parts van. My 89 parts van still rolls and will move under its' own power (leaks like a sieve) and I do not want to kill it yet. I may just buy or find another set of later up rights. It is my understanding that the spacing of the mounting ears is different, but not their relation to the disc. I will verify that when I get a chance.

I emailed this place about their rear brakes. http://www.ha-projekt.de/bremse.htm They are smaller than the smallcar setup and look like from a Golf or sometning. The rears do not need to be big anyways. I have not received a reply from them and will email them again. I may even phone them. Deutsch ist kein Problem fuer mich.

I am just limited at the moment to do too much with this. I am working on it though.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

r39o-

GRM: Grass Roots Motorsports magazine.

The article was a 1-2 years ago (maybe more) but definitely not outdated.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:18 am    Post subject: a new disc brake kit coming from Van-cafe Reply with quote

I got an email from Van-cafe yesterday, stating that they are developing a larger brake kit for early vanagons. Should be ready in a few months. Didn't give any details yet. I'm waiting to find out, what size wheels are needed, type of rotor/caliper/pads used..

will post the info, when I find out
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r39o
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the point for many of us is, that $700 or so is a tad high when you can recycle calipers and rotors are cheap. The rest is adaptors and the hoses. Of course, the hubs too.

I will soon find out just how doable it is. I hate to spend money on new parts when used ones are plentiful and not very expensive.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know exactly what Audi parts SmallCar is using for their rear set-up?
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r39o
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

8419p27 wrote:
r39o-

GRM: Grass Roots Motorsports magazine.

The article was a 1-2 years ago (maybe more) but definitely not outdated.

Can you dig up more specifics, please? Was this for a Vanagon specifically? Or just a general way to figure out what you need if you upgrade any vehicle?

The reason I have the G60 calipers (actually the whole spindle assembly) is that about 15 years ago I was going to add even bigger brakes to my hotrod A1 GTi. I have the complete 16V Scirocco setup in my 79 GTi and my 82 "GTi" VW Caddy pickup. Works GREAT in those light cars so I do not need the G60 stuff for my hotrod, but now, years later, I have these almost new calipers that I just might be able to use on my Vanagon. So I want to recycle them into a good use.

Thanks, Walt...
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it sounds like the SA hubs are available for less than $200. That's really the key to the front setup. Just get some used G60 calipers and have them redrilled for the 86 and newer Vanagon caliper carriers. Buy some new 276mm rotors, make some spacers for the calipers, and you're good to go.

I wouldn't worry too much about the harsh disclaimer on the fastforward site. He's just trying to protect himself. The setup should work fine. I've owned several Audi quattros with this brake setup, and they had pretty reassuring stopping power and weighed similarly to a Vanagon.

If I can get the hubs, I'll probably go ahead and use these fronts. My 2.5 165hp Bluestar needs better brakes.

David
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