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which big brake kit?
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targis58
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:37 am    Post subject: which big brake kit? Reply with quote

I d love to have better stopping power on my 90 westy. I see that go westy, van cafe, small car, bus depot sell big brake kits. are they all about the same or is one better than another? by the way I do have 15 inch south african rhein alloy wheels. my westy is 2 wheel drive. shoul I just upgrade front only or all four?
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WestyBob
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:40 am    Post subject: Re: which big brake kit? Reply with quote

I don't think there is really an answer to this - everyone has a preference. I recently bought the VanCafe (Syncro.org) set, which is single piston, for my syncro westy. For my syncro passenger van, which I use for a daily driver and back/off roading I may go with the SmallCar dual piston set. I can't verify but heard the dual piston ones may be a little more reliable for heavier offroading.

One other thing to consider is easy access to parts. I believe both the SmallCar and VanCafe sets are Audi-based.




targis58 wrote:
I d love to have better stopping power on my 90 westy. I see that go westy, van cafe, small car, bus depot sell big brake kits. are they all about the same or is one better than another? by the way I do have 15 inch south african rhein alloy wheels. my westy is 2 wheel drive. shoul I just upgrade front only or all four?
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WestyBob
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:43 am    Post subject: Re: which big brake kit? Reply with quote

Forgot your last question .... I'd recommend you go with just the fronts first and see if you're satisfied. I am with mine. If you're doing some super gnarly offroading (and I suspect you're not), that may warrant the rears as well.


my westy is 2 wheel drive. shoul I just upgrade front only or all four?[/quote]
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camo westy
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Create a kit posts abound, creatize parts scrounging, creatize machining;

I figured my time is worth something and ordered the Van-Cafe kit. (I own a lathe/mill and know how to use them, again time is money)
All new parts, and they fit. I replaced the rear wheel cylinders, and drums/shoes along with the master cylinder at the same time. Firm pedal and NO brake fade at all.

Results are stopping power. Loaded for camping, pulling a trailer, my 85 Weekender stops fine from highway speed on real hills.

Real world;
Front van cafe brakes coupled with the stock rear brakes are pretty close to the same size/stopping power as a mid 90's 3/4 ton American pickup that has a gross wieght stopping power for 7500 pounds.
Sure rear discs might be nice or maybe just cool, the stock drums, are actually huge for a vehicle the gross wieght of a Vanagon.
If you want the rear discs, install them later.
A compromise is usually the best decision.
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vwjoel
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:14 pm    Post subject: Which big brakes? Reply with quote

I just finished installing big brakes on my 84 Westy. I did a Subaru 6 cylinder last year and the brakes were definitely lacking. I used the 276mm front brakes from a 1990 Audi 200 with dual piston Girling calipers. From what I've read this is what Small car sells. There is a huge difference in stopping power. Now I at least have the option of locking the fronts. I may consider upgrading the rears as well to get better balance but my Westy is way safer than it was with just the fronts.
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Camo westy has nailed it. Yes what is your time worth? The Van Café kit is Audi based, fits, important point. The SmallCar rear kit is nice, but mine didn't fit without modification. Do the fronts, properly adjust the drums. See how you like it, then decide on the rear discs. Mine are cool and all that, I just wish they had fit out of the box. I hear they have been improved, but have not heard from anybody actually fitting a set of the 'improved' ones.
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Broseph
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Van Cafe' rocks, bro. It is the parts mecca in the van mecca dude...Saint Cruz, CalifornI.A., where the VW Vans and Bugs still run wild and you have to lasso 'em and saddlebreak 'em. Peter runs a fine shop. Love my big brakes, and also picked up his rear stock drum brake replacement kit at a solid price.

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uther
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i got the small car front kit. it fits perfectly and has everything you need to do the kit. it does not come with any instructions so if you decide to use it you'll want to use 170 ft lbs. for the big nuts and bolts, 30 ft lbs. with blue thread lock for the carrier bolts. also, there is no place to put the brake line support that is screwed to the factory carrier since there is no similar place on the new carrier. i used cable ties on mine.

when i pointed this out to the small car folks i got the following reply "I also believed that we should include some kind of brackets to support that. I will talk to my boss to see if we can design a bracket that will support the line on the caliper carrier."

all-in-all i'm very satisfied with the small car kit and the customer support.

r
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J Charlton Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject: brakes Reply with quote

Is it necessary to change from the stock vanagon wheels in order to install a big brake kit?
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uther
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the small car kit only fits some 15" and (all?) 16" wheels.

r
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Crughy
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very likely. 15 or 16' almost compulsory for most kits.

You will have to check, it depends on each kit (they are not all the same).

Van Cafe and Small car kits need 15 or 16' wheels. They clearly mention it.

When purchasing wheels, some wheels with the wrong ET might not clear the new kit. Most should. But check it.

JP
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Tiiconaut
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Which big brakes? Reply with quote

vwjoel wrote:
There is a huge difference in stopping power. Now I at least have the option of locking the fronts. I may consider upgrading the rears as well to get better balance but my Westy is way safer than it was with just the fronts.



Huge difference? Do you live on Pikes Peak? Just kidding Laughing i have no doubts about gaining brake performance in the mountains or towing but im not sure just how much improvement id see over 86'-91' brakes down here in flat-land-Florida. Id really like to see MotorTrend TV-show style brake test say 70-0 MPH on YouTube......untill someone does a before and after test this way, im driving slow and keeping that gap between me and the car in front......or maybe ill do the upgrade if i find both an Audi and 86' Vanagon next to eachother, at the junk yard Wink Anyone have any actual test data for el cheapo's like me? Maybe i should start another thread....sorry!
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crughy wrote:
Very likely. 15 or 16' almost compulsory for most kits.

You will have to check, it depends on each kit (they are not all the same).

Van Cafe and Small car kits need 15 or 16' wheels. They clearly mention it.

When purchasing wheels, some wheels with the wrong ET might not clear the new kit. Most should. But check it.

JP


HUH?? OK - pardon the lack of knowledge here, but just how is one supposed to "check it out" - what do you measure on your wheels to determine if it is possible or not?
J
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The subject of what wheels fit the brakes can be tricky. Some wheels may have the correct ET, but then, in the case of steel wheels, the welds can interfere on the inside flange with some of the brakes. You kind have have to do a trial fit.

As for the effectiveness in Florida, do you even need brakes there? I am puzzled by the addition of the emergency brake there. When I lived in Miami, I didn't use mine for something like 10 years or so. If you are in stop and go braking hard, you might notice it. I can stop shorter from 75 since the swap, but you are correct, lacking a g meter, how much is a thing of by the seat of my pants. I do go up and down at least 6,000' at a stretch here to get just about anywhere from here. We actually have hills out here, we are not a recently exposed reef. Having non-fading brakes on my loaded Syncro Westy is a good feeling.Smile

If you ever take your Westy to the Tail of the Dragon, or other scenic curvy roads out east you will appreciate the change as well. If you stuck on Useless 1 in traffic, well; invest in XM or a good stereo, it would be a waste to go for the big brakes.Twisted Evil
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Tristar Eric
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Option #3, my kit. Porsche 993TT calipers, rotors. (big reds).

I replace the entire hub assy with mine. The bolt pattern is changed to Porsche 5x130mm. Min wheel size = 17" et 50

I have 2 kits in stock.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka-7RZXaIsc
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Crughy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

J Charlton wrote:
Crughy wrote:
Very likely. 15 or 16' almost compulsory for most kits.

You will have to check, it depends on each kit (they are not all the same).

Van Cafe and Small car kits need 15 or 16' wheels. They clearly mention it.

When purchasing wheels, some wheels with the wrong ET might not clear the new kit. Most should. But check it.

JP


HUH?? OK - pardon the lack of knowledge here, but just how is one supposed to "check it out" - what do you measure on your wheels to determine if it is possible or not?
J


I meant: Do some research especially here. Most combination have been tried already. Having an offset too extreme is very likely to bring some clearance issues with the brakes. If you go 16', and plan to go with big brake kit afterward. You may stick to known/conservative ET.

JP
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Tiiconaut
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogpilot wrote:

As for the effectiveness in Florida, do you even need brakes there? I am puzzled by the addition of the emergency brake there. When I lived in Miami, I didn't use mine for something like 10 years or so. If you are in stop and go braking hard, you might notice it. I can stop shorter from 75 since the swap, but you are correct, lacking a g meter, how much is a thing of by the seat of my pants. I do go up and down at least 6,000' at a stretch here to get just about anywhere from here. We actually have hills out here, we are not a recently exposed reef. Having non-fading brakes on my loaded Syncro Westy is a good feeling.Smile

If you ever take your Westy to the Tail of the Dragon, or other scenic curvy roads out east you will appreciate the change as well. If you stuck on Useless 1 in traffic, well; invest in XM or a good stereo, it would be a waste to go for the big brakes.Twisted Evil


Yes, the "E" in E-Brake stands for "Emergency" its very handy in Florida when your aftermarket master cylindar fails....which is every 6 months for me LOL......Maybe rear disc brakes would be a better mod for us Floridians, apparently the rear drums only account for %40 of total braking. But having larger/better rear wheel disc brakes and stock front discs is probably dangerous unless you are Rally racing.

and you are very correct, my Sirius Satelite is a must have in Florida traffic, also a hands free wireless cell earpiece helps too. Wink
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volksdragonvw
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Big Brakes Reply with quote

Hey Eric,

When are you gonna make some of those for Syncros?? I just finished a set of the Audi Turbo caliper carriers (ala Syncro.ca), but I really want Porsche pattern.

Rennie
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogpilot wrote:
If you are in stop and go braking hard, you might notice it. I can stop shorter from 75 since the swap, but you are correct, lacking a g meter, how much is a thing of by the seat of my pants..........If you ever take your Westy to the Tail of the Dragon, or other scenic curvy roads out east you will appreciate the change as well. If you stuck on Useless 1 in traffic, well; invest in XM or a good stereo, it would be a waste to go for the big brakes.Twisted Evil


Before I put Smallcar brakes on my Syncro, I actually did not like my wife to drive it. She is accustomed to a modern car that will actually stop in an emergency, and the Syncro required that you knew in advance that you would have to push on the pedal "as hard as you possibly could" to lock the wheels.

I started down this path of 'brakes', and in doing so, heeded the advice of a mechanic who put it succinctly as; "Why don't you go test it? That's what I will do if you want to pay me". So I went out to a stretch of reasonably new, grippy asphalt and did some panic stops, and found it **was** actually possible to lock the Syncros wheels some of the time. I was pressing so had on the brake pedal that I thought I might 'break' the pedal. This is not safe. Certainly my wife would not do so, after getting out of her 'modern' car. No one would. This notion would be revisited sometime, if any, AFTER the impact.

So I respectfully disagree on a couple points of our friend Dogpilot, who always offers great help on this forum! I think emergency situations should be the largest part of a brake component decision.

All that is necessary is the impetus to go test it. Not everyone will do this. My wife would NEVER test a panic stop,,,,,, she just would not ever do it, simple as that. I even felt a little silly, skidding a Westy.....

All that is needed is a safe place to do it, take all the stuff off your shelves if you have a Westy Wink and slam on the brakes. Then you can stop typing and start deciding. My decision was easy, after 5 minutes of testing, my car was not safe. And with the new Audi brakes, (smallcar) I felt so much better, almost like driving a new car, I can chirp the wheels anytime I want to confirm that I have max stopping power anytime.

I am fine with the smallcar front kit cuz I already own it, but if anyone makes a kit that support the brake lines better you might consider that kit. Here's my story: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2354709#2354709 my installation was more difficult because I was using Audi 15" wheels that do NOT have the proper offset. In this thread you can see a photo of the brake line support that you should inquire about.

As for the rears? I had a horrible fright one time backing down a steep hill in my 2wd. The fronts were skidding, of course, backs were doing all they could, which was basically "nothing". So I bought the rear disc kit too for my syncro (but have not installed it yet.....).

Tom
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tristar Eric wrote:
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Wow, I'd have a hard time covering up those beauties with wheels, seems like a shame....
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