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Changing to disc brakes on front
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livy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:19 am    Post subject: Changing to disc brakes on front Reply with quote

Now that I have my oil leak slowed down, I was thinking about replacing my drum brakes for disc brakes. I saw an ad at SOCAL that has a good price. My question are
1.) How hard is this to do?
2.) Is the outcome worth the trouble and expense?
3.) Do I have to change wheel or the size of the wheels?
4.) Is SOCAL kits up to a good quality?
And please add any thing else I need to know. Thank you all in advance.
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63ziggy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

not a difficult job. i installed a set on a 63 Beetle from Socal.

however, never used them before selling the project. others say the disc brakes really help out. they are a direct bolt on kit. I have seen one post discussing the quality of the bearings that come with the kit.

kit says you must have 15" wheels. I think the quality looked good, just never got to test.

still debating on adding a set on mine to help with my oversize tires. stops fine now, just have to plan for others on the road.
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livy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

15" wheels! I say on their web site where you could get the kit with Chev or Ford bolt patterns. I wonder which would be best. Anyone have an ideas?
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Rabid Irish
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just did this on my Thing and it was def worth the money. I did not get my kit from Socal. It was from an advertiser here on the samba (maybe it was socal???) Got mine w/ 2.5in drop spindles. When they arrived everything was boxed as Empi except for the spindles. I also upgraded my master cyl. You def. need 15in rims to make it work, unless you go with the pricey CB Performance 14in compatible disc break conversion.

This is the kit I bought

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=542512
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63ziggy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI

Socal's kit is from AC Industries
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livy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Irish: Did you use the stock spindles? If not did they come with the kit?
Did you get yours with the wide 5 or change to another bolt patten.
Where did you end up buying your 15" wheels
Lastly (tell me it's non of my business and I would mind) How much did the complete change over cost (kit, wheels tires)
Last thing how hard was the change over?
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livy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Irish: I just now seen where you bought your kit (Empi) and I called them. They offer a kit (with no drop) that you just unbolt your backing plate and bolt on this kit using your existing spindles. They said I would need 15 wheels (I'm going with 5 wide) and I'm asking all if they know any reason this is not the way I should proceed? What do you all think?
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Captain Spalding
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In addition to requiring going to 15" wheels, some kits will also widen the track by an inch or two. You should find that out beforehand.

If I were in your shoes, before I pulled the trigger on the disk brake kit, I would also have decided on the wheels and tires. It's important to know the offset of the wheels and diameter and width of the tires to ensure that there's no rubbing either on the fender or the suspension.

If you need help figuring that out, post again with your choices and we'll help you figure it out.
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Fun 181
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I've been told (by two master mechanics), is that when installing only one set of disc brakes, they should be installed on the drive axle. Apparently, there is a common misconception in the air-cooled world that you need front disc brakes simply because folks these days are used to having front disc brakes on the (front-wheel drive) cars they drive today. The idea is to apply effective stopping power to the drive axle that is generating the energy and inertia of the vehicle.

Since I had to convert over to 15" wheels anyhow I hedged my bet, and put discs on the front and back. I went with the easy-to-install ACI kit, and have had no issues. I bought my wheels from JEGS. I can't remember what the total was. Had I had it done right from the beginning, everything (2 brake kits, rubber, wheels, etc.) probably cost under $1,500 but that's just a really rough guess. Suffice it to say, there was some trial and error getting the right size tires and wheels.

This is a popular topic in this forum. Do a search using the keywords "disc brakes" and you'll find a ton of info that has been previously discussed.
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Rabid Irish
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does widen the wheel track by about 1.5in. This does not effect my setup because I have a 4in narrowed balljoint beam. You will need to make sure you have enough room for tire clearance if your running a stock THING beam. I found a set of 15in 5x205 smoothies local, then purchased low profile tires for them. I would say I have about $700 in parts invested into the brake setup, and rims. The Embpi kit was a breeze to install. I highly recomend it.
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locky
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought the AC industries disc brake kits from SoCal. Front and back. They were inexpensive and definitely worth it. Easy to install as well. I went with a ford bolt pattern and bought some CRAGAR steel wheels from jegs.com, all 4 delivered with bolts and center caps for about $250. You do have to upsize to 15 in h wheels though. Check out my build, I have some shots on there.
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3...p;start=20
Just make sure they send you the proper length e-brake cable. They sent me a beetle and it was too short.
Good luck!
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joescoolcustoms
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few years ago I picked up the AC Ind. kit and never used it. When I bought my Thing last Spring, it needed a full brake job. So, perfect time to switch to disc's.

The AC Ind. kit did not add wheel track to my Thing (I bought the stock width wide five kit). Now the rear disc brake kit I had was for a beetle with no additional width. This did not work for the Thing because the rear track is wider than a beetle (hence the special rear drums). So I just installed the bolt on front kit and re-did the rear drum brakes.

Best addition to the Thing I ever made. When we were in GA last summer for KTE 11, we ran about 250 miles in the mountians and they performed flawlessly. No brake fade, no need to adjust the shoes, excellant stopping power. I just ran off my hill in my Thing to a local hardware to buy metric bolts for a Baja I am working on and they still work great 2400 miles later.

I do have 15 inch rims.
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Captain Spalding
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fun 181 wrote:
From what I've been told (by two master mechanics), is that when installing only one set of disc brakes, they should be installed on the drive axle. Apparently, there is a common misconception in the air-cooled world that you need front disc brakes simply because folks these days are used to having front disc brakes on the (front-wheel drive) cars they drive today. The idea is to apply effective stopping power to the drive axle that is generating the energy and inertia of the vehicle.

Hmm. I'm not so sure I buy that. Look at specs of muscle cars dating back to the '60s and you'll find that where there is a mix of disks and drums used, the discs are always on the front, while the drive wheels are almost always at the rear. Some Porsches use larger discs in the rear than in the front. I don't think it has anything to do with the inertia of the drive system. Drum brakes are plenty strong enough to overcome that. It has to do with weight distribution. Heavier-duty brakes on the heavier end of the car. That's my theory and I'm sticking with it. Very Happy
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dirtkeeper
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

currently converting a thing beam to disc brakes on my bug. just want to throw out that you typically need an offset wheel or spacers to clear the calipers which stick out about 1/2" plus from the stock ghia type rotor.

Centerlines with flat wheel centers need spacers.

i didnt get a kit. I just got the caliper mounts ,about $50 a pair and am using the thing spindles and the stock ghia calipers and rotors that i have.

I love the discs brakes. never have to adjust front brakes and my rotors have over 65K miles and i havent turned them yet.( no wear or vibration) I only replaced my calipers because the original ones got rusted stuck from sitting in the woods for about 10 years. The original set of pads, from 25 years ago, still had life in them at 50K. when i rebuilt 15K ago i put on new pads and calipers and those pads only lasted about 7k miles... i think do to my sons driving habits and poor quality no name pads. My current pads, Brazilian i think from a local vw shop, are showing no wear after another 8K miles and i am the only driver of the vehicle now. Its a heavy class 11 style baja with big tires.
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Bruce
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Spalding wrote:
Fun 181 wrote:
From what I've been told (by two master mechanics), is that when installing only one set of disc brakes, they should be installed on the drive axle. Apparently, there is a common misconception in the air-cooled world that you need front disc brakes simply because folks these days are used to having front disc brakes on the (front-wheel drive) cars they drive today. The idea is to apply effective stopping power to the drive axle that is generating the energy and inertia of the vehicle.

Hmm. I'm not so sure I buy that. Look at specs of muscle cars dating back to the '60s and you'll find that where there is a mix of disks and drums used, the discs are always on the front, while the drive wheels are almost always at the rear. Some Porsches use larger discs in the rear than in the front. I don't think it has anything to do with the inertia of the drive system. Drum brakes are plenty strong enough to overcome that. It has to do with weight distribution. Heavier-duty brakes on the heavier end of the car. That's my theory and I'm sticking with it. Very Happy

What those "mechanics" recommend will KILL you.
The reason all cars put discs up front first has nothing to do with where the drive axles are, or where the most weight is. It is all due to weight transfer. When you hit the brakes, weight transfers to the front.
If you put discs on the rear and leave drums up front, in a panic stop, the more powerful discs will lock up the rear tires (since their weight has transfered). When the rears lock up and the fronts aren't, the car will spin around so fast you won't know what happened.
It is extremely important when you modify your braking system for the front brakes to always lock up before the rears. When you have this, the car will continue going straight during braking.
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livy
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soooooooo. It looks like disc's up front. Now the question we have to figure out which kit to buy? The Empi (heavier, cheaper cost $500, widens stance.)
Or the AC kit (more expensive $800, does not widen track, better reputation then Empi)
and they all take 15" wheels. I can't wait for the outcome. I will buy which ever kit you decide is the best.
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Captain Spalding
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bruce wrote:

What those "mechanics" recommend will KILL you.

Nothing garners credibility like hyperbole. Laughing
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joescoolcustoms
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My vote.

http://www.kustom1warehouse.net/Zero_offset_front_...05x205.htm
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Spalding wrote:
Bruce wrote:

What those "mechanics" recommend will KILL you.

Nothing garners credibility like hyperbole. Laughing


I had to look up the meaning of 'hyperbole'..

However, its true, get it wrong with your brakes and it could end in tears.

Yes, best brakes go on the front. Here's a practical example, if you have ever had to brake while reversing down a slope on a loose surface, when you hit the brakes the front brakes (the best ones) which are now the trailing brakes, will lock-up, and you will struggle to stop. Its quite scary really. that's what happens when the best brakes are trailing. And that's why, generally, the rear brakes are biased to have less braking effect than the front.

Apart from the U.S. markets, most of the cars around the world were disc brakes on the front from the mid 1970s. Standard stuff.
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locky
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure where you are looking, but the AC industries kit is only $224.00, not $800. This is the bare bones kit without bearings.
http://www.socalautoparts.com/product_info.php/dis...x4-p-13596
Here it is.
Go for it! U won't regret it
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