Brake upgrade?

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Mulcheese
Getting Hooked!
Location: Maple Grove, Mn
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Brake upgrade?

Post by Mulcheese » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:15 am

Hello All

I just pulled the van out of the winter slumber. A little later this year as we have had quite a bit of snow this year.

Now I start to create a list of "to do's" for the van. We are talking about a trip next year that will take us through mountain passes. Something that my wife is now insisting on is a brake upgrade. Some years back traveling through Yosemite we experienced brake fade and were lucky to pull off just in time. She didnt like that.

The van 82 westy is set up stock with 14" wheels.

What are my options? I have looked at the big brake kits from Bus Depot and GoWesty. Is this the only way to go? Can I do anything to the existing that may make it better.

Yes driving style is a big part but is still want that assurance.

Pat
"attending to things in the moment with curiosity and acceptance."
____________________
82 Vanagon Westy - aka: Honey Badger - "cause she just dont give a ...."

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SlowLane
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Location: Livermore, CA
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Re: Brake upgrade?

Post by SlowLane » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:37 pm

Hi Pat.

Personally, I've yet to run across a situation where the stock brakes, well maintained, haven't been up to the task of hauling the loaded Westy down to a stop, even whilst careening down the mountain passes of British Columbia.

The well-maintained bit, however, is important, particularly with regards to not having old, moisture-laden brake fluid in the system which can boil and vapour-lock as the caliper temperature rises.

I'm sure you must have already researched the various Big Brake kit options, and discovered that they are spendy, especially for models '80-'85, becasue in addition to sourcing the big brake components themselves, you also need the custom hubs, and also spindles from a '86-onward Vanagon.

Then you will also need to get 15" or larger wheels and tires to fit over the new brakes. I mean, if you're looking for an excuse to get shiny new wheels, then bigger brakes is a pretty viable one, but depending on the brake kit you choose, you could be looking at a final price tag on the high side of $2500 or so.

Now may i draw your attention to this Samba article: https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewt ... p?t=381146.
It's a rather clever hack that has you convert your existing early brake hub/rotor into a hub/carrier. A carefully selected Mercedes Benz disk rotor bolts then to the hub, combined with an equally carefully selected BMW 4-piston caliper. The end result is that you get a rotor of the same diameter as the stock one, but it's vented, and it's also replacable without having to install new bearings as is necessary with the stock brakes. It even fits behind a stock 14" wheel with a 3 mm wheel spacer. And it's completely revertable if you feel the need to go back to stock.
'81 Canadian Westfalia (2.0L, manual), now Californiated

"They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance."
- Terry Pratchett

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Mulcheese
Getting Hooked!
Location: Maple Grove, Mn
Status: Offline

Re: Brake upgrade?

Post by Mulcheese » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:39 pm

SlowLane wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:37 pm
Hi Pat.

Personally, I've yet to run across a situation where the stock brakes, well maintained, haven't been up to the task of hauling the loaded Westy down to a stop, even whilst careening down the mountain passes of British Columbia.

The well-maintained bit, however, is important, particularly with regards to not having old, moisture-laden brake fluid in the system which can boil and vapour-lock as the caliper temperature rises.

I'm sure you must have already researched the various Big Brake kit options, and discovered that they are spendy, especially for models '80-'85, becasue in addition to sourcing the big brake components themselves, you also need the custom hubs, and also spindles from a '86-onward Vanagon.

Then you will also need to get 15" or larger wheels and tires to fit over the new brakes. I mean, if you're looking for an excuse to get shiny new wheels, then bigger brakes is a pretty viable one, but depending on the brake kit you choose, you could be looking at a final price tag on the high side of $2500 or so.

Now may i draw your attention to this Samba article: https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewt ... p?t=381146.
It's a rather clever hack that has you convert your existing early brake hub/rotor into a hub/carrier. A carefully selected Mercedes Benz disk rotor bolts then to the hub, combined with an equally carefully selected BMW 4-piston caliper. The end result is that you get a rotor of the same diameter as the stock one, but it's vented, and it's also replacable without having to install new bearings as is necessary with the stock brakes. It even fits behind a stock 14" wheel with a 3 mm wheel spacer. And it's completely revertable if you feel the need to go back to stock.
Yes Slowlane, well maintained is what I am looking at.

I feel that I will bleed out and replace the old fluid. I know it’s overdue.

I want to replace the pads with a good quality one. Which one I’m still debating.

I’m even considering replacing the rotors. Mine aren’t warp but are very glazed and squeal. More material will dissipate best.

Yes I always felt that the VW engineers wouldn’t have designed a van that could only be driven in certain conditions.

Yes I have looked into the big brake conversions. Yes very spendy when all said and done. I also did come across the hack you speak of, very ingenious. This would be the route I would go if doing the replace but I feel a replenish of stock is the way to go.

Pat
"attending to things in the moment with curiosity and acceptance."
____________________
82 Vanagon Westy - aka: Honey Badger - "cause she just dont give a ...."

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Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
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Re: Brake upgrade?

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:54 pm

Mulcheese wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:39 pm
I feel a replenish of stock is the way to go.
Pat
Anybody who fades their Volkswagen brakes is merely over-driving their Volkswagen. Did you know that the rule-of-thumb back in the day was to use the gear that climbed the hill to go down the hill? Do *you* use engine compression braking effectively?

I have non-power-assisted drum brakes at all four corners on Chloe, and you bet I learned what best practices were. It is an excellent idea for you to settle down, slow down, be conservative, use engine braking (do not overrev!) and if you see a road sign that tells trucks to "use lower gear next six miles" or "7% grade" well, wake up! Be alert! Don't blame the car! Many dead people can tell you that they distractedly over-cooked the hill and realized real quick that they were losing a battle against kinetic energy that they just didn't have to fight in the first place...
Colin

(p.s. Ate or Pagid are fine. Try to get the pads with the off-gassing grooves, and be sure to use your anti-squeal shim plates)
2019 Annual Funding Drive!
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BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,155 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 97,179 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
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SlowLane
IAC Addict!
Location: Livermore, CA
Status: Offline

Re: Brake upgrade?

Post by SlowLane » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:32 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:54 pm
Many dead people can tell you ...
Truly? :cyclopsani:
'81 Canadian Westfalia (2.0L, manual), now Californiated

"They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance."
- Terry Pratchett

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