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Thread: Larger brakes

  1. #1
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    Does anyone have any experience putting larger brakes on the VW Vanagon? I sometimes tow a small trailer (never exceeding 800 lbs. trailer and payload) and feel somewhat larger brakes might increase the margin of safety in an emergency. So far I have had absolutely no problems but you never know.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
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    3,806

    Default

    What year & model? See Message Forum Guidelines.

    That load is well within the capabilities of the disk brake equipped VWs. Putting electric brakes on the trailer would probably be more cost effective as well provide better braking and stability.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    GAINESVILLE, FL
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    3

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    Beware, all the larger brake kits I've seem advertised require larger wheels, 15" minimum.
    Keep us posted if you decide to go that route.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Coral Gables, FL USA
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    1

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    anyone put rear disc brakes on an 85; I have a complete parts Vanagon and thinking of putting the front discs on the rear of my 85 Westy. What considerations are there for connecting the parking brake mechanism.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
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    3,806

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    Vehicles with rear wheel discs have a complex parking brake system. The most common is to have a separate, mechanical drum & shoe built into the rotor that is independent of the disc & caliper. Thus Vanagon fronts would not be useable on the rear.

    There are aftermarket parking brake systems for off-road vehicles that clamp onto the drive train, but none specifically bolt-on for the VW's. Most of those clamp to a drive-shaft so would only be adaptable to Syncros.

    The idea of 4-wheel discs is good, but to what effect? The factory proportional valving makes the drums work to the degree the whole system design calls for. This would have to be changed for 4-wheel discs and the discs limited to balance with the fronts. Otherwise your rears would lock up excessively. Since the bulk of your stopping is on the fronts, the rear drum system is not particularly loaded, so stopping power should not be the criteria. Fade is worse on drums, but I think you'd be hard pressed to reach that kind of abuse in normal driving.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    3

    Default No luck with Big Brakes

    In my experience, I've had to replace my big brakes onces completely and twice had the rotors turned in 12,000 miles. That an average of 4,000 per repair. To date I still have the problem and am still looking for a fix. Mine is a 87 Westy and I also installed 16" wheels with the packlage.

    Has anyone had any experience with this problem (shimmy in the brakes) with this type equipment? Appreciate any ideas? Thanks

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Snohomish, WA
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Can you give us an idea of what parts you used and their size? I doubt the basic act of moving to larger brakes has created your issue so that would bring us back to the specifics of the replacement. Also, could you give a better description of the symptom you are experiencing? Is there a pulsation in the pedal or does the steering wheel vibrate during braking?

    Have you tried (gently) pulling on the parking brake while coasting? This will only activate the drums at the rear and if the oscillations come thrrough the parking brake lever or vehicle while this is happening then it would suggest the rear as being the issue.

    It is also important to inspect the front bushings / ball joints etc. to make sure there is not an excessive amount of movement in any component. Remember, as you brake the pads come into contact with the rotor causing the rotor and wheel assembly to slow down. This effort is transmitted to the vehicle body via the suspension components so if there is excessive movement then that could be the issue.

    Answer some of the questions above and we'll take it from there.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    3

    Default

    That for your reply. From my experience of driving the shimmy is coming from the rotors. The brake pedal pulsates when I brake, I don't feel any shaking or vibration in the steering wheel. This problem only began when the south African Big Brakes were installed. They were installed at GoWesty and I'm not sure what type of big brake they are. I've always had good luck with GooWesty and rely on them to guide me through the improvement and restoration on my Westy.

    Thanks for the parking brakle suggestion, I'll try it today.

    I'll check out the ball joints and front suspension to make sure all is well.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    3

    Default

    I tried stopping the van with the emergency brake and experienced no pulsing. I guess pulsing is a better word to describe the feeling when I apply the brakes. It's far more noticable when traveling at highway speeds. At those speeds the pulsing and pulsing noise is evident and the van shakes.

    After checking my records, I see where I had the big brakes installed at the same time I had the upper ball joints replaced and 4 Bilstein shocks installed as well as the installation of the 16" tires and wheels. The kit for big brakes that I bought at Gowesty includes calipers, pads, rotors and related hoses.

    Since having rotors surfaced twice (each on new and different rotors) the westy stopped well for about 2-3,000 miles and then, both times, the pulsing and vibration increased to a point at about 7-8,000 mile when the brakes are just too scary to drive. Hope this helps and thanks for your help.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default

    where can we get this bigger brake kit ? ( south african model standard ) any links ?

    I also feel that bigger brakes should be better

    on my 84 restomod cutlass I installed B body brakes ( 12" instead of 10.5") what a difference !

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