Brake repairs -- mechanical side


Capt. Mike

Moderator
If you are using a fence post for leverage, you don't have the right tools! Besides air impact wrenches, the are a number of proper hand impact alternatives under that topic in the TOOLS forum. One, a striker wrench, is available from S-P (own topic in TOOLS) for a very reasonable price. Since the nut will have rusted in place and take considerable more force to remove than install, you may want to drop by a garage and have them loosen it initially with their air wrench; you can tighten back up enough to put the key back in and drive home tp remove with standard tools.

Removing the housing is almost essential. You are going to have to remove the axle shaft and doing that back into the confined and dirty trailing arm box is inviting disaster.

You can remove and install bearings and races without the press. There are 'bearing drive' kits at the tool dealers that will get you the right diameter drivers. But once out you might want to consider taking it to most any shop or garage where they'll press them out for you. This is one of those times when having a friendly relationship can be a big help -- before I got mine, I had a couple of places where they'd let me use their press.

;) Caution: There is an error in the Bentley! Page 42.4 calls for the wrong torques -- they did the conversion the wrong way. The correct torque (on data page 42.1 & in brake section) for the rear axle nut is 253 ft-lb.. You will need a torque wrench. The most common ½" drive models go to 250 ft-lb., that's close enough since you'll be tightening slightly more for the pin line-up. Note the changes in nut and spacer sleeves. Be sure you have the appropriate new parts; replace the cotter keys.
 
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SAP

New member
Thanks for the advice on the rear axel nut. It sounds like impact is the way to go instead of torque. Interesting about the torque specs being almost 100lbs off in the Bently manual...I never would have known. I have one more question though. In my worrying about the wheel bearing removal and installation, I forgot to ask about the possible need of disconnecting the brake line and reinstalling and bleeding. Is this nessesary and/or very difficult? Thanks again for all your help.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Trying to remove the brake backing plate without disconnecting will be too difficult and leave it in the way of the bearing work. You have to change brake fluid every two years anyway, so it's about time you learn to bleed the system. It's not hard. See the "Changing brake fluid" topic in the forum.
 

jake_beaulieu

New member
Rear hub stud dimensions
I just replaced the front and rear brake pads/shoes on my 1982 air cooled Westy. Things went well, except... While hitting the rear brake drum with a hammer to knock it loose I accidentally hit the studs that the lug nuts attach to. I messed up the threads badly enough that the lug nuts will no longer screw on. I thought I would try to use a dye to clean up the threads. I need to know the stud dimensions so that I can buy the correct dye. The stud has a 12 mm diameter, but I am not sure of the pitch. Anyone know?
Jake

jake
jake_beaulieu@yahoo.com
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Any decent tap & die set will have a pitch gauge included, or they are available separately.

You better recheck; the parts fiche shows they are 14-1.5mm, not 12mm. Metric diameter is the width at the widest part of the threads; pitch is the number of mm between threads.
 

SAP

New member
This post is directed to anyone replacing their front brakes on a Westy.
I replaced mine a month ago with "no-name" pads and rotors purchaced from Bus Depot and have had the worst, or I should say noisiest month ever. I tried every trick including those found in this forum. Nothing worked until I bought ATE pads. Capt. Mike was right, you get what you pay for. As an added bonus, they stop better than ever. On my first test run less than a 1/4mi from home, a truck pulled out in front of me where I thought I would have surely died. No problem, those new pads stopped better brand new and cold than the others even after being warmed up.
 

badger

New member
Bryan Badger Junior Member
1990 VW Transporter, 2WD

When removing the rear brake drum with a hub puller it hung up on the brake shoes and the axle was driven partley out of the bearings.
I can get the 46mm castelated nut about 1/4 of the way onto the shaft without meeting any resistance. To put the nut on any further takes around 150 ft.lb. of torque. The question is can the axle be pulled back into the bearings without causing any damage to them or the circlip?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The stub axle sits in the wheel bearing housing. Per Bently 42.4 there are numerous pieces including a circlip and seals that may have been damaged. Replacement requires removal of the wheel bearing housing assembly, The axle shaft is pressed into (& out) of the bearing housing with a hydraulic press per Bentley 42.4.

Was your axle disconnected? if you've forced the stub axle inward, this may have caused damage to the CV joints of that axle.

An expensive lesson; this is why you are instructed to back off the brake shoes completely before removing the hub. But it may be an opportunity/incentive to inspect, grease and repack bearings & CV joints.

Note: Torque of the axle nut should be 253 ft-lb. The 360 ft-lb. listed in some editions of the Bentley is an error!
 

levous

New member
While I understand there is a section for parts suppliers, I am unable to discern what manufacturer/brand each provides for brake pads. It's a miracle if they indicate that they're "German" made.

Some suppliers show Teves as being ATE. Is this true?

Ron at BusDepot told me ATE no longer makes pads and they never made shoes and if I find them they are some other manufacture in an ATE box and that ATE is no longer german made anyway. Whew!

Originally posted by Capt. Mike:
...I prefer Ate for both rotors & pads, though find the Brembro rotors equally good. I have used Jurid & Textar pads, but like the compromise of wear and cold-braking ability of the Ates better. Too many go for the extra long life, not realizing that it usually makes the pads 'cold' -- needing to warm up for best braking ability. I want maximum grab when cold, the normal condition for emergencies. When that idiot runs the red light in front of me, I don't have time to warm up my brakes. I do NOT like the metallics and most other aftermarket pads -- metalilics often add excess wear to the rotors and I'm uncomfortable with the quaility and handling characteristics of pads not designed with the VW's high weight for it's size . . ..
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
In today's international, multi-sourced economy, parts may be sold under various names or from various sources under one name. Companies merge and are bought out daily.

I've got Ate pads, in an Ate box with Ate stamped into the backing plates. Ditto rotors. So I'd question anybody that says Ate 'doesn't make pads.' Suggest you check out the other members' comments on your "source" in the PARTS forum. But because I've got them in hand, doesn't mean Ate didn't change everything yesterday.

Do things change? All the time. Bosch now has manufacturing and supplier plants all over the world. My last batch of fuel filters were Spanish but still Bosch, and in my opinion, Bosch OE quality. Brazil now makes many VW brake parts. Getting phobic about where a particular part is made won't do you any good. IF it's important you have OE quality and specs, get VW parts from a VW dealer!!!

My personal opinion on the Teves/Ate question is that VW uses BOTH manufacturers for OE equipment and considers them interchangeable, thus a part may be either and not be misleading. Unless, of course, advertised by the vendor as one or the other.

Buy aftermarket parts from a reputable parts source that stands behind his product and will tell you everything HE knows about the source, contents and application. If he won't find another supplier. It's perfectly OK for him to say he doesn't handle that manufacturer or line -- that's a business choice. But if he tells you they "don't exist" and you verify they do from other sources, then you've learned a lot about the integrity of the vendor.

If it's factory packaged by a major supplier, for example Ate, you should be able to assume it's made by Ate or to Ate specification. And the latter is all that is important. I've got Leistreitz heat exhangers on a Porsche made by a sub-contractor in Japan. I can tell no quality difference between them and the German made. Ditto my Bosch purchases. Go direct. Ask Ate, not some 3rd level down-the-chain vendor. Who, I remind you, has an interest in selling you what he has. I find most of the manufacturers very accomodating at telling you what they sell.

When you go aftermarket, you accept that specs, performance and quality will change. This site does not support part searches to save money or locate discontinued parts. Mentions of alternate brands are member opinions only.

[Moderator Note: Brembo now owns Ate but continues to produce both lines of rotors & pads.]
 
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levous

New member
Mike,

Thanks so much for the response!

I agree completely with you about the manufacturer being more important than the place they were manufactured. As long as their standards are reliable, their product will reflect that.

I also agree that when a supplier makes a deceptive claim for the purpose changing the client's brand preference (or otherwise) they are not thinking of their customer's best interest.

This story has a very happy ending. I found an online supplier for ATE products and, yes, ATE definitely still makes pads. I have yet to do the installation but the purchase experience was exceptional and I have found a great source for OEM parts. I added a post to forum: Tools/Parts "Auto Service Group, Inc".

Thanks agai, this forum has been invaluable in my westy journey
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
As I understand your original post, Bus Depot gave you false information in an attempt to get you to buy their product. If that's correct, please post your experience in the "Bus Depot" topic under the PARTS forum.

Please note, your email listed in the member profile is invalid. You will NOT be notified of moderating changes -- cuts, moves, edits.
 

dave90westy

New member
No one has mentioned having any trouble taking off the grease caps on the front of a 90 vanagon to get to the nut holding the rotors on. I am trying to replace the rotors, seals and pads and can't get the caps off. I used a small crow-bar type lever leaning against the lug bolts and plenty of penetrating oil. I stopped by a brake shop and the guy tried for a couple minutes with channel locks to pry one off to no avail.

I plan just to bang away on it some more then find a VW shop in the Roanoke area--unless someone knows what to do. Thanks in advance for any suggestion.
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Most of the major tool manufacturers sell a dust cap removal tool specifically for that purpose. (Snap-On GCP10 or equivelent.) They remind you of a set of end-cut fence pliers and contain both the cap removal starter and a small pry head on one handle for once you get it started.

I often find a little judicious taping with a chisel sufficient between the hub and the raised rib of the cap to start the separation of the cap from the hub so that the 'pry' tool will get a bite and work. Use of channel locks can do more harm than good -- they will distort the cap and cause it to grip harder.

To reinstall, use the appropriate size socket -- typically from a big 3/4" drive set as a driver that catches just the rib and does not rest on or strike the cap dome itself. They dent and distort easily.
 

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Fly Fisher

New member
What are the "big brakes" that I have heard reference too. They are supposed to be from South Africa? They are supposed to be bigger and better. Is there such a thing?
 

VicF

New member
I recently had my rear brakes done in my 85 Westy by a local shop, they replaced the drums shoes wheel cylinders and one backing plate.

Since then my front brakes are doing very little in the way of braking and I unfortunately found this out while turning into a corner and being cut off.It started to rain and was quite slippery.

I had to hammer the brakes and my rear end almost passed me. The pedal feels a little soft now, the vehicle no longer stops as fast as it did before the shop did all the work, the rear shoes were ok but the drums needed replacing.

Are the front brakes on the same system as the rear brakes, why would the front be doing less in the way of braking now?

Thanks Vic.
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
There is nothing in the change of rear brakes that would cause your symptom except mechanic's screw-up.

Following a brake job of this degree, where they have opened the hydraulic system, the entire system needs to be bled -- not just the rear wheels. If they messed up this process, they could have left air in the front. Improper bleeding technic, or a very old system getting new components in one area only, can cause a master cylinder failure.

Vanagon brakes have two 'sysems' only in that they have two pairs of lines so that a failure of one won't take out all 4 wheels. There is also a regulator to proportion front to rear braking effect. Your mechanical rear repairs shouldn't have touched any of those except the bleeding process. These are hydraulic problems, not mechanical and belong in that topic.
 

VicF

New member
Thanks for your response I am going to the hydraulic topic wasn't sure where it should be.

Vic.
 

jerepowers

New member
1984 Westy

How do the rear adjusters work?

I just redid my brakes -- all four corner. I adjusted the rears so that drum would slip over without twisting too much to get it on. The rear pads are working. The rear drum heats up. However, since I did this, the hand brake has been hard to adjust. I am adjusting it at the equalizer and one turn one way and I can't get the hand brake off. Back it off a turn and the vehicle rolls on a slight incline.

Anyway, I assume that the rear pads need some adjusting and this will happen over time automatically. But if I knew what it was that triggered it -- backing up, use of the hand brake, just stepping on the pedal -- I would do it in an effort to quicken this up.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
For some reason, the auto-adjust feature is not very responsive if the brakes are too far out of adjustment. Do a manual adjust first. It's a pain because you have to tighten to "too tight" first, then overcome the one-way rachet to back off the required number of clicks, but it seems worth the effort.

There is a tool, called a drum gauge, which will measure the inside drum for wear, then provide the correct first-adjustment setting for the shoes before putting the drum back on. Not super accurate but useable. Not that expensive -- can be found at most auto parts stores. I think mine is a K-D brand.

Not to hurt your feelings, but the correct placement of the hardware is critical to the emergency brake operations. The minor offsets and direction of spring hook-ups can get things out of kilter. I presume you had to remove the actuating arm from the old shoes to the new -- it's common enough to find that arm not free-moving as the rebuilt shoes often have rough spots or recoating on the hole. I always polish mine clear when moving the arm and apply the tinest amount of disk brake grease that usually comes with new pads..

And the Bentley is correct in their boxed warning that the rear brakes must be properly adjusted before starting on the hand brake. The handbrake only activates the rear shoe, which then has to reach full contact with the drum before it transfers pressure to the front shoe via the push/adjusting rod. It's not 'together' like the hydraulic side with its dual pistons.
 

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