Thanks for taking the time to put this together. My wife has a 79 SB and
could use disc brakes....I've been reluctant to tackle the job for fear of
screwing it up, and brakes to me are like plumbing in that I know if it
isn't done right, the results get ugly fast.
You've shown the process to be pretty straight forward, to the point that I
might consider doing it.
Seriously, Gary, there was absolutely nothing to it. The SB shares front
spindles with the Ghia, which makes this truly a bolt on affair. If you've
got a 15mm socket, some screwdrivers and pliers, you're good to go!
That's the most tedious part, but not the hardest by any stretch. You will
need your own able lab assistant to help if you don't have a vacuum bleeder.
Put a 7mm box wrench on the bleeder valve on the right, rear wheel. Put a
length of clear tubing on the 'nipple' of the bleeder valve. Put the other
end of that tubing into a jar of clear brake fluid (so that you can see the
end of the hose submerged).
Have your assistant slowly press down on the brake pedal as you open the
bleeder valve. As your assistant holds the brake pedal down, close the
valve. Bring the pedal back up, and repeat this process until you don't see
any more air bubbles coming out of the tubing ... you want to see clear
MAKE SURE YOU KEEP AN EYE ON THE MASTER CYLINDER RESERVOIR! Don't let it run
out of fluid, or you'll have to start all over!
Once the right rear is complete, go to the left rear, right front, and then
left front (as you're sitting in the vehicle) and repeat. You'll end up with
a nice, firm, fully bled system!
Hey! Glad to hear you put those on. Doesn't the car feel so much
safer to drive now? I replaced my front brakes with discs last
summer. I've been very pleased with the results, but I have had alot
of trouble getting rid of various squealing sounds from the brakes
(didn't start right away, but got much worse progresively). I see
that you have the same kind of ATE calipers (two pins) as I do. If
you have any squealing problems, let me know and maybe we can figure
it out together! I don't mean to scare you or anything, but just
letting you know that if you get a squealing problem, you're not
alone. Congrats on the install, looks great!
So far, everything's been great ... no squeeks, rattles, or shimmies!
I made sure to really clean the rotors well before the first test drive. So
far, the pads seem to be seating well, with no scuffing on the rotors. Brake
pressure is very firm, but not hard, and stopping is greatly improved.
I've never owned anything but Super Beetles, but it's my understanding that
this cutover requires changing out the spindles, which isn't really that
difficult. From that point, it's a bolt-on process just like I've outlined.
On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 01:43:18 GMT, "Peter Cressman"
Pete, it is easy....if you buy a kit....ever taken the spindle off a
bug? easy as that...you gotta separate the spindle fromt eh
balljoints, and on a 68 you will most likeley have to buy the
later(larger diameter) tierod ends...but still a "bolt on" affair...
Super simple. Spindles from a Ghia fit right in, so I have heard.
Or spindles from a factory original 1500 Euro spec bug, they came stock
with front discs :) (I had one, the only std bug to have discs in europe)
If it has a ball joint front end, you can fit the factory front discs. For
some dumb reason the USA never got front disks when the rest of the world
All 1500 and up euro beetles got front discs in 1968 with the ball joint
Thanks, Scott. You can get SoCal at http://www.socalautoparts.com/index.html
I have to put in a plug for these guys, by the way. They were extremely easy
to work with, seemed very knowledgable, and had the items shipped very
An afterthought here inspired by a friend's question...Does the master
cylinder remain the same in this swap-out? Wondering how the system balances
the tighter tolerences of the discs with the wider gap of the rear drums.
IOW, the calipers on the front only need to move a very short distance to
contact the rotors whereas the rear drums movement is considerably larger.
How does the stock system balance the two so as to prevent only the front
brakes engaging when you step on the pedal?
There was no change to the MC recommended, or needed. I don't believe the
Ghia uses a proportioning valve of any type, either.
In actuality, you WANT the front brakes to actuate first, and foremost. Your
rear brakes should be adjusted normally, and there should be no problem.
The front will LOCK UP too easily and the rear feels much weaker than
before, in contrast, if you keep original rear drums in place. The stock
master cylinder for disc brake models was different, and had
proportioning valves for the rear cirquit for this reason, I seem to
I had a original 1500 beetle with factory discs which I tore to pieces,
and I currently drive a 68 bug with front converted to discs and it has
a new "general replacement" master cylinder. The problem is noticeable,
even with 88lbs of extra weight in the spare tire well. Drive carefully
when wet, the front will lock up too soon, before the rear has time to
come to play. Push the pedal even harder, and the rear kicks in if
there's movement left in the pedal. Rear shoes muct be kept adjusted
REALLY close to the drum, dragging half way through a full turn of the
wheel. (The drums never seem to be 100% straight)
my other bug (67) has Talbot Horizon front saddles with vw rotors, and
the rear uses stock drums and front wheel cylinders. While teh larger
diameter wheel cylinder in the rear requires more fluid (more pedal
travel) to push out as far as it used to, it's stronger when it does. I
keep the shoes adjusted as above, and the front locks up WAY too easily
for my taste. So they both need some work. Type 3 drums in th erear
might be the best option, the shoes and drums are wider. So any movement
you get to the shoes, the braking power is better.
You might also want to use std rubber lines up front, and replace teh
rear rubbel flex lines with stainless steel braided teflon lines. They
don't swell under pressure like the rubber lines do, but instead they
deliver ALL pedal movement to the wheel cylinder.
One mistake I made was to do the opposite on the 67, SS braided teflon
lines in the front and rubber in the rear. Yes you may call me stupid.
But the Horizon saddles required this flex line modification and it just
wasn't doable with std rubber lines. Would have meant an "interesting"
bunch of connectors and lines. I may go that route however if I can't
get the rear to behave otherwise.
..............A great post that's getting saved in my 'valuable stuff'
..................Thanks for sharing your expertise with the rest of us Jan.
This is the type of knowledge that needs to be shared because it might save
one of us from getting into trouble while driving.
This morning, it's pouring rain in San Jose, and I've gotta work ... so I
figured it was a great time to test the new front discs. I had NO brake
lockup, no "OH CRAP" braking, and really no adverse condition with the
brakes at all.
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