Author Topic: Holy nightmare Batman! What do folks buy when Beetle disc brakes wear out?  (Read 287 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline kinggeorge13

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: ca
  • Karma: 2
  • Whaddya mean I can't buy more buses?
So my wife's little 1979 Super Beetle that has become a big part of my hobby-life this past couple months getting it fixed up/repaired has a new bit of fun.   Not only will I be replacing a severely leaking (read: Streaming) pushrod tube but I figured I'd do the front brakes at the same time.  During our little test drive this past weekend the Beetle was starting the telltale grinding from the front brakes that it's time to replace.   Actually by the time we got home I was pretty sure the whole neighbourhood could hear them. 

Remember, this is our first Beetle.  I've worked on and own several late bay buses but beetles, especially supers are quite a different animal in a lot of areas.   Apparently front brakes in a 1979 is one of them. 

I went to order what I figured would be a standard, straight-forward replacement kit of pads and rotors and possibly calipers if necessary.  Yikes.  So as I research and I'm sure that some of you are already nodding as you read this cuz you already knew.....the 1979 Beetle apparently still came with drums in the front and if I have discs up there then it's one of the many that have been upgraded by previous owners to get better/safer braking.   But man-o-man that seems to make a quagmire of unknowns on what exactly to buy to replace the rotor and pads/calipers.   Reading through the online catalogs of the more popular vintage VW supply places produces an absolutely multitudinous list of different parts that are all different in some special way.   Which ones will fit?  I don't know.  Is it even possible to just buy a rotor/caliper/pads or it seems like most of the ones out there are full conversion kits even including new inner/outter bearings.   What I figured would be a simple brake job is blowing up on the launch pad before I even get going.   

The disc brakes that are on there look to me to be pretty straight-forward 4 bolt.  Not lowered.  It's a super so its a different kit than regular bugs from what I've read.  And it does need to be replaced: even the surface of the rotors look like the equivalent of a bowl of metal oatmeal (i.e. the surface is a pitted/flakey ruin).   

Any suggestions from experience?   Here's a couple photos but I don't know if that helps much.

Thanks!



1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline kinggeorge13

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: ca
  • Karma: 2
  • Whaddya mean I can't buy more buses?
A couple more photos:



1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline Bruce

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 2896
  • Country: 00
  • Karma: 6
Nothing odd or unusual about your disc setup.  It uses the standard Karmann Ghia/Type 3 rotor and Brazilian Varga 2 pin calipers.

Here are your brake pads:
https://www.cip1.ca/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=VWC%2D311%2D698%2D151%2DB

Rotor:
https://www.cip1.ca/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=VWC-113-407-075



Offline kinggeorge13

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: ca
  • Karma: 2
  • Whaddya mean I can't buy more buses?
Nothing odd or unusual about your disc setup.  It uses the standard Karmann Ghia/Type 3 rotor and Brazilian Varga 2 pin calipers.

Here are your brake pads:
https://www.cip1.ca/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=VWC%2D311%2D698%2D151%2DB

Rotor:
https://www.cip1.ca/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=VWC-113-407-075

Bruce, you are THE MAN!!!!    Ok and the best part is CIP May Daze pricing is up at midnight tonight so I ordered it all with a great discount!   

Thanks!
We may get this car out on the road lots this summer yet!!!!   

-George (and Soo-Jean)
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline pittwagen

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 565
  • Country: 00
  • Karma: 2
You might also want to check your calipers to ensure the pistons return freely and are not extra tight or stuck.  Further, if the brake hoses have not been changed for a long time they can collapse internally (no external cracks necessarily) and cause the brake fluid to not return properly when you lift up on the brake pedal, which can make the caliper pistons appear that they are stuck.  Been there and learned the hard way!!

Any time I get a vehicle with no brake history, I do a good check and most times I either rebuild the calipers or replace them.  Hoses too.  FYI.

Offline kinggeorge13

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: ca
  • Karma: 2
  • Whaddya mean I can't buy more buses?
You might also want to check your calipers to ensure the pistons return freely and are not extra tight or stuck.  Further, if the brake hoses have not been changed for a long time they can collapse internally (no external cracks necessarily) and cause the brake fluid to not return properly when you lift up on the brake pedal, which can make the caliper pistons appear that they are stuck.  Been there and learned the hard way!!

Any time I get a vehicle with no brake history, I do a good check and most times I either rebuild the calipers or replace them.  Hoses too.  FYI.

Yeah, I have less than 50/50 faith that the calipers will be good enough to use again but I'll get a better look when I take it all apart.  I probably won't rebuild them if they are bad unless they still look pretty good: The last set I looked at rebuilding (bus) had the cylinders so incredibly rusted and corroded I did not believe new parts/rubber were ever going to seal properly again.  Plus breaking the cylinders free to get them moving again (using an air hose, goggles, face shield, welding gloves, heavy jacket and a chunk of wood to stop it's travel too far was a moment of excitement I'm not in a huge hurry to repeat.   If they look bad inside I'll order replacements.  Life is too short.   As always bleeding the entire system is always nice and beneficial as well so that's an added bonus.   Unless I break off a bleed screw and then it's back to heavy drinking.   

Thanks!
-George
 
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline BUSDADDY

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1273
  • Country: ca
  • Karma: 7
  • Like potato chips, you can't have just one
Better make friends with those bleeders soon, brake fluid should be changed every 2 years (it picks up moisture from the atmosphere), if you don't know the last time it was flushed do it just because you can.

Suck all the old fluid out of the reservoir with a syringe, refill and bleed each wheel until the stuff coming out looks brand new. Have a helper monitor the reservoir so it doesn't go dry and you won't get any air in the system.
RUST NEVER SLEEPS

Offline kinggeorge13

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: ca
  • Karma: 2
  • Whaddya mean I can't buy more buses?
Yep that's the plan.   The one trick I've learned and I live by is to plan my brake bleeds a week in advance and start spraying on SeaFoam penetrating oil daily for the week.    Overkill?  Possibly but I have not yet snapped one off and most of mine look like they were last loosened when hippies first walked the earth. 
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline Bruce

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 2896
  • Country: 00
  • Karma: 6
The last set I looked at rebuilding (bus) had the cylinders so incredibly rusted and corroded I did not believe new parts/rubber were ever going to seal properly again. 

Corrosion in the bore of the caliper body is not a problem.  Only the piston has to be smooth and rust free.  Unlike an engine where the sealing devices (rings) are on the piston, the seal of a caliper is fixed in the groove in the cylinder, so the piston only has to seal against the rubber seal.

Offline kinggeorge13

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: ca
  • Karma: 2
  • Whaddya mean I can't buy more buses?
The last set I looked at rebuilding (bus) had the cylinders so incredibly rusted and corroded I did not believe new parts/rubber were ever going to seal properly again. 

Corrosion in the bore of the caliper body is not a problem.  Only the piston has to be smooth and rust free.  Unlike an engine where the sealing devices (rings) are on the piston, the seal of a caliper is fixed in the groove in the cylinder, so the piston only has to seal against the rubber seal.

Ok, that makes sense.  I'll take a look.  Hopefully this weekend.   My welding of massive exhaust leaks under Bart the Bus are taking up the next little bit of sunny weather when it returns and then I'll get the Beetle up onto the jack stands.   Meanwhile, I've somehow misplaced a fairly large Ar/CO2 gas cylinder for my 110v welder.   How exactly do I do that?  I can understand the dozens of smaller tools and often parts that I misplace on a weekly basis.  But a large gas cylinder that weighs 50+ pounds?   What the heck?   And because I'm fairly stubborn I refuse to give up and give in and just take the tank off the 220v welder.   Nope, not doing that!

1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline kinggeorge13

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: ca
  • Karma: 2
  • Whaddya mean I can't buy more buses?
Found the tank!    Sun is out (kinda)!   Time to start welding holes and breaks in exhaust system under Bart the bus!
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

 

Powered by EzPortal