Porsche brakes and Wilwood calliper upgrade

Project winterisation begins

Unfortunately, it’s time to take the bus off the road briefly and get the underside cleaned up and protected against the UK weather. Along with the future protection of the bus, I was going to use this opportunity to upgrade the front braking and steering system. My order of the Epoxy mastic 121 kit from Rustbuster had arrived along with the disc brake kit from Fellows Speedshop and my time slot with Resto Classics had arrived, so it was time to drop the bus off to them…

off to Resto Classics for the preservation work to begin…
off to Resto Classics for the preservation work to begin…

My order of the Epoxy mastic 121 kit from Rustbuster had arrived along with the disc brake kit from Fellows Speedshop and my time slot with Resto Classics had arrived, so it was time to drop the bus off to them…

Epoxy Mastic 121 is supplied as a two component mix complete with thinners
Epoxy Mastic 121 is supplied as a two-component mix complete with thinners

Drum brakes to discs

The existing drum brakes on the bus were pretty good. I know a lot of people swear by them in terms of how effective they are. However, they do need regular adjustment plus they often have a tendency to pull to one side or another when they wear unevenly.

front brake shoes, springs, cylinders, bolts, caps, bearings etc.
front brake shoes, springs, cylinders, bolts, caps, bearings etc.

I was reluctant to upgrade at first. I thought it might be unnecessary. I always leave a good amount of braking space between me and any vehicle in front. However, on our recent road trip to Scotland, I was amazed just how many people on the motorways going up, see this as a space to pull into! There were times I had to ask a lot from the old drum brake system! From a safety viewpoint, upgrading to a decent set of disc brakes at this point seemed to make a lot of sense! Might even add a brake servo to the mix!

original VW stamped front brake drums Part Nº 211 405 641 B
original VW stamped front brake drums Part Nº 211 405 641 B

Disc brakes upgrades

The guys at Resto Classics were impressed by the quality of the Fellows Speedshop front disc kit engineering, and once the bus was up on the axle stands, soon had the front drum brake set up removed and the new Porsche 944 disc and Willwood calliper combo in place. Have to say it really does look the business! 🙂

Fellows Speed Shop disc brake kit
Fellows Speed Shop disc brake kit

One of the main reason for going for this kit was that it works and fits with my original 15″ steel stock wheels with the wide five stud pattern setup. As if having vented Porsche 944 discs and Willwood 4 pot callipers weren’t enough of a reason!!!!

Fellows Speed Shop disc brake kit – Vented Porsche 944 discs
Fellows Speed Shop disc brake kit – Vented Porsche 944 discs

Stopping power

I was thinking of possibly adding a brake servo into the mix. Phil at Resto Classics wisely suggested doing this upgrade first and seeing how it was then. A servo could always be fitted later if I wanted. He is good at helping me spend wisely and saving me money along the way! 🙂

billet hub of the Fellows Speedshop wide 5 brake kit
billet hub of the Fellows Speedshop wide 5 brake kit

Dual master brake cylinder

Normally older buses would operate with a single reservoir master brake cylinder which provides pressure to both the front and rear systems. However, should something go wrong with the master cylinder, you can lose all braking power! With a dual reservoir master brake cylinder system, the pressure is split separately into front and rear, so if something were to go wrong, you should still have 50% braking in an emergency.

vented Porsche 944 discs and Willwood 4 pot calipers as part of the Fellows Speedshop wide 5 brake kit
vented Porsche 944 discs and Willwood 4 pot callipers as part of the Fellows Speedshop wide 5 brake kit

Full braking power

Fortunately, the bus had been previously converted from a single master brake cylinder to a dual master cylinder set up, so that was not an issue in my case. However, upon closer inspection they noticed it was not operating properly, so I would not have been getting full efficiency previously. Instead of messing around with it, the dual master cylinder was replaced with a new one whilst the brakes were getting replaced.

time to get busy cleaning up the underside of the bus…
time to get busy cleaning up the underside of the bus…

Solid, but not pretty

With all the excitement of seeing the sexy, shiny engineering of the disc brake kit getting fitted, it was easy to overlook the less glamorous issue of getting the underside of the bus cleaned up and protected… time to crack out the wire brushes and get busy under the bus and get things cleaned up under there! I even said I could lend a hand with some of the grunt work, my body might end up regretting this decision…

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