JBugs Video Series

1971 VW Super Beetle - Rear Disc Brake Conversion Kit Installation:

Video Overview:

We upgraded our VW Brakes by installing an EMPI premium disc brake on the front of our Super Beetle. We didn’t want the rear to feel neglected so we decided to install a corresponding premium disc brake kit on the rear. We also install stainless steel braided brake hoses for a complete performance braking system. We also go over a common issue that can come up when installing a rear disc brake kit, so watch and learn!

Brake kit overview: 0:58
Brake caliper prep: 1:16
Vehicle prep: 2:17
Brake drum removal: 3:05
Trailing arm prep: 3:34
Parking brake cable removal: 3:46
Brake hose replacement: 4:02
Brake caliper bracket installation: 4:42
Brake rotor installation: 5:19
Brake caliper installation: 5:31
Parking brake cable installation: 7:03
Brake hose installation: 7:47

Video Tips:

Tools used in this video:

Jack Stands
Wheel Chocks
Axle Nut Removal Tool
Flathead Screwdriver
Adjustable Wrench
Linemans Pliers
Miscellaneous Punches
Sledge Hammer
Rubber Mallet
10mm Wrench
11mm Wrench
14mm Wrench
17mm Wrench
3/8" Drive Ratchet
6" Extension
10mm Socket
11mm Socket
13mm Socket
14mm Socket
17mm Socket
1/2 Drive Impact Driver (or Ratchet)
36mm Socket
19mm Socket
Torque Multiplier Tool
Chemicals Used:

Brake Cleaner
Medium Threadlocker

Video Transcript:

Hello! Sam here with JBugs.com
In our last video, we delayed pulling apart our 1971 Super Beetle to install EMPI's new 
front premium disc brake kit. 
Now with it installed, 
we'll get to work at the rear of the car and install a premium disc brake kit there to match.
The EMPI premium disc brake kit comes with; directional cross-drilled and slotted silver zinc plated brake rotors, 
premium brake pads, parking brake equipped brake calipers, caliper brackets, hardware and seals, brake hoses, and parking brake cables.
We'll get started at the bench 
and install the premium brake pads into the new brake calipers. 
The calipers are floating units that slide on pins that insert into a carrier 
which will bolt to the caliper bracket at the car. 
We slide the carrier back and off the pins 
after applying disc brake grease to the back of the pads and springs. 
Set a pad into a caliper, opposite of the piston, 
and push the pad down to compress the springs a bit. The bracket is slid onto the pins and over the pad we just installed. The next pad is set into the caliper at the piston side. Note the piston has notches that need to align with the pin on the back of the brake pad. 
After making sure that the pin and a notch line up, 
the carrier is slid all the way up onto the caliper. Then the pads were separated. This will be the area where the rotor will sit.
With the pads installed on both calipers, we clean them with brake cleaner. 
We chalk the front wheels of the car, jack up the rear, and set it on jack stands. The wheel is removed along with the rear axle nut cotter pin. 
The rear axle nut needs to be removed and instead of using a large breaker bar, 
we're going to use a torque multiplier tool. 
The base of the tool is bolted to the drum with the stock lug bolts 
along with our axle nut removal tool, to keep our drum from spinning. 
Then a 3/8" ratchet is used to loosen the axle nut 
with the gear-driven arm doing the work. 
A torque multiplier is a great tool for removing the very tight and often stubborn axle nuts, 
without jumping up and down on a breaker bar. 
The tools are unbolted from the drum, 
and then the rear drum is removed with the help of a sledgehammer.
At the back of the backing plate, the rear brake line is un-threaded from the wheel cylinder 
and the parking brake cable bracket bolt is un-threaded as well. The parking brake cable is removed from the brake arm and is pulled out of the backing plate along with the bracket. 
The four bolts for the bearing cap are un-threaded 
and the bearing cap and backing plate are removed from the trailing arm. The bolts and the cap are saved as they will be cleaned and reused.
The old seal is removed from the bearing cap, 
it's cleaned up, and then the original O-ring is removed from the trailing arm, before cleaning up the mounting flange.
Inside the car, the parking brake nuts are removed from the cables 
and the cables are pushed into the chassis. 
At the back of the car, the cable is unclipped from the trailing arm 
and pulled out of the back of the car.
Now, we'll swap out the stock rubber brake hoses for stainless steel braided lines. 
So, at the rear of the trailing arm, we un-clip the brake line, 
loosen the fitting to the line from the original hose, and unthread the hose from the brake line fitting at the chassis. The new stainless steel braided hose is threaded into the fitting and tightened down. It's routed through the brake line tab on the trailing arm and clipped in place. The original steel line is threaded into the hose and tightened down. The steel hard line on the trailing arm is reshaped and bent to point towards the rear of the car.
Now, we install a new O-ring on the axle flange. 
Follow it with the brake caliper bracket, 
and after a new axle seal is installed into the bearing cap, it is packed with grease and set onto the flange. 
Both the left and right caliper brackets are the same and install with the caliper flange at the rear 
and offset towards the chassis. The bearing cap is bolted on using the original bolts. We make sure that the lip of the axle seal is not pinched by the axle spacer.
Next, the rear rotor is slipped onto the axle, 
followed by an included axle spacer, and the rear axle nut is threaded on and tightened down but not fully torqued.
A caliper is slid over the brake rotor and we check the spacing at the caliper and bracket. 
The caliper assembly installs between the bracket and the rotor. With a bolt installed temporarily, we can see that the caliper is hitting the rotor. This isn't uncommon as over time the spacers wear down. The factory spacer on this side is worn, which could be part of the reason our drum was tough to take off. To remedy our spacing issue, we'll just swap the new axle spacer with the original spacer.
This was necessary on this side of the car but not the other. 
So, we pull off the caliper, the axle nut, the new spacer, the rotor, the bearing cap, the caliper bracket, 
and finally the original axle spacer. The spacer is very difficult to remove again, indicating that it is worn. The axle spacer that we installed on the outside is slid on against the bearing. 
And after making sure the O-ring is in place, 
the bracket and bearing cap are reinstalled then bolted on. 
The rotor is slid onto the axle and the original axle spacer from the inside is slid on 
and followed but the axle nut which is tightened down but not torqued.
Now, we can retest fit the caliper and see now that with the caliper over the rotor 
there is a small gap between the caliper and the rotor. EMPI includes eight shims, four narrow and four thick, in the kit. Keep in mind the shims won't always be used. 
On this side, we end up using a thick shim between the caliper and bracket at each bolt 
and we tighten up both bolts.
Next, the new parking brake cable is routed into the chassis. 
Inside the car, one brake handle clip is removed. The pivot pin is pushed out and the handle is lifted up and out of the chassis. 
The parking brake cable is pulled up and out of the tunnel 
but we don't hook it up until both cables are pulled through. 
At the brake caliper, the cable is routed over the trailing arm 
and through the brake caliper. 
The ball end of the cable is routed around and into the parking brake lever on the caliper 
with the spring on the backside of the lever. The cable housing is slid into the caliper and held in place with a circlip.
As we've installed stainless steel brake hoses at the front and rear suspension points, 
we'll swap out the included rubber hoses from the kit with more stainless steel hoses. 
Anytime you install stainless steel hoses on a brake system, 
all of the flexible hoses should be swapped out for stainless steel braided hoses.
The new hose is threaded into the caliper and tightened down. 
The other end of the hose is attached to the stock steel line at the trailing arm 
and the fittings are all tightened down. 
We bolt on the axle removal tool and torque multiplier to the rotor 
and torque down the axle nut. 
The tools are removed 
and a cotter pin is installed into the axle nut and bent over. The pads and rotors are sprayed over with brake cleaner and wiped clean. 
14-millimeter wheel studs are threaded in after applying medium thread locker 
and we bolt on a 914 gloss black and polished 15.5-inch wheel with chrome-plated Porsche lug nuts.
To cap off the nuts, black lug nut caps are pressed on 
and once the whole process is completed on the opposite side, we can reinstall the brake handles inside the car, connect and tighten the parking brake cables, and we're done.
Well, almost. 
As we now have four-wheel disc brakes, we have to swap out our master cylinder to a large bore unit 
and then bleed the brakes but, that will be in an upcoming video.
Thanks for watching!
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