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Type 3 Front Disc Brake Kit Install
Last Updated: 09/12/2013

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It is recommended to read and comprehend this install guide BEFORE beginning the disc brake conversion. This set was tested for use on a stock Volkswagen Type 3 vehicle with stock wheels and tires (165SR- 15) It must be noted that this conversion will add approx 10mm (3/8") of track width on each side. On cars that have been lowered planning ahead and careful precise measurements with the slightly extra offset in mind will save a lot of possible frustration and disappointment. It's possible to "mock up" an install without modifying the threads in the spindle/ knuckle by assembling everything on the bench using only the lower two fasteners shown in illustration "Brakes 1". This is highly advisable in the cases where wheels are being used that are constructed in such a way that they may strike or bind on the caliper. This way the wheels can be fitted to a mock up and possible problems addressed in advance. *HINT* Although not absolutely necessary in order to maximize the potential of your new disc brakes it is recommended that a later model dual circuit brake master cylinder be fitted. Since single- circuit Type 3 brake master cylinders are becoming more scarce daily doing the retrofit NOW will carry the added benefit of saving you needless down- time while hunting down obsolete expensive parts later. In addition the brake fluid system should be completely flushed all fluid replaced with SAE/ DOT 4 and brake soft lines (hoses) more than a few years old should also be replaced at this time. "Do it once and do it right" should ALWAYS be the motto on ANY braking or suspension system when your safety (and that of others) is at stake.

  1. Break all front wheel nuts free approx 1/2 turn with tires on the ground parking brake applied. Then jack up the front of the car and place it securely on jack stands. Remove front wheel and then remove each front drum brake unit and spindle/ steering knuckle assembly as a unit. **HINT: If you're planning on replacing ball joints- now is the time!
  2. Completely disassemble steering knuckle removing tie rod link wheel cylinders backing plate etc. until you are down to the bare knuckle as shown in illustration BRAKES 1.
  3. NOW is the time to clean wire brush and repaint the spindle and knuckle. Lightly chamfer/ steel wool the spindle to remove any light rust. Clean all grease/ residue with a quality brake parts cleaner. Be sure to note the orientation of the link for the tie rod end.
  4. *NOTE: As part of the preparation you'll need to drill out the threads in the spindle assembly where the steering knuckle attaches (upper slightly recessed holes in illustration "Brakes 1") You'll need a drill press and a 9mm titanium or cobalt drill bit. IT IS IMPORTANT that this be drilled straight- If you lack the equipment for this any machine shop should be able to do it quickly.
  5. Attach the Airkewld caliper mounting plate and the steering knuckle as shown in illustration BRAKES 2.
  6. In this example the mounting plate has been painted with a rustproof primer and paint as is the spindle and knuckle assembly. Use of high- temperature thread locking compound is recommended. Torque to 35 ft. lbs after initial tightening in a cross pattern. NOTE: the long extended fastener on the top front can be ground flush with the nut top for a cleaner install. Illustration "BRAKES 3" shows the installed caliper mounting plate.
  7. Install inner bearing spacer on the spindle. NOTE: The side with the beveled INNER edge is installed facing the caliper plate. Illustration "BRAKES 4" shows a properly installed spacer; illustration "BRAKES 5" shows the spacer installed INCORRECTLY or BACKWARDS.
  8. Check the fit of the inner (large) bearing on the spindle. It should fit snugly. There were two different spindle diameters on VW Type 3 wide 5 drum brakes: most are second- design (27mm inside diameter) but some early spindles are 29mm I.D. Once the proper bearing fit has been verified make sure that the bearing race seats in the hub are clean and free of any dirt or shavings from machining. Clean/ chamfer as necessary then start the bearing races and press them home to the bottom of the seats THIN SIDE UP. Be careful not to damage the races. A large socket of appropriate outside diameter is a good tool for driving the races home. Extreme force should not be necessary. Pay attention that the races press/ drive in straight as a cocked race can damage the hub. If a race wants to press in unevenly STOP and find/ correct the cause of the problem. Even a tiny shaving in the race seat can cause rotor "wobble" if not detected and removed and will result in unsatisfactory braking performance or wheel wobble. Once the races are properly installed and seated to the bottom of the seat pack the bearings with grease and install them in the races (see illustration "BRAKES 6" shown without grease for clarity). Now press in the grease seals.
  9. Now install the rotor with bearings on the spindle. Install the notched washer and then the two lock nuts with locking plate OR clamp nut (as originally supplied with your drum brakes). Adjust wheel bearing end play per VW repair procedure and spin hub/ rotor to check for looseness or binding. Torque down/ clamp the locking nut and bend the lock tabs on early cars or tighten the 6mm Allen head screw on later cars (see illustration "Brakes 7"). Install appropriate dust cap supplied with the kit (one has square cut hole for OEM speedometer cable).
  10. You are now ready to test fit the brake caliper. There is an assortment of washers/ shims supplied with the kit. It is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE that the caliper is fitted so that a) the rotor rides in the exact center of the caliper cutout on both the top and bottom of the caliper (see illustration "BRAKES 9a") and b) the pads contact the rotor dead flat to surface; IE it doesn't contact the top of the pad to the rotor while not contacting at the bottom of the pad or vice versa. Thus the brake caliper must be installed in parallel with the brake disc. See Illustration "BRAKES 8a".
  11. The first figure shows a correctly fitted caliper the second off center one is incorrect. Parallel alignment top to bottom of a disc may ONLY differ 0.15mm MAXIMUM top to bottom. Once it is determined that the caliper is spaced such that this has been achieved the caliper can be fixed to the mounting plate with the appropriate shims using a high- temperature thread locker and torqued to 35 ft lbs. See illustrations "BRAKES 8" and "BRAKES 9". Pay attention that the caliper fixing screws (8mm Allen head) neither sticks out the opposite side of the mounting plate and contact the rotor nor do too few threads go into the mounting plate to hold the caliper securely. Too far in is easily corrected with a washer under the bolt head not in far enough to be safe requires a longer fixing screw of the same type which should be easily available at any local parts or hardware store in a pinch. Be sure to use fasteners of the black "hardened" type as supplied with the kit.
  12. Prepare and install the brake pads. Using a file or a bench grinder and wearing a protective dust mask slightly bevel the edges of the friction material on the brake pads. Apply a coating of "Silicone Adhesive" to the BACKS of the brake pads. These steps will greatly reduce "ringing" and "squealing" from the disc pads contacting the rotor. See illustration "BRAKES 11".
  13. Slip the retaining pin assembly out of the caliper by slightly lifting the inside end of the retaining assembly (illustration "BRAKES 12"). Install the pads into the calipers (friction sides facing the rotor of course!) and reinstall the retainer pin assembly making sure it's in all the holes in both caliper and pads. Be certain that the retaining pin "locks" on the locking lug.
  14. Reinstall the brake assembly to the axle beam torquing all fasteners to VW approved specifications. Be sure to use new fasteners where appropriate; IE in the case of "plastic sleeve" locking nuts found with later replacement tie rods. These are designed for one-time use.
  15. Allow all fluid to drain from the brake master cylinder and reservoir. Flush system with fresh fluid. If the soft lines (brake hoses) are more than a few years old it's recommended that they be replaced at this time. Hook the brake lines up to the calipers using the supplied adapters after removing the adhesive backed inlet bore stickers. Torque all brake fittings to 15Mkp (11 foot- pounds). Fill the master cylinder reservoir with fresh DOT-4 fluid.
  16. Bleed and adjust REAR brakes. Start with the right side (farthest from the master). Check and top off reservoir. Bleed the right front caliper starting with the OUTSIDE bleeder. *NOTE*: Wilwood calipers are designed for "either side" fitment; therefore ONLY the TOP bleeder valves are used. Repeat the procedure for the left. Again check and top off fluid in the reservoir.
Install the front tire/ wheel assemblies. Once the road wheels are installed and torqued remove the car from the Jack stands. *IMPORTANT: BEFORE DRIVING OFF press the brake pedal slowly to the floor and release repeating until the caliper pistons have moved out of their bore into driving position (firm brake pedal at or about normal height). Tips You get done installing your brand new disc brake kit bleed it out and the pedal is just not there. Pump it up a few times and gets harder and harder. Guess what? It still has air in the system. Here are some things to check when you have a spongy pedal with disc brakes.
  • Make sure your bleeders are on top of the brake lines. Air rises to the top and can not be bled out the bottom
  • On rear calipers the e-brake cables need to be on top which allows the bleeder to be on top as well.
  • Loose connections with your new stainless brake hoses
With single piston Wilwood calipers there are three possible locations for your bleeder to reside. Make sure once they are installed the bleeders are on top. Ghia calipers Wilwood 2 piston and Wilwood 4 piston calipers have multiple bleeders. You only need to bleed the top ones.

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