Project Cars

Project 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle – Super Project ’71 Part Five: Super Beetle Brakes Rebuild

May 6, 2016
4 minutes read
Project 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle – Super Project ’71 Part Five: Super Beetle Brakes Rebuild

A lot has to happen when you step on the brake pedal in order for your car to come to a safe stop. Levers, pneumatic pressure, cables, cylinders, springs and friction all play critical rolls in the process, and we place a lot of blind faith in this system, considering how important it is. Braking is indeed a life-or-death science and should be treated as such, that’s why brake fade, ever-increasing pedal travel, dragging brakes or ones that lock up while traveling are serious symptoms of a faulty system. If you have any of these problems, it is time for an overhaul.

Since dragging your feet Flintstones-style isn’t considered stopping safely in this day and age, consider giving your beloved’s brakes the once-over and toot sweet. It is bad enough that Super Beetle brakes, and those of other VW models, are light-years behind modern brake systems, you’ve got to take extra care of them in order not to run into the back of a tail-lifting Saab or Mercedes on the freeway. Since that’s not a scenario we would want to picture, it is good form when restoring a car (or bringing one back from the dead) to make it stop before it can go, and since our little Super has been without an engine for the past couple of years, it wasn’t going anywhere and fast.

There are several major components that make up the mechanical braking system for Super Beetles. The master cylinder is actuated by the brake pedal and is connected to the cylinders at each wheel through the hydraulic brake lines. The two pistons in the master cylinder operate the front and back brakes respectively, and the fluids are from the reservoir located in the trunk and connected to the master cylinder via two hoses. The wheel cylinders have hydraulically-operated opposed pistons that press the two brake shoes onto the drums. In addition to this, the parking brake is operated by a cable and is connected to the rear brakes only.

If you have any doubt about the operation of any of the brakes’ components, replace them and remove any doubt. Replacement is easy, and we’ll show you how. Another point of interest are the drums themselves, and they should be thoroughly inspected before deciding whether they can be reused again. Any tapering, scoring, or other unusual wear should be noted and considered. If you have calipers, it is a good idea to measure the inside diameters of the drums. If those measurements are greater than 231.5mm for the rear and 249.5mm for the front (the permissible wear limits), they’ll have to be replaced.

The tools necessary to do a complete brake rebuild are rudimentary: wrenches, screw drivers and pliers are all it takes (and perhaps a braker bar), and if you have the right parts, this can be easily done in any garage or driveway. Make sure you follow a few safety procedures when placing your car up on jack stands or a lift (if you’re lucky enough to access one).

Article Source: www.vwtrend


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