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steve k.
steve k.

Conversion to VW Disk Brakes

I wanted to change the rear drums on my 2002 to disks. There are no problems with using drums for daily use, but in a race car i wanted to have a bit more maintenance and better consistency day after day. The rules for SCCA FSP class require the car to retain the parking brake. So one of the better ways was to go to the VW Disk conversion. Ireland Engineering sells the full kit that can easily be installed by anyone. What i installed was very similar, but i used an aluminum caliper.


Ireland Engineering Kit includes:

  • Custom Steel mounting bracket
  • VW Golf MKII Rear Caliper carrier (1985 to 1989 Golf or Jetta)
  • VW Golf MKII Rear Caliper (1985 to 1989 Golf or Jetta)
    • I used aluminum caliper from MKIV VW. (2000 to 2006 Golf, Beetle, or Jetta) Pros: aluminum, lighter weight, less corrosion, better reliability. Cons: Bleeding can only be done with caliper not mounted to the bracket since the bleeder is at the bottom after the installation.
  • VW Golf MKI Front Rotor (74-84 Rabbit) (239x12mm)
  • You will need to machine the edges of your hub to fit inside the new rotor or IE can do this for you.
  • Several Bolts and Several Spacer Washers


To start the installation you will need to remove the Drum, Hub, and backing plate with all the brake parts attached to it.


Mount the bracket to the control arm. Try to clean it before mounting. These parts were never designed to be precise but cleaning will make them a bit better for installation something that requires some precision like a caliper.


Install the hub and tighten the castle nut properly.

Install the rotor over the modified hub and use a couple lug nuts to tighten it to the hub. All this has to be done prior to installation of calipers since and movement afterwards might cause the disk to rub on the caliper.


Now it's time to test fit the carrier. Use the washers to get it properly aligned to the rotor. Use lock tight after you have positioning all set


Now it is time to fit the caliper and the brake pads. These calipers are equipped with a parking brake mechanism that will require a special tool to push the piston back in place. This caliper can be loaned from your local Auto Parts Store or purchased on Amazon. It will allow you spin the piston as you apply the pressure.



At this time you might notice that the caliper protrudes about an inch away from the mounting face of the wheel. If your wheels do not have that much clearance at that spot you will most likely need to use a spacer.


Aluminum calipers have cooling fins that make that slightly larger then the cast iron calipers. You might have to shave them to get to fit them inside your wheels


Once all is in place, you will need to hook the parking brake over the mechanism of the caliper and do some adjustments on the cable side to get them to be tight


You will notice that the bleeder on the caliper is on the side. You will need to undo one of the bolt, swing the caliper and bleed it. You will not be able to use the "pump the pedal" method, but both push and pull vacuum tools work well in this situation.

steve k.

p.s. if you find any of the information incorrect or you have something to add, feel free to modify the article.

Edited by steve k.

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cant you just mount the bracket to the conrtol arm on the side? so that the bleeder screw will be in the correct position? or do you have to mount it on the bottom for some reason?

There is no room for the caliper. The shock is in the way



Hey Steve,


I just read your writeup on your disc brake conversion. Do you know what brand those dics are (ATE's maybe) and are they 9.4"?


The ones i bought were Ate. I do not remember the exact size. But it s a standard VW rotor



Can you run 14" wheels with this setup?


Yes, but will depend on the wheel. The problem i ran into was with the wheels that have a flat mounting face. The caliper protrudes past the mounting face on the rotor, so the wheel will need to accommodate that. Or spacers will need to be used.

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Great job on this write up!


I just wanted to add a few things:


I used the provided shims for mounting the caliper, the final fitting was either too far away or rubbing, luckily I had some machine grade washer that were just right for the second spacer in my fitment.

keep this in mind for your own fitment 


with the bleeder on bottom I suspended the caliper to bleed it upside down:





here’s a shot on how I routed the hard brake line, the kit included 2 new lines but I went lazy and just re-routed the existing lines since I previously installed SS brake lines for the drums:



I added a zip tie to stabilize the hardline:



For the ebrake cable I used the floating bolton collet with a washer stack for spacing:




shot from behind of my 15” wheel



Front has about 3/8” spoke clearance for my Alpina’s 



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29 minutes ago, glyif said:

I'm planning to do this conversion with a few buds. Don't have any brake changing experience. What's the difficulty level?



7.5/10, just a little time consuming on the shim set up 

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44 minutes ago, glyif said:

with a few buds


Might be more like a 12 pack of PBR.


You do have to remove the backing plate to make this work.  See recent posts about removing the rear hub or get ingenious with a laser beam to cut it off.

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im currently doing the rear conversion, IE sent me two brackets... in the photos I only see one, but am I suppose to have two and mount them like this? or do I like layer them? or do I not need to use the extra bracket?


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3 hours ago, glyif said:

im currently doing the rear conversion, IE sent me two brackets... in the photos I only see one, but am I suppose to have two and mount them like this? or do I like layer them? or do I not need to use the extra bracket?


Just one bracket par side, in the bottom

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Look at the 3rd photo in the article. You only need one bracket per control arm. It will be mounted to the two bottom bolts with the rounded part towards the rear of the car. 

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I used the Ireland kit and it was a pure bolt on with no additional mods required.

be sure the brackets are correctly located 


if if you’re having problems give Ireland a call,  they’ve been very helpful for me on the conversion 


you up will need to shim as your car requires, each caliper takes a different spacing to fit just right 




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22 hours ago, chargin said:

you up will need to shim as your car requires, each caliper takes a different spacing to fit just right 

are you just using washers for spacing? or spacers? if so, which spacers did you get?

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