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Progress And Volvo "big Brake" Upgrade Questions


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Ladies & Gentlemen:


I continue to slide down that slippery slope that is the front-end suspension on my 1975 BMW 2002.  Turns out that drilling out the ball joint rivets while the strut is still attached is not ideal.  I managed to get the passenger side done, but removed too much material from the control arm, so new control arms were ordered.  Installed everything on the passenger side and decided that because I have a new control arm, why not just drop the strut with the control arm still attached to the ball joint for the driver's side.


This was actually pretty easy, remove the caliper and brake lines from the strut and hang them out of the way, remove the upper and lower control arm nuts and the 3 nuts holding the strut bearing and with a little persuasion the whole strut assembly drops out.  Pull the hub/brake disk off, remove the brake backing plate and this exposes the safety bolts that hold the pittman arm to the strut housing.  Once the pittman arm was off, everything went smoothly until I noticed that the outer wheel bearing was damaged (bent cage).  Ordered new wheel bearing kits, new disks and pads, and began cleaning up 39 years of brake dust.


While I was staring at the naked spindles, I remembered that I purchased a set of used early 320i hubs and Volvo Girling calipers from an FAQ member several cars ago.  The "kit" had new Axxis pads, studs, spacers, and lug nuts.  All I needed to do the upgrade was a set of vented brake disks from a 1977 320i, and found these on eBay  http://www.ebay.com/itm/370919736693?item=370919736693&viewitem=&sspagename=ADME:L:OU:US:1120&vxp=mtr  for $60.  I ordered them and they arrived the next day.


While waiting for the stock brake stuff to arrive, I thought I would do some test fitting to see how these parts fit together and this resulted in some questions.


1.  The spacers provided place the disk in the middle of the caliper, this doesn't address the need for the caliper to move closer to the center of the disk so the pad is fully on the disk.  Do you mill/drill/dremel both holes or just the lower one so the caliper pivots closer to the center?


2.  I'm about 1/4 inch off, how much material can I safely take off?


3. What is the downside to leaving this as is, significant reduction in braking power, uneven pad wear?


4. Will the stock backing plate fit?  Do people run the big calipers with this plate on or off?  Downside to leaving it off.


3.  I remounted the bottlecap to check clearance.  The caliper is fine, the tire seems to be rubbing slightly on the strut, see picture.  To my dismay, the front tires are different manufactures, 1 Falken 195-60-14 and 1 Hankook 195-60-14, The Hankook rubs slightly in one spot, the Falken doesn't rub at all.  The Hankook profile is more square.  Is there an easy way to check if the rim is bent, or the strut is bent, or should I add new tires/rims to my growing list of things to buy?


Thanks in advance for your comments,








1970 BMW 1600 (Nevada)



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1.yes or no, yes both you can do this at home, but by the time you buy what you need, you could have taken them to a machine shop and have them slot the tabs. $10 at the machine shop

2. 3/16"

3. why go big brakes if you don't use the whole pad

if you slot the mount tab hole the 3/16" you need to address the gap you leave. Some vendors fill the caliper hole then drill it in the correct space for the adaptation for our application. you can leave as is if you like but will have 3/16" of pad overhang on the outer rim of the pad. I have seen computations of braking pad surface area which compares the stock to the Volvo setup with the pad overhanging. interesting reading if you can find the thread.

4. You will need to modify the backing plate/dust cover by cutting the caliper profile bigger if you plan on using them

Edited by daron_in_Va
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