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dynosoar1

Wilwood Brake upgrade vs Big Brake 320i conversion

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(edited)

Hey guys....spent a bunch of time reading on the forum yesterday and today about the 320i conversion.  I wanted to ask those of you who maybe have experience with the Wilwood setup and the 320i big brake conversion if you thought there was a significant difference between the two and if the Wilwood upgrade is worth the extra coin.  I really want my suspension and brakes to be top of the line in terms of performance, but haven't been behind the wheel of either of these two possible setups (my 73 is full stock).  I like the idea of the two piece light weight rotors and lighter calipers, and definitely like the maintenance ease of rear discs and weight cutting there too.  But I also like the idea of saving money to put elsewhere if the return on the investment is better with the 320i conversion.  Let me know your thoughts.  Lots of aggressive driving in this one to come which will include auto x and some DE days. 

 

If going with the 320i conversion setup.....does everyone typically upgrade the master cylinder at the same time?    

Edited by dynosoar1

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I installed a Tii booster and master, Tii wheel cylinders as well, Ireland Volvo kit

2 years later one of the cylinders started leaking so I converted to Rear Discs 

 

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(edited)

In terms of 'investment', the 320 rotors will give you 85% of the performance for a lot less money.

And you can ALWAYS come back later and upgrade again- the 320/Volvo combo is easy to sell.

I get my parts from the local yards, so I don't usually spend much more than a hundred bucks on hubs and calipers,

then rebuild kits, pads and rotors are at most another $150.  I have run the calipers both slotted and unslotted

on street and track, and can say for certain it doesn't matter.  I like the slotted calipers simply for looks-

makes me feel better having the pad centered over the rotor- but that's a personal hangup.

 

Unless you drive through water a lot, DON'T get slotted/ drilled rotors.  Also from personal experience.

 

The 15% is certainly in unsprung weight.  Those steel calipers are heavy. But they work great.

 

Like you, I have always found other places that needed the money more than the Wilwoods.

It's like taking overkill (the 320 rotors) and killing it again.   The 2002 is a light car.

 

I have never used anything but the standard 2002 master with the Volvo calipers.

Properly bled, seems to work fine.  Bigger (17mm?)  wheel cylinders in back.

 

That's my take.

 

t

 

Edited by TobyB

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3 minutes ago, TobyB said:

In terms of 'investment', the 320 rotors will give you 85% of the performance for a lot less money.

And you can ALWAYS come back later and upgrade again- the 320/Volvo combo is easy to sell.

I get my parts from the local yards, so I don't usually spend much more than a hundred bucks on hubs and calipers,

then rebuild kits, pads and rotors are at most another $150.  I have run the calipers both slotted and unslotted

on street and track, and can say for certain it doesn't matter.  I like the slotted calipers simply for looks-

makes me feel better having the pad centered over the rotor- but that's a personal hangup.

 

Unless you drive through water a lot, DON'T get slotted/ drilled rotors.  Also from personal experience.

 

The 15% is certainly in unsprung weight.  Those steel calipers are heavy. But they work great.

 

Like you, I have always found other places that needed the money more than the Wilwoods.

It's like taking overkill (the 320 rotors) and killing it again.   The 2002 is a light car.

 

That's my take.

 

t

 

Thanks Toby.....do you know the weight of the 320i rotors?  IE says the 2 piece rotors save 4 lbs per corner over the stock setup which is considerable and then changing the rear to disc will also significantly drop weight over the drum conversion....but just looking at the front....do the 320i rotors also weigh less than the stock 02 rotors?  In other words, do the 320i rotors weigh significantly more than the wilwood 2 piece rotors?  The volvo calipers for sure weigh quite a bit more.

 

8 minutes ago, TobyB said:

Unless you drive through water a lot, DON'T get slotted/ drilled rotors.  Also from personal experience.

 

Really....that's great info.....I was thinking the slotted rotors would dissipate heat much better....this car will never be in the rain or in puddles.

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The thing you really need to clarify here is WHICH IE/Wilwood kit are you looking at.  The smaller IE/Wilwood front kit is interchangeable with the IE/Volvo kit.

 

I do really like the light-weight 2-piece rotors, but this is yet another "is it worth it" question that only you can decide.  If you are autocrossing, then you know some guys put a lot of value in reducing every ounce of unsprung weight.  On the other hand, the volvo system will provide plenty of stopping power.

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what about your wheels? If you're like me (give me 13's or give me death) then that puts a damper on your choices. I run 6" Borrani's, with the Alfa 75 calipers up front...and they clear just fine. Stopping power is good, but my pedal is stiffer than I'd like it to be, but I think its from my unique-ish setup ( I had to reduce the pedal ratio when I changed from a mech. clutch to hydraulic). I was toying with the idea up going to Wilwood myself up front, but I am usure of just how much is to be gained from my Alfa setup, and whether or not they clear the 13" wheels. I do know that Volvo calipers require grinding off some material to clear 13" wheels. I dont know if 320i calipers have the same issue....something to think about.

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23 minutes ago, arminyack said:

what about your wheels? If you're like me (give me 13's or give me death) then that puts a damper on your choices. I run 6" Borrani's, with the Alfa 75 calipers up front...and they clear just fine. Stopping power is good, but my pedal is stiffer than I'd like it to be, but I think its from my unique-ish setup ( I had to reduce the pedal ratio when I changed from a mech. clutch to hydraulic). I was toying with the idea up going to Wilwood myself up front, but I am usure of just how much is to be gained from my Alfa setup, and whether or not they clear the 13" wheels. I do know that Volvo calipers require grinding off some material to clear 13" wheels. I dont know if 320i calipers have the same issue....something to think about.

I will be going with 14" wheels....although I hear you....13" wheels are the real look and feel!

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I just put the E21 brake set up on my 68 with 13" wheel and theres no clearance issues

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16 minutes ago, rcf925 said:

I just put the E21 brake set up on my 68 with 13" wheel and theres no clearance issues

If you don't mind posting....what did the whole thing end up costing you start to finish to do the 320 conversion?  I have an idea but wondering actual cost.

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All the comparison of brake calipers and drum vs. rear disc should start at what friction material and Mu curves are available.

 

Going to larger calipers (pistons) up front should be pared with your choice of master cylinder (bigger is not always better) and if you figure on using a brake bias valve to the rear. Many times, "larger" calipers are marginally better and not worth the investment, particularly on a street car.

 

I feel that the choices and permutations should be considered as a system, not a collection of parts.

 

If you really want to go nuts, figure in the coefficient of friction of your choice of tires.

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Some good thoughts above. Add, this simple thought:

 

A 'big brake' system may not be a notable difference in how well you stop in normal street driving. Yet, there is value in the improvement of how many times you stop when driving hard. (Pounding downhill on a canyon run with original 2002 brakes with solid rotors vs bigger brakes with vented rotors would be a method of testing the difference.) -KB

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Ignore me, cuz I didn't get much sleep last night, (new puppy), so I may be a little cranky. 

A lot of good information here.

My take is that a lot of us for daily driving would not notice a difference, unless we are always late to work and live in a canyon,  but my tongue and cheek take on this is what would motivate me (an probably not an insignificant minority number) to upgrade is,

 

"Man, those cross drilled and slotted brakes look so cool with those wheels" 

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Yes, certainly a vented system will be better for multiple braking actions. Temperature measurements are always a good thing, but I have never gone that far with data collection.

 

In this instance,  I was more focused on the comparison of the hydraulics and friction material.

 

As an aside, I did a comparison of a very popular "7series" M/C "upgrade" on E30 M3s. The convention of thought is / was that you would increase the stopping power. I did an analysis and found that no, it did not. It DID change the pedal feel, but not the actual effectiveness. In addition, similarly to my comments above, a BBK did not change the effectiveness of the system, while the pad material and Mu curves did. As a result, I purchased pads with the highest possible Mu (~0.5+)  AND the lowest temp (100 Deg. F) so that the effective temperature was attained quickly. With Re 71A tires and casual data monitoring, I get 1.2 G, sometimes spiking to 1.4G deceleration before the ABS kicks in. I think that's pretty good for a "stock" system. The car is used on mountain roads most weekends in the Summer in a "vigorous" manner. Never had it fade, but lots of dust.

 

Back to the '02 systems, I started with the rear shoe material then factored in the proportioning valve along with the rear wheel cylinders, moved upstream to the M/C and finally the front calipers in order to figure the proper pad material Mu to achieve the best possible system balance. Many many permutations, but I think I have what will be best for me.

 

Just like Ice Cream, everyone loves a different flavor.

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36 minutes ago, kbmb02 said:

Some good thoughts above. Add, this simple thought:

 

A 'big brake' system may not be a notable difference in how well you stop in normal street driving. Yet, there is value in the improvement of how many times you stop when driving hard. (Pounding downhill on a canyon run with original 2002 brakes with solid rotors vs bigger brakes with vented rotors would be a method of testing the difference.) -KB

Yeah...the only reason I will be upgrading is to precisely do that!  Canyons and auto x...with some DE events.  

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16 minutes ago, Vicleonardo1 said:

"Man, those cross drilled and slotted brakes look so cool with those wheels" 

 

There is always that, and the pull to do that is always strong........the brakes may grip, but the slope is slippery!

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