Stop! (‘n’ drop) – New brakes for old, and a pair of spindles, too
It’s been difficult to stick to the ‘renovation over restoration’ ethos with this project as, I’ll be honest, I’ve really struggled not to strip off all the running gear and build things from the ground up as I’ve always preferred to do in the past.
However, I’m perservering with at least the spirit of the DIY budget theme by attempting to recommission the Bug without blowing a fortune on new parts. I should also point out the bulk of the work here was tackled by my buddy Tim at Kustom Restoworks, who kindly tinkered with the car on his own during lockdown. Thanks mate, I owe you one!
I’ve covered getting the Bug running and serviced in previous instalments, so the next job was to tackle the brakes, which hadn’t been used for 23 years! Having attempted to gently push the brake pedal when we collected the car, I was already aware there would be plenty to do as the pedal was solid – a sure sign of seized wheel cylinders. As Tim began to pull things apart, though, he found that was just the start. The only way forward was to order a full set of new wheel cylinders, flexible rubber hoses, shoes and drums, too.
Detailed inspection revealed the master cylinder was in good order, but some of the solid brake pipes were not so, armed with his trusty brake pipe flaring tool, Tim set about fitting new solid pipes as well, before moving on to the flexible lines and wheel cylinders.
While you’re at it…
Meanwhile, I’d been busy collecting parts and happened to have picked up a pair of 2.5-inch dropped spindles from Bugwelder. Being a good egg, Tim agreed to swap the spindles while he had the car in the air. This led on to the replacement of a few steering joints, which had seen better days. Not quite the original plan, but the end result will be a subtly dropped stance and, more importantly, a safe and fully working set of brakes under the old girl.
With fresh brake fluid flushed through the system, Tim gave the adjusters a final tweak to ensure the car pulls up square. Consequently, by the time I was able to collect the car, it was just a case of booking it in for a four-wheel alignment check to finish the job.
Next job: sorting out the wheels and tyres…
Words & Photos: Paul Knight
(As featured in the December ’20 issue)