Tech 4: Front Brakes

Technical Article 4 – Front Brakes!

 

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So your 2002 goes well, turns well, but does it stop well? Sure it does…but can the breaks be better? Yes! I have decided to go for a poor man’s big brake upgrade. Its actually not too expensive, parts are easily available and a bolt on! Here is my parts list:

2 80‘s Volvo 240 Girling Brake Calipers
2 77 E21 BMW 320i Vented Rotors
2 78-82 BMW 320i Hubs
2 e21 rotor set screws
4 washers
Brake Fluid

Optional

SS Brake lines
8 Wheel studs and nuts

Yes thats all…and its pretty much this simple…

1.Remove the old hubs, rotors and calipers.
This is very straightforward. The key here is to be careful of the brake fluid. Its nasty stuff and if oyou let it, it will get everywhere. I put a piece of plastic under the brake fluid resevroir cap and this is supposed to cause a vacuum in the system, preventing the brake fluid from completely emptying when you disconnect the hard brake lines from the calipers.

2.Install new hubs, rotors, calipers and wheel studs
Again, very straightforward. The e21 hubs simply slip on. I went for wheel studs so I could use lug nuts. The e21 uses lug bolts and I didnt wanna deal with that. So I got a set of wheel studs. Use blue loctite and screw them in and bam…they are set. Slide the new rotors on and secure them with the rotor retaining screw. I got them for $1.50 each at the local BMW dealer. Then put the calipers on the struts. They will bolt right on, but they are just a tad offset. I used a washer between the caliper and the strut mount to center the caliper. It lined up perfectly. Then bolted on the brake lines and tightened everything up.

3.Bleed brakes
I used a vacuum bleeder. Started at the passenger side rear and then worked my way up to the drivers side front. I still think I have some air in the lines, but they work damn good! The power bleeder seems to be a better product and if I were getting something for bleeding, thats what I would get.

4.Drive!

This is a great upgrade that offers improved braking power with minimal cost as well as ease of maintaining it in the future. Whenever I do a mod or upgrade I want to make sure I can get spare parts for it just about anywhere I happen to be and relatively quick. Volvo brake pads are easy to get and are made in a number of performance compounds as well. The rest of the system is all BMW and bolts on without any modifications to the factory parts. This is considered a BBK, Big Brake Kit as its larger that the stock brakes so you will need AT LEAST 14” wheels for this upgrade. It will not work with 13” wheels.

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