Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

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Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  FrogElf on Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:37 pm

Hi Guys,
We are considering upgrading the front brakes of the car to discs, and also installing a brake servo whilst we're at it, however we are wondering whether or not the upgrade will be overkill considering the engine is still the original 998cc unit and the wheels will just skid all the time. What are you guys' opinions on disc brake upgrades and upgrading to a brake servo, is it worth the money and effort or are we better off just putting superfins on?
Cheers
Pete (and Alex) Smile
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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  Jono_h on Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:31 am

The advantages of disc brakes are that they need next to know adjustment once fitted, unlie drums which need fiddling with fairly regular. In terms of stopping power some will say that well adjusted drums are as good as discs, and I would agree, however drums can 't dissipate the heat as quickly so are more likely to fade.
The disadvantages are the price!


As for the worth of a servo, an easy test is to see if you can lock the wheels up without one. A servo will reduce the amount of effort required to acheive maximum braking force, but if you've got a strong right leg and can lock the wheels up you may feel that it isn't necessary.

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  reymondos on Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:22 pm

I would recommend the change in case you feel insecure. Discs have all the pros mentioned above, but make the car non original, if that is important to you. Driving style is also very important.
When I was 18 and drove the nuts off my Mini 1000, disc brakes was the first mod I made.

I would suggest experimenting with tyres. Even if you've got four pot calipers on vented discs and a servo the car will not stop well on badly worn and uneven tyres.

Just my two pence.
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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  cheleker on Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:58 pm

Do the upgrade. Engine size in ccs has nothing to do with the disc vs. drum question. Change the front brake hoses at the same time, unless you know yours are new-ish. Change the rear wheel cylinders to small 5/8" ones and change the rear drums to S-type. Don't bother with the servo unless you have issues with your right leg. You can add it later, if you feel it's necessary. I find them a waste of money and engine compartment space.
Wheels may be an issue. Depending upon when your stock wheels were made, them may not fit over the calipers. If you are running non-stock wheels, you'll need to consider the offset. If a drum offset you'll end up with the wheels sticking outside the wheel well.

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discs

Post  martin k on Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:49 pm

DOOOOOO ITT Very Happy weve never looked back affraid
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which ones?

Post  FrogElf on Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:55 pm

Hi again guys, thanks for all the help!
The current size of the wheels on my car are 145/10 and they are the original steel wheels. We would like to stick with steel wheels but which discs and matching steel wheels (if we need new wheels) should we buy? Any links would be appreciated.
Thanks, Pete


Last edited by FrogElf on Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  humph on Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:23 pm

I am currently looking at fitting 7.5" Cooper S disc assemblies to mine, along with some braded hoses to improve the barking and pedal feel. I have to say that the cost is heart attack inducing if using new parts, £500 supply only or £725 fitted Mad I'd rather have them fitted as they are safety critical and don't feel that I'm experienced enough to be messing with such important parts. Whenever the subject is brought up on the other forums I use the issue of using Fiesta calipers and machined discs crops up. Apparently this can be done for less than £100, retains the 10" wheels, but obviously is a no go if you're after originality.

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  TONYELF on Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:53 pm

After an expenditure of around £300 (£120 for professional reconditioning of the callipers) I have now converted my Elf to discs. I have no servo at present.
I took the opportunity to replace all the hoses with new braided type and renew all the ball joints and track rod ends. It feels like a new car now but requires a good strong leg on the pedal but at least it pulls up nice and straight. (It never did before!)
I may consider a servo in the future, will have to see!

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  humph on Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:54 pm

TONYELF wrote:After an expenditure of around £300 (£120 for professional reconditioning of the callipers) I have now converted my Elf to discs. I have no servo at present.
I took the opportunity to replace all the hoses with new braided type and renew all the ball joints and track rod ends. It feels like a new car now but requires a good strong leg on the pedal but at least it pulls up nice and straight. (It never did before!)
I may consider a servo in the future, will have to see!

You don't know anyone local that may want to "help" me convert mine do you Tony? I need someone with a bit of experience of these things, but don't want to pay Minisport to fit them. Hourly rate will be negotiable.

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  humph on Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:01 pm

I mentioned a fiesta caliper conversion earlier and coincidentaly found the thread below while researching rolling roads. Looks as though they won't fit under steel wheels without spacers though.

http://www.miniaddicts.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=1193

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  TONYELF on Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:57 am

Humph. At the moment I do not know of anyone "local" to you in Liverpool.

Graham (who made the miniaddicts film on the Fiesta conversion which is my local mini club) only lives two miles away so I will give him a call re the fit in 10" wheels with a spacer and find out for you.

In the meantime I shall ask around the club to see if there is anyone local to you who may do the job for you.

Hopefully I will have some more info for you. Maybe we can chat about it at Bingley?

Tony

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Buyable?

Post  FrogElf on Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:59 am

So can a part be bought that would fit straight under a standard wheel? Also, will we need to widen the arches for a disc upgrade? Its not really something we want to be doing at the moment...
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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  Jono_h on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:54 am

Fitting discs instead of drums moves the wheel out by about 1". You'll need to either fit arches or change the wheels as well to those with an offset which leaves the wheel under the wing.

Steel wheels with the correct offset are pricey - occasionally available on eBay, or new repro units available from some of the mini shops.

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  humph on Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:38 pm

TONYELF wrote:Humph. At the moment I do not know of anyone "local" to you in Liverpool.

Graham (who made the miniaddicts film on the Fiesta conversion which is my local mini club) only lives two miles away so I will give him a call re the fit in 10" wheels with a spacer and find out for you.

In the meantime I shall ask around the club to see if there is anyone local to you who may do the job for you.

Hopefully I will have some more info for you. Maybe we can chat about it at Bingley?

Tony

Cheers Tony. I will be dropping by the stand at Bingley to say hi so can have a chat then.

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  Stuart B on Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:05 am

Hi

I run Cooper S discs on my 1963 Elf. I bought some 4.5 " minilites with the offset on the inside so that I do not need wheel arches extensions (just !). I fitted 1 inch spacers to the rear.

So far I have run without a servo and with the standard master cylinder but I have just bought a larger Cooper S master cylinder from Minispares.

It all seems to work Ok and they are definitely an improvement on the original drums.

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  Elf Service on Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:55 am

Stuart B wrote:Hi

I run Cooper S discs on my 1963 Elf. I bought some 4.5 " minilites with the offset on the inside so that I do not need wheel arches extensions (just !). I fitted 1 inch spacers to the rear.

So far I have run without a servo and with the standard master cylinder but I have just bought a larger Cooper S master cylinder from Minispares.

It all seems to work Ok and they are definitely an improvement on the original drums.

Stuart

I have a similar set up on my Red Elf but have fitted later rear brakes with the offset drums and with green stuff disc pads. The original wheels are fine without wheel arch extensions. I have fitted 4.5 Minilite style alloys with 165 x 10 tyres and again these are fine with the original bodywork.
I have fitted a remote servo, similar to the 1960's Cooper S arrangement and the brakes are pretty well up to modern car standards, with little or no fade even under harsh driving conditions.
Check out "Members Photos" under "Wedding cars", posted late 2010 and the image posted against my entry.
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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  Stuart B on Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:54 pm

I have had a look at your photo and my wheels and tyres sit just on the edge of the arch like those on your red Elf.

When you talk about the offset drums are these the post '84 variety or original Cooper S ?

Where have you put your servo ?

Thanks


Stuart


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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  Elf Service on Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:50 am

Stuart B wrote:I have had a look at your photo and my wheels and tyres sit just on the edge of the arch like those on your red Elf.

When you talk about the offset drums are these the post '84 variety or original Cooper S ?

Where have you put your servo ?

Thanks


Stuart


I'm not too sure about the exact dates but I believe it was when 12" wheels were introduced and 8.4" discs fitted as standard. As the offset was identical to the Cooper S, the extended rear drums were fitted to bring the rear wheel inline with the front.

Regarding the servo location and fitting, I hope the image below answers your question.
As you can see the engine compartment won't win any awards but it's clean and functional.
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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  Nick on Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:22 pm

You can do this conversion reasonably cheapish, get disk hubs, (£50) off e bay, new disks and drive flanges, new cv joints, and either recon or new calipers, you will need to either put spacers on the rear drums or get drums with spacers built in (preferred), you will have to get longer rear studs thou.. All in, couple of hundred quid. (all rough estimates, but I do this to all my cars).
Well worth doing..

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  Stuart B on Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:25 pm

As I am using the S discs and hubs should I also be using S steering arms ?

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  Elf Service on Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:50 pm

Stuart B wrote:As I am using the S discs and hubs should I also be using S steering arms ?

Stuart

Yes but you need to check to see if the steering rack is still the original Mk1 as I'm sure the Mk2 rack is slightly longer.
I had issues with my Elf and eventually replaced the old Mk1 rack for a later unit and used later Mini steering arms.

Andrew
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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  TONYELF on Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:47 am

[quote="Elf Service"]
Stuart B wrote:As I am using the S discs and hubs should I also be using S steering arms ?

Stuart

Yes but you need to check to see if the steering rack is still the original Mk1 as I'm sure the Mk2 rack is slightly longer.
I had issues with my Elf and eventually replaced the old Mk1 rack for a later unit and used later Mini steering arms.


Andrew ,when you said you had "steering issues." What exactly?
I happened to notice mine seems to be slightly "heavier" feel even though I had the complete setup of 7" cooper discs. ie whole lot from hub to drive shaft.
I did , however take the opportunity to replace the track rod ends and the ball joints. Maybe they made all the difference ? I have to say I am happy with the handling more now than i ever have been.

Tony

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  Elf Service on Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:28 am

[quote="TONYELF"][quote="Elf Service"]
Stuart B wrote:As I am using the S discs and hubs should I also be using S steering arms ?

Stuart

Yes but you need to check to see if the steering rack is still the original Mk1 as I'm sure the Mk2 rack is slightly longer.
I had issues with my Elf and eventually replaced the old Mk1 rack for a later unit and used later Mini steering arms.


Andrew ,when you said you had "steering issues." What exactly?
I happened to notice mine seems to be slightly "heavier" feel even though I had the complete setup of 7" cooper discs. ie whole lot from hub to drive shaft.
I did , however take the opportunity to replace the track rod ends and the ball joints. Maybe they made all the difference ? I have to say I am happy with the handling more now than i ever have been.

Tony

Firstly, I hope you had a great day at Bingley Hall. I was out at a post Christmas do with some friends last night (excessive eating and drinking being mandatory) and thought it best to give this show a miss.
Going back to the steering issue. My Red Elf original disc brake setup was a Mk1 rack and what I thought to be Cooper S steering arms. I had the tracking set and in a straight line the car was fine. However when turning a corner the steering became heavy and although the handling wasn't too bad, there certainly was a problem. After speaking with a few other Mini friends and discovering there was excessive play in the steering rack, it was time to upgrade to a later Mini rack and steering arms. Not the easest jobs changing a steering rack but at least with the conversion to dry suspension there were no issues re deflating the Hydrolastic suspension. The steering is now as light as my standard drum braked Elf and the cornering is now more predictable. If you are experiencing similar issues I'm sure you will probably have the same problem. If you have the standard drum steering arms setup, the steering geometry is correct in a straight line but progressively runs out of true the more you turn the wheel, hence the heavier steering.

Andrew



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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  humph on Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:29 pm

Interesting to read about your steering issues guys. I picked up a full 7.5" disc set up including the disc shields and driveshafts at Bingley yesterday (happy with the £120 that cost me Cool ), so once I get the various bits refurbed it'll go on the car. Are we saying I should be looking at changing the steering components too? Any way of telling what sort of era my steering rack is from?

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

Post  TONYELF on Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:38 pm

Andrew wrote
Firstly, I hope you had a great day at Bingley Hall. I was out at a post Christmas do with some friends last night (excessive eating and drinking being mandatory) and thought it best to give this show a miss.
Going back to the steering issue. My Red Elf original disc brake setup was a Mk1 rack and what I thought to be Cooper S steering arms. I had the tracking set and in a straight line the car was fine. However when turning a corner the steering became heavy and although the handling wasn't too bad, there certainly was a problem. After speaking with a few other Mini friends and discovering there was excessive play in the steering rack, it was time to upgrade to a later Mini rack and steering arms. Not the easest jobs changing a steering rack but at least with the conversion to dry suspension there were no issues re deflating the Hydrolastic suspension. The steering is now as light as my standard drum braked Elf and the cornering is now more predictable. If you are experiencing similar issues I'm sure you will probably have the same problem. If you have the standard drum steering arms setup, the steering geometry is correct in a straight line but progressively runs out of true the more you turn the wheel, hence the heavier steering.

I compared my cooper 7" setup along side my drum setup and It looked exactly the same size, length of drive shaft, steering arms like for like?? I found the handling on corners ok last night in the dark at speeds of 55-60 I think the car behind nearly lost his on one bend trying to smell my bum (as they always seem to be in my mirror anyway!)
Tony
BTW it was on the smooth floor of the balcony I first noiced the "heavyness" maybe it was non slip polish?


Last edited by TONYELF on Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:40 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : BTW added)

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Re: Query: Advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to disc brakes?

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