UPDATING 1971 VW TYPE 2 BRAKE CALIPERS
by Ian Crawford
Taken from Transporter Talk Issue 121, February 2013.
At the end of October 2012, I had my Bay serviced, and “put to bed” for the winter. One of the jobs, I asked the workshop to do, was to change the brake
fluid; a task I have done every three years. On inspection, they said they couldn’t do it, because the front callipers were “sticking” and would either have to be replaced, or refurbished.
My Bay, is a 1971 model, and I know from previous articles, that the 1971~72 model-years, have callipers which are no longer available! It was suggested, that I leave my van with the garage, for them to remove the callipers, which they would send away to be refurbished. This might take a few weeks, I was told.
So, I decided to try JK (i.e. Just Kampers), whom I discovered, now offer a Full Conversion Kit (part No. J12624), for £209·00 plus £15·00 postage & packing. The purpose of this kit, is to fit the later-style 1973~79 brake callipers, onto the 1971~72 VW Type 2s, whilst retaining the original 1971~72 pattern front brake discs. All friction-pads, brackets, nuts & bolts, are included. The JK “Bundle Kit” consists of three items: (a) callipers; (b) conversion kit (part No. J12816) comprising nuts & bolts; and (c) top & bottom bush set (part No. J12627).
I phoned my workshop, asking them to order a kit for me and to inform me when it arrived, so that I could make an appointment for them to do the work. That was in mid-October 2012. Well, two of the items arrived the following day, but the top & bottom bush set, was not delivered intil mid-January 2013, approximately three months later! Both myself and the workshop, repeatedly telephoned JK, and were given various promises, as to when they would be delivered, and whereabouts in the World, they were at the present moment.
Eventually, I wrote to Mark Reynolds (MD of JK and also a VWT2OC member), and miraculously, within a week, JK telephoned me to say, that they now had the parts in stock, made by a local UK firm, and that they were being despatched to my workshop “immediately”. My workshop (i.e. Francis Tuthill Ltd), fitted the new callipers on 16th January 2013, for a total cost of £369·94 (including £209·00 + £15·00, for the JK “Bundle Kit”), and all seems okay so far.
When I mentioned at the workshop, that my van would be under cover in my garage, for the next five months, they remarked that, “callipers do NOT like, NOT being used, and that was probably why mine had seized. Every two weeks, during the winter lay-up period, I normally start the engine and run it for about five minutes, so out of consideration for the brake callipers, I shall in the future, drive the van out of the garage, apply the brakes, then reverse back into the garage, and again apply the brakes. Hopefully, this will prevent recurrence of calliper-piston sticking or seizure.
As these old style callipers are no longer made, I’m hoping to sell the original ones from my van, back to JK or another supplier, for them to refurbished and sold on. This should help to reduce, my overall nett replacement cost.