Big brakes make your Van faster. Fact. In a scientific direct correlation, as your stopping distance is reduced, your confidence on the anchors is increased, so you can brake later and dive deeper into the twisty bits, scaring the bejesus out of your passengers in the process. With the Forge Motorsport six-pot calliper kit, accompanied by the 356mm disc option, you’ll need at least 19-inch rims to squeeze them in there, which again, of course, means your Van goes faster. For the less well endowed, a 330mm disc option is also available.
Most of the extra stopping power comes from the fact that the six piston calipers have increased surface area to clamp the disc. The discs themselves are grooved to help remove brake pad residuals and to maintain optimum performance. As a bonus, they’re less likely to crack compared to those that have been drilled to aid cooling.
Included in the kit are braided brakes hoses, mountings and new bolts where necessary, along with high quality fast road pads from the EBC yellow stuff range, which in themselves also offer additional stopping prowess, and don’t require much heat in them to work immediately. Forge devoted nearly three years to developing and testing various designs and features using their own personal vehicles before releasing this kit onto the market, so you can expect the highest levels of braking performance and reliability. At £1,315.44, it’s not a budget upgrade path, but we’ve been out in a number of Vans with this kit on and can tell you the difference is literally night and day.
On a serious note, while you might not want to be throwing your Van around like a race car, this modification will be hugely beneficial if you trailer additional weight, or regularly load your Van close to its maximum payload. Contact www.forgemotorsport.co.uk for more information.
01 Loosen wheel bolts. Jack your Van safely using a duo of trolley jacks and ensure it’s securely positioned on axle stands (assuming you haven’t got a handy four-post ramp in your garage). Remove the road wheels.
02 Here’s what you’re confronted with. It’s hard to knock the standard VW brake set up, though some say they can suffer from fade on prolonged descents, or under heavy usage.
03 You need to get at the two 21mm bolts that hold the calipers to the hub and loosen them off with a half-inch ratchet, breaker bar and some strength. It’s worth giving them a squirt with some penetrating oil the day before if you can.
04 Notice the Loctite in the holes that secure the brake calliper and carrier to the hub. Working the calliper clear is no mean feat if the pads are in good nick, but with a bit of wiggling it will come clear.
05 Hang the calliper from the driveshaft or wishbone so the flexible hose isn’t under too much tension. If you’re replacing them with braided items, you don’t need to worry about it.
06 On many Vans the splined bolt that secures the disc into place may be missing. If yours is still there, use an M10 multi-spline bit to free the disc from the hub. It might snap, so go steady!
07 Now pull the brake disc clear of the hub. If it refuses to budge, you might need to give it a tap with a rubber mallet to free any surface rust that has developed.
08 The stock T5 discs are by no means tiny at 330mm, but check out the shiny new semi-floating, grooved Forge item, which measures in at a whopping 356mm x 32mm, and features a separate bell assembly in the middle. Sexy, eh?
09 Naturally, the bigger diameter discs require the calipers be spaced out further to suit, so the kit comes with these new extended calliper carrier brackets. Bolt them into place using the original holes in the hub assembly, but the new bolts supplied in the kit.
10 The new bolts are of the socket cap type, so require the use of a 21mm Allen head driver to tighten.
11 Now offer the new discs up to the hub. They should locate on the centre bore and do not require the use of the multi-spline bolt shown in step 6. You might find it easier to screw a single wheel bolt in finger tight to hold it in place.
12 The new six pot calipers are sided and will only bolt onto the mounting brackets if you have them in the correct orientation. When you do, slide the Allen-headed bolts into position and nip them up finger tight so the calliper stays in place.
13 Using the same Allen headed socket as earlier, ensure the bolts are tightened so the calliper remains firmly locked into position.
14 The pads are secured in place by locking pins, which unscrew so you can drop the new items into place.
15 If you’re using the EBC yellow stuff pads that are supplied with the Forge kit (and why wouldn’t you?), peel off the adhesive backing and don’t forget to give the reverse side (not the brake compound side!) a little squirt of copper lube to prevent the pads from sticking in the calliper.
16 Now slide your swanky new brake pads into position. It’s obvious which side goes where as they follow the contours of the calliper itself.
17 For our conversion we also used new Goodridge braided hoses with banjo fittings to increase pedal feel. Be careful not to cross thread the fitting when screwing it in.
18 The other end of the braided hose attaches to the copper brake lines that run to the master cylinder / ABS pump. Using a 13mm brake hose spanner, loosen the old hose and be prepared with an old rag to catch any fluid that leaks out. Replace it with the new braided line and tighten it fully. Always wear gloves as brake fluid and old brake pad dust will play havoc with your skin, and your Van’s paintwork.
19 Your brakes will need bleeding (a two-person job without a specialist pump) and your brake fluid level topping up. Ensure all air is out of the system and you have a firm pedal feel.
20 Finally, bolt your wheels back into place, then step back and admire your handiwork. The difference in pedal feel and the stopping power on offer will be markedly improved with the Forge six-pots. Job done.