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|March 20, 2024
Requires some hand & power tools and minimal mechanical knowledge.
Product update! Our Bigger Brake Kit now fits 1980-85 early Vanagons. No more spindle swappin', machining parts, or fussin' around!
We rolled up our sleeves, put on our mechanical-engineering hats, and solved the crummy VW van brake problem once and for all. Our front Bigger Brakes for all Vanagon are properly engineered from the ground up.
The GoWesty Bigger Brake system is the best* front disc-brake system on the market for VW vans. It is affordable, simple, reliable, and very effective.
*Don’t be fooled by incomplete comparison calculations and shiny brake parts. Better braking is all about energy absorption, not braking power (force). Even the original brakes can lock up the wheels if you push the pedal hard enough in the right conditions. What you really need from your brakes is to slow your vehicle down rapidly in a controlled manner. For that you need big, heavy brake rotors (✓) that can absorb lots of heat (✓) and that are ventilated to get rid of the heat (✓). A single-piston caliper and a larger ventilated brake rotor will get the job done as reliably as any shiny "street racer" aluminum brake caliper with multiple pistons. One big piston per caliper means fewer wear parts and leak potential, with consistent reliable performance. This is precisely why nearly every OEM delivers their vehicles this way. When it comes to brakes, the mission is to make them big and keep them simple. But, if you just gotta have that bling, knock yourself out and rattle-can those calipers. A can of paint will cost you a lot less than an unnecessarily fancy zillion-piston aluminum caliper set!
• 1980-91 2WD Vanagon - Hubs, bearings and wheel hardware required.*
• 1986-91 Syncro 4WD Vanagon - No additional parts required.
*This brake system requires additional parts for use on all 1980-91 2WD Vanagon. If you do not currently have a big brake system installed, you'll also need our Hub Conversion Kit, a Front Wheel Bearing Kit (Early or Late) and ten (10) lug nuts (as opposed to the lug bolts you currently use). You can find those nuts here.
Features at a glance:
• Improved stopping power through superior energy absorption
• Greatly decreased brake fade
• Improved pedal feel
• Perfectly matched for the stock hydraulic and vacuum booster system
• Perfectly paired performance for stock rear drums or our Rear Disc Brake Kit
• Better performance, better long-term availability, and better value
• (2) Single-piston calipers and custom-designed carriers
• (2) Vented rotors (285mm)
• (2) Stainless steel braided brake hoses
• (1) Semi-metallic brake pad set (Bosch BP884)
• (1) Installation hardware
If you have concerns about whether or not this kit will fit with your particular wheels, we have a very handy template that you can print, attach to some cardboard, and use to check if this Bigger Brake system will work with your specific wheels.
If you already own our GoWesty-designed Bigger Brakes, make sure that you print the correct template (Rev. 1 or Rev. 2) for your brakes. Refer to the picture below to identify which revision you own. Our revision 2 calipers allow for more clearance and will fit more wheel types. If you are purchasing a new kit from our website, you will be receiving Rev. 2 calipers and should only use the Rev. 2 template.
Performing brake work is inherently dangerous. This brake system should only be installed by a competent mechanic. Failure to install this product correctly could result in serious injury or death.
*MIN THICKNESS: 26mm — DO NOT MACHINE*
Performance: This GoWesty system is a major upgrade to your stock set-up, especially in terms of our massive rotors. This component of the front brake system is by far the most important in terms of performance. The rotor is what absorbs and dissipates energy (heat) when a large, heavy vehicle slows down. These rotors offer an additional 3mm of thickness and an extra pound of steel over what the competition offers—and they're over 5 pounds heavier than stock—and this is very, very significant. As a percentage, our rotors offer 45% more thermal mass than a stock rotor! Now that's massive! This means no more warping, brake fade, or vibration. Your vehicle simply STOPS.
Long-term availability: This is probably the most important element of this endeavor. We set out to create not only the best direct-fit system on the market, but one with long-term availability of components. Over the past decade, we have offered several brake systems that were cobbled together by other companies. These "kits" mostly worked well, but availability was routinely spotty. Replacement parts were hard to obtain, and we often found ourselves out of stock on critical components several times per year. We finally decided to take on the task of developing our own in-house kit to relieve ourselves and our customers of the supply chain headaches once and for all.
Unlike the Audi-based alternative (among several others), this kit does not rely on another production vehicle to keep this system’s components in stock. We went straight to one of the largest OEM manufacturers for these components and had them made specifically for us. Starting with their most common and reliable single-piston caliper drawing, we developed the biggest and most robust package that could be shoe-horned onto the Vanagon platform. Every component in this kit (with the exception of the brake pads) is batch produced piece-by-piece for GoWesty. This ensures that replacement parts can always be manufactured at the low volume levels that a small company like ours requires.
Value: This is the most affordable front brake upgrade on the market, but—even more importantly—it is also the best in the business in terms of performance, which makes it an exceptionally good value. To add a further level of completeness to this kit, we also include our custom-made stainless steel brake lines to fully dress out your upgraded brake system.
Bigger Brakes Early Installation Instructions
• This system requires the use of a 15" or larger diameter wheel. Check out the Wheel Fitment tab for more info. This kit will NOT work with German Mefro brand 15" steel wheels, European OEM Syncro-16 steel wheels, Rhein wheels, and some other non-VW wheels.
• Is NOT compatible with the Euro-market Syncro 16 model Vanagon(s).
• Due to the enormity of this system, clearance on 15" alloys can be tight. In some cases, internal stick-on wheel weights may cause interference. If that is the case, external bead weights can be used.
• Your original VW front dust shields will not work with these brakes. You can do one of two things: 1) Remove them and run without any dust shields, or 2) install our new stainless steel dust shields 2WD or 4WD (highly recommended!).
Plug 'n' Play — Requires no or basic hand tools and no mechanical knowledge.
Handy — Requires some hand & power tools and minimal mechanical knowledge.
DIY — Requires a full tool set and broad mechanical knowledge.
Pro — Requires professional-level tools, talent and experience.