My front disc brake conversion using
the kit made by Torrel Industries Ltd,
Rocky Mountain Expedition Equipment Ltd.
(604 913 7910 ask for Jeremy)
Also see my web page providing a Series
Land Rover disc brake conversion overview
and my web
page about converting a Series Land Rover to dual circuit power
I choose The Torrel Industries disc brake conversion kit for a
couple reasons: First Rocky Mountain
Expedition Equipment Ltd is known to me as a company
that supplies well tested rugged equipment at reasonable prices. I
felt that any product that they offer will have been well tested
and found to be robust; I wanted a kit that allowed me to easily
source "consumable" brake
components locally, preferably at my nearest chain auto parts store
(I was unaware that the rotor required machining); I
wanted a complete easy to install kit and I wanted a "value
considering the value of the American dollar, shipping costs and
how shallow my pocket book is.
Torrel Industries ltd Series Land Rover front brake conversion
manual in Acrobat format (1.6 Meg)
Additional information about the conversion from the Manufacturer
Difficulty - Low
Except for one section, the manual is very good. The project
is no more difficult than rebuilding the front brakes and replacing
the bearings. A person well experienced with rebuilding Series
Land Rover front brakes and hubs can carry out the conversion in
a day. Less
experienced people will need a weekend for the project. There
are no special modifications needed. Everything is bolt
Special tools needed
You will need your normal work on Series Land Rover tool kit,
including the hub wrench, a tube of your favourite gasket sealant
and fresh brake fluid.
Special tools that a Series Land Rover owner might not have are:
10mm socket or wrench for the bleed nipple, 15 mm socket, 11 mm
socket, 8 mm hex socket, T60 Torx socket (The
torx socket comes as part of the kit). You will
need a torque wrench that will read 150 lb ft of torque and a method
of applying that much torque on a couple special fasteners
(rent someone from the local gym?).
disc brake kit came in a sturdy compact wood box that weighs
in at over 100 lbs (umph!). From the beginning everything
seems well designed and user friendly. Each screw that
needs to be removed to open the box is marked with a spot of
Opening the box the parts are well packed and the small parts
are bagged. The kit comes with everything you will
need for the conversion except for wheel bearings. Series Land
Rover wheel bearings seldom go bad so you are expected to
reuse the ones on your vehicle after inspecting them to insure
that they are indeed in good condition. The kit even comes
with all new lock tabs, oil seals and a package of Permatex thread
Throughout the project the one thing that stood out to me is that
someone went through a lot of effort to to make the conversion
as easy to perform as possible, from the marking of the screws
on the shipping container, to the well written manual to the way
some components were partially assembled to show how they go together,
to the way components were grouped in individual wrapping.
Contents of the box as unpacked
This is the back plate. It goes where the drum brake
back plate is mounted and holds the caliper frame in location. The
two back plates provided in the kit are sided and are stamped
"Left" and "Right" to help you mount them
The two pictures above show the hub and rotor preassembled. Mel
chose 11 inch rotors as being that largest that will fit all Series
16 inch wheels. It is my understanding that kits with larger
diameter rotors restrict which 16 inch steel rims will fit without
a wheel spacer.
Note: I use Discovery I steel wheels. I
found my wheels to be a very tight press fit onto the hubs. If
I were to do another
conversion, I would make a trial fitting between the hub and wheel
before mounting the hub then file down any excess metal if
the wheels do not slide on prior to assembling the kit. One
of the hubs was a tighter fit for the wheel than the other, so
be sure to check both.
Here is a hub side view. The disc brake hub is slightly
longer than the drum brake hub to place the rotor in the
correct position for the calipers. This
hub is a custom casting . The studs are a larger diameter
than the standard series wheel studs.
This picture shows the centre section of the rotor.
The rotors are from "sport models" of
Chevy Luminas and
Chevy Monte Carlos equipped with 286mm brakes. The centre
of the rotor has been cut to a larger diameter and new mounting
holes were drilled.
Replacements are available through the kit manufacturer
and their dealers.
The two piston caliper and the brake pads. The pads
lock onto the calipers
Here is the most confusing part of the assembly
brake hoses are handed and I found the instructions to
identify which is which to be a little difficult to understand.
1. Is the tang mention in the instructions. This hose
goes on the left side of the vehicle.
2. Is the rounded point mentioned
in the instructions (round surface where 2 adjacent hex flats
would be). This
hose goes on the right side of the vehicle.
The calipers are marked R & L, but are fitted to the Land
Rover opposite the manufacturer's marking. So the #1
hose is assembled to the caliper marked "R" and goes on the
left side of the vehicle. The #2 hose is assembled
to the caliper marked "L" and goes on the right side of the
Here is the left side back plate installed. It fits
where the drum brake back plate was and uses the same fixing
bolts and lock tabs. The hole in the top tab is lined
up with the rear bolts on the top swivel pin. The hole on the
lower tab lines up with the swivel
housing oil fill plug.
Next step is to lock the lock tabs. Here is a little
trick. If you pre bend the lock tabs just a little,
about 2/3rds of the way down their length, they will not
interfere with the bolt head and the ends are off the back
plate enough to get a tool under them to bend them into place. They
can be a pain to lock if left flat. The holes
are offset on the tabs. Be sure to mount the tabs so
that the locking tabs do not partially cover the centre back
Here is the rotor and hub assembly installed
with free play adjusted. The process for mounting the
hub and adjusting the bearings is the same as with a drum
brake hub. Series Land Rovers wheel bearings need to be
set a little loose. The workshop manual explains how
to set the play with a dial indicator. Here is an alternate
method that a lot of people use.
Mount the hub and inner hub nut. Tighten down the
inner hub nut to eliminate all free play on the bearings. Spin
the hub and retighten the inner nut to make sure the bearings
are seated properly and that there is no free play Back
off the inner hub nut one and a half flats of the nut. This
will provide the free play needed for the bearings. Add
the lock washer and outer nut per the manual instructions.
Here is the caliper mounting bracket mounted to the back
caliper is held to this bracket by two long slip pins that
go through the two corrugated rubber boots at the back of
the frame. The
caliper is free to move on the pins. The pistons press
one pad against the rotor, pushing the caliper away from
the rotor which engages the pad rigidly mounted to the caliper.
The slip pins that mount the caliper to the caliper mounting bracket get torqued
to 80 pounds of torque.
You can see a horizontal silver cylindrical object next
to the lower rubber boot on the caliper mounting bracket. That
is one of the two special bolts that mounts the bracket to
the frame plate. This puppy is what requires the 148
pounds of torque.
This is one side finished and ready to mount
the wheel. Yes that is the bottom of a power steering box
at the top of the picture and no I do not use the stock tab
for mounting the brake hose to the frame. I find that
the lower otherwise unused frame mounting tab allows for greater
downwards articulation without stretching the rubber brake
Going one step farther
The lower caliper mounting bracket securing bolt may interfere
with removing the swivel housing oil fill plug. If
it does the instructions suggest shortening the filler plug so
that you can get it off and back on. Even if there is no
interference with the plug it will be harder to get the plug
on and off and to fill the reservoir. Swivel housings are
not handed. You can switch the housings between both sides
of the Land Rover and not affect steering, suspension or anything. If
they are switched, the filler plug ends up facing forward away
from the brake caliper.
If you need to remove the swivel assembly to work on axles,
differential, replace the swivel seal, work on swivel pins or
whatever, you might consider switching the housings to the other
axle side. Of
course you will needs to keep the steering arms in their original
Additional information from the manufacturer:
Designing the conversion:
During design of the disc brake system we concluded that the
only economically practicable approach would be to adapt a
widely available disc
brake system to the Series Land Rover in a way that minimized
the need for
any other changes to the Land Rover.
Due to the relatively large size of the Series Land Rover swivel ball
housing, space between the swivel ball housing and the inner wheel rim is
quite limited. We determined that the AC Delco dual piston floating caliper
system used on many GM cars was the best choice because of its low profile.
The AC Delco calipers and caliper brackets and brake pads can be used
without modification and the (GM designed) rotors can be modified using
general purpose machine tools to fit our Land Rover application. Because
the design is based on relatively straight forward modifications to widely
available rotors we are able to commit to providing customers replacement
rotors as long as replacement rotors for GM cars are available.
Which master brake cylinder:
Question: The calipers are 2 pot and the 88 master cylinder
designed to push fluid into a single cylinder at each front brake.
Does an 88 master brake cylinder pump enough volume for the disc brakes & get
good pedal height on the first try or do you recommend switching to 109 master
Reply: During application, the pads in a disc
brake system are displaced much less than the shoes on a drum
brake system so a smaller volume of brake
fluid must be moved by the master cylinder. This is offset to
buy the larger cross sectional area of the disc brake caliper
compared to the drum brake cylinders but a disc brake system
condition will have less pedal travel and the pedal will "feel" firmer
in a drum brake system. Note that "pressure" is as important
consideration as "volume" in choosing a master cylinder.
I recommend upgrading any Land Rover to a dual braking system for
the significant additional safety margin the dual system provides. Power
boost is helpful (and commonly used) in disc brake systems which do not have
the same "positive feedback" characteristics as drum brake systems.
Also see my web page providing a Series
Land Rover disc brake conversion overview
and my web page about converting
a Series Land Rover to dual circuit power brakes
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