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Big Brakes


New member
Dec 9, 2002
I wanted to start a big brake thread.

I noticed on E-Bay that a number of other makes' wheels will fit the Volvo bolt pattern:


With that in mind, I wonder if there already are big brake sets for all those other cars that share our bolt pattern?

I realize that there are other differences as well, but if the bolt pattern is right and that many cars share it, wouldn't there be a good chance that their brakes would fit without too much trouble?

I'm hoping that some makes a big brake kit for, say, a Ford Focus. Then, we could simply adapt it.

Has anyone considered this?
The disk part of a big brake conversion is never really the issue, it's not usually that hard to find bigger disks that will fit, the issue most times comes down to getting custom calliper brackets made up, because it's that calliper bracket that is unique to most cars, yet is the most important part of any conversion.

Hmmm, interesting point about the calipers' being the hard part, Bishop.

Brembo, for example, is making calipers for everything these days. I guess the hard part is to secure the caliper to the strut? It doesn't seem that hard maybe. I can see a big brake kit in my near future. What am I missing?
You aren't missing anything. Most people shy away from putting a Big Brake kit on their car unless there is a application specific engineered solution available. That bracket if you have seen an example of one is one of the simplest pieces ever designed. But your butt is riding on whether that breaks or not. The rest of the system is already safely engineered.

Other than that sizing the caliper pistons to the master cylinder or vice versa is about the only engineering decision left to do.

If you don't upsize the rears you will most likely need to change the shape of the rear proportioning curve.

Good luck.
with the proper pads the volvo brakes are more than adequete for 260 hp
porterfield r4-s

infact many people raid volvos for there brakes so they can upgrade there cars.

only manufacture that might be worth it to raid is something german like porsche or bmw.
Probably about the only thing your missing is that that calliper bracket can often be the most expensive part of any conversion, only the best material will do, and only the best machine shops will take on the creation of a high stress part like that.
Any of the FWD kits will "work" with exception to the bracket. Im working with Frank @ EuroSportTuning about taking Porsche 993T calipers with cross drilled S60R discs.

Maybe I'll do 6pot brembo's.

Dave Barton and Paul Jone (slow242 I believe) both have S60R discs and calipers on their 240's now. Looks rather well done. The bracket is a piece of cake, any *good* machine shop can do it for you.

I'd even be willing to bet that the EVO and STI brembo brakes have the exact same mounts as the R (they use the same pads as the R) so you could probably use the same bracket. I've seen complete (all four) EVO and STI brake set ups on ebay.

So, thanks, guys. That's all very informative.

To my way of thinking, the caliper bracket does seem like the hardest part, too. By making some mock-ups out of consumable material, I could get all the dimensions correct and then take the final model to a CNC machine shop and have them made, it seems.

Yup, there is the safety factor. I guess I'd better test them out extensively before I put my little guys in the car. Think I could get Robin to go for a ride with me the first time I try them out?

I was planning to use a brake proportioning valve. Checking out www.ovlov.net, Dick Prince went with a much more custom setup and he obviously knows what he's doing, but I think I can come up with something workable using mostly stock components and keeping my ABS:

I'll keep you posted.
Snoop Dougy Doug said:
Any of the FWD kits will "work" with exception to the bracket. Im working with Frank @ EuroSportTuning about taking Porsche 993T calipers with cross drilled S60R discs.

Maybe I'll do 6pot brembo's.

Dave Barton and Paul Jone (slow242 I believe) both have S60R discs and calipers on their 240's now. Looks rather well done. The bracket is a piece of cake, any *good* machine shop can do it for you.

I'd even be willing to bet that the EVO and STI brembo brakes have the exact same mounts as the R (they use the same pads as the R) so you could probably use the same bracket. I've seen complete (all four) EVO and STI brake set ups on ebay.

Slow242 is about right at this time with my exhaust mani leak on the #1 cylinder. Brembo 4 pots are what we have from the S60R/V70R. Discs as well. Dave Runs EBC green stuff pads, I decided to try the stock S60R pads. Brackets were made by another T-brickster who I do not have the name off hand.
This mod does work and has brought up another issue. Brake Bias. The fronts now lock up much sooner and a proportion valve is needed. Research is building on that issue, and new brake lines will probably be made to incorporate the proportion valve.

With regards to going with a 6 pot Brembo, be sure to take into account that 6 piston calipers usually have more piston area than a 4 pot, and thus, makes the pedal feel very soft. The usual cure is a larger master cylinder. We decided on the R calipers based on it being a Volvo part, the cost is pretty low (about 1k for all new parts) and the total piston Diameter was close to the same as the Stock 240 4 pot calipers, thus, not much loss in pedal feel. Big brakes are neat, look cool, and make it hard to use small rims. Anything under 17" probably wont fit, and even some 17" rims wont fit. My Custom Coddington 18" rims did not have enough back spacing, So, I had to get spacers. Plus, this was an easy install.

So far, I love my new brakes, better feel and they absolutely do not fade, plus they do not give up any feel when cold or hot. Modulation is real good, once the pads are seated, rear bias is still an issue, but not that big a deal since most of the brake force is needed in the front. When Going from 10.5" discs to 13" disc's, you notice it.


Paul Jones

That is awesome! If the R parts can be had for under $1000, that is a great deal. If the guy who made the brackets is willing to make some more, I'm sure he could make some money. Great work guys, this looks like an affordable big brake solution for our 240s! BTW, how close a fit are the R brakes for an 850 or 70 series?
Big brakes

While I feel that brake upgrades are great. Be aware that if you aren't adding any hp to your car the bigger brake will actually cost you some performance. Both with braking and acceleration. The reason is the rotational inertia of the larger rotor. Plus if the caliper is heavier you are adding unsprung weight. If you have hp like Doug or Dave B then it's not much of an issue but at my level I don't want to lose 10hp to a brake upgrade.

It is good to upgrade your brakes to better hardware but first, I'd advise you to consider upgrading what you have. I've added stainless lines, slotted and cryo hardened front rotors, with EBC green stuff pads front and back. My brakes are awesome now the best they have ever been. When I bled the brakes I put the ATE blue racing fluid in there, too. Next I want
to try Porterfield or Hawk pads.
Best regads,
Paul Im sorry... I didn't mean slow242 as an insult... for some reason I thought that was your SN ;)

Its hard to beat the deal on the R stuff. Right now, the best I've seen on ebay was a complete EVO brembo set up (with discs and **** which wont do you any good) for about 1k.

Dave, the other option is to use EST's porsche disc set up, these have floating discs and should be lighter than solid discs of similar size.

I think Im going to go ahead and do the R set up, maybe wrestle up some side cash soon here.

Paul, would you put the porportioning valve on the rear brakes, it would it be the front?
Hmm , ive got my beady eyes on a set of porsche big reds for ? - well i wont tell ya since you will all want em . And ill need 17 inch wheels which is abit far off at the mo .

regards caliper bracket , ive made loads - and they dont have to be ultra mega cant be made unless by a formula 1 team . Pick wisely make sure you have the same clamping force on the bolts , the caliper bracket will need engineering differently if you have to bolt into it or through it and use nuts and bolts , i used 10mm steel or ally (medium hard ) and never had a caliper fall off , they will flex before they break since the flat bar you make them out of isnt cast like the struts . I did hear once though a guy with an essie cossie that put inferior willwood alloy calipers on and sheared the lugs off on high speed breaking .

caliper choice though will be a dictated by disk thickness , so if you have 330 MM discs / 32mm thick - youll need a caliper that will do it , No std volvo caliper will .

saying that porsche 928 calipers will fit under 16s ,and be a lovely compromise , ooh im doing that on somebody elses car .
Rotors on hats is the way to go here.
Put on your thinking cap and go to the circle track store.
13" is roughly 330mm. I have these under 15" wheels with AP racing calipers.
They are real tight under the 15" wheels.
Willing to spend? Want THE NICE STUFF? Shop here. www.sellholm.com
Make 'em all big. Front and rear.
Use alloy calipers with rotors on hats and you reduce unsprung weight and stop without fade every time from any speed.
Big Brakes are a MUST HAVE.
I have had failures with braided steel brake lines. Buy them from a reputable outfit if you are going to use them. I have fresh standard hoses in my toy and find the pedal to be very acceptable.
I would get the brakes up to speed ahead of sexing up that motor.
Careful though. Big brakes+sticky tires=bent control arms in that 240 if you have not reinforced the control arm or are using the taxi cab/Policecar control arms. I have lots of these wierd tee-shirts.
John Lane.
ravennexus said:
now where would ya get them things. taxi/copper control arms they sound interesting

Back in the early nineties I was getting them from the Volvo dealer.
No need to abuse yourself like that though. Weld a plate of the same thickness material to the underside of the control arm in the shape of the control arm and you are there.
I bend the standard control arms the first time I apply brakes with rallytires on gravel.
haha, yeah i just abused myself at the dealer getting gaskets and **** for my B234F for my HG and penta cam swap to the tune of ?72. glad i'd just sold a set of wheels
Well, Unsprung weight is an issue, but lets take into account what can be gained. The Stock 240 calipers and discs are all cast Iron and have good deal of weight on them. The R calipers are Alluminum and are very light. Actual weight is 12lbs for stock calipers and 11lbs for discs. R calipers are 6lbs and the discs are 22lbs. The Discs obviously are where the weight has been gained. Probable solution is to use alluminum hats to decrease the disc weight, BUT, that increases cost by a lot, Stock R discs are $100 per side, Hats alone are about $100 per, and $125 per outer disc, so more than twice in cost. The lighter caliper, but heavier disc makes the total difference about 5 lbs per wheel.

Larger rims also can offset unsrpung weight. But, I cannot tell the difference in feel in the suspension after I did the discs, and my 18" rims are very light for the size. So, It's not a huge difference, and the larger brakes are on the front, not the rear, which increases rotational mass against the motor.

I do like the idea of welding the A arms on a 240. I have seen it done, and have been brainstorming on modifying the A arm to be stronger and increase camber adjustment by pushing the lower ball joint out about 15mm. All of that technically adds unsprung weight, BUT, the improvement is correct camber for a Lowered car, and less chance of broken A arms, which is, extremely dangerous. Another planned suspension mod is a bump steer correction kit. It's basically a block of metal that lowers the ball joint to make the A arm level to the ground, and thus eliminating bump steer, and also a spherical bearing with relocation arm on the steering arms to correct the angle of the steering rack. So far, with my lowered 242, I have not noticed much bump steer, but it seems easy to correct with a few add on mods.

Either way, in the performance world, you have to make sacrafices and give up something. I wanted big brakes to make sure that I had great brakes and was willing to sacrafice a little unsprung weight. Plus they look neat. It is definitely NOT for every one.


Paul Jones

PS. Doug, I figured you confused my log in, and I found it funny. It was almost a Freudian (spelling) Slip
fast242 said:
PS. Doug, I figured you confused my log in, and I found it funny. It was almost a Freudian (spelling) Slip

Actually, a Freudian slip would have been "small242."

I have a question for John Lane.... or anyone else who knows. Are you using an adjustable proportion valve? I've been looking into them and all I find from Wilwood, Russell, etc., all have SAE threads. I think our Volvo brake lines use 10mm x 1 thread. I suppose there is an adapter out there that would work (?)

My guesstimate is that an adjustable proportion valve controlling the rear brakes (replacing the non-adjustable valves that are there now) is the answer for the front bias.
Dave B.
Dave, why not just cut the line in the middle and flare and use your own SAE fittings.

I have a wilwood porportioning valve that I've had forever that I plan to put to use.

NOW, what I would like to know is: Is there a generic distribution block that would let you keep the front of the master cylinder to the front brakes, and the rears to the rear?

Seems to me, you'll have the same problems that a few of us are having trying to use a 'lineloc'

Oh, I just remeber, Evolve I believe will be offering S60R discs converted to 2 piece floating discs with aluminum hats. Thats what the rumor is (makes sense to me). Probably pricey, but would be probably still cheaper than the EST Porsche 993T big red kit.
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