Brakes

Not much modified here, for the first time round at least! There are a couple of options, budget dependent. Frontline developments do an awesome looking 9 inch disk brake kit with big calipers; Peter May also retails a nice looking kit that I suspect is made from MGB calipers and modified Triumph Spitfire disks. Since I built my car, JLH Morris Minor has arrived with a big disc kit; more on that later.

All three are of the order of hundreds of pounds, so I just went for a caliper rebuild, new pads and disks with braided brake hoses. The pads I chose were EBC GreenStuff pads, and to be honest I have not been that impressed. The claim of less dust is a bit suspicious, though it does seem easier to wash off. The pads work OK from cold, not brilliantly, but OK. This has changed recently after a stretch of spirited driving brought a nice smell of burning pads from the front and massive brake fade.

Not impressed, I decided to see if it was a one off, but since then, the pads have been faultless, still producing copious dust but now working well from cold and not exhibiting any fade under normal circumstances.  However, under extreme provocation I could still get fade on the road.

The original discs on the midget are quite narrow, and I suspected that the fade was due to the disc not being able to get rid of the heat well enough.

As track days were now on the agenda (see Track Day page) I needed a bit of an upgrade.  This was also after an Emerald ECU was fitted and mapped (see Wiring page) and got me another 16bhp meaning I could arrive at corners quicker.  I looked at the options again, and finally decided on a set of 260mm vented JLH front brakes with alloy 4 pot calipers and alloy hubs.  Claimed weight saving is about 2.5 kg per side, so that’s good too. They really are very good.

These big monsters require 14 inch wheels to fit, JLH does a smaller one that fits inside a 13 inch wheel.  Mine are red because red is better.

So that was the front sorted out.  After 2 track days at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire, I realised that the rear brakes required a bit of attention.  The first one set the rear brakes on fire, a nasty smelly grey smoke arriving from the rear end and loss of brake pressure.  Not ideal.  The first fix was to fit the smaller 1500 brake cylinders to the car, this required a small hole drilled in the back plate.  These worked better, there wasn’t any fire, but the rear drums got extremely hot and I lost the pedal again.  Adjusting them up on track fixed the problem but then it wouldn’t come off the trailer once the drums had cooled down.

The solution to this is a rear disc arrangement.  This is achieved by creating a bracket that joins to the original back plate mounts on the end of the axle, which carries an MGF caliper.  Quite a bit of research led to choosing the MGF caliper, one major part of the choice being that the handbrake levers are in the right place to attach to the original midget rods.

The original MGF handbrake mount has to be removed or it catches on the spring. Once the calipers are bracketed on there is just enough space between the spring and the RTL mount for the caliper to work.

The discs are from a Citroen, and require the 4 x 101.6 PCD of the midget drilling in, along with a mounting screw hole for the countersunk screw.

I originally planned to use the original Midget master cylinder, and while this works, the pedal is very long, and would bottom out on the footwell floor only just after locking the wheels.  This wasn’t very satisfactorary so I have fitted a larger bore master cylinder from AP, with remote brake fluid resevoir.  This has made the pedal travel much shorter but also much harder, so a servo might be on the cards – watch this space.