Building a Track Car – Completing the front end and the brake system

The car has had its rear suspension completely rebuilt and the rear portion of the Good-Win four-wheel brake upgrade installed.  The front suspension needed much the same. 

The rear brakes in place.

An earlier post went over some of that process, but left off with me waiting for the correct brake lines that were in transit.  It really didn’t take very long for the lines to arrive.  I have just been getting other parts of the project car done.

The correct lines for the Wilwood calipers

With the proper lines in hand I completed the driver’s side of the front suspension rebuild and then connected up the new brake lines to both the front Wilwood calipers.  Now the suspension could turn the wheels without any binding.

A new hub and bearing assembly and the caliper adapter prior to the Wilwood caliper going on.

With the suspension and brakes in place it was time for the Whiteline anti-roll bar to get installed.  As I wrote earlier, Mark made up some excellent spacers that fit perfectly and allowed the new yellow bushings for the bar to be clamped, but not over-clamped.  The end links already had new polyurethane bushings installed and they were bolted between the bar and the lower control arms.

The Whiteline roll bar and new bushing spacers with rebuilt end links

The tubular upper a-arms are from the folks at V8 Roadsters that I purchased through Flyin’ Miata. 

Here is where the castle nut went way beyond the hole for the cotter pin.

When I tightened the castle nuts securing the ball joint to the spindle to factory specifications the “castles” were way beyond the hole for the cotter pin.  This is a problem because the cotter pin ensures that the nut doesn’t loosen up and allow the suspension to come apart.

I talked to the folks at V8 Roadsters and also sent them photos of the situation.  They were good enough to send me out some other ball joint studs to try, but the results remained the same.  I sent them all of the measurements and the diameter of the taper of the spindles.  My solution was to torque the nuts to spec and simply drill new holes between the “castles”.  Then I inserted the cotter pins to lock it in place.

With the suspension completed both front and rear, and the brake upgrade assembled it was time to bleed the brakes.  Remember that I had already replaced the old master cylinder with a new one.

Mityvac brake bleeder

For brake bleeding I like to use Mityvac’s system that works with compressed air to vacuum out the fluid from each of the four corners of the brake system.  I filled the master cylinder with fresh DOT 4 fluid and started with the right rear caliper’s bleeder.  Then I moved to the left rear.  I made certain that the master cylinder remained full of fluid and moved to the right front Wilwood caliper.

Here it gets a little tricky.  There are four bleeders on the Wilwood caliper.  The two bleeders that point down you don’t touch.  You start with the top bleeder that is closest to the outside of the car.  Then, when that is shut, you bleed from the top inner bleeder valve.  Finally you do the same to the left front caliper.

I tried the brake pedal and it was firm and just perfect.

Then I mounted the wheels and tires to make certain that they would clear the new brakes.  They did, but with a small hitch.

Here you can see the banjo fitting hitting the wheel.

The rear wheels made some noise as I spun them.  A quick visual check and the problem was obvious.  The new brake lines had banjo fittings and the hard part of the fittings were just touching the wheel.  I loosened the banjo bolts just enough to re-clock the fittings so that they had plenty of clearance and re-tightened them.

Here you can see the banjo fitting has been moved in or re-clocked.

It is always wise to check and double check everything as you go on.  I try not to make any more changes than I have to in case there might be a problem.  That lessens the number of variables to go through when you need to figure out which change is causing the problem.

To make certain that I hadn’t introduced any air into the system when I re-clocked the fittings I bled the brake system one final time.  A check at the brake pedal and it was still nice and firm.

I had to adjust the parking brake to get it to function.  First I adjusted the cable at the hand lever to take out any slack in the cable.  Then I tuned the adjusters on the rear calipers so that there was just a slight amount of drag with the lever down.  With all that done the hand brake worked as it should.

Now all I am waiting for is the V-Maxx coil-over shocks.  They should be here some time in March.  When they arrive they will get installed and I can set the ride height.  Then there will be a trip to Performance Chassis for an alignment and corner weighting.

Here is the old front hub.

The front spindle after being cleaned and painted.

This entry was posted in Automobiles, Car Stuff, Care and Feeding, Cars, Life and Cars, Modifying Cars, Racing, Road Racing, Sports Cars. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Building a Track Car – Completing the front end and the brake system

  1. Jim says:

    Why does the front hub have gear teeth?

    • jimsgarage says:

      This M-edition Miata came with ABS. The gear teeth give the sensor something to read that will indicate wheel speed. The gear teeth are on all four corners. That way differences in wheel speed can be determined and the cause might be one wheel locking up under braking. If that occurs the braking system is pulsed so that the lock-up won’t continue and that wheel will keep turning while still braking.

      More modern suspension systems use this information to not just control braking, but also acceleration at each wheel.

  2. Tim S. says:

    Looking great Jim! Though I noticed, those rear rotors and pads look wimpy compared to the beefy from Wilwood’s. Do you have any concerns over brake bias? Have you considered running a more aggressive pad in the rear to help balance your brake force?

    • jimsgarage says:

      Tim, I share your observation, but I was assured that the kit will result in a very well balanced car in terms of braking. The rear rotors are 10.50 inches in diameter and the fronts are 11 inches in diameter. Yes, the Wilwood fronts are four piston compared with the single piston rears, but even my Evolution has large 4 piston Brembo calipers in front compared to two piston Brembo in the rear.
      When brakes are applied the weight shifts forward in a big way. The fronts suddenly will have a lot of work to do and you want the fronts to lock up prior to the rears for braking stability (yes, I know that ABS should prevent lock-up). If the rear has too much braking the rears would lock up first and the tail end would try to come around to the front unless the car was perfectly straight.

      • Tim S. says:

        Ah yes, all good points. I guess my brain was taken with the much smaller diameter and non-vented design.

  3. Bennett says:

    Even the new Mustang GTs that come with factory Brembo brakes have stock calipers in the rear.

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