Rear Disk Brakes

Update 28-02-2010: I bought a set of new brakepads for a Golf IV. When test-fitting, I discovered that they didn’t fit the Passat brackets! The space for the pads was in the Passat bracket little bit smaller (just under 1 mm) then the Golf brackets. But this was quickly solved by filing out a little bit out of one side of the pad:


Why would VW make such a small change?!?!? Strange.

Then when I tried to test fit it all with the new pads, the caliper didn’t fit. It turned out the piston had to be pushed in. Because it has a build in handIbrake, it can’t just be pushed back. I didn’t understand how I had to get it back, and went browsing on the internet. I found a top-tip: use a F-clamp to put pressure on the piston, and then turn the piston clockwise with an angle grinder wrench. That wrench fits perfectly in the indentations in the piston. I tried that and that worked perfectly.


Totally in:


No need for special VW tooling!

All test-fitted together:


I  pulled the little handbrake lever, and it settled the brake pads, and it braked! For the first time. After turning the disc around a few times, I didn’t feel any high points. The machined drums are OK!


  1. I really like the website. Very informative. Great work on the car. My question is about the calipers. What year golf did they come from or are they all the same.

    • Hi Heath,
      I don’t know for which year they are. I just searched for rear brake calipers for a VW Golf IV.
      I assumed they were all the same… but I am not sure if they are.


  2. Hey Gerrelt,
    Thanks for the reply. I ended up going with 08 beetle calipers. They fit on the empi brackets perfectly. I would like to change the brackets to something with the same 0 offset as the empi brackets so I could buy the pads at the local parts store. Maybe Passat. Not sure. The 08 beetle calipers are much better than the empi calipers. The empis were thin and were flexing which caused the outer pad to not make up fully with the disc and was causing much noise and vibration. Next i’m going to add wildwood calipers to the front. I have the brackets orderd now. I’ll have a video up on youtube soon on the brake conversion. Ringo774. Thanks for the reply. Later

    • Yeah, I’ve read that before, the empi calipers aren’t very good apparently.
      And that’s the exact reason I used the Golf calipers too. Now I can get brakepads from the local parts store.
      I will check out your youtube channel!

  3. Hello Gerrelt,
    Thanks for this site, it is very useful. After reading it, I am doing the same rear disc brake conversion. I have one question: the Passat caliper brackets are from what YEAR of Passat? I ask because in the US, the Passat B3 was from 1988-1996, but I believe in Europe they used “Typ 3B” for 1998-2006. So it is very confusing: 3B or B3. If you know the year of the Passat the brackets came off, that would help me greatly. Thanks! -Matt in Virginia

  4. Perfect, thank you. I was working from the same (confusing) Wikipedia page. May I ask, how do you like the brake performance with this setup? And what brakes do you have in the front? My plan is to put Wilwood 4-piston calipers in front. My pedal assembly has separate master cylinders for front and rear,so I should be able to balance the front/rear brake bias by sizing the master cylinders correctly. -Matt

    • I really like this setup. I’ve got a firm pedal and good braking performance.
      In the front I have the standard VW beetle disk brakes and calipers, and I am using a standard (19mm, if I remember correctly) super beetle master cylinder.

  5. Hi,
    I own a VW 1600 beetle and plan on upgrading the rear brakes to discs. The difference is that it uses a 5 hole hub instead of 4. Any ideas as to what brake disc would suit it? Thanks in advance

    • Which 5 holel hub do you have? Is it the standard VW 5×205 pattern, or the Porsche 5×130 pattern?
      If you have the last one, you could try the 914-6 rear disk brakes. The 6 cylinder model of the 914 used a 5 lug pattern.
      If you have the first one, the VW one, then I don’t know. I believe they do sell drum brakes with Porsche pattern. You could use those to have them machined into hubs.
      In both cases, I don’t know what effect it has on the spacing for the caliper. I don’t know if the offset for the disk will be different then my situation.
      Maybe you could aks Sharpbuilt?

  6. Hi, I love your work on the rear brakes using golf parts, I’ll be doing the same. I’m wondering do I have to use the Australian shark caliper carriers or is there an English crowd selling them, thanks in advance

    • Hi Broz,

      Thank you for the kind words!
      Sorry, I don’t now of any UK compagnies selling these adapters.


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