Brake Repairs to a 1972 VW Beetle Superbug

When restoring a VW Beetle, everyone loves to talk about improving power and performance. Unfortunately that isn't much good if you can't stop. Making sure your brakes are in top order is one of the most important things you can do for your Volkswagen.

We recently had a 72 Superbug in the shop that the customer brought in for a tune because it was lacking power. After taking it for a drive we quickly identified which had nothing to do with the performance of the motor. The problem came down to seized brakes. 

Checking the front wheels we found the calipers were seized and the brakes were dragging. You can see clearly that the rubber boots for the caliper piston are missing and the piston has started to rust which caused them to seize up.

We also found a similar issue on the rears and were unable to adjust them back since the adjusters were seized. I'd like to be able to say this sort of stuff is rare but truth be told, seized brakes is very common on an old VW. The reason is, if you don't use your VW a lot, all the parts tend to seize up. Cars like to be driven as it keeps all the moving parts moving and lubricated.

So, what was the solution? Well, sometimes it can be simply just replacing calipers or freeing up seized adjusters, but in this case it was practically a full overhaul as the more we started to do, the more issues we found. For starters, when attempted to remove the rear drums we noticed they had previously been overtightened and this had damaged the drum and the driveshafts. Not only was it impossible to remove the hub nut, we even had difficulty getting the new drums to fit.

Have a good look at the image above, you can clearly see the drum had been fractured. This is obviously a serious safety issue and highlights the importance of having your VW checked out properly by an experienced VW repairer. This had been missed for years on the yearly roadworthy check.

The issues we faced on this job emphasise the importance of properly maintaining your VW and driving it regularly. What should have been a simple service or even a simple brake repair job, turned into a two day saga due to seized and damaged parts. 

If you have any questions about brakes or anything to do with the maintenance and repair of your classic VW, please get in touch.


BeetleBrake caliperBrake drumsBrakesMechanical problemsMechanical repairsMechanical workSuperbugType 1Vw