West Coast British -
Blvd., Livermore, CA. 94551. Phone 925-606-8301/Fax 925-606-8302
August 3, 2005
Rovers North Disc Brake Kit
Land Rover Series II/IIA/III
RN Front Disc Brake
recently for a customer, and would fit to a 1963 88” Land Rover. We were not
very pleased with the “kit” upon its arrival, finding that it really wasn’t a
“kit”, meaning; not everything to do a first class conversion was included.
And… we ran into a number of snags.
First off, the following items are
included with said “kit”:
Swivel Ball x2, Swivel Bearing x2, Railko Bush x2, Railko Washer x2, Swivel
Shim Kit, Upper Swivel Pin x2, Axle Shaft Roller Bearing x2 (inside swivel
ball), Front Stub Axle x2., and oil seal retainer. Now, knowing most of
these cars are old and tired, all the above named parts must be replaced to
make this an acceptable “conversion”.
Or should we say,
Lack of? There are no instructions supplied (yes, we called and asked).
For reasons unknown to us the upper
and lower swivel bolts (8 ea) are METRIC (12mm x 1.25tp), when the originals
were 7/16”BSF in most cases. Most would think this is not a problem… but it is. The 12mm
bolts fit too tight in the steering arm and swivel pin, thus all holes must
be bored to 31/64”
do not own a drill press, which is needed).
If you do not clearance the holes, you will find it difficult to fit related
parts, and could damage the treads on the bolts. Also, to be correct, the
bolts should have a shoulder on them and they do not.
All threaded holes in
the new castings need to be cleaned and chased with the correct size taps or
thread chasers. The upper & lower swivel holes, along with the Brake Caliper
holes are all 12mm x 1.25tp, whereas the Stub Axle are 3/8” UNF, and the
swivel seal retainer bolts are 1/4" UNF. The bolts supplied for the swivel
seal retainer are too long, replace with 5/8” long and use flat washer along
with lock washers supplied.
Drain all oil, and disconnect front brake hoses.
Once you’ve removed both of the old swivels, make sure you keep the steering
arms, as you’ll have to re-use them. After cleaning, make sure to re-size
the holes (above). Inspect swivel pin, replace if needed (meaning,
rusted). Fit new o-ring to pin, and then set aside.
Remove oil seal from axle casing, fit new #217400 oil seal. Clean axle
casing joint surface 100%.
Fit new bearing race to lower swivel ball, and Railko bush to upper hole.
Fit ball to axle case with 2 bolts and nuts (use new 3/8 UNF with nylocks
for final assembly). Fit axle shaft roller bearing to back of swivel ball,
Now with casing in the correct position (brake caliper to rear), slide the
taper bearing into its race and slide swivel housing over bearing & railko…
slide the upper pin into its hole to temporary hold everything in place.
Using black Hi-Temp silicone lightly smear lower face of swivel and o-ring
on steering arm, Loctite (red) the 4-bolts (12mm) and fit arm. Torque bolts to
Remove upper pin, drop fiber washer into Railko. Using new shims (this is
trial and error to get it right), shim the upper swivel pin and insert fully
(do not force!), fit 2 bolts (no Loctite) and do up by hand… if swivel locks
up, add more shims. Once you can tighten bolts to the 50-ft lbs of torque,
check bearing pre-load (drag) with a poundage gauge (8 to 10 lbs). Adjust
with shims to increase or decrease drag. Once this is completed, you can now
Loctite (blue) the upper 4 bolts and fit, torque to 50-ft lbs. Repeat on
Now remove bolts holding swivel ball to axle casing… mask/cover ball before
painting new swivel housing.
The standard II/IIA/III Swivel seal does fit, but the
retainer ring does NOT. Sadly the holes machined into the new housing do not
line up 100%, so some filing is in order to fit it. Also, trimming will be
needed to allow the brake caliper bolts (2) and wrench fit. Once
adjustments, fit 1/4" x 5/8” with lock & flat washers… make sure to use
anti-seize on threads. When doing up bolts (6) you’ll see that the retainer
will distort, this is because the seals sits too high when compared to the
First off, the hubs will need cleaning, use Super-Clean and
Gunk, then hose off. Dry with air. We ran into trouble with the new hubs,
the supplied (Genuine) wheel bearings – the outer bearing race for the small
bearing did not fit the hub without some detailing work, meaning; Removing
burs and making a starting edge to allow the race to be pressed into the
hub. The backside of the hub needs beveling too, as the hub seals does not
fit correctly (under machined). We highly suggest a different oil seal than
the one supplied. (Note: We made one mistake by using a new Stub Axle from
ABP – since no one else had one in stock! – and found that the outside
diameter was larger than genuine, which resulted in the bearings not
fitting… not even the nuts & lock-tabs fitted over the threads! So don’t do
that). Now fit the outer drive flanges (or locking hubs), using the 3/8” UNF
bolts supplied, but fit lock washers, and use anti-seize on threads.
Now that we have fitted the hubs and brake discs, making sure to Loctite
(blue) disc bolts… we now tried fitted the calipers, and guess what? They
don’t fit either! Knowing what we know, the both calipers need to be
machined to clear the swivel housing – due to poor castings (this really
isn’t a kit for the average garage mechanic). Remember, these are Left &
To do this job right, you need to up-date the brake system to that of a US
–Spec Series III, which means; Dual Master Cylinder and booster, the pedal
tower for same (which is no longer available from LRUK). Don’t forget you’ll
need to fit a later Clutch Master cylinder too. The dual master will require
fitting new brake pipes… the larger of the two holes in the master goes to
the front wheels, whereas the smaller goes to the rear wheels. But when
searching for the pedal tower, make sure you get the following items (which
RN never sent us!); 90/564812 Pin (to connect booster to pedal), 569291 x2
return spring, and 338027 x2 plastic plug to seal side of tower, and don’t
forget the gasket 90/564832 x2.
Completing Conversion: Up-grading the front brakes is a positive, but
let's not forget the rear brakes... as they will at least need to be
inspected, and possibly overhauled. We suggest that wheel cylinders and
shoes be replaced with new ones (don't cheat and try to overhaul the
cylinders... the money saved isn't worth the grief of a leaking cylinder
when it's time to bleed the brakes.
Bleeding: Use ONLY Castrol Brake fluid (or Dot 4 or 5 Synthetic
racing brake fluid)... once system is full check for leaks, then proceed
with bleeding as per manual... again, check for leaks.