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Uprating/upgraded Brakes

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Ok, Here's another question I have before I remove all my wheels to get them cleaned.

I plan to while they are off upgrade my front and rear brakes.

It is more for peace of mind than anything else, as the current brakes had recently been cleaned, but are still, how can I put it....from 1975.

I like to have lots of braking power in a car so cheished, and have plenty in reserve, just in case the unexpected happens.

Now where would be the best place to get uprated bit and what should I be looking for.


In my opinion/provided they are in good order the standard 1800 braking system and servo are perfectly adequate for normal driving (infact the rears are sometimes too efficient and can lock up under heavy braking).

The main things that upsets the braking efficiency is lack of maintanace,poor suspension and the narrow (165) tyres. If the existing braking system (inc the servo-the pipe often needs replacing) is in good order then I would personally spend money on better compound front pads, checking the springs/bushes and going to 185/70 tyres (which keeps the same rolling circumference as the 165's) and then if you are still unhappy with the brakes look at converting to V8 ones (if you look under my thread 1800-V8 you'll see I've had to upgrade but only because I'm doubling the power output of my 'Jube'-although many choose to stick with the standard brakes with the V8 as they work fine-don't know what the insurance company would say though) or aftermarket alternatives but both are expensive.

Hope this helps but obviously others may well have different views on the matter.

If it ain't broken don't try to fix it as if you do it will definitely break

I second Colin's opinion here.
I had a frightening experience in my first MGB roadster with standard brakes and no servo.
I was travelling along a single track road with high hedges on both sides an had a very near miss with a landrover. Driver said he did not see me, I was doing around 25 - 30 mph'ish and car stopped very smartly with no skidding or sliding.
That sort of experience does give you a degree of confidence in the stopping ability of am MGB.

One question about changing the tyres, I want to keep my original Jubilee wheels, and so whats the widest trye I would be able to get fitted to that Rim?

185 is the safest maximum width. Have a look at this thread as it will give you more of an idea

If it ain't broken don't try to fix it as if you do it will definitely break

One thing you need to also take heed of is the braking ability when compared to the level of adhesion afforded by the tyres. There is no point whatsoever increases the braking capability unless the tyre technology is increased also. Superb brakes will only lock up and cause the tyres to loose adhesion with the road surface if the relationship is to disparate.

Try jumping on the brakes on a dirt or gravel road and that will replicate the effect.


Ok, Racedriver, so bottom line you are saying, sort the tyres out before or with the brakes?

I have recently had completely new front and rear brake pads, disks and drums, so I am definatley looking into wider tyres for the car.

Thanks for all the info, I will look forward to getting my wheels refirbished and have new tyres put on them.

One more question about the brakes guys.

Iv'e noticed that Iv'e been having to double pump the brakes to make them work more effectivley.

Is this normal with these cars?

Hi..No its not...

Is that because the pedal travels too far? If so your rear brakes need adjusting or the hydraulic system needs bleeding or both.

If you haven't done anything with the braking system yet and it hasn't been serviced recently I would suggest that the following be done (by you or a garage dependant on knowledge/equipment)-

Remove pads from front calipers and check the pistons for free movement (being careful not to pop them out of the caliper) and any rusting.

Check pads & discs for wear.

Check all, inc rear,flexi pipes (if standard rubber hose) for cracking/ballooning-if in the slightest doubt replace ideally with the stainless steed braided Goodrich type.

Check the servo pipe (which connects to the inlet manifold) for cracking)

Check the rear cylinders for free movement/leakage and rear shoes for wear/contamination.

Check rear drums for wear.

Check the adjusters and handbrake mechanism for free movement.

Replace any warn items and blake fluid/bleed the system and re-adjust the rear brakes and hand brake.

This should make sure that your braking system is in tip top condition:D.

If it ain't broken don't try to fix it as if you do it will definitely break

May be a good idea if doing major work to change the seals in the master cylinder and personally I'm a fan of silicone brake fluid (DOT5) as nothing ever deterioriates or seizes and I have found no practical difference when in use in a classic road car. Probably best to make the switch if using mainly new or reconditioned components as opinions vary on the possible problems of switching from non-silicone to silicone without changing the rubber components of the braking system. There are a number of useful articles on this kind of thing on the MG Car Club V8 Register website.

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