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Porsche 944 NA brakes on Type1

This page describes what it takes to fit Porsche 944 NA (Normally Aspirated, non-turbo) ventilated disc-brakes on a 1972 VW 1303 S. I mean, the way that I did it!

For your car to be safe it must have a properly functioning braking system. You should be certain that the brakes are working perfectly before you upgrade the engine in your car. Stock beetle brakes, when properly maintained, work well in most cases. However the stock drum systems often pull to one side and overheat if more than one panic stop from high speed is performed.

In order for your beetle to become a performance car, you have to upgrade the brakes. There are many options. Type III rear brakes and Ghia front discs are an easy bolt-on solution. For high horsepower, high speed applications and high performance driving more braking power is needed. This is where Porsche brakes come in.

After researching the Porsche brake systems and the aftermarket possibilities quite a bit I decided that Porsche 944 NA brakes were what my beetle needed. It is possible to mount 911 rotors on a beetle but for me the 944 setup is more than adequate.  MBT (Germany) sells kits to mount 944, 968, 993 and 996 braking equipment. However I decided to go the other way and do it myself. "There's no business like DIY business". So I bought a complete 944 NA system on a swapmeet in Hannover (Germany) and the needed new parts, like bearings, brake hoses, rubbers, etc.

Porsche 944 NA brake system specifications:
280mm diameter vented rotors, 22 mm thick.
Large single piston calipers on non-turbo cars. (944 Turbo models have 4 piston Brembos).
Larger (aluminum) master cylinder should be used to get the best performance.
Killer rear parking brake setup with cable actuated drum setup (same as 911 Turbo).



Exploded views of front and rear 944 brakes.

Aluminum 944 master cylinder.

  944 rear brakes installed on a beetle.

On the front I fitted the 944 brakes and spindles to small (80 mm) and adjustable McPherson struts on the front (new type; 1303 from 1974 and later or VW Golf/Rabbit), because I wanted the wheels to fit under the original fenders. On the rear the brakes were fitted to the standard IRS rear suspension, but with dual spring plates.

As a bonus I got the proper 5x130mm bolt pattern to mount Porsche wheels. You should know that the installation of 944 brakes increases the track width of your beetle around 10mm over stock at the front and 22mm over stock at the rear. Dependent what year; 1303's from modelyear 1974 (> 08-1973) and later are around 8 mm wider on the front than pre 1974 cars. Also the track width depends on what year the rear 944 brakes are: steel or aluminum rear suspension). This must be reckoned with when determining wheel choices and fender clearances (see Wheel choice).

To get the most out of the 944-brakes I used the original Porsche master cylinder. It replaces the stock beetle part and it fits like it was meant to be used in a beetle. However, you have to drill two new holes in the chassis because of the different bolt pattern. To achieve a proper installation of the rear parking brake I ordered a kit from MBT. With this kit I was able to use the standard beetle parking brake cables.

As you may have noticed I was able to use all the original 944 suspension parts, except for the front struts and the rear parking brake cables. This helped to keep the cost of the system at a reasonable level...because I bought it for the right price in the first place. With the whole set-up installed I ended up with a pretty neat braking system, which not only has great braking capabilities, but which also looks good. The end-result looked like this: