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How-To Section: Install aVolvo 4-pots on a Capri or Escort Mk1 & MK2


Mk2 Escort strut with Volvo 4 pot caliper and Capri 2.8i disk

This is a small “step-by-step” description on how I would do this again. This is just based on the way I did it, you might want to use different methods for brake bleeding etc. Any fiddling with the brakes seriously affect the safety of the car, so be sure you know what you are doing.

Stuff needed;

         One pair of Volvo 140, 160, 140 or 260 front brake callipers. Be sure they match (vented/solid) the discs you will use. 140 and early 240’s have solid front discs. I used ATE callipers, some Volvos had Girling callipers, I suspect these would work just as well.

         A set of brake pads for the above

         Two pieces of brake line “T”-couplings

         Four pieces of brake line (approximately 15 cm each), with “male” fittings each end, to suit the T-coupling and the Volvo calliper

         A set of vented discs to fit the Capri (lucky 2.8i owners already have these), this is optional but recommended

         A couple (4 at least) of  M12 washers

         Normal hand tools (a vice is great to have)

Get to work

1.        Loosen the front wheel nuts, and jack up the front of the car and support on axle stands

2.        Remove the road wheels

3.        Place a bit of plastic sheet film (like the one used in the kitchen to preserve food…) over the brake fluid reservoir opening (remove the cap first…). This will reduce the amount of brake fluid that runs over you hands later…

4.        Loosen the brake pipe fitting in the Capri calliper, and either remove the entire brake pipe, or bend it out of the way. If this pipe is in good nick, it can be reused, so be careful.

5.        Remove the brake calliper

6.        If you need to change your discs as well, do that now. This would also be a good time to replace the front wheel bearings.

7.        Compare the old Capri calliper to the Volvo 4-pot. You will notice that the mounting holes are spaced a bit different.

8.        File the mounting holes in the Volvo calliper to an oval shape, to match the mounting lugs on the strut. Take care to file both holes approximately the same amount. Note that the callipers mounting lugs already are shaped to accommodate the oval hole.

9.        Trial fit the calliper on the strut, with the brake pads fitted. Check that the disc is “centred” between the pads. If not, pray that the difference is “the right way”, so you can use washers between the calliper and the mounting lugs to achieve this.

10.     When you’re satisfied with the centring, tighten the mounting bolts.

11.     Trial fit the road wheels you will be using, and check for clearance. If they are 14” or bigger, there should be no problem. On my car the 13” “Ghia” alloys just clear the calliper. My 7x13 Revolution 4-spoke splits also work.

12.     Now it’s time to fit the brake lines. As you can see, the Volvo calliper has two inlets. This is where the “T”-coupling comes in handy. Either mount the T directly on the Capri flexible brake hose, or to the end of the old brake pipe on the strut. Then carefully bend the 15cm pieces of pipe to fit the calliper inlets. You might want to add a brace to the T-coupling to mount it steady. Vibration is not good for brake pipes.

13.     Check all connections and bolts for adequate tightness.

14.     Top up the brake fluid reservoir

15.     Bleed the front brakes. There are three bleed nipples on the callipers, take the two on the side first and last the “top” one.

16.     Check the brake pedal – it should not feel spongy or “bottom out” against the floor. If it does, bleed the brakes again. If this doesn’t seem to cure the problem, you will have to fit another master cylinder. See below

17.     Remount the wheels and put the car on the ground

18.     Test drive carefully!

A new master cylinder?

Sometimes the standard Capri/Escort master cylinder can’t cope with the new callipers. There are several options here. A Land Rover item (LR series III Standard double circuit master cylinder Lucas Part No. FMK177 (or equivalent)) should work, or do as I did, use a Volvo 240/260 master cylinder. This will need some altering of both the master cylinder (new holes drilled) and the linkage (the pushrod to the pedal needs to be extended by about 20-30mm). You may also need to incorporate a brake proportioning valve to prevent rear wheel lockup.

A change in master cylinder may also mean you have to alter some of the brake pipes. Caprisport (UK) have a set for a Sierra XR4i master cylinder and booster, this may be an easier way to overcome the problem.

This text was written by Gustaf Ulander, May 1999 (edited in June 2000).





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