design - Land Rover section




Converting a Series Land Rover to front wheel disc brakes

An overview


Detailed description of my Torrel Industries
disc brake conversion



Land Rover 109 drum brakes are adequate for stopping in the forward direction.  With two leading shoes they provide a lot more forward braking power than conventional drum brake arrangements with a leading and a trailing shoe.  However this extra stopping ability in the forward direction comes at the cost of stopping ability in the rearwards direction.  This can become a real safety problem when a 109 Land Rover comes to a halt nose up on a steep slope.  It is very difficult to hold a 109 Land Rover stationary in such a situation or to halt the Land Rover's movement backing down a steep slope. 

Drum brakes do not function well right after a water crossing when the shoes are wet.  My reasons for switching from front drum brakes to front disc brakes are to achieve good braking in both directions and to have good braking  right after water crossings.  Note that vehicle manufacturers use more powerful power brake boosters for disc brakes than Land Rover used for the Series.  You should not expect increased braking with the same pedal pressure when converting from drum to disk using the same master cylinder and vacuum booster.  If you are just looking for increased braking for the same pedal pressure look first at more powerful brake power boosters.


Series Land Rover front disc brake conversion kits

There are 5 disc brake conversion kits for Series Land Rovers that I am aware of. 

In alphabetical  order:

Bearmarch kit:

   These are out of production but you may occasionally find someone selling an old set on ebay or a boot sale.  The Bearmarch disc brake kit was an imitation of the early Santana Girling system and was made in Iran.  The quality of the imitation Girling Santana brakes is reported to be low.


Heystee Automotive Components conversion kit - Formally T.I. Console.

Pre-2010 disc brake conversion kits are based upon the disc brakes that come on the Spanish built Santana PS10 (Iveco Massif).  The PS10 is basically a Land Rover clone so is in the same weight range as a Series LR.  The brake calipers are made by Girling.  The front disc brakes are a 2 piston vented system.  The rear system has the same wheel hubs but slightly thinner discs (non ventilated) and smaller calipers. This is also a straight fit without modifications just like the front ventilated system.

A custom back plate is bolted onto the swivel housing in place of the drum brake back plate and the PS10 Girling brakes bolt to the plate.  There are no grinding or modifications of existing components required. Wheel spacers are required to fit the Series wheel though

As the Santana (Massif) is not available in North America, North American's would need to source replacement parts directly from Heystee Automotive Components or an IVECO dealer.  Santana has been taken over by IVECO and the Santana PS10 has been renamed the " IVECO Massif".  Americans can usually have pads & rotors shipped by air to them from Europe in less than a week.  Alternatively, if quick repairs are important, one can keep a backup set of pads and rotors on the shelf.  IVECO has ceased production of the disc brake components used in this conversion so this kit is NLA. The Bendix calipers are the same as is used on a Mercedes 100 van. Replacement calipers and brake pads can be sourced from a retailer that carries brake parts for a Mercedes 100 van. Assembly instructions for the early brake conversion kit (Courtesy of Andy Agar )

Heyatee power brake conversionSeries Land Rover power brakes


2010 and newer Heystee disc brake conversions have a new custom swivel housing and hub which allows the use of off the shelf Land Rover Defender disc brake components without an adapter plate. When IVECO ceased production of the disc brakes for the Santana (Massif) Heystee Automotive set about developing a custom conversion that would make use of easily obtained Defender brake components.  Fortunately this kit allows North Americans to source consumable brake components locally.

Heystee power brake conversion

"All parts mount onto the Series Land Rover axle without any modification or adapters. All threads, seals and gaskets are identical to the original Land Rover units. The original wheels fit without any spacer or modification. With this system all maintenance parts are Land Rover, no need to source brake pads, caliper parts of odd-ball vehicles or modify "alien" rotor discs. Just contact your local Land Rover parts dealer when you need replacement." Quote from Heystee Automotive Components web site.


Heystee Automotive disc brake castings
Castings for the Heystee Automotive front disc brake conversion.
In the Heystee disc brake conversion kit you get the castings shown above, 2 ventilated Defender rotors, 2 Defender Calipers plus all the bolts and washers required to mount the rotors and calipers.



Timm Cooper conversion kit by ROAM OFFROAD:

  This conversion kit is out of production. I include it here because you may encounter a used or uninstalled conversion kit. This kit was developed by Timm Cooper and put into production for a few years in the 1990's. They once again went into production around 2012 for a year or two. When the kits were available they were offered both directly and through Rovers North.

Here is what the 4 wheel disc brake conversion consisted of:

Series Land Rover 4 wheel disc brake conversion


Below is a swivel housing assembled on a truck ready for the hubs to be mounted.

Timm Coopers disc brake conversion      Series Land Rover Disc brake conversion



A quick way to tell Timm Cooper's and Heystee Automotive Component's Defender based disc brake kits apart from a quick glance.

Timm Cooper designed his conversion kit using a single swivel housing casting for both sides of the vehicle.  The casting is machined differently depending upon which side it is intended to be used for.  So a quick glance at the housing will show two sets of caliper mounting ears.  One machined at the back and one not.  The Heystee Automotive Components conversion uses two different  swivel housing castings each designed for a single side. So there is only a single caliper mounting bracket  on each housing vs, two per housing.

Land Rover rear caliper brackets

Torrel Industries conversion kit:

Sold as a complete kit through Rocky Mountain Expedition Equipment Ltd.   Call 604 913 7910 and ask for Jaremy for current information. 

This 11 inch vented brake kit was engineered by Mel Brown and uses common (North America) AC Delco dual piston calipers, pads and rubber hoses.  This is a 2 piston system that works with Series master cylinders  They suggest that the Series III dual circuit power brake system be used.  The back plate that mounts to the swivel housing and the hub are custom parts.  The rotor is a GM rotor that has the centre machined to a larger diameter.  Other than those 3 parts, everything else is standard off the shelf GM brake parts or Land Rover hub parts.  These components were used on high performance models of the Chevy Lumina, Monte Carlo, Pontiac Grand Prix, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and Buick Regal.  They recommend telling your part dealer that you need parts for a 2001 Chevy Lumina. 

A step by step description of a my front disc brake conversion using the Torrel Industries conversion kit

Series Land Rover disc brake conversion


Zeus conversion kit:

Zeus changed hands in 2012.  The new owners revamped the product line and are now back with disc brake conversions for Series Land Rovers.  Zeus remains a British company and now offers both front and rear disc brake conversions for Series I, Series II/III and the 101.  The disc brake conversions are bolt on and does not require any modifications to your swivel housing other than pressing in new wheel studs.  The caliper mount replaces the drum brake back plate.  This conversion requires that you use 16 inch wheels to allow clearance for the calipers.

Zeus web site

Zeus disc brake conversion kit



The brake system

I strongly recommend making sure that your brake system is in top condition when installing a disc brake conversion.  Land Rover recommends replacing all rubber in a Series Land Rover brake system every 2 years.   If you have not done it, this is the time to flush the brake tubes, replace all the rubber hoses and the rear cylinder rubber.  If you have been contemplating  switching from DOT4 brake fluid to DOT5 silicon brake fluid the time to do it is when you flush the steel tubes and replace all the rubber. This is also when you want to inspect the steel brake lines for rust spots and replace if found.   All the manufactures of Series Land Rover disc brake conversion kits suggest that you convert to a power brake system.  I have a web page describing common conversions from Series Land Rover single circuit brake system to dual circuit power brakes.



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