Part 7 The Brakes

For those of you who have been following my articles on the V8 conversion, it has probably been obvious that I have not, so far, written an article on brakes. The reason for this is that I am more than a little concerned regarding the safety aspect of brakes in general. I think we are all well aware that the efficiency of our brakes is all that stands between us and the possibility of a serious accident - hence the reason for uprating the system when changing/uprating the power of the engine. Many years ago I experienced a total brake failure on a car that I was driving. With some very quick down shifting through the gearbox, a relatively clear road and a large slice of luck I managed to stop without hitting anything. However, I would not like to repeat the exercise on today's busy roads. The reason I point this out is that often braking systems are rebuilt/modified by inexperienced people who could re-assemble the system incorrectly with the resulting dire consequences.

On this basis, it is my intention to only make suggestions as to what modifications can be carried out on the TR7/8. If you are not experienced in rebuilding braking systems, don't risk your life - enlist the help of a qualified mechanic or a reputable garage.

As the car, is at least 25 years old, now would be an ideal opportunity to check out the complete braking system. REMEMBER, THE ENTIRE SYSTEM IS METRIC - don't be persuaded differently.

1) Check the steel brake pipes running to the front and back of the car - if there is any sign of rust, replace them with new piping - preferably with the modern Korfund copper type. Special in-line connectors are available to make life easier, particularly when running new piping from the back axle.
2) Replace the three flexible pipes - two under the front wings and one to the back axle. They probably look in good condition but they may be breaking down inside, remember the system is being uprated!
3) When bleeding the system, always use new brake fluid to the latest specifications - I make no distinction between Lockheed fluid and its silicone equivalent, but remember that they must NOT be mixed.
4) Ensure that all components are clean and free from contaminating liquids and dirt.

Rear Brakes This is probably the simplest modification but is often missed. Assuming that a 5-speed axle is fitted to the car, change the wheel cylinders from the existing one (P/No. GWC1212) to those used on the 4-speed axles (P/No. GWC1213). These have a smaller bore and complement the uprating of the brakes at the front of the can. They were fitted to all genuine TR8s and can be obtained from Unipart, Rimmers, S&S and most Triumph dealers. A small modification is needed to the backplate as the locating dowel at the back of the 4-speed wheel cylinder is in a diametrically opposite position to its 5- speed counterpart (a positive way of establishing that you have received the correct part!). Fit the wheel cylinder through the main hole in the back plate, mark the position of the dowel and carefully drill the correctly sized hole. Remember to fit a new retaining spring clip (P/No. 17H7949) at the back of the wheel cylinder when re-assembling. To complete the rear brake modifications, fit new 5-speed brake shoes (was P/No. GBS796 now GBS813) as a complete axle set. When fitting the new brake shoes, particular attention should be paid to cleaning and greasing (with copper ease) of the hand brake mechanism - a little extra time spent now will save a great deal of time when the MoT is due.

As an alternative, I understand S&S are now marketing a back axle fitted with a disc brake conversion. This will obviously give greater stopping power but I have no details of its effectiveness or cost.