Cipher gets disc brake upgrade

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DJC777
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Cipher gets disc brake upgrade

Post by DJC777 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:53 pm

Ever since I’ve had the Cipher I’ve been unimpressed with the front drum brakes. While they worked OK they never really gave you the confidence they would stop you quickly in an emergency. They had also developed a strange habit of pulling to one side and then during a journey could either cure themselves completely or switch to pulling to the other side, not a great driving experience. In spite of stripping down both sides I couldn’t find an obvious reason for this behavior. So for the next MOT some serious work on them was needed it was just a question of what to do, fix the drum problem or convert to disc’s.

After a chat with Joe Mason at Reliant Spares, I decided to go for his disc brake conversion kit which he assured me was fine with 13” wheels but hadn’t been tried with the Cipher’s 12” wheels and would probably be a very close fit, if indeed they fitted at all. So I went ahead knowing full well this may cause more problems than it fixed.

The kit comprises a pair of discs, calipers, brake pipes, custom spacers and mounting brackets and a couple of 10mm wheel spacers. I should have taken a picture at this point but I forgot.

The old drums, back plate, steering arm and hub are all removed and after a quick clean up of the stub assembly the first part of the kit, a spacer can be fitted.

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And then the caliper mounting bracket can be fitted.

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Next the hub needs to be fitted to the disc. Not so fast now, the Reliant hub is slightly rectangular in shape and requires the corners grinding off slightly to fit the inside of the disc. The disc is held in place ultimately by the wheel nuts so I used sockets as spacers and then bolted the disc on so I could check the disc run out. So far, so good.

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Lastly the caliper carrier and caliper is fitted.

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So let’s cut to the chase.

No it doesn’t work with 12” Cipher alloy wheels. In spite of grinding a caliper and carrier as much as I dared and certainly more than I would have liked. So new 13” wheels became an additional requirement. After a bit of research I worked out that MG Midget or Austin Healey Sprite wheels have the right PCD (101.6), are 13” and the offset is only 3mm different to the Cipher. The Cipher wheel is ET+17 and the Midget wheels are ET+20. If I did this again it would be worth looking on eBay in advance for some suitable wheels. I have now fitted imitation 13” x 5 minilites in silver which I think look OK on the Cipher.

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The wheels required the supplied 10mm spacers to clear the caliper. This also meant that I had to replace the original wheel studs with 50mm wheel studs to allow for the spacers.
When it came to working out what tyres to fit I got things slightly wrong. I went for 175/70 tyres which should allow a better range of tyres and I thought would fit and clear all the bodywork and suspension yet keep the rolling diameter similar to the original wheels. However they fouled the lower wishbone at the front on full lock. To get around this I have added a packing spacer in the rack on both sides. I used Nylon 6 tube which I cut in to 10mm thick washers and then removed a quarter segment as per the pic to allow it to be clipped on to the rack.

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I then fitted this on to the rack just behind the inner steering ball joint, one either side. I’d like to say I’d thought of this mod myself but the idea came from Ford many years ago when they sold a similar solution as part of a wide wheel kit. This may also help improve the life of the steering rack gaiters as they aren’t so stretched now on the reduced full lock.

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Would I do this again. A disk brake conversion yes definitely, this particular one possibly, especially as the new wheels I'm beginning to rather like. I’ve had to buy a pair of 13” wheels and tyres that has added another £200 to the overall costs. If it all works out OK I’ll also put a pair on the back as well, assuming they fit, I haven’t tried them yet! On the plus side the brakes now have a much better feel to them and stop very well and do so consistently, something the old drums brakes never managed. During last weeks MOT the tester locked up the wheels and he seemed impressed with the figures it produced, I just wish I'd made a note of them.

I really wanted to keep the original 12” Cipher wheels so may yet finish up engineering my own solution using a smaller disc and caliper, which is the bit I wanted to avoid in the first place.


Dave

1984 Stevens Cipher
1970 SE5 under full restoration
1971 SE5A in storage

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thomast
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Re: Cipher gets disc brake upgrade

Post by thomast » Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:33 am

Nice project! I never experienced the drums to be troublesome. In fact the front often locks to fast and that might even be worse with disks?

Thomas


2x Scimitar GTE, White/black Reliant build Cipher prototype, Reliant Fox pick-up, Bond Bug, Trojan 200 and VW T3...

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