All things modern.
For those of you that want disk brakes on the rear of your Ford KA MKII you are in luck. Because the KA is based on the Fiat 500, and the Fiat 500 1.4l Sport comes with disk brakes, there will always be the possibility of adding disks to the back of your KA as well.
Why would anyone want disk brakes on the rear? It is not for the stopping power, your KA will stop just fine with the stock drums. Disk brakes allow you to visually inspect the friction linings and when they do wear, they are easy to change. Drums come with inherent problems like not being able to monitor the linings until they are worn or fall off and wedge in the drum. The first time that you will know of a worn brake drum cylinder is when brake fluid pours out of the drum, all over the wheel and then splashed onto the body work.
So why would any manufacturer make a car with drum brakes? They are cheaper and means you need to go back to the dealer whenever they go wrong. Consider that next time you buy a car.
So, here is what you need to convert your KA:
A pair of rear disk hubs from a Fiat 500 1.4 Sport
A pair of handbrake cables for the same Fiat 500 1.4 Sport
Miscellaneous (1L Dot 4 Brake Fluid, good socket set, big jack, jack stands and about 4 hours)
NOTE: This is not a detailed description of what to do. If you don’t understand something, you should not be attempting this modification yourself. This is a brake modification and could kill you if you mess it up.
The actual swap is pretty straightforward. Start by jacking up the car and supporting on jack stands. I chose to jack up the car using a huge jack on the crossbeam, and supported the car using jack stands on the jacking points as shown below. (I realy should have washed the car before starting this project).
You can see in the following picture how the car is supported. Supporting the car securely is vital for this modification as you will be underneath the car and although the Ka is a small car, it will damage you quite convincingly if it falls on top of you. I also leave the jack underneath the car just in case.
Then from inside the car undo the handbrake cables from the handbrake lever and pop them through the floor. Then unclip the cable all the way back to the wheel. Also unplug the ABS sensor lead and unclip.
One of the clips i nparticular is very firm. I needed to bend the metal with a spanner to get the cable to unclip.
Below is the right handbrake cable fully unclipped. There is no need to remove the cable from the hub itself.
Now to remove the hydraulic brake line form the wheel but before doing so, unscrew the cover of the brake fluid reservoir in the engine compartment and cover with plastic wrap. Screw the cap back on; this should minimise brake fluid loss. Now undo the brake line.
Now to remove the old hubs. They are held onto the rear suspension beam by four nuts. Using a good socket set, undo the four nuts securing the hub to the suspension beam. One of the nuts can only be reached using a universal joint or similar so beware.
Once the hub is on you will realise that the hydraulic brake line is too long. There are two solutions for this, either chop the line and re-flare or bend the line into an ‘S’ shape like I did. If you chose the latter be absolutely sure that the brake line does not rub against any suspension component as this will cause failure.
Once the hydraulic line is connected, run the new handbrake cables along the same path as the ones you removed.
Bleed the brakes and your done!
Here we have a picture of the finished car..washed!