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Rear Disc Brakes for Ford KA

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).

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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.

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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.

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One of the clips i nparticular is very firm. I needed to bend the metal with a spanner to get the cable to unclip.

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Below is the right handbrake cable fully unclipped. There is no need to remove the cable from the hub itself.

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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.

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Remove the drum hubs and mount the disk brake hubs using the reverse of the procedure above.

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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!

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Here we have a picture of the finished car..washed!

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11 comments on “Rear Disc Brakes for Ford KA

  1. Daniel
    19 March, 2013

    Congratulations on jacking up your car in a completely wrong way. The rear beam is NOT a jacking point!!!!!

    • Kelvin VynZ Vine
      19 March, 2013

      I had a hard time deciding how to go about this. In fact deciding this took longer than the job itself. In the end I evaluated the risk and decided on this approach. How would you suggest I do it in the future given the limitations?

  2. Adrian
    4 September, 2013

    Hi 🙂

    Where did you soucce the components? Did you buy them new? Or used?

    I’m looking into getting a new ka, but I want rear discs, I can do the work, no problem,but it has proowen dificult to find parts…

    • Kelvin VynZ Vine
      4 September, 2013

      I got the hubs used on eBay but yes they are very hard to find.The handbrake cables were bought easily new from a local parts shop.

      • Adrian
        4 September, 2013

        Thank you 🙂 I wil keep searching then 🙂 stil have not desided, is yours a 1.2? How would ou say it drives if it is? i had a 2009 1.3 diesel, and apart from the heater not working in the winter, it was briliant 🙂 I do however need to sel my curent car first, but I’we fallen way to atatched to it 🙂 lol 🙂

      • Kelvin VynZ Vine
        4 September, 2013

        Hi. Mine was a 1.3 diesel. It was very problematic and so I traded it in for a Honda. I found that it was a very poorly made car and had problems from the day I took it home from the store. I am glad to be rid of it to be honest and don’t recommend that you buy one.

      • Adrian
        4 September, 2013

        What year was yours? I know they had some issues in the begining, mine had a turbo fail. 🙂 we have sold a fev of them, and as far as I can tel, the newer once has been quite good actualy 🙂

        Te reason I’m considering it is basicaly because it’s cheep. I want a new car, and I work for a volvo and ford dealer, and since volvo don’t make smal cheep cars yet, this is what I’m left whit 🙂

        I have about 2 miles to drive to work, and back again, and we already have a new V40 as our primary car, so I only realy need a something like the ka. That, and the fact that we have 5 years factory warenty over here,

        Drive a ford Racing Puma replica today, but it’s getting old, and I’m getting tierd of fiksing my car after I’m done fixing others 🙂

        But i wil take your advice into considderation 🙂 to experience of others is alvays a good starting point in any new car purchase 🙂

        Thanx again 🙂

  3. Kelvin VynZ Vine
    7 September, 2013

    Mine was a 2010 model. When I traded it in in 2012…there was actually rust developing on the underbody. That was the last straw for me as I realised that this car wasn’t going to last very long. I know that this has nothing to do with the car but the dealer also did a half a job at the first service.

    But I am sure that every one will have different experiences! I bought a 2006 Honda and it’s great for me 🙂

    Good luck with you brake conversion.

  4. Carlos Alberto Alcalá Castillo
    20 September, 2016

    does it work on an mkI?

    • Kelvin VynZ Vine
      3 October, 2016

      Noooo. I don’t think it would 😦

    • adrian
      3 October, 2016

      No, it wil not. You will need the rear brakes from a ford focus to fit rear discs on the mk1 ka

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This entry was posted on 5 June, 2012 by in Automotive, Technology.
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