Front Disc Brakes

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General Information

KE1x and 2x discs are 200mm x 10mm. KE3x discs are 218mm x 10mm. Australian KE55/70 discs are 218mm x 12mm. The larger rotor provides more leverage for greater stopping power, the thicker disc provides better heat properties to resist brake fade. The Aus KE55/70 brakes also have a larger pad area.


The early cars had two types of Japanese calipers, PS type (small =O= looking piston body, open disc pad tops with large pad protector) and F type (small round piston body, closed disc pad cover with viewing hole). Aussie KE5x and KE70s had Girlock calipers, which can use brake pads from the rear of a VN Holden Commodore (good if you are hunting for performance pads). Stock part number is DB1086, Commodore part number is DB1088.


All discs are all interchangeable (the Corolla hubs are the same except for wheel stud pattern), or if you change hubs as well, KE1x and 2x have smaller inner wheel bearings than the later cars. If changing from smaller disc to larger disc, you will need caliper mounts from a KE30 or KE55, as KE70 caliper plates have a different stud pattern. On most KE1x/2x cars, you will have to drill a tap the caliper mounting plates to M10x1.25, as the later model plates use larger bolt holes to mount to the strut.

Upgrades for KE1x

Alex Bates has written a nice howto for upgrading to KE30 brakes. If using KE55/70 brakes, use those discs and calipers instead, with KE55 backing plates.


These are the modifications I did to my 1968 KE10. Some of the points below are pretty basic but I thought I’d better include everything. I hope I haven’t missed anything!

Parts Required: 2x KE20 front wheel hubs

(*MUST* be KE10/mazda stud pattern.) About $20 each

2x KE30 disc rotors. Really good ones will cost about $40 each.

2x KE30 disc calipers. About $30 each.

KE30 caliper/brake lines (rubber) Will come with the calipers.

2x KE30 caliper mounts/backing plates. About $10 each.

KE30 brake pads. About $20 a set.

Brake fluid of your choice $7 - $80 depending on what you buy.

KE10 wheel bearings (optional) About $20 or so each. (you want to buy two)

Directions For Fitting:

1. Attach KE30 disc rotors to KE20 wheel hubs. This is by four 12mm or 14mm bolts. Make sure you do them up nice and tight.

2. Disconnect the brake lines to the front drum.

3. Remove the outer part of your front drum brake.

4. Prise off the locknut cover with a flat head screwdriver. This is the big knobby thing right there in the middle.

5. There should be four bolts within the brake assembly holding the assembly to the stub axle. Undo them.

6. Use a pair of pliers to remove the retaining pin from the locknut and undo it.

7. Remove drum assembly from car.

You should now be left with the drum assembly off the car and a front strut with no brakes on it. Now is a good time to replace wheel bearings.

8. Attach the backing plate to the four bolts that previously held the drum to the strut.

9. Get the hub/disc assembly you put together a few minutes ago.

10. Put this new assembly onto the stub axle.

11. Fit the locknut but not tight and don’t bother fitting the retaining pin yet.

12. Attach the caliper (and new pads) to the backing plate and over the disc.

13. Hook up the KE30 brake line onto the bracket on the KE10 strut (this will screw straight in).

14. Do up the locknut so the wheel will rotate freely but without wobbling around. Also put in the retaining pin.

15. Fit the wheel and do the same to the other side of the car.

16. Check all your bolts to make sure you did them up tight!

17. Bleed the brake system.

18. Do a test drive (drive slowly) to make sure everything works alright.

19. Don’t forget to be gentle on the brakes for a few days to let them bed in too.

The whole upgrade will be very cheap if you can buy all the parts at one place.

Upgrades for KE3x, 5x, 7x

There are several popular brake upgrade options for these later model Corollas with Macpherson struts. Among them:

  • Corona XT130/RT132 struts and brakes. These come in 2 flavours - either single pot or twin pot. For some photos, look at Corona front brake upgrade photos on Planet FookStar
  • The much-talked-about Peugeot 604 discs, Hilux/Landcruiser calipers, on XT130/RT132 struts. Effective, but rather heavy. For some photos, look at Pug/Landcruiser brake upgrade on Planet FookStar
  • RX7 calipers and some sort of disc (?)
  • Vented AE86 struts and brakes. This isn't really much of an upgrade as the AE86 brakes aren't overly big, and neither are the calipers, but it does help cooling.
  • Magna discs, Commodore calipers (?)
  • Silvia/200sx struts, brakes. This is apparently a fairly straightforward swap. For some photos, look at Craig's Datsun 1200 on Planet FookStar
  • If using Silvia/200sx struts, then the many many brake upgrade options from there (Skyline etc)

And here's another interesting upgrade by cwhelan on Toymods (many thanks for allowing me to mirror the information here). His main motivation was to upgrade his brakes, but stay with 13" rims. The original thread can be found here. And now I'm lazy, so I'm just going to cut and paste his quotes (with minor modifications to aid reading):

Sorry about the delay lads, not on the net as much with all my study and work load. I will write up on exactly how I have gone so far. It is relatively simple, but does require a bit of stuffing around. Here's the breakdown as I have done it: Nissan pulsar SSS 1.6 vented disks, they are 17mm thick. I had the radius taken down by 1.6mm, and cost me $15 to do it. I got volvo 244 calipers which will work well under 13". I haven't finished the job yet. But from trial fitting with a template bracket made from MDF it all fits. There is a 2mm thick spacer that I have made for the centre of the calipers to open them up a bit more that needs to be fitted otherwise the disk would be too thick be 1mm. I am house-sitting for a month, as soon as I get back home I will take pics for those that would be interested. I have pilled so many caliper brackets and calipers appart and found these seem to be the only cofiguration to fit under the 13" jellybeans. Calliper brackets will have to be milled, but not expensive as I am told by my engineer. These are yet to be made, if it works out cost efective, I will make up a few more sets to sell with the laser cut spacers for the calipers. Don't expect anything too soon as I won't be home for a month.

So far it has cost me next to nothing, it cost me a good few hours though. It is just a matter of looking through the DBA catalogue and looking for a disk that will be an ok size and start from there. not many options on 4 spot calipers though. RX7 and Volvo will be the cheapest option. RX7 is the lighter of the two, but a little bit expensive, and not as easy to find for cheap. So Volvo 244/245 calpiers was the choice. Pulsar rotors are the same stud patern for bolting up to the hubs, and vented also. I had the diameter reduced in size in order to have all this fit under the 13" and still have space for a caliper bracket. I cut the caliper bracket lugs off of the XT130 struts and started designing a bracket out of MDF as a template for the engineer to mill up a couple for me. These have not been done yet, but will have them done soon. It aint easy juggling assignments and work with the car project. Anyways, hope this helps a bit. As I said before, I will try take some pics ASAP. In fact, I will be going home tomorrow night to get some things for an assignment, so I will try remember to take a few pictures then. Only thing is that I don't know how to post them up here. Maybe someone can point me in the right direction...

Sorry its taken awhile to reply to these questions, not easy using the net with the boss breathing down my neck. I had been working on this upgrade for quite some time now. I just went home yesterday to take some pics, There are going to be a few small chnges to what I have already done. I think the mounting flange was around 7.5mm (off the top of my memory). The "deck height" of the rotor is very similar to the xt130 rotor. The centre hole was about 2.5mm smaller than the xt130 centre hole.

I had an engineer true up the rotor and open the centre hole a little to be an H7/s6 fit. I can go into it in much better detail, and take photo's of the veiws you would like. This upgrade will be a very easy one to do if you want to give it a go. Its more time consuming trying to figure it all out than anything else. I am going to be changing the caliper bracket to make life a little easier again. the bracket in the pictures will work, but there is a bit of machining to be done to the face of the bracket plate. If you have worked with xt130 struts, you will know that where the fillets are at the rear of the strut to hub face (where I am showing the plate to be mounted) protrude a fair bit. These fillets cannot be skimmed down to make the bracket fit, as you would weaken the strut.

The Bracket I have just designed kind of looks like 2 10mm plates overlapping one another but shaped to suit the caliper and the mounting holes on the strut. I wanted to do this project with little machining as to affect the integrity of the strut.

The rotor mounts up to the hub exactly the same way as the ke55 and xt130 hub. I have priced these rotors up from new, and was quoted $64ea which isnt too bad at all. Volvo do a recon swap over for only $120, so it is advisable to keep the caliper stock and just tee off the twin lines. Pretty easy and very inexpensive.

And here are some photos:

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