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Discussion Starter #1
Can someone in Europe give me a few hints on where to find used junk yard parts? I'd like to source for cheap the rear disk brakes and related parts from a Euro spec Insight. I do travel to Europe occasionally and can have them shipped/picked-up there or shipped directly to the US...
 

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I would not.
Reason: The Insight uses regenerative braking and controls an electronic brake balance system. This is possibly programmed for the disk/drum combination and would not do too good with disk/disk-type arrangements.
Secondly, the Insight is a rather light car and the stress on the brakes is low. You will possibly suffer from surface rust and high wear on the rear disks.
Lastly, you will not achieve big benefits in terms of braking distance. Most of the weight is moved to the front during braking anyway, the rear wheels are just there to keep the front from sliding away under braking.
 

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I would not.
Reason: The Insight uses regenerative braking and controls an electronic brake balance system. This is possibly programmed for the disk/drum combination and would not do too good with disk/disk-type arrangements.
Secondly, the Insight is a rather light car and the stress on the brakes is low. You will possibly suffer from surface rust and high wear on the rear disks.
Lastly, you will not achieve big benefits in terms of braking distance. Most of the weight is moved to the front during braking anyway, the rear wheels are just there to keep the front from sliding away under braking.
I agree with the above poster for the most part... If you're saying it's for a safety issue and you're braking distance has been an issue than you can make a case....

But in reality since it's such a light car most people just think disc brakes look cooler. The upgrade for superficial aesthetic reasons is more likely to just mess with the electric/gas motor regenerative braking balance the the computer has certain assumptions cooked into it.

If you have extra money to spend though on a 0 return upgrade then go ahead. It won't hurt the car either i'd bet.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Drums make noises and vibrate under certain conditions (hard braking loaded at high speeds). I've experienced that in several different cars and makes, from new to well-used. Harder to service too, though they hardly ever need servicing ...

The replacement of drum with disk will not change the front-rear brake distribution if done properly. As long as the original front-rear brake distribution is maintained or close to it, there will be no issues with regen or otherwise as far as I can think of. I did such a swap on a Camry and was very happy with the results: smooth and quiet. There I did not even need to adjust the front to rear brake distribution (had the part ready, turned out I did not need it as everything remained balanced). ABS and stability control were unaffected.

The visual aspect is minor, just a nice bonus.

The rear disks won't rust any more than the front. They will wear slower than the front too.

Cost for my Camry swap was under $300 or so in parts and a few hours of my time to do it.

The only negative on the Camry swap was a slightly weaker emergency brake, because the disk version uses smaller and mkre closely spaced pads than the drum one. I expect the same will be true with the Insight.
 

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I've had cars with both disk and drum brakes in the 30 years that I own and drive cars and my experience with drum to disk conversions for light cars that are driven economically always was a bad one. Worse braking, rusty disks, and sometimes corrosion so bad that the pads would not retract - due to under-usage.
I doubt, that the electronic brake distribution - drive-by-wire braking - of the Insight is comparable to the simple brake balance of the Camry, which is a heavier car, by the way.
If you brake so hard that you have brake shudder from the read disks, then you're in much, much deeper trouble. I did a short test on a gravel pad here and the rear drum brake is not carrying a lot of load. Brake-by-wire rarely engages the rear brakes, only when you really hit the brake hard, it routes a significant load to the rear drums.

Again, your decision. If you like it, do it. Try to add whatever electronics come added to the brake-by-wire you can get. Drum brakes need less hydraulic pressure to work than disks and the EBC will have the proper mapping.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I have not looked at the service manual for the brakes, will need to do that. But, I doubt that the brake distribution is controlled electronically in normal braking when regen might engage (e.g., when no ABS or VSC engages). It is most likely a static hydraulic valve like it was on the Camry, which simpy proportions the pressure from the single master cylinder. Brake by wire is there, yes, but I think it simy replaces the mechanical link to the master cylinder, and doesn't control the rear brakes any differently.

The rear drum brakes on my Insight do engage even with fairly light braking, so there will be no under use issues if converted to disk.

The drum brakes on the Insight behave nicely in most cases, except slowing down more intensively on steep downhills from highway speeds, especially with the car loaded. Even normal highway braking from high speeds might trigger the rear brake fade or whatever is the cause for the "rumble" that develops. Try it, I'd be surprised if you don't experience it.

Anyway, I'm more interested in sourcing a set than discussing theoretically if it might work or not. If someone has info whether the swap is a direct bolt-on (like on the Camry), I'd be interested to hear. All I had to do there was swap in some factory parts from the donor car, no other modifications of any kind were needed. If it's as easy and cheap on the Insight, I might just try it and if it turns out there are any hard to resolve issues, undo it ...

I'll do some digging in the service manual to see if I can learn anything insightful from there ;)
 

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My car has rear discs. Corrosion occurred on the rears, with persistent grooves and a lip from when I first owned the car at 22k miles and 1.5 years old. Related scraping and crunching noises occurred. That was with a factory set up.

I changed the rear discs for new ones at 70k miles. So far they seem to be holding up OK.
 
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