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To disk brake or not to disk brake that is the question

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Old May 1st, 2012, 11:18 AM
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To disk brake or not to disk brake that is the question

I have been tossing the idea of disk front brakes for my 67 olds delmont for a few years now and cannot make up my mind.I had priced a kit from ssbc and each year it goes up in price.But it is a nice kit just not sure I want to spend the bucks.Then I came accross scarebird that sells kits with blueprints.For anyone not sure what I mean they sell brackets and hubs with either all the parts or a listing of what you need.That can range from ford rotors and corvette calipers or any range inbetween.The idea they state is to be able to go to the parts store to buy over the counter repacement parts that would other wise be hard or impossible to find.Now the all wheel drums work but getting them fine tuned takes time.I have one that always wants to grab faster than the other when I stop.I can deal with the drums for now.But this is more when the front brakes wear out if I want to just replace the shoes or upgrade to disk.So with that comments,ideas and suggestions welcome.



added unrelated for giggles I now have 425 post let the 425 v8's roar lol

Last edited by delmontcrusier; May 1st, 2012 at 11:20 AM. Reason: for laughs
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Old May 1st, 2012, 05:42 PM
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I also drove cars for years with front drum brakes. No problems. It's just like anything, you just learned how to drive them and thats the way it was. I did convert my Cutlass to disc's. It was a good move. No fading, pulling when wet, and adjusting (fine tuning) them. The drums do actually have less drag though. JMO
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Old May 1st, 2012, 06:02 PM
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Drums Work For Me

Power Drum Brakes work for me. I'm happy with my (new to me) power brakes. I took the booster from my parts car, had Cardone refurbish it, then I installed it in my 67 Delta 88 Custom.
I had to replace the brake pedal arm as well because the hole for the push-rod is in a different position.
I have looked at Scarebired as well but these brakes seem to work fine for now.

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Old May 1st, 2012, 09:09 PM
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My main thought is it will be easier to get parts if I upgrade.But with the amount of old cars on the road brake shoes should be available for a long time.I am used to disks on the front seeing most my vehicles have them.But then I have gotten used to the drums on my 67.One problem I have is one of the drums might need to be replaced due to some damage nothing that will cause a problem with stopping but it is still somthing to consider.I had to put different wheel studs in two of the holes on one drum hub and with the way it is now I could not put a standard 5 on 5 wheel on the hub.I have the unilug cragar and it works but will still have to be taken care of at some point.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 09:31 PM
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Drum brakes work adequately if in good condition and properly adjusted.

But disc brakes work better and don't need adjustment. Plain and simple, they stop faster, straighter and can do it repeatedly if need be.
Yep, converting to discs can be pretty expensive. I look at it as an investment in safety, so I did disc brake conversions on both my Delmont and 442. Money well spent, IMO.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 11:55 PM
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Drum brakes work OK, but you need to realize that the cars and trucks on the road today all have disc brakes, and alot of them have 4wheel disc brakes. They can stop a lot quicker in a shorter distance than a drum brake car can. Most of them also have antilock brakes. We have to remember to not tailgate these cars with much better brakes than we have or we will be eating their rear bumper. When all the cars on the road had drum brakes, it wasn't as much of a problem as none of the cars stopped very well. I remember when I came off of the Interstate at 80 mph and had to slow down in my 67 442, I would have to pump the brakes and then let them cool off and pump them again to slow down for the exit. Drums are OK, but disc are better!!!!
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 03:59 AM
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In process of having both front/rear conversion kits installed on the Silver Bullet. Looks great, and am sure will provide quicker/straighter stops. Found the kits on Ebay, and happy with them, so far. Will post results of road trip in late June, going to Homecoming.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 07:29 AM
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This topic comes up quite often, and really depends on how you drive the car. If just cruising around, stopping normally, front drums should be fine. If high speed panic stops, drums will quickly fade, and you're wanting front discs. Also noticed, Speedway Motors puts together front disc kits for older cars at $240 bucks. #910-31912 full size Chevy and #910-31958 mid size. Maybe won't work for your application, but something else to figure in the mix.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by DeltaPace77 View Post
This topic comes up quite often, and really depends on how you drive the car. If just cruising around, stopping normally, front drums should be fine. If high speed panic stops, drums will quickly fade, and you're wanting front discs. Also noticed, Speedway Motors puts together front disc kits for older cars at $240 bucks. #910-31912 full size Chevy and #910-31958 mid size. Maybe won't work for your application, but something else to figure in the mix.
None of those kits work on the 1965-1970 full size Oldsmobiles (Chevy full size is different). This is a problem for these cars, as no one makes new rotors for them, not even stock replacements for the factory disk brakes.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 08:51 AM
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Opinion on disk brakes

I converted my car to disk brakes about two years ago. I drive my car in L.A. traffic often and with the amount of cell phone holding, latte swilling, distracted drivers here, I felt that the disk brake was a step in the right direction so that my family and I were just that much more protected. I have been very happy with the results. I saved my old hardware just in case a future owner might want to switch back to original.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 09:54 AM
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When I did my resto I had the drums replaced with 11" slotted rotors up front and over sized drums on the rear. What a difference in stopping ability and worth the money.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 06:24 PM
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Just did a disc brake conversion, tubular upper & lower control arms, and steering linkage this past month. It's like driving a different car!! Power disc over drum all day....I also replaced all my brake lines, and rebuilt the rear drums. The wheel cylinders were junk, the drums were in rough shape so I bought new drums, springs, shoes & wheel cylinders for the rear. But next time I do anything to the rear it will be a disc conversion back there to match the front!!! But really, it shouldn't even be a question. Drum brakes suck by comparison. Now I can actually drive the car and stop the car. I was always driving in a glass car before cuz u never know when a car decides to pull out in front of u...drum brakes won't perform as well as disc, plain & simple.

Check out Right Stuff disc brake conversions...nice kits with quality parts at a reasonable price. I got my set for a little under $800 with power booster, master cylinder, complete brake lines, & powder coated calipers.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 07:07 PM
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These are some great opinions and points of view.I think this summer I will shop around and if I find the right deal or kit I might just do front disk.Rear drum does not bother me as I am used to it all my other vehicles are disk front and drum rear.Now thats not to say if I find a deal I like that I wont consider disk rears.Funding tends to slow things down and some of these companys want a fortune for the product.I know prices are always going up and they have to make a profit to continue with business.But I also know they do a decent markup.I will have to contact ssbc and see what the price has jumped up to now just for curiosity and referance.
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Old May 5th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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im gonna be honset i went the junkyard and pulled everything i needed off of a 79 monte carlo then i sandblasted it sprayed it changed the upper and lower ball joints and everything bolted up just right the rotors werent that good so i bought new ones the break lines bolted right to the calipers no leaks. i prefer the pads on the front because theyre simple to change instead of having drums all around.
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Old May 5th, 2012, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by spyke View Post
im gonna be honset i went the junkyard and pulled everything i needed off of a 79 monte carlo then i sandblasted it sprayed it changed the upper and lower ball joints and everything bolted up just right the rotors werent that good so i bought new ones the break lines bolted right to the calipers no leaks. i prefer the pads on the front because theyre simple to change instead of having drums all around.

What all did you need to do it.I have a junkyard not far from me that has old cars yet.But my car has the speedometer in the front driverside wheel so will this still work or is your car a different model.
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Old October 12th, 2014, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by spyke View Post
im gonna be honset i went the junkyard and pulled everything i needed off of a 79 monte carlo then i sandblasted it sprayed it changed the upper and lower ball joints and everything bolted up just right the rotors werent that good so i bought new ones the break lines bolted right to the calipers no leaks. i prefer the pads on the front because theyre simple to change instead of having drums all around.
Originally Posted by delmontcrusier View Post
What all did you need to do it.I have a junkyard not far from me that has old cars yet.But my car has the speedometer in the front driverside wheel so will this still work or is your car a different model.

I did see a kit from scarebird it gives you key parts and gives you a list of what to buy to convert your car.
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Old October 13th, 2014, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by spyke View Post
im gonna be honset i went the junkyard and pulled everything i needed off of a 79 monte carlo then i sandblasted it sprayed it changed the upper and lower ball joints and everything bolted up just right the rotors werent that good so i bought new ones the break lines bolted right to the calipers no leaks. i prefer the pads on the front because theyre simple to change instead of having drums all around.
Since you've brought this thread back from the dead, I'll once again point out that using later spindles on early cars is a REALLY bad idea. The ball joints use different tapers, so while you can bolt them up, the ball joints will NOT be loaded properly. At some point this will cause either the holes in the spindles to be elongated or the ball joint studs to break. Neither result is good.

Yes, it IS possible to retrofit the matching newer ball joints to the early control arms. The uppers are easy. The lowers require the outer housing of the new ball joints to be turned down to fit the LCAs. The outer tie rod ends similarly need to be changed. Of course, even if you do this, the steering arms are STILL in the wrong place and can cause bump steer.

Bottom line is that if there were an easy spindle swap like this, it would have been public knowledge 20 years ago.
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Old October 13th, 2014, 11:58 AM
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What happen with Scarebird, they make the brkts and a list of parts you need to finish. You still your spindle and I believe the speedo cable is driven by the dust cap on the rotor. Seams like an easy job to me.

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Old October 13th, 2014, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by 64Rocket View Post
What happen with Scarebird, they make the brkts and a list of parts you need to finish. You still your spindle and I believe the speedo cable is driven by the dust cap on the rotor. Seams like an easy job to me.

Gene


yes it is a fairly easy job just need to get the kit and parts. I have to budget since I have three to do. I should get the kit and later buy the rest of the parts.
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Old October 13th, 2014, 08:52 PM
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My factory original manual 4 drum setup took a 1/4 mile to grind to a stop.

I thought about converting to front disc but heard my 14x7 rims wouldn't clear the caliper.

So I opted for only a manual to power drum conversion - improved my stopping ability tremendously!!

I'm completely comfortable driving in traffic now

Last edited by KDV; October 13th, 2014 at 08:54 PM.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by KDV View Post
I thought about converting to front disc but heard my 14x7 rims wouldn't clear the caliper.
And yet, 14x7 wheels came on disk brake cars from the factory...
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Old October 14th, 2014, 08:53 AM
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Joe, will 72 disc brakes, spindles and all, go without problem on a 67 drum car? Olds Cutlass on both cars.

Edit: I mean, regarding this ball joint angle.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Koda View Post
Joe, will 72 disc brakes, spindles and all, go without problem on a 67 drum car? Olds Cutlass on both cars.

Edit: I mean, regarding this ball joint angle.
Yes. All 1964-72 A-body spindles interchange (and are the same as 67-69 F-body and 68-74 X-body). There are some differences in the size of the bolts that hold the steering arms, but if you swap the entire assembly there are no issues. And the 1968-earlier cars will likely have the drum brake-only wheels if they are original.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 10:06 AM
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Thanks. I've got a set of the 69 SSIs that work with disc brakes, so I should be good on that end.
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Old February 8th, 2018, 08:34 AM
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SSII's and disc brakes

Hello all,
Reading old posts on converting drum to disc, I've read some information indicating a 10" disc was used on the 64-72 A body style cars, so my question is will the 11" single piston disc brake systems available on the internet; speedway.com; fit under the 14X7 SSII's?
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Old February 8th, 2018, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Schnets View Post
Hello all,
Reading old posts on converting drum to disc, I've read some information indicating a 10" disc was used on the 64-72 A body style cars, so my question is will the 11" single piston disc brake systems available on the internet; speedway.com; fit under the 14X7 SSII's?
thanks
Sorry, but you didn't read that here, and it is flat wrong. First, disc brakes were only factory installed on 1967-up A-body cars (however the factory parts will fit back to 1964). Second, every single one of these A-body cars with disc brakes got 10.75" diameter rotors. This is often rounded up to 11", but the actual dimension is 10.75". There was NEVER a 10" rotor used on these cars from the factory. There ARE aftermarket kits that claim to fit the drum-only 14" wheels used on the 1960s cars. These kits do use 10" rotors and tiny calipers. I fail to see why anyone would waste the money and time, as braking force with them isn't appreciably better than the stock drums.

The 1967-68 cars used the fixed four=piston calipers. The 1969-77 cars used the sliding single piston calipers with 2.75" pistons. The 1978-88 cars use the sliding single piston metric calipers with 2.375" pistons. Every single SSII/III wheel every made by the factory will clear any of these factory disc brake setups, despite what some aftermarket companies may try to tell you.
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Old February 8th, 2018, 09:28 AM
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Thanks Joe for the clarification. Braking force is what it's all about. My 1970 Oldsmobile Chassis service manual does state the A body F-85 caliper OD is 1" x 11.3" with a single piston caliper. I have 11-3/4" clearance on the inside of my 14X7 SSII's, so if the aftermarket 11" (actually 10.75") disc's will work, I'd prefer to go with all new vs. old from a junk yard. New spindles as well of course.
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Old February 8th, 2018, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by 67442HT View Post
Drum brakes work OK, but you need to realize that the cars and trucks on the road today all have disc brakes, and alot of them have 4wheel disc brakes. They can stop a lot quicker in a shorter distance than a drum brake car can. Most of them also have antilock brakes. We have to remember to not tailgate these cars with much better brakes than we have or we will be eating their rear bumper. When all the cars on the road had drum brakes, it wasn't as much of a problem as none of the cars stopped very well. I remember when I came off of the Interstate at 80 mph and had to slow down in my 67 442, I would have to pump the brakes and then let them cool off and pump them again to slow down for the exit. Drums are OK, but disc are better!!!!
X2. The other cars on the road and their ability to stop much quicker was the deciding factor for me.
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Old February 8th, 2018, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Schnets View Post
Thanks Joe for the clarification. Braking force is what it's all about. My 1970 Oldsmobile Chassis service manual does state the A body F-85 caliper OD is 1" x 11.3" with a single piston caliper. I have 11-3/4" clearance on the inside of my 14X7 SSII's, so if the aftermarket 11" (actually 10.75") disc's will work, I'd prefer to go with all new vs. old from a junk yard. New spindles as well of course.

Something you should consider is that new does not always mean better. A spindle is a chunk of machined metal. Properly cared for, it can last 200 years. OEM spindles were made of better steel than most new ones (which come from China.) We here typically regard old US steel as better than new Chineseium, which was a term used much by, and possibly coined by, one of our dearly missed departed friends, to depict his scorn at the inferior Asian metallurgy. Now, new stuff made in America of good material may well be better, but then you are getting into "back-engineering" vs original drawings, which is a whole other story.
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