How to Convert Your Camaro to 12 Inch Brakes

How to Convert Your Camaro to 12 Inch Brakes

Written By: Brett Klynn - aka "Lowend"

Second generation F-bodies come with 11-inch front disc brakes, while these were great for the time, today they seem rather lacking. Companies like Wilwood and Brembo offer to help us solve our braking problems, but most times for a price tag well over $1000. I have through research and experience found a 12-inch front rotor swap that will do the job of one of the mega-buck brake conversions for less than half the cost. All the parts used in the swap are still available from GM, but are also obtainable in your local wrecking yard.

The parts you will need for the swap are as follows:
12 inch brake rotors   14008641   14008641
Spindles   14012589 (LH)   14012590 (RH)
Dust Shield   344023 (LH)   344024 (RH)
Bearings   7450630 (inner)   7750627 (outer)
Seal   3965092 (inner)    

Note: provided by another Camaro fan
"I converted my 78 Z28 to 12 inch rotors. The reason I am writing is because it is much easier to just go buy a set of 88-92 camaro 1LE rotors. They are a little pricey, but all of the machine work will be done for you right from the factory. They will fit the 78-82 Impala spindles no problem."

All these parts can be found on '78 - '82 Full-sized GM cars (especially station wagons). If you do go junkyarding for these parts, make sure the rotors are in good shape, and bring a tape measure to make sure that you are truly getting 12-inch rotors.

Once you have obtained all your parts you must take your new rotors to a machine shop for the following modifications. You must decrease hub diameter from the stock 3.060 inches to 2.780 inches, in order to fit your stock wheels over the hubs. Also you must have the rotor re-drilled to accommodate a 4.75 inch bolt circle with 7/16 inch studs. DO NOT HAVE YOUR ROTORS CROSS-DRILLED, THIS WILL CAUSE THEM TO CRACK UNDER HARD BRAKING.

To install your new brake system, you take the whole spindle/rotor assembly off your Camaro and swap on the 12-inch spindle/rotor assembly. This is not a big deal, but will take you a couple of hours. I recommend replacing your ball joints when you do the swap simply because you will have them exposed and the car will need a wheel alignment a completion of the project anyways. Torque the upper ball joint nut to 50 ft/lbs and the lower to 65 ft/lbs.; and the arm to tie rod connection to 35 ft/lbs.

That's it, you retain your stock calipers, and master cylinder. Take the car to your favorite alignment shop; then go have fun. I have run this setup on my daily-driven '71 Camaro for more than 9 months with no problems at all. This swap increases brake swept area by 13%, it will be less prone to overheating and the seat of the pants feel is awesome. If you are seriously considering doing this swap I recommend picking up the book "Classic Camaro Restoration" available through "Brooklands Books". This book contains an old Chuck Hanson article on this exact swap and has a photographic walk-through that is very helpful.

Last updated: 9/20/2008
Author: Brett Klynn - aka "Lowend"

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