Brake Conversion

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering, Brake & Wheel Topics' started by Hrtguy, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. Hrtguy

    Hrtguy New Member

    Nov 20, 2016
    Sherman, Illinois
    So what is the consensus on changing from DRUM to DISK. I see several threads with mixed reviews. What is the true opinion. I am wanting to be economical with my rebuild but I want my car to be nice and of course STOP. Thanks for your help.
  2. badazz81z28

    badazz81z28 Veteran Member

    May 4, 2001
    Las Vegas, NV
    A properly set up/re-built drum brakes will perform nicely. The downfall is they are an eye sore seen inside nice rims and they will fade with heavy continuous use.
    speterson49 likes this.
  3. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2004
    Bloomington, MN
    The front brakes do almost all of the work.
    If you plan to change the rear brake system, it should be balanced with the front.
    This normally requires a different proportioning valve, at the very least.
    A complete kit with rear discs gets fairly expensive and larger rotors will require larger than stock wheels.

    For the budget minded, like me...
    A good set of shoes and pads makes an immediate improvement over stock. (Hawk HPS for mid 90s police Caprice & taxi use. D52 ;) )
    I replaced the pads, shoes, master cylinder, calipers, rubber lines, rear cylinders and rear hard lines, along with rebuilding the rear drums with new hardware for under $250.

    I tried ceramic pads... They were fantastic for stopping power (once they were warm) but I heat checked (destroyed) a set of rotors with them. :(
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  4. BonzoHansen

    BonzoHansen Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

    What size wheels will you be using, and how do you intend to use the car?
  5. Hrtguy

    Hrtguy New Member

    Nov 20, 2016
    Sherman, Illinois
    I am planning the standard 15'' rims.
  6. BonzoHansen

    BonzoHansen Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

  7. Hrtguy

    Hrtguy New Member

    Nov 20, 2016
    Sherman, Illinois
    NOPE, but I am putting a 383 Strokr in it. LOL
  8. BonzoHansen

    BonzoHansen Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

    Ok, then since you used the term economical, skip the rear discs. I agree with terry above. Use porterfield shoes out back, and replace all the basic parts with new parts. Simple, economical. Then no need to change master or prop valve either, or brake lines or ebrake cables.
  9. hogg

    hogg Veteran Member

    Dec 29, 2000
    I used the rear disc from salvage yard,2000 up blazer , 79 trans am combenation valve with front meetering valve and rear propostioning valve built in. .Worked good on stands , I have a adjustable propostioning valve if it doint work wright ,if it every gets icece enought to try out the slide stright thing. Very cheep set up , But compared with the good drum brakes i can't tell the differents . mostly for looks . to just say i got 4 wheel disc brakes, there only for looks. Like the rear traction bar ,air bags , 3/4 sway bar.
  10. speterson49

    speterson49 New Member

    Aug 3, 2014
    New Orleans, La
    I've just completed my disc upgrade on my 1980 camaro. I got all of the 2001 camaro ( and Firebird is the same) calipers, backing plate and brackets at the junk yard. Both front and rear. If you have off set rear shocks you will need two left brake assemblies and backing plates. After pulling the axles, mounting the backing plate on the flange is easy. You will need these spacers to get the brackets centered over the rotor.
    I sandblasted, painted and rebuilt all of the calipers. I bought new powerstop rotors and pads, but you could save some money by using the factory rotors that are cheap at any parts store.
    The tricky part of the install is getting the e brake working. I used the 2001 cables and followed the instructions on this post to fab the bracket and modify the cables.

    Here are some pics of my install. I plan to pull the rear end out soon to paint everything. I wanted to get it installed and tested before painting.

    Yo will need to update the proportional valve to work with the rear disc. I just used the "right stuff" disc-disc valve. The master cylinder that I used is this one.

    IMG_0895.JPG IMG_0897.JPG
    Hrtguy likes this.

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