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Disc Brake Conversion

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  • Disc Brake Conversion

    I have been researching 4 wheel disc brake conversions on the internet and have gotten confused as to what is really best.

    Looking for some advice and who has the best kits from some of you that have done the conversion.

    Thank you in Advance.

  • #2
    Is this for your 1957 Thunderbird?
    Will you do the work or will you pay someone else?
    Do you have bending and flaring tools?
    I could go on but it's better if you let us know your intentions and your capabilities. - Dave
    Last edited by YellowRose; March 24th, 2018, 10:04 PM. Reason: Corrected Year
    My latest project:
    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

    From: Royal Oak, Michigan


    • #3
      yes it is for my 57, I will do the work. I do have benders,flaring tool and cutter plus all the other tools I need.I have a complete sheet metal shop. 10 years ago I did a frame off 57 Nomad.

      I have just been searching and there are a ton of kits available and thought maybe someone had first hand experience with a certain supplier.

      I prefer not to relocate my battery and I also have 14 stock rims I would like to keep.

      Just not real secure driving with drum brakes, I remember the old days LOL


      • #4
        The battery location is a problem with Classic T-birds because it robs valuable room at the firewall.

        Of course, we would all love to keep the stock parts and locations. But in order to make your car safe and able to compete on today's roads with little cars that all have disk brakes and radial tires, concessions must be made.

        You can keep 14" rims but they must accommodate the caliper like Ranger rims or Granada rims do. I understand Kelsey wire wheels are good with the conversion as well.

        There is no need to retrofit the rear drums as they only help with 25% of the braking. In fact, our 2010 Escape came with rear drum brakes. Since they will lock up the back wheels, disks won't lock them up any better. The front brakes is an entirely different story. Everyone should have front power disk brakes.

        I've seen interesting setups for your car. One used an extremely long brake pedal rod with the booster mounted on the fender apron. Another setup had the booster turned ninety degrees at the firewall using a bell-crank bracket. I suggest using a two-stage 8" booster with a dual piston M/C and a combination (proportioning) valve. I do not know of a good vendor. You can fabricate the parts. - Dave
        My latest project:
        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
        --Lee Iacocca

        From: Royal Oak, Michigan


        • #5
          I used the CASCO kit with the original booster for the front disks only. Everything is included in their kit including new matched rear wheel cylinders and a master cylinder. System works very well and can retain the 14" wheels on a 57. I have used both repo wires and steel wheels with no interference problems. I'm sure other conversions will work well also. I also do not see the need to convert the rear to disks other than the cool factor and be able to say I have 4 wheel disk brakes. That said, conversion kits are available for the 9" Ford rear used on a 57. Pay attention to the parking brake function if you decide to do a rear disk conversion. Front disk conversion is a well worth while modification IMO.


          • #6
            Thank you guys,that is just the info I was looking for. I was going back and forth about front only or front and rear.

            I could make the brackets as we have a CNC Plasma cutter, but as I get older my time becomes more valuable. I am sure I would have hours and hours involved in getting all the pieces and parts together. I will look into the vendors you guys have suggested.

            Thank you very Much


            • #7
              I need to revive this thread.
              I am getting close to adding the front disc brakes to my 57.

              I have looked at Casco and ABSPowerbrake not sure I like either one of them.

              Would anyone have any other suggestions on who to get the kit from?

              Thanks all


              • #8
                Anytime I see a disc brake question I just have to read what's going on. I converted my '60 Squarebird to front disc's about 15 years ago. No nice brackets or boosters and very little info back then. The route then on the Squrebird was to use Granada spindles. They have worked fine but alignment is much more difficult.

                Had some folks tell me that they had converted their Squarebird to front discs using '77 Tbird spindles but after buying a set and installing them I found out the front end could not be aligned. Could not adjust the camber. You can tell how much further the top of the '77 Tbird spindle sticks out over the Granada or OEM Tbird in this pic below. So - basically - you'll get some bad info. Seems like the best thing to do was just to learn and move on.

                Anyway - think you are going about it in the right direction - get as much info as possible. There WILL be snags no matter how much research you do so I'd plan on double the time you think the project might take. Mine took about a year - after 4 weeks of nothing going right I re-installed the drum system until I got more info but that was 15 years ago - better resources today. Also learned after the '77 Tbird spindle fiasco that if someone said they had converted using this or that I would ask for pictures of their conversion. (Joe - no offense intended here please - )

                On the '57 systems - I looked at both kits and while I'm no expert on the '57 I see a problem right off the bat. Same situation I had on my '60. The master cyls the sellers are including in the kits are the types with 2 bolt mounting tabs. Looking at the catalog for the OEM '57 master cyl it appears they are similar to the '60 and have 4 bolts. So if it is like the '60 those bolts are smaller than the ones used on the 2 bolt style. Pretty sure on the '60 they were (4) 1/4 inch bolts and the later style master cyls were designed to use (2) longer 5/16 bolts. Since Joe has the kit on his car maybe he can tell us how he got the master cyl to fit - a few Squarebird owners have just replaced their smaller bolts with larger ones. Not sure that would work on the '57?

                The instructions are very vague on the CASCO kit pertaining to the master cyl and there are NO pictures (which is a big red flag for me).

                "1. Remove original master cylinder and install new master cylinder."

                Really ? That's it ?

                On mine I was told I could use a Galaxie brake mounting bracket for the master cyl - didn't work but after asking enough folks I finally found a conversion for the OEM booster that allowed me to use a disc/drum 2 bolt style master cyl. (mine originally came with power brakes).

                I would recommend using the proportioning valve mentioned - may even want a combination valve - that's what I'm using on my big old heavy Squarebird. I split my system front and rear. That way I kept the original fluid pressure brake light switch in the rear circuit but that also meant extending the brake light wires down the firewall to the new switch location. Even as much as I drive my car I'm only adjusting the rear brakes about 1-2 times a year so the rear drums seem fine - don't really see a need for the rear disc's. Probably should convert my rear drums to self adjusting but that's down on the bottom of the project list.

                Looks like they may have the split system covered in the CASCO kit.

                "Rear Brakes
                1. Install bolt and banjo brass fitting in small bowl of master cylinder.
                2. Original steel line will now run from brass fitting down to the stop light switch block on left frame rail.
                Front Brakes
                1. At the stop light switch block, disconnect the line that runs from the left front brake hose block to the stop light
                switch block.
                2. At the stop light switch block install the plug and connect union to steel line from front left brake hose.
                3. Connect braided line to the union and large bowl of master cylinder using banjo fitting and bolt."

                Geez - seems like I always end up writing a book..........

                Just curious- what is it that you didn't like about the CASCO kit?

                Hope you find the right kit and the project goes off without a hitch...



                • #9
                  Actually the Casco kit is the one I would be ok with. Iam going to call their Tech support tomorrow. The dislikes I had was it said in the directions some grinding may be needed. Also the instructions seemed kind of lame lol. Maybe it really is that easy.


                  • #10
                    It is pretty straight forward. I do not recall needing any grinding when I did my conversion and have retained 14" wheels.