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  • Disk Brake Conversion Discussion

    hi
    I have finally gotten to the point of gving up on the drum system my 58 has. It is, for all intensive purposes, perfect. Shoes are near new, drums quite new, wheel cylinders replaced etc. There is only so much stopping power there and it ain't really enough.

    Awhile back I did some reading on the design of the car and learned that the effective braking area (shoes) was about the same as the 2 seater TBird, a much lighter car. Further, in the quest for the low slung visual design, the drums were also limited. So what we get is what we get.

    What I would like to find out is what experiences people have had with the disk conversions. I have one listed at

    http://www.dropnstop.com/page3.htm

    Is your braking now alot better?? If I am going to go to alot of trouble then I want some seriously better results. Not just better... It would not bother me to spend extra on even higher performance calipers (2 piston or more)

    The other area I am in the dark on is wheels. I gather I have to replace my front two wheels. I have stock Ford rims at the moment (14") but not originals. What do I get and where do I get them??

    It occurs to me that used parts sources are drying up fast due to the high price of scrap steel, among other factors, so junkyard items that we used to count on may be gone.

    So...what do you guys know???

    John
    1958 Hardtop
    #8452 TBird Registry
    http://tbird.info/registry/DataSheet...r~equals~8452)

    photo: http://www.squarebirds.org/users/joh...d_June2009.jpg
    history:
    http://www.squarebirds.org/users/johng/OCC.htm

  • #2
    Just A Thought

    My concern (and it really doesn't amount to a hill of beans) is the using of GM componets on these aftermarket conversion kits. It really detracts from the appearance of the car (IMO).

    I would much rather see a 100% later model FORD conversion.

    Comment


    • #3
      John,
      Stainless Steel brakes has a conversion that will work with a 14X7 wheel. They also have a 4 piston conversion that will work also. Down side is that it currently is not compatible with most sway bar setups. Especially OEM.
      Kits for the rear brakes can be found in their street rod section where they list kits for the Ford 9" with 28 spline axles. They will be working with me on the conversion of my 60 but I am planning on using a 17X8 wheel. I will update after I do the swap this fall or winter.
      You will have to change the master cylinder and add a proportioning valve. This all comes in their kits which are the most complete on the market. You can go to SSBRAKES.com to look around at their products. Just enter your make, model, & year at the top of the page.
      sigpic
      Jim

      protourbird

      Comment


      • #4
        Jim: do you replace the sway bar or have it machined??

        14x7 means a narrower wheel, I think (14x8 is stock?) so can I keep using the same tires?? (I run Diamondback radials which have about 6000 miles on them)

        On the comment abou the non-Ford hardware, what ends up showing?? The master cylinder?? I am guessing the calipers are hidden...no?

        Probably I am looking for a "conservative" solution where on the one hand I want disks but on the other want to use as much original stuff (tires for example) as is possible.

        I recall people saying you could use Ford Granada parts (I am too lazy to do a Search and hunt the threads down) but I never knew if this meant junkyard stuff or auto parts store stuff (new but aftermarket). As I live in the northeast, the idea of digging up used, rusted, 33 year old Ford parts is...well...challenging.

        It would be nice to have a soup to nuts list for each option (we seem to have 2 or 3 paths at this point) that had
        * parts sources
        * machining needed
        * wheels (size) need and source

        and anything else so that some guy just tuning in here for the first time could get the job done with no surprises and great results.

        (I used to road race 750cc motorcycles where you simply could not have too much front braking power. In 1980 one could easily spend $1000 on rotors, calipers, SS lines and mc.) So I have this fantasy of 4 piston Brembo brakes hidden under my front end ready at my command... The ol' Squarebird, on the other hand... I am reminded of the comment of the guy on 101 Cars You Must Drive when driving some 1930s gem said something like "I get a kick out of the vague resemblance of brakes"). In more down to earth terms, if someone - pedestrian or car - pulls out in front of me and I have to panic stop, the fact I am in this delightful old car will be totally irrelevant and perhaps a liability. If the Squarebird were produced today, emissions aside, it is hard to imagine the pathetic brakes being DOT approved.

        John
        1958 Hardtop
        #8452 TBird Registry
        http://tbird.info/registry/DataSheet...r~equals~8452)

        photo: http://www.squarebirds.org/users/joh...d_June2009.jpg
        history:
        http://www.squarebirds.org/users/johng/OCC.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          I have the SBC kit on my 60. It stops every bit is good as my 87 SS Monte Carlo. AND . . . in a straight line. You can be going 85 mph and stand that car on it's nose. It has NO steering pull or other ill effects.

          The down side is; the orig 14X5.5 whls won't work. You will have to run 14X7's. I had to have a front swaybar custom made. The orig (little pinner Pinto size) sway bar won't work, nor will the hvy duty bars that the Thunderbird suppliers sell. The calipers in the SBC kit mount to the stock 58-60 spindles, facing the front of the car. They interfere with the swaybar links. I had to move mine forward, only an inch or so. I just have "L" shaped brkts on the frt of my lwr c/arms.

          It was a headache but well worth it. With the addition of the rear swaybar, my car handles really well for what it is. Let's face it, these things are tuna boats.

          I have devised a bar design using the stock mountin locations. Welding will be req, but this will mount the heavier front sway bar out of sight.

          The other option is that drop n stop. He uses Granada type spindles, mounting the calipers towards the rear. You can then use the stock (or) the heavy duty version they sell. To me, that's the way to go.

          As far as the master cyl, yep it won't look stock. It dosen't look GM either, even though it is an early 70's Chevelle type m/cyl.

          I understand that now, concours rules are, they don't dock you for safety inprovements. Personally , I don't care. "If" my car was in any other catagory than show n shine or "driver" class, it would be in "modified".

          But, by all means . . . Change over to disc !!!!
          John Byers
          1960 Convertible (Orig owner)
          sigpic

          Comment


          • #6
            John Byers
            You feel that the kit from dropnstop is the way to go.
            Question
            Is this a all bolt on unit and will I have to buy a proporition value?

            Do you know if I would have to change the wheel size form orginal size to 14X7's ?

            Do you know if my new Coker tires P215/75R-14 will fit the rims if I have to change them as I do not understand about wheel size?

            Would I have to change sway bar ?

            Comment


            • #7
              disc conversion

              I converted mine about 3 years ago , I got my bolt on kit from Larry's Thunderbird, along with a power brake kit, mine were standard no power before. My mechanic said it was pretty straight forward to put on. When I did this I took off the mags that were on the car and put the original type wheels back on with wide whites and original wheel covers. I ran into a problem with the original wheels that the seller had given me when I bought the car. They were made for drum brakes and wouldn't clear the calipers. Through much frustration and research I found a set of Mustang wheels that cleared the calipers and were 14" to fit the wheel covers. I sold the original rims to Thunderbird Headquarters. I am soooo glad I made the conversion my car stops now when I step on the pedal. Hope this helps.

              Comment


              • #8
                OK, you guys have got me worried about my brakes now. Penelope has power assisted drums and I think she stops pretty well, certainly not up to my daily drivers' standard, but OK I reckon. Anyone else happy with their drums?

                Bill
                sigpicBill
                Thunderbird Registry 21903 & 33405

                Comment


                • #9
                  Please see comments (peanut gallery below

                  Originally posted by Bob M View Post
                  John Byers
                  You feel that the kit from dropnstop is the way to go.
                  Question
                  Is this a all bolt on unit and will I have to buy a proporition value?
                  {yep, bolt on. The kit will come with a prop/valve. My kit came with an adjustable one (you adj the rear only with it)}

                  Do you know if I would have to change the wheel size form orginal size to 14X7's ?
                  {Yes you will, the stock wheels won't clear. For sure you have to change wheels.}

                  Do you know if my new Coker tires P215/75R-14 will fit the rims if I have to change them as I do not understand about wheel size?
                  {That tire size is fine. You "may" be able to squeek by w/14x6's. It would be VERY close though.}

                  Would I have to change sway bar ?
                  {No, but I would. That orig sway bar is comical, but you don't have to change it}
                  John Byers
                  1960 Convertible (Orig owner)
                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I wonder if a set of 15" wheels from a '65-66 (disk brake) TBird would fit on a conversion kit for a 58-60?
                    sigpic
                    Mike Lemmon
                    '59 Raven Black Hardtop

                    http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...tryNumber=2461

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I like my drum brakes. I just always try to over anticipate what might happen in front of me. I allow more space and time to react. I do hate the fact that from time to time my Bird will pull left/right slightly....

                      I though someone on here said they used 14" steel wheels off a 1999-ish Ford Ranger? They bolted right on, cleared calipers, held the stock hubcaps, & were plentiful in the salvage yards....
                      sigpic
                      The 1960 Ford Thunderbird. The WORLD'S most wanted car....

                      VTCI Member#6287.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jon:

                        Mine pulls very slightly to the right. Even though I rebuilt the entire brake system, drums, brake shoes, cylinders, master cylinders, and all lines. I tried tightening the left brake shoes a little tighter than the right, and that helped somewhat.

                        If you ever figure that one out, let me know.
                        Bart
                        1960 Hard Top/430
                        Thunderbird Registry Number 1231

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes 15,s will fit. But from a 65 up. If you want to stick with 14,s a 98 ford ranger has the wheel that will work with disc brakes and your hub cap will cover it. A 74-76 mustang master cyl. will work or probably a granada would be the same. These brakes were a little lacking for the weight of these things and now people can stop a whole lot faster (and i'm comin through) What we have now is the junk yards a EMPTY with the price of scrap. I'm on ebay for a granada and I'll pull everthing off and see what works. then sell the scrap...............................

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fomoco59 View Post
                            I wonder if a set of 15" wheels from a '65-66 (disk brake) TBird would fit on a conversion kit for a 58-60?
                            Well, if you want some measurements from a 65 wheel I have four laying in the weeds by my shed, tell me how you want them measured.

                            And fwiw, I tried the 17x8 bulliets on my 58 on the 65 once, they bolted right on and cleared without any drama or clearance problems at all.

                            The disc brake kit I went with requires at least 16" inch wheels, well, I think 16 would clear, when I moved the 15x7 wheels over from the 65 they were bound on the calipers of the 58.

                            But I do have 13.5" rotors with 4 piston calipers, the car does stop now.


                            Last edited by RustyNCa; July 28th, 2008, 07:02 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hey Rusty My 66 will out stop my 03 f-150 and my 71 mark and just about every thing else. Gota love those 4 piston disc's

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