Squarebirds, Rocketbirds, and Fifties/Sixties Ford Discussion Forum

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-   1958 To 1960 Squarebirds - General Technical Discussion (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=14)
-   -   Disk Brake Conversion Discussion (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=5023)

simplyconnected 10-24-2009 11:20 PM

Howard, first off, that is correct. We are completely changing an inferior stock brake system with a modern system that works FAR better. This brake system will put you through the windshield while it stops straight as an arrow.

You notice in the pictures, I cut my brake lines at the hose. That's because I replaced all my lines with rust-proof 3/16" tubing. The deal is, you install all your devices first, then plumb the car. The devices are:

* Three hoses (two front and one rear axle)
* Dual master cylinder and power booster
* Proportioning valve or combination valve (I assume you will keep your rear drum brakes, since the back tires don't do much stopping compared to the front.
* Rear wheel cylinders and tee

I used an MBM booster and M/C combination. The M/C is really a GM/Corvette. The booster combo was only $175 including the angle bracket for the firewall and the clevis rod for the brake pedal. The whole thing bolts together. The only hole you need to drill is the mounting hole for the proportioning valve. No sawing or cutting.

At first, I bought a system for my '55 Customline from "oldirishdave" on eBay. He's always available and easy to speak with. I liked the system so much, I bought a second booster/MasterCyl combo for my '59 Galaxie.

Just before I pulled my engine, I took a picture of my M/C and proportioning valve. Notice the tools on the engine, carb linkage is already disconnected, and so is the vac line for the power booster. Y-Blocks don't have much room at the booster because of the upswept 'ram's horn' manifold configuration. FE engines have more room:


On both cars, I kept the original drum rear brakes because they perform well. I replaced the front drums on both cars with disk brakes. The '55 got a Granada setup, but the '59 uses its original spindles. I don't find much difference in performance.

If you look at the 11" rotors, the calipers straddle the top. That is where wheel diameter is prohibitive. My original 15" X 5" Ford Customline wheels fit over the calipers just fine on the '55. The Galaxie came with 14" wheels that don't fit. Since I wanted to chage to 15" wheels, it was no problem for me.

I had a lot of fun (seriously) doing this conversion. The end result is a world of difference in brake performance because of the system.
* Two-stage power booster
* Dual M/C
* proportioning valve (from a 1990 Mustang)
* disk front brakes (on my un-disturbed original spindles, which means NO front-end alignment is necessary)
* 11" Mustang rotors

It took me a Saturday to do the wheels and booster. I finished plumbing and bleeding the lines on Sunday. BTW, I bent all my lines with a hand tool (Lisle #44150). I would recommend it to everyone. The lines were about $2/ft but they are soft copper-impregnated steel. My inverted-flares turned out real nice using a cheap flaring tool set. - Dave Dare

protourbird 10-26-2009 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by protourbird (Post 38386)
You cannot run the original spindles on any of the conversions since the calipers bolt to the spindle and they have to be cast with those bosses already on them. There have been companies that have tried different ways to adapt the calipers to the original spindles but I have yet to see one that is successful. As for the 14X6 wheel the only one I know of for sure that will work is the Stainless Steel Brakes kit ssbrakes.com. Perhaps some out there can comment on the other styles.

Sorry, you guys are correct on the Ford applications. You do use the original spindles. For some reason my brain was on a GM conversion.

Howard Prout 10-26-2009 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by simplyconnected (Post 38397)
*
If you look at the 11" rotors, the calipers straddle the top. That is where wheel diameter is prohibitive. My original 15" X 5" Ford Customline wheels fit over the calipers just fine on the '55. The Galaxie came with 14" wheels that don't fit. .

Very intersting. So the brackets supplied by Scarebird will not work with 14" wheels yet DropNStop insist there is no problem with 14" wheels using their brackets. Both setups use 11" Mustang rotors. Can there be that much difference between the brackets from the two suppliers?

simplyconnected 10-26-2009 08:16 PM

Howard Prout, I owe you an apology. Sometimes I can be thick. I assume everyone wrenches on their car and they automatically know all the vendors and their products. Ok, I will admit, I’m old.

Used to be, power boosters were ~$300 w/core deposit. Master Cylinders were up there, too. There are American companies that manufacture new boosters like MBM, in Asheville, NC. They only sell in quantity to their dealers. For common applications (like for a ’57 Chevy), they offer power booster/Master Cylinder combinations. For ‘not so popular’ cars like ours, the dealers put parts together and sell them as kits that work just fine.

Check out MBM’s web site. Click on the TECH tab, then the PARTS tab. They make many components for our cars.

Dealers are in tough competition with their pricing. I mentioned, I bought from “Oldirishdave” on eBay. Pirate Jack also has great prices for many of the same components. There are others. Mind you, no core deposit because they only sell NEW parts. They are not rebuilders.

Scarebird (on eBay) sells bolt-on disk brake brackets for your '58-'60 Thunderbird spindles.

So to marry all these parts together, you might buy parts from a few vendors, or to be more 'safe' (if there is such a thing), you could buy from one dealer who puts a kit together for you. Maybe he can save on multiple shipping costs. - Dave Dare

Edit: My Scarebird brackets use (GMC & Chevy) S-10 calipers and pads. Maybe DropNStop uses something different. Ask them. These dealers get parts from all over, and put them together as a kit. Another consideration is your sway bar. Make sure this system doesn't interfere with a new beefier bar. If your calipers hang off the back side of the spindle, they're probably ok.

I forgot to mention, since my back brakes have no self-adjusters, I used a 10# residual valve in the rear brake line. It keeps the shoes from retracting all the way so when you hit your pedal, it is always at the top. Just make it a point to manually adjust your shoes every year or so. The pedal is not an indicator of a needed brake adjustment after installing the valve.

I made this conversion because it's really my wife's car. I want her to drive it anytime or anywhere she pleases. It doesn't act like an old car any more, but it's still very heavy.

YellowRose 10-27-2009 02:12 AM

14" Rims...
 
In all the discussions we have had regarding converting to disc brakes, I remember a post saying that you could use certain 14" rims IF they were stamped with certain letters by the stem hole. I KNEW I should have bookmarked that post! I remember looking at my 14" rims I got from Casey to see if they were stamped with those letters. They were not. There were, as I recall, three different letter groups of three letters each I think. Does anyone remember posting that, or seeing it and know where I can find it? I have been looking for the last couple of hours through many different threads and post until my eyeballs are going around in circles... Down the road, I want to convert to disc brakes, but I want to do it with the right 14" rims and the original spindles on the car. I have read that if you get the right 14" rims, and the right kit, with calipers to the rear, you can use 14" rims and the original spindles.. Unless I have that wrong.. Does anyone have this information on the 14" codes by the stem holes??

simplyconnected 10-27-2009 03:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YellowRose (Post 38474)
In all the discussions we have had regarding converting to disc brakes, I remember a post saying that you could use certain 14" rims IF they were stamped with certain letters by the stem hole...

Ray, it also depends on what calipers you use; some are taller, some are wider. Some have multiple pistons, mine are single. Yet, some guys grind off the top of their calipers to fit. Not me, I figure if they stop a 4WD S-10 truck at highway speeds, that's good enough for the Galaxie. Some setups use spacers to pull the wheel away from the caliper (and hub). My setup uses NO wheel spacers. If your 14" wheels use rivets, they stick out too far.

Talk with Lance (he's close to you). He installs them on Thunderbirds.

YellowRose 10-27-2009 10:56 AM

Disk Brake Conversion Discussion
 
Thanks for the info, Dave. When I do get around to doing disc brakes, I will probably stay away from calipers that are on the front and go with those that go on the rear side. I also want to stay away from changing spindles as there is where the problem lies, if I understand it, when it comes to trying to align your front end on these old birds. I did try to call Lance a bit ago, but caught him on the showroom floor with a customer. Howard Prout told me that the email on his website is not working. Lance's wife told me that the email address there is under construction. She said in the meantime we can use this one. lance@thunderbirdsouthwest.com He will call me back when he is free.

protourbird 10-27-2009 04:54 PM

Stainless Steel Brakes will clear stock 14" wheels and for a master cylinder you can use a 67 and up Mustang dual master cylinder and some people have adapted the Corvette C4 master to their Fords.

simplyconnected 10-27-2009 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by protourbird (Post 38494)
Stainless Steel Brakes will clear stock 14" wheels and for a master cylinder you can use a 67 and up Mustang dual master cylinder and some people have adapted the Corvette C4 master to their Fords.


I went to StainlessSteelBrakeCompany and I looked up a kit for a '59 Thunderbird. There are two choices:
A152 ($995.00 )
A152-1 ($1,349.00 )

Both say (quote):

* Stock wheels will not clear.
* Will not fit cars with factory sway bar.

Huh? Am I missing something, here? Where is the Power Booster? The calipers are 4-piston aluminum starting at $1,000 for the low-end kit. I paid half that for power, and my only 'used' parts were my proportioning valve and wheel bearings. I think there are kits available for ~$600.

Another consideration is, how available and costly are consumable replacement parts? I get S-10 parts everywhere I look, with a choice of three different grades of pads. - Dave

byersmtrco 10-28-2009 12:13 AM

I have the SSBC kit. Orig 14" TB whls (WON'T) work. The 14-6's or 14-7's will. You may need to run a (thin) spacer (1/8").

The stock sway bar (or the hvy/duty) won't work!!! The calipers hit the links.

The newer kits out there use the stck spdls and mnt the calipers to the rear.

I will (at some point) install the rear discs too. I have good brakes now . . . but I wan't REALLY good brakes. The rear kit uses 10" rotors, so whl clearance isn't an issue.


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