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Old 08-17-2018, 11:46 AM
vernz vernz is offline
Join Date: Jul 12 2008
Posts: 215
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Default Please help with question on 57 brakes

A couple of days ago I test drove a 1957 Tbird that I am considering buying. It is a nice driver quality car, but I was concerned with the pedal pressure required for braking. The car has original manual (not power) drum brakes. Since this is a driver quality car, I am not adverse to converting it to power brakes and or installing disc brakes. Are manual disc brakes a good option or would I need to go to a power brake system? Is adding power brakes to a car that doesn't have them difficult (I'm pretty handy, but have not done this work before). It has a D code engine.

Thanks, Vern
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Old 08-17-2018, 12:16 PM
Joe Johnston Joe Johnston is offline
Join Date: Dec 23 2008
Posts: 706
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I have a 57 and converted to disk brakes with a complete kit from CASCO. Their kit also includes rear wheel cylinders too making it one stop shopping and you can retain 14" steel or wire wheels. There are many other kits and over the counter parts available to do this, just saying what I did. Be aware some methods will require 15" wheels and or set the wheels out about an inch from their original location.

I did the conversion and DID NOT use the original booster because it needed a complete rebuild. I drove the car at least 10 years like this and had no problems what so ever. Yes pedal pressure is greater than we are used to in our modern cars. A couple of years ago I had the original booster rebuilt by White Post Restorations. Pedal pressure is less and braking better, but still short of today's vehicles.

To get braking up to today's standards, a more powerful modern booster needs to be installed. Only problem there is no room unless you relocate the battery to the trunk area, and a couple of other brackets fabricated. It can be done, but not without challenges.

Converting to disk brakes on these cars is one of the best mods that can be done. The small original linings tend to overheat and fade quickly from higher speed stops. I would recommend doing the conversion to the manual disks, drive it for a season to get used to the new feel, then decide to use original style booster on the inner fender, or relocate the battery for a modern style. Can't go wrong either way.

Good luck with the project!
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Old 08-17-2018, 12:26 PM
vernz vernz is offline
Join Date: Jul 12 2008
Posts: 215
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Thank you Joe. That helps me a lot in deciding what to offer for the car.

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