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Driveway Disc-Brake Swap

Posted in How To on May 1, 2000
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The Stainless Steel Brakes kit comes with parking brake–equipped calipers, rotors, splash shields, brake hoses and lines, brackets, hardware, and instructions. According to the instructions, no welding, drilling, or fabrication are required. The Stainless Steel Brakes kit comes with parking brake–equipped calipers, rotors, splash shields, brake hoses and lines, brackets, hardware, and instructions. According to the instructions, no welding, drilling, or fabrication are required.
Begin by securing the vehicle on jackstands, removing the wheels and brake drums, draining the differential fluid, and removing the cover. The cross pin is slid out, the axleshafts are pushed inward, and the   C-clips are removed. If your truck has a Gov-Loc, put the pin back in to keep the diff from disassembly if you spin an axleshaft. Begin by securing the vehicle on jackstands, removing the wheels and brake drums, draining the differential fluid, and removing the cover. The cross pin is slid out, the axleshafts are pushed inward, and the C-clips are removed. If your truck has a Gov-Loc, put the pin back in to keep the diff from disassembly if you spin an axleshaft.
Slide out the axleshaft, remove the brake shoe assembly, and pull the emergency brake cable through the backing plate. Using a line wrench, disconnect the line from the brake cylinder. Then, remove the four bolts retaining the backing plate to the housing. Slide out the axleshaft, remove the brake shoe assembly, and pull the emergency brake cable through the backing plate. Using a line wrench, disconnect the line from the brake cylinder. Then, remove the four bolts retaining the backing plate to the housing.
The caliper mounting plate installs over the end of the axletube and is secured with all four bolts. The flat edge of the plate should point to the rear of the vehicle. The caliper mounting plate installs over the end of the axletube and is secured with all four bolts. The flat edge of the plate should point to the rear of the vehicle.
The caliper mounting straps were bolted to the back of the mounting plate, but we mounted the splash shield to the front. Mounting them to the rear, as per the directions, resulted in too large a gap between the shield and rotor. With the bracketry installed, the axleshafts, C-clips, and cross pin are replaced. The caliper mounting straps were bolted to the back of the mounting plate, but we mounted the splash shield to the front. Mounting them to the rear, as per the directions, resulted in too large a gap between the shield and rotor. With the bracketry installed, the axleshafts, C-clips, and cross pin are replaced.
Once we got the correct rotors (see sidebar, “Bolt-On?”), we found that we needed to shim the calipers outward about 3/16 inch to center them over the rotors. We also needed to modify the parking brake support bracket for proper fitment. Once we got the correct rotors (see sidebar, “Bolt-On?”), we found that we needed to shim the calipers outward about 3/16 inch to center them over the rotors. We also needed to modify the parking brake support bracket for proper fitment.
With the caliper bolted on, the brake hose is attached with supplied banjo bolts. The provided hard line is bent and routed to the caliper hose. With both sides finished, the brakes are bled. Don’t forget to refill the master cylinder and differential before road testing the vehicle. With the caliper bolted on, the brake hose is attached with supplied banjo bolts. The provided hard line is bent and routed to the caliper hose. With both sides finished, the brakes are bled. Don’t forget to refill the master cylinder and differential before road testing the vehicle.

We’ll admit it—many of us either don’t have access to welding equipment or don’t have the skills or tools needed for metal fabrication. However, most of the really cool and useful parts and tricks we come across necessitate some sort of fabrication. That’s why it’s exciting to find performance-enhancing modifications that are completely bolt-on.

Like most enthusiasts, the owner of this ’95 Chevy Z-71 had added a suspension lift and larger rolling stock. However, the 35x14.5 Swamper SSRs tended to overwhelm the factory ½-ton brakes. He wanted two things—improved braking ability for towing and everyday driving, and a system that was a complete bolt-on affair.

Stainless Steel Brakes makes kits to convert the front or rear of just about any American car or truck from drum-to-disc brakes. Sure enough, they had a kit for our vehicle that could be installed with common handtools. Although we needed to drill out the parking brake cable brackets to allow the retainers to fit through, and our kit arrived with the wrong rotors, there was no welding, grinding, or cutting required. We called Stainless about our rotor dilemma. The company shipped us a pair of gas-slotted rotors, but because of time constraints they didn’t arrive before our story deadline. Follow along to find how we installed disc brakes on a Chevy 10-bolt axle.

Sources

Stainless Steel Brakes
Clarence, NY
800-448-7722
ssbrakes.com

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