Let the Battle of the Binders Begin!
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Weve all heard the hype. Disc brakes dont get clogged with mud and grunge off road, they cool faster, are less susceptible to fade, and are easy to rebuild. But will they stop your vehicle faster than drum brakes? To find out we took our 85 Ramcharger to our secret desert test facility for some 60-zero mph floggings. Using a G-Tech performance meter by Tesla Electronics, we first tested the ¾-ton 12.82-inch disc/12x3-inch drum combo. Then we swapped the rear drums to discs, junked the factory proportioning valve in favor of an adjustable unit, and tested the vehicle again.
To convert the Dodge Dana 60 rear to disc brakes, we called TSM. In addition to offering kits to convert many vehicles from drum to disc brakes, TSM offers just about any parts you may need when performing a drum to disc conversion. For our application, we ordered a disc brake conversion kit that included brackets, Grade 8 hardware, and beefy 12-inch 71-87 Chevy ¾-ton four-wheel-drive front rotors.
We also had TSM ship us an adjustable proportioning valve, flexible stainless brake hoses, and calipers. Rather than opting for parking-brake-equipped El Dorado rear calipers, we chose 71-77 Chevy truck front calipers. Theyre ultra-reliable units that are easy to replace and arrived loaded with pads. Besides, we desperately wanted to get rid of our low-hanging e-brake cables and brackets. We found a hydraulic brake lock in the J.C. Whitney catalog that seemed to be just the ticket for holding the vehicle in place on steep hills or while winching. For under $25, it was worth a shot.
We knew wed need some custom bracketry to mount our hydraulic brake lock and would also need some custom hard line work since we were removing the factory proportioning valve containing the warning light, hold-off valve, and check valve and adding a Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve from TSM. With parts in hand, we went to M.I.T. Drivetrain Specialists where Rick Dziezyk performed a very clean and professional installation, despite the fact that the stock lines crumbled at the slightest touch.