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What should I do about my brakes?
#1
Well fellas, my brakes are toast so I've got a repair in my future. I'm having a real struggle deciding on what I should do. I've seen the posts about doing the cobra brake swap, or buying an aftermarket kit to upgrade the size of the front discs. Additionally I've seen the kits to upgrade the backs to discs.

My long term plan with this car (you know, someday) is to just have a nice, reliable cruiser. Something producing somewhere between 200-300hp, that I can take on cross country trips, with the top down.

I certainly don't want to rely on 40-year old technology if I can spend a couple hundred bucks and upgrade the brakes.

If I do upgrade the brakes, I've heard that I'll need to get at least 17" wheels. So if I look at the larger picture of what I want to do to my car, this seems to be the right path:

New Wheels => Upgraded Brakes => Upgraded Suspension => Rebuilt/Replaced Motor & Replaced Transmission => Exhaust => Convertible Top

any advice?
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#2
I went with Wilwood disc brakes front and rear and I can run 15 inch rims.

-john
(jbojo)
351C 4V cc heads, 10.5 : 1 CR, 290 Herbert cam, Flat top forged pistons, forged connecting rods, Atomic efi,
C6 with Gear Vendor overdrive, 3.89 Tru Trac, Hooker Super Comp with 2 1/2" Pypes Exhaust.        

Some Mod pictures can be seen at:

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#3
If you have discs on the front already there really is no need to upgrade anything as these cars had good brakes from the factory. For how you intend to use the car I would just rebuild everything using good quality parts.

73 conv. 460, D0VE large valve heads, Performer RPM manifold, Voodoo 227/233 cam, Holley 950 HP carb, C6 trans, 3.25 trak-loc.
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#4
Thanks for the replies.

I finally had some time to look at the brakes, and I think things are worse than just changing pads / turning rotors. I pulled the driver's side wheel of, and the pads actually look pretty good. So I popped the top off of the master cylinder and the brake fluid is nearly empty on the chamber closest to the firewall. I suspect I have a leak somewhere, but I haven't had a chance to get the car off of the ground to take a look. Any suggestions on where to start and what I should be look for?

I've attached some photos for reference

[Image: ZseRZdN.jpg]

[Image: kK4Q0st.jpg]

[Image: GkbDCUB.jpg]

[Image: AJoDA0a.jpg]

[Image: x0RrOtu.jpg]
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#5
Looks pretty clean to me. The low brake fluid is cause for concern. Check around the master cylinder itself and also inside the car on the firewall where brake petal goes through.

You should pull the rears as well an see if there's any leaks from the wheel cylinders inside the drums.

Has the car been sitting? Long periods of sitting (ex. Many years) it's not uncommon for brake fluid to be low. Typically though the brake system is a closed system and you should not loose any fluid unless your brakes are really worn, or you have a leak.


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#6
the rear larger bowl is the front disc brakes.
so you have a leak from the master to the front brakes.

now you could have a leaking master and the fluid is going into the booster, or you have bad hard or soft lines.

the front brake line goes behind the engine on the firewall, so you want to look for wet spots, missing paint(dot 3 eats paint) around the back of the engine and firewall and underneath the master, then look at the soft lines going to the calipers.

I can tell you based on the color of the brake fluid you have money you need to spend the lines are all rotted out from the inside out, that brown is rust.

replacing rebuilding what you have is cheaper and really front disc and rear drum works fine.

i would recommend going with mild brake lines and stay away from stainless steel FAR AWAY... use Dot 3 or 4 on refill not dot 5
calipers can be rebuilt, the hardlines and soft can be replaced, and you can flush the system really good.

however because of the amount of contamination of the fluid you will need to replace all hard lines, that includes the intermediary line and the hardline on the axle.

parts min your looking at all hard lines about 130$
front calipers about 70$ a side a rebuild is about 15$ a side.
soft lines will run.
about 35$ per side in the front and rear about 40$

rear calipers about 12$ a side. drum rebuilds about 14$ a side

so without pads your looking at 422$ to get started, then figure another 100$ for misc and pads etc.
so you need to budget 500-600$ to rebuild what you have.

a disc conversion kit will run about 1400$ to start but that assumes your hardlines are a good starting point which they are not.

restoring your system isn't hard but the line behind the engine and that runs under the car(intermediary) is like playing a game of tetris and it is easier with the engine out of the car, plus you have an excuse to clean up the engine bay and paint it check for rust and other bad things.


for comparison
this is my car before i rebuilt the brake system,, this is new fluid i flushed through the system and then i went for one drive i came back and it looked like this, it was clear when i left the garage to start
[Image: 144_zpsfa953d3d.jpg]

and yes my car had the incorrect master on it originally.


you know i was really looking at your photo.
[Image: x0RrOtu_zps402a527b.jpg]

hummmmm
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#7
72HCODE;196781 Wrote:i would recommend going with mild brake lines and stay away from stainless steel FAR AWAY...

Why would you not recommend stainless?
I am currently redoing my brake system and contemplating new lines as well.

Pete - MotoArts Decals and Signs
'71 Sportsroof 351C-4V/4-speed - FINALLY under construction - no, wait, on hold again...
'90 Mustang 7-Up 5.0 ragtop, rolling beater
'66 Sunbeam Tiger Mk.IA, survivor
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#8
MotoArts;196785 Wrote:
72HCODE;196781 Wrote:i would recommend going with mild brake lines and stay away from stainless steel FAR AWAY...

Why would you not recommend stainless?
I am currently redoing my brake system and contemplating new lines as well.

I'm in the middle of a brake rebuild as well and I got some stainless lines before I found out that they're harder than normal steel and so they don't deform and mate/seal easily. Fortunately mine went on ok and don't leak. For the rears though I just bought the normal steel ones.

I did replace the rubber hoses with braided stainless lines from cjponyparts. We only have the front ones in so far but I was surprised that they actually made a tangible difference in brake feel. My hoses might have been pretty old so your mileage my vary. They aren't terribly expensive.

I haven't installed it yet but I bought an SSBC short stop kit on amazon for $200. It's got slotted rotors and performance pads and seems well reviewed on other cars. Compared to all the other kits it seems a bargain. The tricky part about new rotors is that on our cars, the rotor doesn't simply unbolt. You have to pull the bearings. So if you're going to change a rotor you might as well do new timkin bearings and a new seal while you're in there. (someone correct me if I'm wrong on this)

Something Jeff73mach1 suggested to me as well is the use of speed bleeders on the calipers. They have a valve in them that allows you to bleed the brakes with just one person. I think mine were from russel. They do work quite nicely. They're not expensive.

In my limited experience, once you start to mate up new parts with old parts and you break loose some of the things that have been sealed for 40 years, they are impossible to seal back up again. That's how I started out replacing the hoses with stainless braided lines and now have a complete brake system laid out in my garage waiting to be installed. Cjpony parts has most of the stuff although I found the short stop kit was cheaper at amazon. Brakes and suspension are areas that I don't mind spending money on because in the event that you need them it is money well spent and infinitely cheaper than rebuilding a wrecked car or hospital bills.

Best of luck with your rebuild.
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#9
I've posted a few times with my experience with stainless hard lines.

Stainless does not give when you tighten the fittings down and requires more pressure then usual to seat.
this results in deformation of the seals for the brake components and can damage these parts for future service. usually the sealing is not 100% and thus you can have a weeping leak, a seal may appear seated but under boiling or heavy braking they may in fact leak.

reproduction mild steel lines are galvanized and do not rust like OEM brake lines did. the only benefit of stainless is corrosion protection. however your classic car is usually not a daily driver and will not be used in the winter with salt on the roads. plus reproduction lines are protected now so there is zero benefit to stainless hose use outside of a track car where you may want the extra stiffness of stainless.

soft lines are a different story braided stainless over the soft line will harden them up. however a new replacement soft rubber line will be very solid compared to an original 40 year old line.

i have stainless brake lines on my car and i do not recommend them. If i had to do it all over again i would of just gotten mild steel lines with galvanized coating on them worst 10$ i ever spent for the upgrade.
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#10
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