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1969 Chevrolet Camaro Drum To Disk Conversion
Ever since I have had this car I have dreaded mashing on the brake pedal....Drum brakes all the way around are a scary thing in a fast car. Well after many years---1994 till 2006, I had planned this conversion. I have just finished it. Here are the pictures and the quick guide to what was done during the process.
I used the Stainless Steel Brakes kit number A123-A 2 piston Force 10 kit. It came with everything needed including a new master cylinder and a rear proportioning valve with a gauge. I have not installed the rear proportioning valve yet.
Get car off of ground. Use Jack Stands.
Remove lug nuts.
Remove rim. Notice nasty old drum brakes.
Get a bright light so you can see clearly all the 30 something year old goo that needs to be removed. The light also can act as a bug attractor or a small heater depending....
Remove nasty drum brakes all the way down to the ball joints. This kit came with the new set of spindles and everything. The ball joints on this side were replaced several years ago. You should go ahead and replace them now since they are easily accessible when the spindles are off.
Remove spindle....Now is a good time to clean and paint a little while you have it apart. The jack is holding the spring in place. There are better and safer tools to do this job. This car has small block springs with a big block loaded into it.
Cleaned and painted new spindles. This is not necessary, but it is something that I like to do. Protect the bearing mating surfaces on the spindles until they are installed....especially while painting.
Ah, yes, it is nearly ready for new parts. Note backing plate and original rubber brake hose is still connected. The conversion kit came with new hoses.
They look much better black. Clean them real good before painting, prime them, and they should stay nice and pretty for quite some time.
New spindle is installed. You will spend the most time on this project either painting parts or replacing the ball joints. Everything else is pretty easy and straight foward.
These are the caliper brackets. I decided to prime and paint them black as well. You can use an already primered vehicle as a painting area if you have one.
Caliper Brackets and dust shield installed. Already much cleaner of an installation than the drum brake setup.
Rotor installed after packing some bearings. This kit came with some fresh bearings as well.
Caliper installed on rotor with brake line attached to car.
Reinstall wheel.....Repeat process on other side.
Remove old master cylinder, and replace with the nice new fat one from the kit. My brake line work was just temporary. I wanted to get the car rolling. Bending brake lines is a task of patience. I also have a line lock set up on this car, so there is extra bending involved.
Brake lines rerouted around master cylinder while motor was out of the car. (Dropping in the zz572/720r)
Picture of drivers side completed.
Motor in car with new brakes April 2006.
The car has disc brakes in the front now....Yay.
Went for a drive and the comfort level has definitely increased when mashing the brake pedal. There are still a few kinks to be worked out with the braking system on this car. Mainly the fact that the rear brakes have tightened up too much when backing out of the driveway. They seem to have loosened up a little, but I will double check them and then re-bleed the system to make sure all is well. Overall the project went pretty smooth. It does indeed suck to work so close to the ground, but by taking my time and going slow, I managed to do it without going to the store for five or more times....mainly to get the ball joints and remover/reinstallation tool for the driver's side. Autozone is great for free tool rentals if you were not aware of that. After a day or two of rest I bled the brakes again and they seem to be much better than the old drums. I do not like to work on drum brakes, unless it is to remove them from the car....permanently. The old brakes were put into a couple of boxes and donated to someone who came by and bought my other 1969 Camaro project car.
If you have a car with drum brakes all around, it is a worthwhile investment in upgrading to disc brakes. Whether powered or not, your car will stop smoother and quicker with them. It is a reasonable investment. The Stainless Steel Brake kit I put on was less than $700.00