Chevelle Brakes - Whoa Down

Installing a Hard-Stopping, Hydroboosted Four-Wheel Disc Brake System

John Nelson Feb 26, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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Wheeler had already unbolted the sway bar from the spindle, so all that remained was to extricate the spindle/rotor/caliper assembly. Wheeler placed a jack under the lower control arm and lowered it until the loosened top ball joint was free; he then lifted the works up and off the lower ball joint (which had also already been loosened).

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POL's big brake kits rely on the tried-and-true PBR 38mm dual-piston aluminum caliper. These calipers were first introduced on the '96 Corvette Grand Sport and have been a staple for brake swappers ever since. They're a full floating design, lightweight yet rigid, and feature fins to help disperse braking heat. POL loads them up with Raybestos HP brake pads. Ceramic pads, polished calipers, and braided-stainless lines are available as options; we went for the upgraded hoses.

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The difference between the old-school one-piston caliper and the considerably more modern two-piston PBR unit is striking, but we took this shot to highlight the modifications necessary to adapt a factory spindle to the big-brake configuration. POL utilizes a special fixture that allows it to cut off the old caliper ears and correctly drill the new holes for attaching the caliper cage, properly aligning the caliper every time. Stock height and drop spindle setups are available.

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Much as we'd like to get into an extensive explanation of how the new brake system is installed, it really isn't necessary. POL's big brake kits come fully assembled: The hub, bearings, studs, drilled and slotted Raybestos HP rotors (we upgraded to zinc plated), and calipers are all in place on a powerdercoated caliper for your application (setups are available for Tri-5s, '58-70 B-bodies, '62-79 Novas, '67-81 Camaros, and '64-72 Chevelles). All Wheeler had to do was bolt the new spindle into the spot just vacated by the old setup, reattach the swaybar, and hook up the stainless brake line. Looks good, yes?

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After repeating the front brake swap on the driver side, we moved out back. The car is equipped with Hotrods to Hell's Truckarm rear suspension, as you can see, but the car's original 12-bolt rearend and drum brakes (albeit with really long studs) are equally in evidence. The downward force created under braking with a Truckarm setup allowed this Chevelle to make the most of its non-power drum binders; still, there was room for improvement.

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