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Four Way Stop

Rear Disc Brakes Add Performance and Style

Jun 26, 2002

With the turn of the new millennium, the "high-tech" theme has firmly integrated itself into the automotive aftermarket and onto many vintage machines. Simply stated, more and more late-model technology is finding its way onto the chassis of early American musclecars.

Some of the more popular high-tech upgrades are disc brake conversions. The binders on most early cars were not very good, to say the least, for the level of performance of some of today's pavement-pounding boulevard bruisers.

For serious performance enthusiasts, front and rear disc brakes have become a necessity. For canyon carvers and g-Machines, rear discs are one of those additions that go a long way in helping a car builder attain his or her goals. Performance improvements aside, they look really trick, especially on a 30-year-old hot rod.

The rear disc system we will be installing is the latest setup from Wilwood. It is a completely bolt-on rear assembly that features solid, one-piece rotors with an integral drum parking brake. Gone is the need for an additional caliper as an emergency brake. The new kit uses an aluminum caliper bracket, which incorporates the two-shoe drum assembly that is bolted onto the rearend housing in place of the backing plate.

Installation is a breeze: Once the new caliper bracket is bolted in place of the stock backing plate, the axles are slipped back into their axle tubes, the new rotors are placed over the studs, the trick Dynalite calipers are fit in place, and you're finished. The only things left to do are slip the brake pads in, install a proportioning valve into the brake line system, and plumb the calipers to the existing brake lines; then you're ready for the improved stopping power and awesome, high-tech looks these binders provide.

If it sounds too easy, it is. The whole install took about two hours to complete. Of course, we were fortunate to locate a 12-bolt that was out of a car, so it would be easier for you to see how the Wilwood kit was installed. You'll more than likely do the swap with the rear in place, but anyway you look at it, this system adds a new dimension to a classic hot rod. Plus, there are no extras needed to mount up parking brake. It comes pre-assembled to the backing plate or caliper bracket. It is just a simple part you take out of the box and bolt on.


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The rear disc brake unit from Wilwood comes fully prepared as a "bolt-on" high-performance system. The backing plates/caliper brackets come assembled with the inner drum parking brake. The standard setup is with a solid rotor. Vented, drilled, and slotted rotors are also available.

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You start by removing the cover and pulling the axle pin bolt.

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Next, remove the axle pin. This should slide straight out. Make sure that you do not tamper with the spider gears when doing this.

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With the axle pin removed, you will be able to push the axle farther into the housing. This will make it possible to remove the C-clips. Again, be careful not to drop a C-clip.

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Now that the C-clips have been removed, you will be able to slide out the axle.

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We opted to prep and paint the ends of the housing before installing the new backing plate/caliper bracket/parking brake. Wilwood has combined all three into one assembly.

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The new backing plate will line up on the axle flange just like the old backing plate. Use the same four bolts you took off for installing this new assembly.

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When the axle is removed, you are able to reach the four bolts at the axle flange. You must hold both the bolt and nut in order to remove it.

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With all four bolts removed, pull the backing plate off. The nice part about this is you don't have to remove the old drum brakes.

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With the new backing plate assembly bolted down you can slip the axle back in.

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Make sure that the axle has been pushed in all the way, and put the C-clip back in its place.Make sure that the axle has been pushed in all the way, and put the C-clip back in its place.

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To install the pin you must first pull the axles back out until they dead stop. If not done, you can't push the pin all the way through.

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With pin pushed in, install and tighten the retaining bolt. Now that you are finished on the inside, you can put the cover back on.

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We are going to use an aluminum, studded differential cover from TA Products. This stud will push down on the axle bearing caps for added rigidity.

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This aluminum cover also adds some eye appeal. It affixes to the rear end via Allen-headed bolts with AN-flat washers.

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The caliper will only fit over the rotor one way. Slide it over the rotor and line up the holes. 654The caliper will only fit over the rotor one way. Slide it over the rotor and line up the holes.

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Make sure that the calipers are firmly bolted in place.

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With the cover bolted in place, screw the stud down until you feel it has pressure against the bearing cap and tighten up the jamb nut.

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You can now install the rotors. Once the correct bolt pattern was found, they slipped right into place.

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The brake pads will slide in from the top to align with holes at the top of the caliper.

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Slide the cotter pin through the caliper and the brake pads. Fold the ends out alongside the caliper. The Dynalite caliper offers easy access for brake pad swaps.

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Remove the sticker from the back of the caliper. This is where the brake line fitting screws into the caliper. You are still able to use hard-line if you want; we chose to use stainless, braided flex lines.

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When installing aluminum fittings into aluminum calipers, make sure you use Teflon tape. That way, you will be able to remove them if necessary. Make sure not to over-tighten these fittings, but also be sure that they seal.

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Attach the new stainless steel brake lines.

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Here is the completed differential. Not only will these brakes drastically improve the car's braking prowess, they really look good hanging off the sides of this 12-bolt. The TA cover definitely helped in the improvement of cool, too.


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