Chevy Nova Disc Brake Conversion - Beating The Drums

We Ditch The Outdated Drum Brakes On A '69 Nova And Install A CPP Disc Brake Conversion Kit

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We won't put you to sleep by giving you a blow-by-blow on how to take off the old brakes; just remove all the old stuff until you get to this point. You will need to reuse the steering arm, so put that aside, but all the other parts can go in the circular file. One word of caution when you remove the old spindle: Make sure to support the lower control arm so that the spring doesn't try to launch itself across your shop. This is also a good time to inspect your ball joints and other steering parts for wear.

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With the new dropped spindle secured in place, we bolted on the freshly painted OEM steering arm using the new bolts supplied by CPP.

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We then bolted the new caliper bracket to the CPP spindle. It should be noted that the CPP spindle works with both OEM-style aftermarket and stock brakes. So if you want the two-inch drop but are happy with your stock disc brakes, you can buy just the spindle.

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After packing the hub with loads of bearing grease, we slid it onto the greased spindle. Once in place, we secured it with the supplied hardware and installed the dust cap. Don't overtighten the castle nut. You want it snug, but free spinning. Also, remember the cotter pin. CPP also offers a different hub that will pull the wheel in 7/16 inch if you need the extra clearance.

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Now it was time to slide on the beefy 13-inch rotor. The extra mass of the larger rotor will really pay off in the braking department, especially after repeated heavy action. The rotors are directional, so make sure you have them on the correct side. The slots, like the venting, help cool the rotors as well as provide a space for heat and gas to escape, thus improving braking performance. The slots also help clean the area between the pad and the rotor surface. The holes are mostly for looks, and the zinc coating will keep rust out of the equation.

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Lastly, we bolted the CPP caliper to the bracket and then attached the new brake lines that came in the kit. To save cash, we opted for rubber, but for an additional $49 per pair, we could have upgraded to braided lines. With the left side done, we repeated the installation on the right side. Everything bolted together rather simply, and the front install, not including bleeding, took us a leisurely three hours.

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Converting the rear drum brakes to disc on our Chevy was a bit more work than the front since the axles needed to come out. Oh well, at least it was a good excuse to change the old differential fluid. We pulled the cover, removed the C-clips, then removed the drum assembly and the axle. CPP provides new brake hard lines and rear e-brake cables, so remove those as well.

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With the axletube bare, we could now bolt on our new caliper bracket and reinstall the axle. Take a moment to check your axle bearings for wear.

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We installed the new 12-inch CPP rotor and used a couple of 7/16-inch nuts to hold it in place. Having a rotor this big fall on your foot would, for lack of a better word, suck.

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Next up was bolting on the rear caliper. CPP includes several shims with its kit so we could make sure the caliper properly lined up with the rotor. In our case, the rotor was dead center with the caliper. It was all sunshine and rainbows until we realized we forgot to install the new wheel studs included in the kit. Since the rotor hat is 1/8-inch thicker than the old drum, CPP feels that 1/8-inch-longer wheel studs are the safer way to go, and who are we to argue. We pulled the caliper back off, removed the axle, and installed the new studs. At least we caught it before buttoning up the rear end.


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