Braking Away: Upgrading the disc brakes on a 68-82 C3 Corvette

Chris Petris Mar 24, 2006 0 Comment(s)

We waited until the last minute to decide which brake calipers toinstall on Project Shark Attack (PSA) and are now glad of it. Once wehad an idea what funds could be allocated to the project, it made senseto install the new Stainless Steel Brake Corporation (SSBC) Force 10Extreme four-piston aluminum calipers.

The new (and we emphasize new) forged aluminum, lightweight calipers arethe first major advancement in '65-'82 Corvette calipers since thesecars were built. The calipers are a fixed-position-type, but the sealingrings ride on the stainless steel caliper pistons instead of the caliperhousing bore. This means if there is a caliper piston seal problem downthe road, they can be replaced without messing with the housing, unlikethe originals.

The SSBC caliper pistons fit tighter in the caliper bore than theirpredecessors so the piston and seals will live longer. An interestingphenomenon occurs as the rotors move slightly from inherentwheel-bearing clearances. It pushes the caliper pistons back into theirbore just enough to eliminate drag. This was the downfall on theoriginal-design calipers, due to the pistons fitting loosely in thecaliper, the pads dragged (slightly) all the time. The other problemwith the original design was the caliper housing bore and seal wear wasaccelerated when the rotors didn't run parallel.

For our project, we were able to include the SSBC Turbo slotted rotorswith the new trick SSBC calipers. SSBC coats their rotors with anXtra-life plating to keep the rotors looking good for many miles. Eventhough the SSBC calipers aren't as particular about rotor parallelism,we checked run-out at each corner before fitting the calipers in place.After the runout check, we proceeded to do the rest of the install.

Once the brakes are bled, have someone apply pressure to the brake pedaland check for leaks. We always go around the car one more time after thebleeding sequence and tighten the bleeders and lines just to be safe.Check the brake pedal feel before leaving the driveway, then take yourCorvette out and break in the disc pads. Three moderate stops from 45mph for five repetitions will seat the pads to the rotors for maximumpedal feel. After the first three sets of stops, make sure you let thepads cool down before doing another set of two stops, until the fiverepetitions are complete. Now you should feel the real difference theSSBC brake system has made to your Corvette.

After putting 8,000-plus miles on Project Shark Attack, we woulddefinitely recommend the SSBC calipers and rotors package. They deliversure, even braking under all road conditions. Over this same timeperiod, there has been no squealing from the disc pads.

All needed hardware is included in the caliper kit: disc pads,anti-rattle clips, shims, mounting bolts, and S/S hoses. It's also aplus to lose some unsprung weight, and, of course, the aluminumcomponents are easier to handle during installation and servicing.

On a final note, the slick, stainless-steel calipers and Xtra-lifeplated rotors sure look good through those five-spoke, 16-inch Corvettewheels on PSA.

Parts List

Front:

Force 10 four-piston aluminum caliper disc-brake kit with 48mm pistons.

Kit includes: front calipers, pads, S/S front brake hoses and allattaching hardware

Rotors: S2311P 12-inch replacement front rotors with Turbo slotting andXtra-life plating

Rear:

Force 10 Extreme four-piston aluminum calipers with 43mm pistons.

Kit includes: rear calipers, pads, S/S rear brake hoses and allattaching hardware

Rotors: S2303 12-inch replacement rear rotor with Turbo slotting

MORE PHOTOS

VIEW FULL GALLERY

COMMENTS

TO TOP