1978 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Brake Overhaul - Them's The Brakes!

A Worst-Case Scenario Comes True With The Bat's Mobile.

James Miles Oct 1, 2003 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0310_01_z 1978_chevrolet_corvette_stingray_brake_overhaul Rotors 1/8

Back in December of 2002, almost a year by the time this issue gets into your hands, I made the wise decision to purchase a rough-but-ready '78 Stingray. The would-be-future-project-car came with a decent frame, newer replacement engine (only 5K according to the owner, totaling the mileage at just a hair over 80K) and a shot interior. As expected with a car of that era, the first thing it needed was a brake job. The pedal was spongy at best. The master cylinder was leaking like a sieve. I could tell it wasn't stopping on all fours and just a quick eyeball told me a story about the possible hazards that await should I ignore this area of concern. With a copy of VETTE in my hands, I surfed our advertiser's ads and came across one proudly displaying "Complete Bolt-On Brake Job." With a quick call to Muskegon I soon had everything I needed on the way with their 1967-82 Super Kit. The kit comes complete with a master cylinder and its lines, sleeved calipers, pads, hoses-almost everything I needed to do the job myself. After adding four-corner's worth of rotors, I sat back and waited for the UPS truck.

When the parts arrived, I tore right into the install. I'd done this a hundred times before-what could go wrong? Well, hindsight being 20/20, I should have known better. Saying the '78 had been well taken care of would be an exaggeration of such magnitude that you'd think I was an ex-employee of the New York Times. The original rotors were still factory riveted to the wheel bearings. The last guy to attempt some sort of maintenance had ruined the brake line nuts by using vice-grips on the soft heads. The front driver-side caliper wasn't closing at all, and the brake pad last installed showed no wear-outside the decay from being constantly bathed in Dot 3 brake fluid. The list goes on. I labeled this a worse case scenario and jumped on the phone again. With my safety, and the Vette, at stake, I decided a total rehab was called for. Since I already had Muskegon's stock replacement system in hand, I asked them and Keen for a little more help by providing parking brake materials. And, hey, if I'm going to be replacing everything, I want it to last, right? An order sent through Mid America consisted of brake caliper and rotor paint-say good bye to rust! Speaking of rust, with the master cylinder taking on more water than the Titanic, it was suggested by our friends next door at Barry White's Street Rod Repair Company that the brake lines wouldn't be worth saving even if the damaged heads could be fixed. With that, Classic Tube Fed-Ex'd me everything I needed to get the fluid to the wheels with a complete line kit for Corvettes as well as a line wrench set-no need in repeating someone else's sins. Last, but certainly not least, Corvette Central was given a mission and got right to it by rushing out all the little things I couldn't track down, as well as a good selection of those reasonably priced items that would make my life a lot easier-which included their '68-82 Disc Brake Service And Installation Manual, and the much-required Corvette Assembly Manual for my year of car.

With everything sitting in piles by the Vette, I was ready to rumble-or was I? To find out for certain, read coming issues of VETTE as we present a look into a worse-case scenario as the "Bat's Mobile" gets a new set of lockers.

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