We've gone about this a little bit backwards: we fitted the Crossfire Z with all the best components from Hotchkis to improve the handling and help it get around the corners as quickly and safely as possible. But before we can really put the car through its paces on the windy roads of the foothills, we needed to make sure that we get it stopped. You just can't dive into a corner by simply decelerating; if you want to wring it out, you've gotta have the hoofs to slow it down quickly. Since we've attacked this project trying to keep things somewhat affordable, we're going to stay with the stock rear drum brakes for now. So, the logical place to begin is on the front. While we contemplated a simple pad and rotor upgrade, once we put a pencil to paper, we figured that the Stainless Steel Brake Company's (SSBC) Quick Change Aluminum Caliber Upgrade Kit we've had our eyes on would be worth the extra expense. Besides, nothing says "cool" like a set of aluminum calibers peeking out from behind the spokes of your billet wheels. Add a set of slotted, and cross-drilled rotors like SSBC's new Big Bites and the "Wow Factor" is complete. The SSBC front Quick Change caliper kit is designed to work with the factory spindles, brake hoses, and rotors with no modifications. The company claims that it can be installed by anyone that has replaced a caliper on their car before. The Upgrade Kit (#A181 $495) comes complete with a pair of SSBC's Force 10 Sport Twin 2-piston forged-aluminum calipers (you have your choice of seven different powder-coated colors as well as a highly-polished finish), high-performance carbon metallic brake pads, and all of the necessary fasteners. To complete the installation, we added an Earl's Hyperfirm stainless steel brake hose kit (#28A090ERL $71.95), which also comes with the rear line. This is always a worthwhile and cost-effective upgrade to the stock rubber hoses. Like everything else on our 140,000-mile smog-motored wonder, these front brakes and rotors have seen better days. Like everything else on our 140,000-mile smog-motored wonder, these front brakes and rotor Source Interlink Tech Center Director Jason Scudellari employs his trusty Snap-on swivel ratchet to remove the stock caliber bolts. Source Interlink Tech Center Director Jason Scudellari employs his trusty Snap-on swivel r One good thing about working with a car with lots of miles is everything has plenty of clearance. The stock calibers slipped off without the slightest struggle. One good thing about working with a car with lots of miles is everything has plenty of cle Our next step was to remove the rotors. Begin by removing the wheel bearing castle nut. Don't forget to pull out the cotter pin first. You'd have quite the battle on your hands if you didn't. Don't laugh, we've heard of it being done before. Our next step was to remove the rotors. Begin by removing the wheel bearing castle nut. Do Like most of this installation, everything was pretty straightforward: the rotors slid right off, so don't lose your grip on this. Cast iron doesn't bounce too well and it (and you) will make an awful noise if it lands on your foot. Since we were going to replace the stock rubber hoses it was okay to leave the caliper hanging on them. You wouldn't want to stress your hoses with the weight of the caliper if you intend to reuse them. Like most of this installation, everything was pretty straightforward: the rotors slid rig It goes without saying that we replaced the old wheel bearings. We actually even remembered to make the trip to Pep Boys to purchase a fresh can of grease, the bearings, and a new set of seals before we started. We did, however, forget to buy new cotter pins and dust covers. Remember, your new bearings will come out of the box dry. To properly distribute grease in the bearing, place a glob of the lube in the palm of your bare hand. Push the bearing into the grease and against your hand until it forces it out through the needles. Do it all the way around the bearing for full coverage. It goes without saying that we replaced the old wheel bearings. We actually even remembere Its never a good idea to mix new pads with old, shoddy rotors. If yours are still in workable condition, spend a few extra bucks and have them turned by a reputable machine shop. We stepped up to a set of SSBC's new cross-drilled and slotted Big Bite rotors (#23046AA3L&R $126 ea.). We felt that using the forged-aluminum calipers with the old stock rotors would have been like wearing new dress shoes with a pair of grease-stained Dickies. That just wouldn't fly. We prepped the new races (installed from the factory) with a liberal coat of high-temp disc brake wheel bearing grease. Its never a good idea to mix new pads with old, shoddy rotors. If yours are still in worka After thoroughly cleaning the spindle, we re-installed the rotor. The slots in the rotor provide much-needed airflow to both cool and clean the rotor. Beware when installing, as the rotors are specific to each side. Thankfully SSBC clearly marks them so they're difficult to confuse. As you can see, we re-used the stock backing plate. One nice thing about the SSBC kit is that it utilizes all of the stock components. After thoroughly cleaning the spindle, we re-installed the rotor. The slots in the rotor p Carefully seat and install the new wheel seals with a rubber mallet. Remember to install the inner wheel bearing first! We've made that mistake more than once. And no, the bearing won't fit through the seal after it's installed. Carefully seat and install the new wheel seals with a rubber mallet. Remember to install t Once the rotor was in place we installed the pre-lubed outer wheel bearing followed by a washer, castle nut and new cotter pin. You'll want to tighten the nut by hand as far as you can, then use a wrench or Channel Locks to run it down further as you spin the rotor with your other hand. Tighten it a little at a time until you feel the bearing begin to bind. This will help seat the bearing and force out any excess grease. Once the rotor was in place we installed the pre-lubed outer wheel bearing followed by a w Back the nut off until the rotor is just loose and the cotter pin lines up with one of the slots in the nut. Back the nut off until the rotor is just loose and the cotter pin lines up with one of the The new rotors are installed and ready to roll. Reusing the old bearing dust covers doesn't hurt anything but you'll want to fill them about half full of grease before installing. The new rotors are installed and ready to roll. Reusing the old bearing dust covers doesn' It's best to preassemble the calipers on the bench. These clips are provided to conveniently hold the pads into place. Like everything else in the SSBC kit, the brake pads are the same configuration as the stock pieces. It's best to preassemble the calipers on the bench. These clips are provided to convenient If you needed to purchase new pads in a pinch, you could go to any auto parts store and buy the same ones that came stock on the car to get you home. Of course you would want to get a new set of the SSBC high performance pads back on the car the first chance you got. If you needed to purchase new pads in a pinch, you could go to any auto parts store and bu Time to bolt on the pretty pieces. Remove the stock brake hoses from the fender well bracket. Try this little trick to loosen brake hoses, especially like those on our Camaro that have never been removed: tighten the hoses a bit first and then attempt to break them loose. They should come apart easily without twisting and distorting the bracket. Remove the stock brake hoses from the fender well bracket. Try this little trick to loosen The new Earl's stainless hoses made a nice transition into the stock frame mounted lines. The hoses had provisions that let them fit right back into the stock mounting brackets. A slight tap from a brass hammer was necessary to persuade the mounting clip to re-seat in the collar of the hose, holding it in the bracket. Note the yellow tag clearly marking the line as the "right front." We do love those efficient companies that dummy-proof everything. The hoses had provisions that let them fit right back into the stock mounting brackets. A The spindle side of the line needed a bit of a "pinch" in order to secure it against the mounting collar on the brake hose. The spindle side of the line needed a bit of a "pinch" in order to secure it against the m Here we are, all buttoned up and almost ready for action. Having the luxury and safety of a rack allows you to run the car and bleed the brakes with the wheels still removed. It took us about six or seven cycles to get the brakes bled and pumped up. Having the luxury and safety of a rack allows you to run the car and bleed the brakes with We love our Billet Specialties Apex-G wheels, but they've never looked better than when they got highlighted by the bright red SSBC caliper and zinc plated Big Bite rotor. We love our Billet Specialties Apex-G wheels, but they've never looked better than when th Burn 'em InHaving just completed one of the simplest and most straight forward installations of an aftermarket part that we've ever done, we were real anxious to get the car to the track and see how the SSBC's measured up to the stock units. While we did make it out to the track, the new rotors require 200 miles of driving before the zinc is properly worn off of the rotors and the new carbon metallic pads are correctly bedded in. So, as of this writing, we haven't made any banzai test stops. We'll report on our findings in the next issue. Until then, we'll just enjoy the newfound aesthetics that the billet brakes have brought to our disco-era beauty. Sources:Stainless Steel BrakesCorporationBillet Specialties800.448.7722 877.240.4185www.ssbrakes.comwww.billetspecialties.com  Earl'sHotchkis Performance 310.609.1602888.735.6425 www.holley.comwww.hotchkis.net By Joe Rode Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!