There is a treacherous mix of vehicles on the roads today. Everything from SUVs, trucks, muscle cars, and modern econo-boxes are all sharing the same increasingly crowded stretch of asphalt. The biggest problem with all these different age and types of vehicles is the huge discrepancy in braking performance. While acceleration is king with any self-respecting grease monkey, it's usually not the reason for bumper-to-bumper contact. Let us put it in perspective for you. The car we used for this four wheel disc brake upgrade is a '66 Bel Air that came with factory drum brakes at all four corners. This mid-'60s land yacht weighs in at almost 4,000 pounds and took 210.38 feet to stop from 60 mph. Most newer cars on the road have disc brakes and anti-lock systems, which puts their stopping distance around 160 feet or less. So imagine the outcome if you were behind one of these vehicles when they decided to slam on the brakes. We want the Bel Air to stay nice so shortening the stopping distance was a must if this car is going to be used for anything more that putting around the parking lot. We contacted Stainless Steel Brake Corp. (SSBC) and had it ship out a complete disc conversion, which we coupled with high performance Nitto tires and new Cragar rims. Once everything was installed, the car will have a fighting chance out on the road, and our test data proved it. During the testing, the brakes were working so well we were fighting wheel lockup, proving to us we are at the limits of traction. The Bel Air now comes to a halt in 181.00 feet, shaving 29.38 feet from the overall stopping distance. That could be the difference between just calling the guy in front of you some sort of expletive or calling your insurance company to report a claim. Here are the components for the front of the car. It's SSBC's TriPower three-piston, drum to disc conversion kit with 2-inch forged drop spindles and 13-inch rotors (PN W129-40). The kit comes complete with all the necessary hardware needed for the job. The drop spindles will lower the ride height for improved handling thanks to the lower center of gravity, but will push out the wheels almost a 1/2-inch per side-keep that in mind when ordering wheels. The spindles use the factory steering arms for easy steering hook up. The heart of the kit is the 3-piston aluminum calipers and 13-inch Turbo slotted and drilled rotors. The calipers feature a lightweight aluminum body filled with three 43mm stainless steel pistons that help insulate the brake fluid against fade-inducing heat. Also, they use standard off the shelf pads for easy replacement. The larger rotors give the new calipers a better leverage advantage and combined with the extra clamping force, you can start to see why we needed these on the Bel Air. Here are the components for the front of the car. It's SSBC's TriPower three-piston, drum Since we don't need as much braking force out back as we do up front we went with the Sport R1 Drum To Disc kit for C-clip style rear ends (PN A125-27). This kit features a floating Sport R1 Single-Piston aluminum caliper with built in parking brake. This caliper clamps down on 11.5-inch drilled and turbo slotted rotors. It also comes complete with everything you will need for the conversion and also uses off the shelf pads. Since we don't need as much braking force out back as we do up front we went with the Spor This car will have multiple engines stuffed underhood and some will definitely have low vacuum, so we figured if we could get this monster to stop on manual brakes then it would definitely stop if it was equipped with a booster. Because we are changing to manual brakes we picked up a new 1-inch bore master cylinder and a universal adjustable pushrod kit. Manual brakes require a smaller bore master compared to power brakes to produce the right amount of pressure. The push rod accommodates eyelet, clevis and bell crank style pushrod setups and includes adapters for 10 common pushrod configurations. This car will have multiple engines stuffed underhood and some will definitely have low va A set of 17-inch or larger diameter rims and tires were needed to clear the new brakes and we wanted something that looked period correct, but still offered the size and offset we needed. Enter the 612 series two-piece Super Sports from Cragar. Not only do the wheels have that classic five-spoke design, they also have more backspacing range than we need. Up front we went with a 17x8 with 4-inches of backspace (up to 45/8-inch is available). For the rears we went bigger and picked up a set of 17x9.5 with 5 inches backspace (up to 65/8-inch is available). Looking back, we should have ordered the rears with 51/2 inches of backspacing; luckily, a small spacer fixed our bad measuring job. Rims are nothing more than something pretty to look at unless they are shod with some tires. To make the best use of the new braking performance, we wrapped the rims with Nitto's NT420 tires, 225/50R17 up front and 275/50R17 out back. The NT420 feature a treadwear of 300, so they will have more grip over the previous tires. A set of 17-inch or larger diameter rims and tires were needed to clear the new brakes and To start, the car was strapped to the lift and Jason Scudellari proceeded to tear down the front. He removed the brake assembly and spindle as a complete unit, then removed the steering arm on the bench. After cleaning off years worth of road grime, the steering arms got a fresh coat of black paint. To start, the car was strapped to the lift and Jason Scudellari proceeded to tear down the The forged 2-inch drop spindles were bolted up to the stock ball joints. This is a great time to replace the ball joints if they show any signs of wear. Ours were OK. After the spindle was in place, Jason bolted up the freshly painted steering arms with the provided counter sunk hardware and reattached the steering linkage. The forged 2-inch drop spindles were bolted up to the stock ball joints. This is a great t The bolts were torqued to specifications laid out in the instructions. There will be a lot of new hardware being installed and everything will be torqued, so if you plan on doing this conversion make sure to have a torque wrench on hand before you start. The bolts were torqued to specifications laid out in the instructions. There will be a lot 1 | 2 | 3 | » | View Full Article By Calin Head Enjoyed this Post? 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