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Old 04-26-2007, 08:41 PM
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72 Nova Front Disc Brake Conversion Help

Guys

I'm already planning next winters upgrades for my 72 Nova. I have 4-wheel drum brakes on that thing. Got the bonus check from my employer and got a few bucks to spend now. I think the kits go for about $650 or so? I want to keep the rear wheel drum brakes and upgrade the fronts to disc. I do NOT have power brakes - just a master cylinder - is that ok? I have a 454 chevy under the hood with tall valve covers - no room for power brake unit IMO.

Anyways, there are probably dozens of aftermarket kits out there - see them in magazines and on website all the time. What should I be looking for? Who should I buy it from? How much should I expect to spend? What other things do I need to consider when doing this - how will it effect the rest of the car - or won't it? Do the kits include "everything" or will I still need to buy other front end parts etc? Any specialty tools required? Looking for somebody that's already done this that can give me some tips

thanks

Lee

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Old 04-26-2007, 09:12 PM
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You can do front disc brake a whole lot cheaper than $650 unless your goiung to 12" rotors or something special. Check out scarebird.com for his brackets. His kits use common parts and the brackets are very nice. I have one of his kits on my car. He specializes is making kits for unpopular cars and can make a kit for just about anything. Great customer service as well.

Since your staying with manual brakes, be sure to get some pads for a manual disc car, not semi-mettalic pads.
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Old 04-26-2007, 09:45 PM
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Oooops ... typed in the wrong link for Hydratech



If you want power brakes, and are worried about booster size ... consider a hydroboost system. They have a very small "footprint" on the firewall ... actually no bigger than the master cylinder.

Another hydroboost benefit is that because the sytem works on hydraulic pressure supplied by a power steering pump ... the booster is not affected by "lumpy" cams and low manifold vacuum.

If your looking for a junkyard solution ...lots of GM trucks (diesels in particular ... but lots of gasoline applications as well) came with them. Astro / Safari as well. Even some passenger cars (again, usually Oldsmobiles with a diesel engine) had them.

Hydratech Braking Systems has brand new custom and universal kits available.

Your local auto parts store (NAPA for sure) can supply reman units, but you will need to make a trip to the junkyard for some of the "add-on" (non-wear) items like brackets, clips, return lines ... and especially the intermediate pushrod, spring, and retainer that fit between the hydrobooster and the master cylinder.


You will also have to either "tee" the return lines to your stock PS pump or swap it out for a reservoir that has 2 return line fittings.



It's a relatively simple swap, very powerful, and reliable too. There is also a pressure accumulator on them that provides "boost" should the engine die suddenly.
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Old 04-27-2007, 01:12 PM
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The 68-74 Nova, 67-69 F-body, and 69-72 A-body spindles and discs are all the same. Only the bolt-on steering arms are changed. More importantly, the only difference between the drum and disc spindles is the threads in the upper tapped hole on the backing plate. The calipers use bolt-on brackets that are available for as low as $39.00 a pair on ebay. The drilling and tapping of the spindle can be done at any machine shop. The rotors, bearings, and calipers are all available as replacement parts at any auto parts store. This whole thing can be done with brand new parts for well under $200.
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:00 PM
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X and F steering arms are also interchangeable. They came in different lengths, though, and left and right need to be the same length. Shorter ones will quicken the steering, and vice-versa. A-body arms will bolt up, but will screw up the steering geometry.

Power brakes are not required. '71 Chevy trucks and Camaros came standard with manual disc brakes, and the power was an option. I converted my '69 Nova to '67 Camaro manual disks, and they worked fine except for the leaky 4-piston calipers. You definitely had to push harder, but they stopped fine, and didn't pull to one side or the other like the drums did. I think you can get smaller-diameter boosters if you feel the need.

Dimensions for the disc spindle conversion machining can be found on the net. Try www.camaros.net (find David Pozzi's site) or www.stevesnovasite.com . Last I heard, the National Nostalgic Nova Club ( www.nnnova.com ) used to sell machined spindles on an exchange basis.
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:14 AM
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Depending on how big of brakes you want , FWIW the Scarebird kit does not require machining the spindles. Although it does use Celebrity calipers and a spacer thats included to go on the spindle .
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:15 PM
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what do you guys think of this kit on ebay? (see link below)

I'm not trying to be "cheap" I have more money to spend if necessary. Just seems like it shouldnt cost more that $300 to $400 for a 2-wheel front disc brake conversion right? I'm not going with "power" brakes, just changing the front drums to disks. All I need are calipers, rotors, spindles, backing plates, bearings, hoses, etc. I see other guys charging over $600 for the same thing. Are their parts any better or are they just charging more? I don't need fancy slotted rotors or painted calipers. My nova gets maybe 500 miles a year on it - not a daily driver. Only driven on weekends on nice summer days. I'd like to buy the cheapest kit available unless you guys think this guy is offering cheap made in china junk or something but his listing makes it sound like it's good quality stuff. Says it uses "GM" parts?

One more thing: I think I will need a new master cylinder (disc/drum) and proportioning valve - Right? That ebay guys wants $104 for both combined. Is that a good deal or should I just go to local auto parts store and purchase cheaper?


http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/68-69...09298104QQrdZ1

Last edited by leejoy; 05-01-2007 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 05-01-2007, 11:29 PM
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The kit looks OK, especially since it has all the hardware that can be hard to find if you don't have access to a donor car. The proportioning valve is a must, and the disc-brake master cylinder is highly recommended. My '69 worked OK with the drum MC, but most recommend the disc/drum part.

Those prop valves are hard to find, and the ones I've seen on-line run ~$100 for just a valve and bracket. Of course, if you can find a '75-'79 Nova in a junkyard, I understand their valves will work on a '72, although they may look different (brass vs iron).

www.rickscamaros.com has some conversion parts, including "mini" kit for those who already have some of the more common parts.
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