Rear Disc Brake Conversion - two trucks 79 & 96 - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:30 AM
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Rear Disc Brake Conversion - two trucks 79 & 96

I've got two trucks that I need to do rear brake work on. One is a 79 Chevy. It has a full floating 14 bolt axle that I am putting under it. Its work to take the thing apart to replace the brakes (axles have to come out), which are drums that I HATE and can never get right. There are brackets on ebay that bolt on and will allow the use of factory parts to put disc brakes on the rear. I feel this will give a much nicer pedal (no adjustment to worry about which is where I seem to have the most problems at, they never seem to stay adjusted or auto adjust like they should and I cant be mixing the sides all up on every brake i ever work on) So. I think I can do this swap easily. The other truck is a 96 Chevy. 14 bolt semi floating axle. Not as hard to work on, but still it needs brake work and I cant get them to work right either it seems. The pedal on everything has to go down farther that id like before they start working. I've driven 4 wheel disc brake vehicles and they have a nice firm pedal and great stopping power.

Now the question is, is it worth it and does it work like it should?

The kits I see use mid 70s caddy rear calipers which have a built in parking brake. They say you can also use FRONT calipers from a mid 70s 4x4 chevy truck which is also what you get rotors for. The problem i have is that i've heard the caddy calipers are crappy and failure prone. The truck calipers would be fine but that means no parking brake.

The best thing about this kit is the parts are all available at the parts stores. I wouldnt have to order special pads from the internet somewhere for an aftermarket brake conversion (like wilwood or something)

What are your thoughts on this swap? anyone done it?

Just a bit more info. Trucks will be used to tow trailers. The 79 is getting a 454 and right now has a TH400 but thinking about a built 700r4. It has a 4.10 gear and of course the 14 bolt full floating axle. Not posi right now but will be soon. The 96 has a 6.5 diesel with a 4L80E and a 14 bolt semi floating axle with, sadly, 3.42 gears and a crappy gov lock posi (will be true track someday). I think the rear disc brakes would help the trucks tremendously both pulling trailers and not. (I do have electric brakes for the trailer but i still get some pulling to one side due to misadjustment of the brakes on the trucks that I can never get right)

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Old 01-08-2010, 06:31 AM
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The Caddy calipers are GARBAGE, I was working for a Chevy dealer back then, and they did redesigns on parts for them at least 6 times, never did get it right, I'd look at upgrading to later model disc brakes with a separate E-brake.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:20 AM
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i think you should stick with rthe drums heres a little trick for you , after adjusting the drums pump the pedal a few time then re adjust the brakes helps to center up the shoes keep doing this till its hard to turn the drum then back off a bit some drag is to be expected
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:22 AM
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(this is spoken without a negro dialect)

my truck is on a 79 frame. this conversion you are talking about is only gonna be good if you are using the booster/master cylinder and porportioning valve off a truck that came from the factory with the 14 bolt rear end.

yes the bracket is all you need. you may have to grind a hump off the calipers or maybe not. if you dont have all the extra 1979 type stuff you will probably have issues and at least will have to get an adjustable porportioning valve to make them work.

my truck stops on a dime and gives you back change. well worth it. but i didn't have to do anything other than replace the drums with a disc brake kit, which was all stock stuff like you said, except for the bracket.

i don't know dick about the 1995 rig.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:02 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I can get the 3/4 ton MC and parts no problem. How does the pedal feel on your truck? Does it begin to slow the truck down the moment you hit the pedal or does it sink down a bit and then start slowing it down? I drove an 08 1 ton with rear disc a few times and since disc brakes have almost no clearance between the pads and the rotors, the truck has virtually no give in the pedal before it begins to slow down.

My truck, even with the drums adjusted too tight, there is still some give in the pedal before the brakes start working. Id like to eliminate that and of course the hassle that the drum brakes are anyways. There are many reason, less brake fade, no need for manual adjustment, better stopping power, etc etc. But mainly id like the brakes to come on quicker like that one ton.
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