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Old 01-20-2019, 12:11 PM
NAB NAB is offline
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68 Firebird brake upgrade to C3 corvette calipers vs C6

I'm upgrading to big front brakes and doing it on a budget. I have 18" wheels. I want to improve my road course times and being able to brake better will do it. Is there a reason that C3 calipers wouldn't be as good as C6?

C3 calipers are 4-piston and are low cost.


C6 are 2-piston and cost more.


Are there reasons that the C3 brake wouldn't be a good choice for me? 4 pistons are better than 2 right? One thing I can't figure out is what the largest rotor diameter is that I could use with the C3 caliper.


Last edited by NAB; 01-20-2019 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Adding my wheel diameter
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:18 PM
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Designed for a smaller wheel, and I believe they are smaller piston area as well. Also, the C5/C6 calipers are easy to find bolt on adapters for. The C5's are usually more budget friendly to find used, but they aren't as beefy as the C6.

We converted from stock GM Metric brakes to C5 fronts, and holy moly, night and day.

Almost forgot, if you are running a 'stockish' wheel diameter, then you won't be able to use the C5/C6.
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:27 PM
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You're right about the pistons. Looks like C3 pistons are 1.5" dia and C6 are 1.75" dia. Also looks like when calculating piston area the two C6 pistons are double acting so they act like a 4-piston caliper. So C3 area is 7.06 sq in and C6 is 9.62 sq in, 36% more. But for performance applications individual pistons beat floating calipers.

Still not sure what's the largest rotor diameter a C3 caliper works on.

Brake Upgrade - What Lies Beneath - Vette Magazine

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Old 01-20-2019, 07:20 PM
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If the piston bores on those ebay brakes are not stainless steel lined - they can get you killed. I owned a '66 roadster and after spending a lot of time and effort the only thing that ever fixed those brakes was swapping them for stainless steel units. I think back then the cost was about $220-$250 per corner. I had my oldest child with me in the car one day and this was right after the car had been at the dealer to repair the rubbery brakes on it again and at 55 mph the brakes failed coming up on a panic stopped semi-truck. If there hadn't been a narrow right side to road, I doubt if I would be here now.
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Old 01-20-2019, 09:07 PM
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S/S/S mean stainless steel sleeved...

Lonestar Caliper Co - 1965-1982 Corvette Stainless Steel Sleeved Lipseal Brake Caliper Set - Remanufactured

Still not convinced that these wouldn't be decent cheap road course brakes. What's the biggest rotor I could put these on?
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:02 PM
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no no no no.
C3 brakes suck. They are heavy and flexible. when used for racing the seals will leak, the pads will get tapered and they will fade like a mother.
Use C4 or C5 brakes or wilwood calipers.
or ANYTHING else.

Source I autocrossed a 69 Corvette, then put on good wilwood calipers.

BTW on the corvette some Wilwood calipers can be mounted using a simple 1/4" thick piece of plate steel. the worlds simplest bracket
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Old 02-22-2019, 12:55 PM
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I have driven and worked on C3 to C7 brakes and the money spent on the newer stuff is money very well spent. Reduced unsprung weight and better feel, not to mention stopping. The variety of brake pads available for the C6 make them the winner in my book for any kind of track work. Stock C6 had 18 inch wheels on the front, but you need to be sure that your wheel spokes will clear, this is more of a concern with Z06/ GS brakes (which are outstanding).
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1st gen, brake upgrade, c3 caliper, c6 caliper, f-body

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