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Disk Brake Conversion Kit

This is a discussion on Disk Brake Conversion Kit within the Wheels, Rims, and Tires forums, part of the Tech Forums category; Has anyone out there had experiences with the disk brake conversion kit for pre-1965 Thunderbirds -- or, for that matter, ...

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  #1 (permalink)   IP: 72.91.12.86
Old 10-04-2014, 12:04 AM
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Question Disk Brake Conversion Kit

Has anyone out there had experiences with the disk brake conversion kit for pre-1965 Thunderbirds -- or, for that matter, any car?

I really feel like I've had enough with the brakes on my 64. I know that when new, the Thunderbirds were not known for having very good brakes; in fact they were among the worst. In 1965 they went with front disks, and suddenly went from the worst to the best.

Part of the problem is a very sticky feel to the brakes. It seems there is a certain threshold, from light brakes to heavy brakes. No in between. Sometimes it sticks -- and I can tap on the pedal to unstick it. All hoses and lines are new, cylinders are new, booster is new; it's all been inspected again and again, everyone says the brakes are great but I still hate them. My guess at this point is master cylinder, but I'm getting tired of spending time and money for brakes that aren't exactly ideal even if perfect.

The rest of the problem is the fact that I've gotta hold the steering wheel hard to prevent swerving if I suddenly have to brake hard. THIS I believe is simply normal, part of having drum brakes in the first place.

As for conversion kits, how well do they perform? Do they indeed, as advertised, fit on the car with no additional mods? Will original 64 wheels fit? I've just bought a set of Tru-Spoke wires; it would be a shame for them to not fit. Are pads easily replaceable, and available -- or do I have to special-order them from Taiwan? Will the brakes feel like "normal" cars, or do I need to pull a string and hold my mouth just right and yell Ollie-Ollie-otsenfree to stop the car? Bottom line, will I actually be better off getting this kit, or am I trading one headache for another?

I want to hear your experiences.
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  #2 (permalink)   IP: 71.105.120.42
Old 10-04-2014, 11:10 AM
 
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brakes

yes I put disk brakes on my 1956 ford fairlane and they work grate.
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  #3 (permalink)   IP: 72.91.12.86
Old 10-04-2014, 11:26 AM
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To moderators:

For whatever strange reason I'm having serious trouble reading this thread.

I got an e-mail stating there's a reply from Tompu, but when I clicked to read it the only thing I could read was my own message. There are ads on the page -- I have no problem whatsoever with ads, but they change every two seconds and when that happens, I cannot scroll down to see even half of my own message.

I DID read Tompu's response, but only by posting a reply myself. The screen stabilized and I was able to read it.

Suggestions?

Moderators, feel free to erase this response if you wish after you've read it.
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  #4 (permalink)   IP: 99.224.58.167
Old 10-05-2014, 01:54 PM
 
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Gary, I know you've been investigating this for some time, and certainly you are free to spend as much on your car in whatever way you wish, but I'm not aware of the type of failures you are having as being very widespread. I have never experienced the type of poor brake performance you describe, and am not aware of anyone I know having the issue. I believe the brakes were fairly common across the full sized Ford line at that time and have never seen anything saying 1964 Tbirds were much worse than others.
My understanding is that the move to disc brakes was more because of fade and repeated stopping performance not initial stopping power. There is a heck of a lot more friction surface area in brake shoes than disc pucks. Remember, braking is really only the conversion of rotational energy to heat. Discs dissipate that heat a lot better.

One thought is the famous reverse photo in the shop manual for the rear brakes. If someone installs them using the manual as a guide, they will be backwards and cause some of the issues you describe.

Even if you convert to front discs, you will still have quite a bit of the existing system.

Just some thoughts
Terry
64HT
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Old 02-12-2017, 04:51 PM
 
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Yes, I put them on my 55 but left the booster off due to size and they work perfectly. You need to have a proportioning valve to get them set just right tho. I had to remove the rear axle and turn the hub down some and install new studs.
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:32 PM
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Actually I still have the drums. I have yet to totally determine what this sticky feel is. I've replaced the booster, and had this booster rebuilt, no change. Shop after shop can't find the problem. One shop finally found a rubber part rubbing somewhere around the brake pedal -- huge improvement but not perfect. The last shop improved it some more, and said he simply adjusted the brakes themselves (aren't they self-adjusting? Did someone mess with it?). Right now, brakes feel good but If I drive for awhile (either traffic or highway) the brakes will start to feel a little sticky again. Not bad, but just a little.

I'd hate to replace with disks and still have the problem. Strange one.
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