63-65 Riv Disc Brake conversions

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Personally - I would keep my rear drums.  They're fairly large, and I can keep the stock emergency brake.  Good front discs are all I need to be able to drive this car somewhat hard.

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Some time ago over on the Team Buick site, I came across a thread on installing the larger front aluminum drums on the rear axle.  It involved removal of a lip on the drum and use of mid 50's rear backing plates to allow use of the wider shoes and drums.  I haven't been able to find it recently.  I think that Tom Telesco has some knowledge about this swap.



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Glad you chimed in Ed. I prefer to keep things simple plus we don't have a lot of donor cars downunder.

The rear disc brake kit will have a built-in drum brake for the emergency brake and the existing cable will attach. 15" rims won't be an issue either because the twin-spot billet caliper is a smaller.

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I have done Disc brake conversions on my 57 Olds. and my 64 Riviera.

Used Scarebird on both. No problem, brakes work great.

Also changed to duel master cyl, and booster.

See list of parts used for the 64 Rivera brake conversion below from Scarebird.


Rocket 88





Read instructions thoroughly twice.

  1. Crack front wheel nuts loose, chock up rear wheels.  Jack up front end of car, support crossmember with jackstands.  Remove front wheels and drum/hub assembly.
  2. Disconnect brake flexible line at frame by spraying with penetrant oil, then unscrewing hardline nut with flare wrench, then removing clip.  Undo lower drum backing plate nuts, and remove drum bolts.  Remove drum backing plate and all drum hardware in one assembly.  Clean off spindle assembly
  3. Slip adapter plate down over spindle with caliper opening to the rear and machined pocket engaging spindle boss. Bracket will fit between spindle and steering arm.
  4. Insert supplied top bolt and lock washer loosely, then reinsert lower bolts. Now torque upper bolt to 90 ft-lbs. and then torque lowers to 75 ft-lbs.
  5. (1961-64 only) Drive out 14mm x 1.5 studs out of rotors, and press in Moser 8368 (1.75”) or 8250 (1.938”) or equivalent studs.  NAPA also has 641-3204 (1-5/8”) or 641-1112 (1-15/16” use with ¼” wheel spacer only unless you chase the threads further down the stud).  I usually lube up the splines and threads with anti-seize, then press (do not hammer) studs into place.  Check to make sure studs are straight and fit inside wheel.  1965 Riviera will not need to change studs.
  6. Clean and repack wheel bearings.  Insert inner bearing into rotor, and install new seal.  Assemble rotor onto spindle, along with bearing and washer, then tighten outer nut to spec, then secure with keeper, new cotter pin and new dustcap.
  7. Wipe down rotor with alcohol, lacquer thinner or other cleaner to remove grease and oils.
  8. Wash hands! Rotor must be squeaky clean
  9. Test fit hoses on calipers.  Note how hose kicks in towards caliper to clear sway bar.  You may need to take an angle grinder to “flatten” the caliper where circled for clearance.  Make sure clearance is visible – if it hangs up the hose will leak.  Do not grind into sealing surface – be cautious and patient.  Carefully remove rubber sleeve on hoses with knife.  Hose should run straight down from caliper
  10. Install loaded caliper with bleed screw facing up, and lube contact areas with silicone grease then screw in slide bolts, tighten to 35 foot-pounds. (1961-64 only) Note the third picture – the outer pads will contact the rotor slightly – a moment with a bench grinder will radius it enough to clear. (1965 Riviera should clear fine).  We recommend using the softest pads you can find for street use, like NAPA’s TruStop organic.  Pads are the same application as calipers.  Check fitment and rotate rotor to check clearance.
  11. Hoses should run down from caliper as shown in first illustration, then up to hardline, forming a “J”.  Install new hoses with copper crush washers then reconnect to hard line.  Some hardlines may have a 7/16” nut – if so, you will need to use NAPA #7828 adapter, or cut off flare, insert 3/8” nut then reflare. Master cylinder and proportioning valve specs are quite varied.  I would recommend 1971-76 Riviera or similar disc master cylinder for best performance match available in both power and manual flavors.  Some have used the existing single chamber master cylinder with success.  If rear brakes lock up excessively, plumb in an adj. prop. valve in the line going to the rear.
  12. Bench bleed disc master cylinder, mount on car.  Gravity bleed first, then pressure/pump bleed entire system and test.  You will need to reset the toe-in. Count number of threads per inch at the tie rod sleeve.  Divide by 8.  This is the number of turns your sleeve needs to be spun to shorten the distance to make up for the thickness of the bracket.
  13. Replace wheels, torque wheel nuts, lower car and carefully test.  We use the 30-30-30 method to break in pads: 30 easy stops from 30mph with 30 seconds cooling between stops.  Then let cool ½ hour.




Part                            Application                           NAPA             Wagner         Raybestos               

Rotor (1961-64)       1995-99 GM ½ ton 2WD front       86258             BD125206     56258

Rotor (65 Riviera)   1971-76 Riviera front                     85537             BD60258       5006

Caliper, LH                1971-76 Cadillac Deville front     SE4631          CR83264       FRC4080

Caliper, RH               1971-76 Cadillac Deville front     SE4630          CR83265       FRC4079

Hydraulic hose       1977 Riviera front                           36797             F97664          BH36797

Inner Bearing          1971-76 Riviera                               BR5                BCA A5         SKF CBR5

Outer Bearing          1971-76 Riviera                               BR3                BCA A3         SKF CBR3

Wheel Seal               1977 Riviera front                           19753                  BCA Part # 8871

Dust Cap                  1971-76 Riviera                               BK7302438        Dorman 13977

Banjo Bolt                1971-76 Riviera                               82698             Dorman # 4842061


Scarebird Classic Brakes LLC  10 June, 2009  Rev B


RIV B16 Brackets, Upper bolts(9/16-18 HHCS full), SAE banjo bolts, Cotter pins, Hose locks





IMG_0429 (800x600).jpg

IMG_0417 (800x600).jpg

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Thanks for the pictures. Which master cylinder did you use? Was it recommended by Scare Bird?



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Most of the guys doing this will use the master cylinder for a '67 Buick with the disk brake option.  It can be purchased at any of your local jobbers.  Just make sure that you get the one that says disc/drum not drum/drum.  It will bolt right to the '63/'64/'65 booster.  There are other threads on this forum that explain which, if any, gaskets and/or O-rings are needed.



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Hi Guys,

We fitted our kit to a 66 LeSabre on the weekend. Our bracket is designed to fit the front of the spindle so there is no change to the toe-in or wheel alignment. The 63-65 brackets work the same way as this one shown. Guaranteed to fit all types of rally wheel and standard factory rims. This customer had two types of rallys normal and disc brake type shown.

Booster worked well and it pulled up straight and easy even though the pads aren't bedded in, so it will only get better.
Standard single master cylinder will be changed to a dual master cylinder soon.







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