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Big brakes, another option


Barney Eaton
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The last time I was at the salvage yard, I looked at several different GM cars brakes. It appears there are several that might work on the Reatta in addition to the Aurora that some owners have done.

The factory rotor on a Reatta is 10 1/4 inch, so using that as a starting point, I found a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am with the brakes pictured. The rotor is 11"

(parts books say 10.94) and the caliper is aluminum and weighs less than 3 pounds without pads.

I have a friends 1990 at the house and mounted the Grand Am parts this week and it looks very promising. The advantage (1) no drilling (2) they fit inside a 15" rim.

There is about 3/16 clearance between the caliper and rim on the outer diameter. The UNKNOWN is the clearance at the front. (between the back of the rim and the front of the caliper. I was trying it without pads and it looks like a caliper loaded with new pads might push the caliper against the rim.

Hopefully someone else will take a look at this and let us know if it will work.

A 1/4 inch wheel spacer might be needed to get the clearance. I did not follow thru on this because the car I was testing on was not mine and I did not want to put any more $$ into this.

If this proves to be a workable conversion, additional information is needed on the aluminum calipers. I looked at RockAuto and they show several calipers for 2000 Grand Am, not all are aluminum, I need to look next time at the salvage yard and see if the entry level car used cast iron calipers.

When I get the time, I will test this on my 1991. With the 16" wheels I do not expect any interferrence problems and since there is no drilling, it should be a plug-n-play conversion.

While not a big change, the extra diameter of the rotor should equal about a 10% performance increase, plus you can probably buy ceramic pads for these calipers.

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Edited by Barney Eaton (see edit history)
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Barney...... do you suppose the Grand AM brakes will get rid of the infamous "Reatta rear brake rattle" ? I have a 90 vert & i just can't get the rattle out of it ,inspite of changing the anti rattle clips three times. My next thought was to change the calipers, but i'am going to sell it.

Also...i used to have a 1998 Buick Regal GS with the supercharger. It also had the ceramic brake pads, & the darn thing went through front rotors like you wouldn't believe. I suspect the ceramic pads were heating up the rotors & warping them. I was told to try the drilled & sloted rotors but i never did. I sold the car, so i don't know if the drilled & slotted rotors would make any difference or not. By the way, i didn't drive the car hard, and jam on the brakes.

Let me know what you think.

Reattaron

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For the rear use 96 eldorado brakes, the cables and everything else mount up directly and fit under the stock 15 inch rims. I doubt there is a better option if you are looking to get rid of the rattle and improve braking. Also they have ceramic pads. so no dust.

The only down fall is you have to use two of the same side to get the job done. I did a write up on it a while ago.

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I don't see how front brake work will solve the rear rattle, however I just found a new product that may be the answer to the brake rattle.

I get a monthly called "Brake & Front End' and there is an ad for a new product, not for rattle but to pull the pads off the rotor and reduce drag. It is a fairly simple spring that clips on the pads and gently pulls the pads away from the rotor.

I am going to contact the company next week to see if they have any that fit our pads. It is not obvious how they attach to the pads and keep from falling out, so they must hook into some holes or have some means of locking. I will let you know what I find out.

Picture of the springs attached.

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Edited by Barney Eaton (see edit history)
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I have done THIS brake swap on my 1989 coupe. I did not use "spacers"; however I did have to take the body grinder to the upper outer finns and remove a SMALL amount . I had to use the brake lines from a GM pick up truck.

I just put big brakes on my 15 inch wheel ragtop. Cad in back {thanks Danial}----1997 Chevy Venture Van up front.

Of two conversions-----I'd do the Venture Van . No brake line problems, but you must drill hubs.

Get the spare tire from the van----Reatta's spare won't clear big brakes.

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Yes, they fit 15" Wheels. The rear that is, not the front. I don't have a picture handy, but I can describe it for you. It is about 6" long with a hole for the bolt at one end and the other has a 90% bend about 1.5". that end alsdo has a u shaped hole in it for the cable end.

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Guest wildcat465

Barney, not trying to step on toes, but I sell a lot of those aluminum calipers. Maybe just because of my climate, but the Grand Am, Alero, Etc. calipers are a high failure item in my world. Plus they are $34.00 each instead of $26.00 for the stock Reatta ones. Sorry.

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Thanks for all the input, that is what this forum is for.

"Rules" you said you did this swap, I take it to mean you put the Grand Am parts on a Reatta and only did minor grinding. And you also did a conversion using the Ventura van. I am not that farmiliar with the Ventura, what years?

Paul, what happens to the Grand Am, Alero calipers? corrosion, as it appears the piston is also aluminum.

I am just trying to piece together all these scraps of information (conversions) Reatta owners are doing. Not being a judge on what is best or better from the standpoint of what to use, just get this information together in one place.

It all started with the Aurora front conversion, the person said 1997 calipers and rotors.

So I started trying to determine if 1998 was the same, or 1999. The reason being if someone is looking for the parts, they might walk by a car that would work (being the same parts) looking for the Aurora.

While the Grand Am conversion (to 11" rotors) is not as big an improvement as going to the 12" Aurora rotors, if it can be done and retain the factory 15" wheels that might be critical to some owners budgets.

I think most everyone would agree that the front upgrade would be a priority over the rears as most of the weight is in the front and when you brake even more weight shifts to the front.

Second guessing what Paul said, and I didn't try using the Grand Am adapter (to move the caliper out) and retain the Reatta caliper. From the small amount of research I have done it appears there are lots of combinations that might work. As I noted, it appears that not all Grand Am's had the aluminum caliper.

Keep posting your conversion information and be as specific as possible.

Edited by Barney Eaton (see edit history)
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handmedown: The big brakes look cool and they are a more modern design. Reattas need an EMERGENCY brake-----that pump up park brake is a stupid design. {sooner or later----the Teves system is going to fail}.

Barney: Yes, Gramd Am-----Just as you discribe. They work fine. You saw the conversion on my red coupe in Colorado Springs.

Daves89: Don't use Park Ave rear! {as I have done} Too much work------Use the Cad rear------just bolt on.

All Reatta drivers: Try it-----you will like it!

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Pump brake is not an e-brake, it is a parking brake. Once everybody went to dual master cyl, the need for an e-brake was diminished. I use it when parking on an incline to keep the pressure off of the Park pawl or when need to do something to the engine in gear ® .

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Guest spiering.lucas
Barney...... do you suppose the Grand AM brakes will get rid of the infamous "Reatta rear brake rattle" ? I have a 90 vert & i just can't get the rattle out of it ,inspite of changing the anti rattle clips three times. My next thought was to change the calipers, but i'am going to sell it.

Also...i used to have a 1998 Buick Regal GS with the supercharger. It also had the ceramic brake pads, & the darn thing went through front rotors like you wouldn't believe. I suspect the ceramic pads were heating up the rotors & warping them. I was told to try the drilled & sloted rotors but i never did. I sold the car, so i don't know if the drilled & slotted rotors would make any difference or not. By the way, i didn't drive the car hard, and jam on the brakes.

Let me know what you think.

Reattaron

I used High temp silicone on the inside of the rear pads. This holds them to the piston so the don't rattle inside of the caliper. I got the idea off this forum. It works great I did mine about 6 months ago and still no rattle.

ALSO to answer the question and concern about having the pump brake on the stock reatta parking brake. IF you do the caddy conversion like daniel did your parking brake will then be a single pump. :)

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Padgett: Why settle for just an park-brale when it"s so easy to have both????? "Once everyone went to dual master cylincer, the need for an E-brake was deminished"; however Reatta went to the Teves system and INCREASED the need for an E-brake! Ask me how I know. The Teves Brake system fails without warning no matter how new or how well maintained.

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Padgett: Why settle for just an park-brale when it"s so easy to have both????? "Once everyone went to dual master cylincer, the need for an E-brake was deminished"; however Reatta went to the Teves system and INCREASED the need for an E-brake! Ask me how I know. The Teves Brake system fails without warning no matter how new or how well maintained.

I have to disagree here. If your brake system is properly maintained (fluid flushes every time you get a brake job, accumulator, etc) and kept an eye on (using Barney's brake test, etc). Your system will last the life of your car.

My daily driver '89 (well over 144k) has never had a problem as long as I've owned it (going on 3.5 years). I've always changed the fluid when I get a brake job, and I just recently replaced the accumulator.

Still brakes like a brand new car.

However, my '90 Red/Grey coupe I drive occasionally has had a few brake problems. I bought it from a Marine. And my experience with army personnel owned cars is that they're driven until they don't go any more. This car was beat around terrible.

Just an example, one of the things I had to do in the first 4 months of owning it was replace the blown engine.

I guarantee he NEVER changed the fluid, and he Surely did nothing to the brake system except change the pads.

Anyways, it really all depends on the life your car had. my '89 was driven daily for years, but it was taken car of. The '90 however was driven every day and NOT taken care of.

If you are going to complain about Teves so much, go pull an ABS system off the Riviera at your local U pick and stop complaining.

It's comments like this saying how terrible the brake system is, and how the car's brakes will go out just out of the blue that drives new owners away.

But in fact, if you really try to maintain your car and it's brake system, and you have a good pretty well taken car of car to start with, you'll never have brake problems.

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Guest wildcat465
Paul, what happens to the Grand Am, Alero calipers? corrosion, as it appears the piston is also aluminum.

Sorry I took so long Barney. The problem with them is pretty much as expected, steel slides in aluminum hole. Probably worse here with salt on roads 5 months of the year. But this can happen in just about any climate.

2 cents is all. Good luck.

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