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Disc Brake conversion instructions


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You should have used the Scarebird conversion system.

Here are the instructions for that system that I have used on my 57 Olds, and my 64 Riviera.

These ins. may help.

Scarebird only sends the Backing plates and bolts. All parts needed can be purchased from NAPA---

Wagner--and Raybestos. All part numbers are listed with the instructions.

Yoy should also change to a Dbl. master cyl.

I can send instructions to do so .





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








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Rocket 88 has the right idea.  I too have a Scarebird setup.  I cannibalized a '76 RIviera for all the parts listed he plus the booster, master cylinder, lines and distribution block (I did get new hoses and bearings.)  If you want to use your existing booster, that's fine; just make sure that you do as Rocket 88 states and get a dual master cylinder - but MAKE SURE it's for a disk/drum car and not a drum/drum car.  In '67, disks were optional so there are two master cylinders out there from which to chose.  Choose wisely.



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I had checked some other disc brake conversion kit mfg. and most do not give you part numbers for parts in those kits.

That means that you would need to go to that kit mfg. to replace any parts needed for replacement.

As listed above Scarebird sends that list.

I just go to my local NAPA dealer.

I would also suggest you replace all brake lines, and rear wheel cylinders, as I did.


It was interesting to see that Scarebird had changed some parts used back in 05.

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I don't know whether it's because of scarcity of parts or what.  I once did a part number search for the Riviera rotors and found that they're a pretty common GM corporate rotor used on LOTS of those sized rotors with 5 on 5 bolt patterns.  It could even be as simple as the Riviera part number includes the inner and outer bearings.  You'll notice bearings aren't mentioned in that '05 parts list.


In my humble opinion, the really nice thing about the Scarebird swap is that you can probably get replacement parts in any town in the country should the need arise.



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This is the one that I used as pictured above .OPG.address.

Works great. Only a couple slight mods needed.




1. Drill lout the clevis.


2. The inner and outer 2pc. firewall holes did not match. Use a drum sander to match them.


3. Use a dremel  tool to cut away enough of the inner fender panel to get access to the distribution block.

it will be covered by the rubber splash shield. note line wrench.

3/16" lines to front, and 1/4" line to rear junction block.3/16 to rear wheel cylinders from rear block.


4. Picture looking under dash.


5. Move seat back for needed room to work.


Be sure to order 2 wheel disc.






Edited by Rocket 88 (see edit history)
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Hindsight being what it is I should have bought this kit. But I already bought the other. They finally sent me the instructions and was able to assemble. Now the hoses leak at the banjo bolt. Tried different copper washers with no luck. Do you know if the hoses on the scoreboard kit are the banjo type. Mine has a number 10 bolt on them.

Edited by Healeybob1 (see edit history)
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Hey Rocket88 and Ed (and anyone else with conversion experience),


I received my conversion brackets and hardware from Scarebird several months ago but have yet to start process to install - just reinstalled front end steering linkages and suspension as well as rear end control arms, springs and differential.  


1.)  Did you two just do a drum to disc conversion in front or did the rear as well?  (I will be doing front and rear conversion.)


2.)  If you converted rear drum to disc how did you address issue with parking brake/cables?  Are stock parking cables still used on new disc set up or is a custom application necessary?


Thanks in advance for any input.



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I'm converting only the fronts to disks.  I have no clue as to what to do about a parking brake.  IF I were to change to rear disks, my plans would call for swapping a complete Ford 8.8 rear from an Explorer under the Riv.  The Ford is the correct width, and comes factory equipped with posi, disks, the parking brake, and a 3.73 rear end.  The reason I'd go with the higher ratio rear end is because I've got the trans, adapter, and kit to install an o/d automatic behind the nailhead.  WIth the o/d I'd have a 2.29 final drive.  If I remember my calculations correctly, that would run the engine at 1800 rpm's at 70 mph.  That's a big IF and still a long way down the road.



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Buick used this set up for many years on Rivieras and Electras that weighed more than a 1st generation RIviera.  75 Riviera >5,000+ lbs. 65 Riviera weighs <4,200 lbs.  I also have the goodies to use the 2-1/2" aluminum drums on the rear axle.  You need some mid 50's backing plates, and you need to remove the hub from the drum and machine a lip off of it.  That would give you more sq. in. of braking surface and the finned aluminum would cool quicker.  That combo should stop you easily and safely.



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With a 64 Riviera, what OTHER make/model/year rear brake drum (IF ANY) can be used in place of the 64's?  In previous posts I've read other member's opinions/experiences with rear drums from CARS and Kanters.  I see OPGI offers rear drums as well but, again I've heard mixed opinions about certain products from OPGI.  


My experience with CARS has been good and I have yet to purchase anything from Kanters.  Availability of original 64 rear drums in good condition is scarce.  One of my rear drums appears to be in good condition, the other not so much.



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Rear drums on these cars are all cast iron.  What OPGI, Kanter, and others are offering are replacement cast iron drums for the finned aluminum originals that your car now has.  It's not that they're necessarily bad, they're just not up to the job that the finned aluminum ones are.  Replacing rear drums is not a situation that goes backwards if you use aftermarket parts.  Replacing finned aluminum drums with cast iron is a step backwards.  My proposal of using aluminum drums in the rear would be a step forward.



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Here's the link to the article about the Scarebird swap that goes with the video that RivNut shared.    The conversion was on a '62 Electra, but the premise is the same.    We might be doing another one of these conversions soon, as I just picked up a '70 Riv and am considering the swap. 



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Thanks for posting up video link and write up. I've studied that video several times and is very helpful. The front end conversion is straightforward. I've got the rear conversion bracket, I know rear discs may be overkill but I like the uniform look of disc at all four corners. I located my instructions for rear conversion and it's straightforward but I will now need to customize parking brake cables. I'll post up process once I start, I've got rear rotors, shopping around now for machinist to turn down axle flange.


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