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Front disc brakes


Manny 65
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I'm sure there are kits available to do the swap without too much difficulty. I have to ask, why?!?! People have been lead to believe that drum brakes are dangerous and will not stop a car as well as disc brakes. Hogwash!!! The stock drums will lock up all 4 wheels in a panic stop. Will discs do any better? The only advantage is if you will be doing a lot of mountain driving or heavy duty towing that will over heat the drums and cause fading. Discs tend not to fade as much as drums. They do fade, however. A trip down the back side of the Panamints into Death Valley, pulling a 30 foot trailer, proved to me that discs will fade into near uselessness if they're over used

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20 minutes ago, CarlLaFong said:

 ...I have to ask, why?...

 

Agreed.  Manny, there's probably no need to go to that trouble.

I've never read any reports that Rivieras' brakes were weak

or ineffective or dangerous.  And road speeds in the 1960's

were just as fast, with plenty of traffic too.  You'll find that your

car was engineered for the same situations you'll find today.  

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Hi Manny 65 ! Warm welcome ! Please also scroll down to the "BUICK CLUBS" header. Under that , you will see "Buick Riviera - Riviera Owners Association". Click on that , and enter "Disc brakes" in the search box you will see in the upper right corner. You will find an enormous amount of info there. Take notes. I heartily agree with the guys that in general your stock drums will do a very good job for you under almost all conditions. Not a theoretical position I am taking. Back in the early '70s , when I was a wild young guy in my 20s , I had a '65 Eldorado convertible. I put the best Michelin tires I could get at the time on it , and drove it harder and faster than anyone ever did. I slipstreamed a fast moving Porsche downhill towards Muir Beach , past the Zen Center in Marin County , CA. The P. Driver tried  to shake the Cad on his tail. But my brakes were working harder than his were. He couldn't get away from me , but I couldn't pass him either , and was able to provoke brake fade. NOT AN EASY THING TO DO ! But you didn't know me back in my 20s and 30s. I did not hang about ! If you drive now like I did then , 2 things : Go ahead and put those discs on it , and then slow down if you drive on public roads. I got away with it , you may not. Oh yeah. After that run , I went to the Cadillac store and asked if they could put more modern disc brakes on it. They studied up , and said they could do it. There were no kits available then , and I was the only guy nuts enough to want them. They said they could , and would do it for me (very different times - they still had an old guy there at Sparling Cadillac who had actually worked on V16 cads when he was a young man - and you didn't have the restrictive liability issues that would stop such one-off custom factory mods dead in their tracks now). However , they said it would be expensive , had to change everything out down to and including the spindles.They recommended that the cost would be a pretty good down payment on a disc brake set-up with a newer Cadillac attached. So , my next Cad , a '71 Eldo had 'em. Still young , I proved to any number of people , some passengers , some passed spectators , that "Consumers Reports" was full of it when they said those enormous FWD Cads couldn't handle. They didn't know how to drive them , didn't know how important proper tires and high pressures up front was , and they weren't me. I flat got it on back then. Plain and simple. But I never had significant fade issues. The much higher heat rejection rate of discs will still give you some stopping power even if the discs are glowing red ! Now you aren't going to need THAT kind of binders , are you ?

 

Anyway , Manny' , take the pleasure of introducing yourself to the Buick guys down below. They are the largest , most active group here. Nothing too difficult for those "can do" friendly guys. I'm a Cadillac guy , and , Cadillac and Buick being big G.M. cousins with lots of similarities, there is quite a bit of mutual interest. You can see that I am a guy who can ramble on , so I'll close now by again welcoming you !    - Cadillac Carl

Edited by C Carl
Misspelled "Cadillacc" (see edit history)
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All good , guys. IMHO every word written here is succinct and to the point. I am a HUGE advocate of discs. My early '52 Jag XK 120MC roadster was race prepared and retrofitted with XK150 discs. 101 524 , a fairly early Maserati 3500 - late '59 or early '60 - had those great Girling multi piston discs up front (the factory retrofitted DCOE 45s on it to replace the original 42s - I picked it up on the docks here after it was shipped from Genoa with 1.6 miles on it after a thorough factory sorting - one of the most thrilling days of my young life 50 years ago). And , as per above , I later thought of a disc fix for the '65 Eldo. No , I like my discs. But , as in the case of well fitting shoes , wear the discs if they fit your driving needs. But look . If you really don't need them , why not apply the cost to the "Next car" fund ? Now if your brakes are totally shot , needing everything , hey ! Why not ? I agree with everything written here so far.   - CC

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Manny, are you having problems with the way your Riviera is stopping now?

 

I drive drum brakes a lot of the time, with the dreaded single piston master cylinder, and don't feel a need to swap. What got you thinking about it?

Bernie

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1 hour ago, mike6024 said:

What are the benefits of disc brakes?

  • Brake pedal feel and modulation are improved. ****

 

  • Unlike drum brakes, disc brake system are completely, self-adjusting.

 

 

 

Don't forget that they are much easier to work on, and that their performance is better.  Oh yeah, braking doesn't disappear when wet as it does with drum brakes.  And then there's ...

 

Compared to working on disc brakes, I hate working on drum brakes.

 

With that said, I have a couple of cars with drum brakes that work fine, and I'll leave them alone until a total rebuild is required.  Then I'll consider changing to disc brakes ... if reasonably-priced conversion kits are available.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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Hey thanks for the feedback my auto type messed up a few words.The reason for my question is there are not a lot of 65 rivieras out there and I  wanted to know if there is anything I need to look out for when changing over to disc  brakes 

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Hi '65 ! Did you go to the Riv' section as per the first 1/2 dozen sentences in my response #4 ? You will not have to reinvent the wheel around here. Disc conversions niether. And , hey ! You got to sit in on a bit of an in house spat ! Sure it happens in almost all families occasionally. Most of us love and respect one another , and always look forward to hanging out here. Sometimes in the unmodulated, often hastily typed conversations, a misunderstanding crops up. No big deal. Just the nature of the medium. Please stick with us , and use the search box in the narrowest applicable heading. Peter and our great AACA administrators have made a very smooth and powerful forum to the benefit of members and all guests. I am very grateful I have lived long enough to be a part of this.   - Carl

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Manny,

 

I used the Scarebird kit for mine.  The main reason that I decided to do the kit was brake fade on the hills around here.  I also switched to a dual MC.  That does require some fabrication of brake lines and it is pretty tight around the MC.

 

The Scarebird kit uses all stock GM parts and they list all of the part numbers.  Makes maintenance a breeze as it's not some custom part that you would have to order from the manufacturer.

 

Regards,

 

Mike

 

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Hi Manny,

I have installed Tony's kit on my '63 Riviera (the second in the following):

http://www.mako.com.au/?content_destination=/ibm_bin/common/product_list_display.cfm&productID_list=187

Note that his kit is some parts from him and some parts that are easy to source by yourself locally in the USA as it is too expensive to ship the heavy parts from Australia.

 

I am happy with the kit and one of the reason for installing it was for the issue I had with fading going down hill with the drums. The stock drum brakes are, as some already have mentioned, really very good so you need to decide if it is worth the effort to move to disc. Good luck and do change to dual MC if you go ahead with the conversion.

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Manny,

 

Kits are available. Some are complete, some use adapters and OEM parts.  Depending on what wheel you're using and which disk setup you use, there may be some interference between the wheel and the caliper.  You'll also need to swap out master cylinders.  

 

As others have said earlier, there's no safety reasons to switch to disks unless your driving habits tend to over heat the brakes.  My 63 was used to pull a full sized Air-Stream trailer before I bought the car.  The stock brakes worked fine for stopping it.  Some might say that there's a need to switch to disks because the iron lining in the aluminum drums has worn beyond the specs specified by the factory.  No longer true. There are now companies that specialize in putting new liners in you drums.  Unless you're running some fancy 20" wheels and you think that a caliper looks good through the wheel, save yourself a bunch of money and stick with your drums.

 

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7 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

Listen. Right at 25 seconds the Jaguar driver says "Disc brakes!"

 

If I drove like those idiots, I might consider disk brakes.  But I normally don't wear a crash helmet and side swipe cars I'm passing.

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The drums on our cars do work "fine". To say that they work better than discs is....well......ummmmmm........let me put it this way. The factory bias tires worked fine as well. But time marches on, and we all know radials are better in almost every single way. If drums were so great, they'd still be using them. There's no denying the performance, safety, and in most opinions appearance advantages of discs. I think a lot of us get stuck in that "our cars are the greatest thing from the factory ever produced" mentality, and if gm would've seen fit to put discs all the way around from the factory, the drum brake loving guys would be singing the praises of disc brakes. That said, my Riv still has drums for two reasons. I think its cool to tell people that they're made of aluminum, and the cost of a conversion kit is expensive and I'd want all four to be discs, not just the front. I can't tell you how many times I get flak for having drums on my car with my 20" wheels. And I agree with them, but then I tell them that they're aluminum drums so its cool to have them. But I'm just lying to myself......

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There are lots better things to do when you wake up at 3AM than think about drum loving car collectors. I have drums and disc's, don't think much about either. I just fix what I have.

 

Going back to post #1, I'm not buying anything for my car from a company with "scare" in its name, especially brake stuff.

Bernie

 

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The finned aluminum brake drums that Buick used back in the day were considered the best in the business and praised by articles in many automotive publications at the time.  I realize that technology marches on and there are advantages with disc brakes in some applications but I don't think the cost of swapping to discs will increase performance that much under normal circumstances to justify the cost.  Hot rodders used to search out the Buick aluminum drums for their effectiveness and aesthetics and you still see many rods still fitted with them at car shows today.

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As well as the "roundy-round guys". The big advantage at the time was up-sprung weight. Today they have lightweight aluminum components. And, the "Good" brake shoes are almost impossible to get since asbestos has been banned. Then with discs you have the brake dust problems dirtying your wheels. Paint the aluminum drums with a color of your choice & they will ALSO look good.

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2 hours ago, Black River said:

The drums on our cars do work "fine". To say that they work better than discs is....well......ummmmmm........let me put it this way. The factory bias tires worked fine as well. But time marches on, and we all know radials are better in almost every single way. If drums were so great, they'd still be using them. There's no denying the performance, safety, and in most opinions appearance advantages of discs. I think a lot of us get stuck in that "our cars are the greatest thing from the factory ever produced" mentality, and if gm would've seen fit to put discs all the way around from the factory, the drum brake loving guys would be singing the praises of disc brakes. That said, my Riv still has drums for two reasons. I think its cool to tell people that they're made of aluminum, and the cost of a conversion kit is expensive and I'd want all four to be discs, not just the front. I can't tell you how many times I get flak for having drums on my car with my 20" wheels. And I agree with them, but then I tell them that they're aluminum drums so its cool to have them. But I'm just lying to myself......

           Anytime someone wants to have a "braking contest" pitting their early Riviera with disc brakes and my car's stock brakes

against each other I'm ready to go. Being in the car repair business I have driven thousands of different makes of cars and never seen a car with

brakes better at stopping than the stock brakes on my Riviera. Early Rivieras have a few shortcomings, but brakes is not one of them. The brake dust problem alone is enough reason to leave the drums on the car.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)
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28 minutes ago, Seafoam65 said:

           Anytime someone wants to have a "braking contest" pitting their early Riviera with disc brakes and my car's stock brakes

against each other I'm ready to go. Being in the car repair business I have driven thousands of different makes of cars and never seen a car with

brakes better at stopping than the stock brakes on my Riviera. Early Rivieras have a few shortcomings, but brakes is not one of them. The brake dust problem alone is enough reason to leave the drums on the car.

So your riviera will out brake a new Z06 corvette? I think not. Having both my Riv with stock brakes and my Mach 1 that's been converted to 4 wheel drilled and slotted discs I can tell you without a bat of an eye which one brakes better......the Riv does fine as I stated, no doubt, but it isn't even close. 

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Hot rods also weigh a lot less than rivieras so the drums would work fine. I have the factory drums and a dual master on my 64 and put 6000 miles a year on them.  They work 90 percent of the time.  I notice more fade when the weather is hot, have a car load, and at the end of the year.  Every winter I take them apart, scuff the pads and drums and then tighten the pads up to the drums so they are barely dragging.  Then I 'm good for another season.

 

Where I live is flat terrain which is very drum brake friendly.

If I lived in a hilly area I would have definitely changed to frt disc brakes a long time ago.

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I drove my '63 as a daily driver every work day from 1982 to 1997 when I decided to take it off the road.  Never had any problems with the brakes; either on flat or hilly surfaces.  If you're experiencing some problems, you've got underlying problems.


Ed

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I haven't driven my Riv yet, but brakes are a concern. I live in a area with long straight roads, and the typical speed limit is 50. Although traffic routinely does 70+. It's all surface streets, and people have a bad habit of pulling out in front of you, and hoping for the best. My mustang had manual drums (rather large ones) that did just find if you planned ahead. The problem was people pulling out into traffic. After a couple of close calls (I swear I bent the firewall at the brake mount), I went to power drums. A dramatic improvement. I could hang with traffic, for the most part. It added a lot of safety, in that I had a much shorter braking distance. I then went to front disc, and it made it a different car. It will almost put you through the windshield it stops so hard.

 

I'm the fidgety type. I can't leave well enough alone. My primary concern is taking this gorgeous, incredibly engineered car, and getting it to it's top performance form, while keeping it a Riviera. That's probably why I'll convert mine to disc.

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If either disc or drum is brought to the performance level of locking the fronts at any real world temperature, whats the difference aside from aesthetics?

- Until ABS is added, I'm indifferent 'til I kiss a windshield. Then its an outer (Fisher) body experience  :mellow:

 

Two pennies

 

 

Edited by PWB (see edit history)
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                  I don't see the need for a 60's luxury car to stop as fast as a Z06 Corvette or a Ferrari Testarossa, but while we are on the subject

of Z06 Corvettes....I drove one a month ago and the car was a hideous car to drive. It rode like an 18 wheeler and the slightest bump would send it

into the next lane of traffic. I was too busy trying the keep the turd in one lane to notice how good the brakes were but I don't recall that they felt any better than the brakes on a normal car.They stopped the car but they certainly weren't throwing me through the windshield. The only thing outstanding

about it in my opinion was how fast it was.

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Poor Manny 65, all he asked was how difficult it was to convert to disc. Next thing u know we are comparing ZO6 brakes to Buick drums. And for my non valuable contribution, anyone who thinks their 5000 or so pound Riv with drums can stop with a 3500 pound ZO6 Corvette with 12 inches of tire patch and 15in disc with carbon ceramic pads is living in denial.

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I'd then have to take it from the hijacking of this thread and getting way off topic that no one has had any problems; they just want a place to offer their two cents.  I find it strange that when a person is going on about what he thinks, he's "Giving his two cents."   But when asked for his thoughts he's only offered half - "A penny for your thoughts."  I guess the means most of us are overvaluing our own opinions..  

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16 hours ago, ronnie27 said:

Poor Manny 65, all he asked was how difficult it was to convert to disc. Next thing u know we are comparing ZO6 brakes to Buick drums. And for my non valuable contribution, anyone who thinks their 5000 or so pound Riv with drums can stop with a 3500 pound ZO6 Corvette with 12 inches of tire patch and 15in disc with carbon ceramic pads is living in denial.

              Ronnie, you make an excellent point about the 12 inch tire patch. In order to stop quicker with those giant brakes you have to have tremendous tire patch, or all you will do is lock them up and skid.  The stock brakes on the early Riv will lock the tires at highway speeds if you get on them hard, so in order for disc brakes to make a difference you would have to have wide tires to go along with them so you don't skid. My problem

is that I've always thought giant disc brakes are silly because if you ever actually used them to their potential the guy behind you texting on his phone

will rear end you and you will be killed instantly. If you are a careful defensive driver, you will never even need to use half of the stopping power of your

brakes.Therefore unless you are doing autocrossing, I don't see the point of them. It is true that drum brakes will fade from heat quicker than discs,

but unless you live in mountainous terrain that should never be an issue. Personally I love the no brake dust aspect of those giant drums on the Riviera.

You get very good braking and the wheels stay clean. I will admit there are a lot of old cars with inadequate drum brakes from the factory that are down right dangerous. The stock brakes on a 57 Chevy is like trying to stop by dragging your foot out the door. My whole point was that the brakes on the

 early Riviera are exceptionally good and will stop the car safely year in and year out. You've just got to watch out for the guy texting behind you. Perhaps a larger rear view mirror to watch for texters would be a more important safety upgrade!

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17 hours ago, RivNut said:

I'd then have to take it from the hijacking of this thread and getting way off topic that no one has had any problems; they just want a place to offer their two cents.  I find it strange that when a person is going on about what he thinks, he's "Giving his two cents."   But when asked for his thoughts he's only offered half - "A penny for your thoughts."  I guess the means most of us are overvaluing our own opinions..  

The whole point of stating "Two pennies" is a declaration in humility and describing ones expression/statement as UNDER value.

I don't see anything hi-jacked, pushed or sold here in this forum's thread.

 

No offense intended.

 

Mama always said, "If you don't like whats on, change the channel"  :P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, PWB said:

The whole point of stating "Two pennies" is a declaration in humility and describing ones expression/statement as UNDER value.

I don't see anything hi-jacked, pushed or sold here in this forum's thread.

 

No offense intended.

 

Mama always said, "If you don't like whats on, change the channel"  :P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rather than answer the question in the original thread we've started talking about Z06 Corvette brakes, we have videoes of guys racing in the desert, and someone even threw in a comment to about SCAT stroker cranks for a Mustang.  The guy asked for a pennies worth of thoughts on problems anyone might have had if they'd made the conversion.  We offered up our two cents on everything else. I'm surprised someone didn't throw in the kitchen sink.  Let's all try to stick to the original question and help the guy; not fly off on why it's a bad idea or offering other solutions and examples from our own experiences.  I'll be the first to admit that I went "off topic" when I said that I'd driven my 63 as a daily driver and never had a problem with the OE drums.

 

I'll add to what momma said. "If you don't like whats on, turn it off."

 

Ed

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Seafoam65 said:

              Ronnie, you make an excellent point about the 12 inch tire patch. In order to stop quicker with those giant brakes you have to have tremendous tire patch, or all you will do is lock them up and skid.  The stock brakes on the early Riv will lock the tires at highway speeds if you get on them hard, so in order for disc brakes to make a difference you would have to have wide tires to go along with them so you don't skid. My problem

is that I've always thought giant disc brakes are silly because if you ever actually used them to their potential the guy behind you texting on his phone

will rear end you and you will be killed instantly. If you are a careful defensive driver, you will never even need to use half of the stopping power of your

brakes.Therefore unless you are doing autocrossing, I don't see the point of them. It is true that drum brakes will fade from heat quicker than discs,

but unless you live in mountainous terrain that should never be an issue. Personally I love the no brake dust aspect of those giant drums on the Riviera.

You get very good braking and the wheels stay clean. I will admit there are a lot of old cars with inadequate drum brakes from the factory that are down right dangerous. The stock brakes on a 57 Chevy is like trying to stop by dragging your foot out the door. My whole point was that the brakes on the

 early Riviera are exceptionally good and will stop the car safely year in and year out. You've just got to watch out for the guy texting behind you. Perhaps a larger rear view mirror to watch for texters would be a more important safety upgrade!

I didn't mean to get into a pissing match :) Just different strokes for different folks.....I've actually got Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetrics off a new Corvette on my Riviera. I run the shop at a Chevrolet/Cadillac dealership and I get take offs from work for basically free.  Corvette guys are a weird bunch of ducks and want what they want, so I'll end up with $1800 worth of tires for nothing because the want Pirelli P Zeros or whatever else.  The Riv will still lock them up. Once.  Then the tires have more grip then the brakes.  But still impressive for drums.

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18 hours ago, RivNut said:

I'd then have to take it from the hijacking of this thread and getting way off topic that no one has had any problems; they just want a place to offer their two cents.  I find it strange that when a person is going on about what he thinks, he's "Giving his two cents."   But when asked for his thoughts he's only offered half - "A penny for your thoughts."  I guess the means most of us are overvaluing our own opinions..  

 

 

Well, the initial question was rather vague.

It opened the flood gates.

I found all the posts interesting and entertaining.

The invaluable knowledge (and humor) delivered by you and others is what makes this forum a great place for shared experience and knowledge ... entertainment (sometimes)

 

Mama always said, "Keep the porch light on". 

Hmmmm   :mellow:

 

 

 

 

Edited by PWB
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Agreed PWB.  I like the natural flow of conversation, like sitting around with your buddies having a beer and the topic goes off in left field naturally.  When I'm talking with people in real life, we don't end a conversation, stop, pause, then reset on a different topic.  It stays flowing.  And we're not all going to get along all the time.  It's fun.

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