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Front Disc Brake Conversion for 54 Roadmaster


Canvasman
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Looking to convert front brakes to disc. Wondering which kits are recommended- Willwood, or Truespoke, Classic ? Second question- will they work with stock OEM 15"  wheels?

Third, Will they work with Roadster or Truespoke wire wheels, and lastly, as the car has power brakes, has anyone switched to a dual master and/or  booster without disturbing the firewall?

 

Thanks

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Basic question is WHY?  If the brakes are repaired to factory specifications, they will stop the car fine. 

 

If you change to disc brakes you might be temped to "over drive" the car which will give you a lot more of issues and maybe excitement you probably would not like.

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Larry,

Thanks for the prompt reply. Car stops fine now however you don't have the typical adjustment problems with drums wanting to pull left or right. I drive conservatively and leave plenty of room in front, but have grown used to the nicety of discs

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My 57 T-Bird has drum brakes and the brakes had to be adjusted manually. I added self adjusters to all four wheels. I am more than pleased with the result and the car now stops straight instead of pulling to one side. You might be able to do the same with your car. The Buick experts should know, but if you can add adjusters it is a good alternative.

Lew Bachman

1957 Ford Thunderbird

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Lew,

My wife has a 57 Tbird as well. I am curious to know where you found the self adjusters that fit as it stops straight until you step on the pedal hard. I get catalogues form Hills Casco and LArry's but haven't really looked to see if they carry them.

 

Thanks for the tip!

Craig

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I used a kit that was originally for a 1966 Ford pickup truck. You can get the parts to do the job from National Parts Depot. You will need the following: 

2 - kit number 2A176-1

2 - kit number 2A177-1

These kits are for the self-adjusting pieces

2 - H412

These are the bottom springs to replace the ones on the drum.

Be aware that the adjustment slots on the drivers side will be in the wrong place to adjust or release the brakes from the shoe if needed. I drilled out extra slots to allow this and cut another plug to close it. 

Lew

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14 hours ago, Canvasman said:

Not so much brake fade as stopping straight

Properly adjusted drum brakes will stop as straight as disc brakes.  Have you checked the drums with a drum micrometer?  If one has had more machined out of it than the other this can cause the brakes to pull under hard application.

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No I haven't. I have owned other cars with drum brakes with the major issue being brake fade, not pulling to one side when harder brake pressure is applied. I appreciate the feedback from all of you.

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13 hours ago, Canvasman said:

No I haven't. I have owned other cars with drum brakes with the major issue being brake fade, not pulling to one side when harder brake pressure is applied. I appreciate the feedback from all of you.

 

One additional thought.  If you start changing parts from the standard configuration you will be on the road to making it a "frankencar"  If you keep the car maybe five years of more will you remember all of the non-standard parts and part numbers of what you changed?  The more you change, the more problematic it becomes.   

 

Parts for your car are reasonably available and if something breaks you can probably order it either locally or on line.  This is especially important if you are travelling with your car.

 

I know personally if I go to look at a car that has had some "improvements", I will automatically discount the vehicle or just walk away. Usually because if one thing is changed, it begs the question ....what else?  

 

All of my vehicles I try to keep them as close to original as possible to make them easier to find parts and work on them.  I have changed some things like changing from cast iron pistons to aluminum pistons, rope seals to lip seals, ball bearings to tapered roller bearings and things of the like but those changes are for durability and safety because I drive all of my 100+ year old vehicles.  

 

OEM brakes when manufacturers went from two wheel brakes to four wheel brakes in the mid 20's, when properly serviced and adjusted were designed to stop the car.  Brake fade would only happen when overdriving the car or coming down very steep grades, or running in deep water all which should be a proceed with caution alert anyways.

 

Just my opinion.

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Brake fade is caused by lots of heavy braking.

I only had this happen once in a motor home in the mountains when I was in a hurry.

I for the life of me cant seem to convince my kids that racing up to a light or stop sign will use up the brakes.

They accuse me of driving like an old man, (which I am) but if I see a light change I am in no hurry to get to it.

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8 hours ago, JACK M said:

 

I for the life of me cant seem to convince my kids that racing up to a light or stop sign will use up the brakes

Thanks Jack M.  Your kids drive like my wife.  Jack rabbit stops are usually accompanied by jack rabbit starts.  My wife has trouble getting over 100K on a transmission.  My Honda has 234K and the tranny continues to shift normally.  Welcome to the "Old Mans Club"

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Brake fade will be greatly minimized if you keep your drum brakes adjusted.  When the brakes need adjustment, the shoes need to travel further to reach the drum.  When drums get hot, they expand again increasing the distance the shoes need to travel.  Put brakes out of adjustment with hot drums and you get brake fade.  Adjust your brake shoes so you have the same drag on each wheel and you won't have a pulling issue unless you have grease or brake fluid on the shoes or worn suspension parts.

Edited by 61polara (see edit history)
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