Another Question Re: Brake Kit! - Impala Tech
Brakes & Suspension Conversion Questions & more

 
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2016, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Another Question Re: Brake Kit!

Still looking at a drum to disc conversion kit and found this interesting. CPP offers a complete kit with 2" spindles and zero offset at $699. Anybody ever used or heard of Auto City Classic (TomsClassic.com)? They offer a similar kit and it includes drilled rotors for $499! This kit will have a 3/8 offset which may not be a problem. Is this stuff junk or not? Any thoughts appreciated!
Thanks, Bob Winston.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 08:35 PM
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I have used CPP kit on my 66 Impala and liked the fit and over all results. Have not heard of Auto City Classic. At that price it is probably China made ,which does not mean its cheap, bad or anything else, could be the same products as CPP uses.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-31-2016, 10:59 PM
 
 
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I have a lot of CPP products on my car (brakes, steering and suspension) and believe that they source some of their parts from overseas as well. The CPP products work well although it seems like I needed to grind on too many parts to get them to fit correctly. The only downfall to CPP is the terrible customer service they provide. I will go out of my way not to use them in the future, as they act like they are doing you a favor whenever you need some help.

I would try the other kit as long as they have a reasonable return policy if you get it and it is junk.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 07:58 AM
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I was looking at conversions as well. What does the offset do? Is it just how far out the hubs stick? It is not front to back offset, right? And if you get a kit with offset, you either have wheels that are not in line with the rear, or you buy wheels with an offset as well? Thanks for the responses in advance. Never did the conversion before and was shocked to see kits with an offset.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 09:24 AM
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If you consider how thick a brake drum is on the face and how much thicker the same area is on a disc brake you will notice that installing disc brakes moves the wheel and tire out up to five eighths of an inch on each side of the car. This increases the front track as much as an inch and an eighth, and causes the tires to rub against the fenders.

You can buy a kit with wheel hubs that move the mounting flange inboard to counter this affect but it adds a custom wheel hub and new bearings to the price of the kit. The cheaper kits have you reusing the drum brake wheel hubs and don't mention the tire rubbing issue instead directing your attention to the pretty zinc wash (that rubs off inside of two hundred miles or the drilled rotors (that promote cracking) or the slots that just add cost (though they do help remove any water that gets between the puck and the disc face).

Your drum brakes can lock up your wheels at any speed at least once. Were disc brakes are required is in a racing application; say Watkins Glenn, or Riverside, or Sebring, where you are on and off the brakes continuously for twelve hours. Disc brakes resist fading by dissipating heat better than drum brakes. On the street unless you live in the mountains of the Colorado Rockies (which are better described as the Colorado Gravely Hills) or the hard granite rock of the North Carolina Smokey Mountains you won't need disc brakes. If you spend most of your time climbing up and down mountain grades or dragging the brakes crawling around on the interstate by-pass of Atlanta or Los Angles your drum brakes will work just fine.

The factory went to disc brakes not because they can stop a car any faster than a drum brake (still retained on all Semi Trucks because the drums actually do work better with air brakes) but because they are cheaper. Those backing plates, drums, springs, washers, pins, retaining clips, and self adjusters all add up to more parts and labor cost to assemble than just bolting on a caliper and a rotor. You will notice that drums are still used on the back of all but sports cars even today as the emergency brake requires a hand activated lever: and disc brakes require three times the effort to lock the rotor than a drum does (drum brakes are self activating which is why they are used on trucks, and why those springs are so strong, because it is the spring that pulls the shoe away from the drum where it wants to wedge itself in place).

Big Dave
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 09:56 AM
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Thanks for the info Dave. I did not realize the increase in the front track due to the disc brakes.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 12:17 PM
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CPP has a 0 offset kit, little pricier than drop spindle kit but worth every penny. it comes with it keeps the wheel in the original position. I have it on my 67 and it works great. I don't agree with Big Dave as the increase in stopping power is very noticeable especially in traffic where stopping the behemoth every couple of hundred feet causes a lot of heat and brake fade. In my experience this was the best upgrade so far, car actually doesn't feel like it's not gonna stop anymore.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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I've been looking at nearly every vendor of disc brake conversion kits and they range from a 3/4" offset to a zero offset, depending upon who they're being sourced from. On the one hand, even the 3/4 offset may not be a problem if you're not running great big tires, but if you're concerned, I'd definitely consider either 1/8" or zero offset. Also, there are some really cheap disc brake conversion kits out there and I'm certain they are from China. While this MAY not be a problem, do you want to bet the car or maybe even your life on it?? I just ordered tubular upper A arms for my
62 and went top shelf for that very reason. Paid nearly double what I could have bought them for but they're American made and quality! Here's another issue you may get into....don't know what you're trying to do but if you're converting from manual to power steering, you'll never get the 4-6 degree positive caster required by the new steering set up without changing the upper A arms. The factory stamped steel arms are plenty strong, they just can't be adjusted to get more than about one degree caster. Caster is the "angle" of the wheel center line from front to back. Positive caster tilts that center line back so that after a turn the wheels want to come back to straight and not tend to wander. These "B" body cars didn't handle great when new and with bigger wheels, lower suspension, dropped spindles and the possible addition of power steering, things get really goofy. A heavy duty stabilizer bar is another good addition, helping to prevent body roll on turns. I think the factory bar is only 7/8" diameter as opposed to 1" or even 1-1/8". This means less twist, less roll. CPP is probably your best bet for quality. A bit more expensive than some but I think you're buying quality stuff. Been a real learning curve for me!!! Get it all figured out before you plunk down your hard earned $$.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 08:08 PM
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Actually most of the cheap and unsafe brake parts come from India and Pakistan. The Indians haul ocean going ships up on a beach and take them apart with cutting torches melting down copper wires, lead plumbing,and anything else found on the ship (like Asbestos) in their recycled scrap iron that they use to make cheap automotive parts to sell in America. They are truly inferior in every way except cost which is why WalMart stores and your corner automotive discount store handle their product. You get what you pay for and in this case others that you accidently hit also get to pay.

Big Dave
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-08-2016, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbwinston View Post
I've been looking at nearly every vendor of disc brake conversion kits and they range from a 3/4" offset to a zero offset, depending upon who they're being sourced from. On the one hand, even the 3/4 offset may not be a problem if you're not running great big tires, but if you're concerned, I'd definitely consider either 1/8" or zero offset. Also, there are some really cheap disc brake conversion kits out there and I'm certain they are from China. While this MAY not be a problem, do you want to bet the car or maybe even your life on it?? I just ordered tubular upper A arms for my
62 and went top shelf for that very reason. Paid nearly double what I could have bought them for but they're American made and quality! Here's another issue you may get into....don't know what you're trying to do but if you're converting from manual to power steering, you'll never get the 4-6 degree positive caster required by the new steering set up without changing the upper A arms. The factory stamped steel arms are plenty strong, they just can't be adjusted to get more than about one degree caster. Caster is the "angle" of the wheel center line from front to back. Positive caster tilts that center line back so that after a turn the wheels want to come back to straight and not tend to wander. These "B" body cars didn't handle great when new and with bigger wheels, lower suspension, dropped spindles and the possible addition of power steering, things get really goofy. A heavy duty stabilizer bar is another good addition, helping to prevent body roll on turns. I think the factory bar is only 7/8" diameter as opposed to 1" or even 1-1/8". This means less twist, less roll. CPP is probably your best bet for quality. A bit more expensive than some but I think you're buying quality stuff. Been a real learning curve for me!!! Get it all figured out before you plunk down your hard earned $$.
There is a thread on Chevelle or Camaro forum (I can't remember) about ebay control arms and aside from crappy ball joints they are actually well build, with thick metal and welds that penetrated like they should. This was backed up by x-ray images. In 20 years of restoring (many many) cars I've had just as many failures with US made parts as I did with Import parts.

BTW most of CPP parts are manufactured in CHINA.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-08-2016, 11:16 AM
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In 20 years of restoring (many many) cars I've had just as many failures with US made parts as I did with Import parts.
This was due to NAFTA that allows parts manufactured in Mexico (though within about fifty miles or so of the US boarder that are shipped on US trucks to be marked "Made in the USA" instead of "Hecho en Mexico".

If I buy a Moog part or a Spicer part I look at the box to see if it has "Fabrique au Canada" or "Made in USA" marked on the box. Knowing the US made part is suspect I would choose the Canadian made part. This of course assumes that you are in a real NAPA or similar store that still sells good parts as well as the cheap ones WalMart customers want to look at the part in hand and not at a picture on line.

I also used to buy a lot of my parts from my local Chevrolet Service center only going around to the rear entrance where the line technicians got their parts and buying them at cost through a friend of mine that worked there. Unfortunately he retired along with the senior counterman who used to serve me. The good quality parts are still there (having undergone GM's famous QC inspection to get inside a GM parts box), but the cost has increased considerably. Unfortunately you still get what you pay for most of the time.

Big Dave
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-08-2016, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Great questions and ideas! There is probably no way to know where someone like CPP sources it's parts but it's likely China. I keep hearing mostly good things about CPP but that still doesn't address how well the parts are constructed. I just bought a pair of upper tubular A arms from Global West and paid a fortune ($615) but they are really nice and extremely heavy duty. I've seen a set of 4 A arms for $400 so I can't imagine what kind of junk they must be!! Let's all remember something, like Dave says, you get what you pay for and in the case of suspension and brakes you're talking about your prized possession and maybe even your life or someone else's life! Not worth it!! Do it right, do it once! Can you imagine flying down the highway at about 70 when the ball joint falls out of the A arm or slamming on the brakes to find you have none!!
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2016, 10:50 AM
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Made in USA (or so they claim), paid premium price for a brand name, expected top notch quality got a death trap.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2016, 11:49 AM
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What was the application? Chevy II? That metal is far to thin of a gauge to support much in the line of forces. It appears as though they had used a welded (not seamless tube) pipe to make the bushing support and welded the pipe with the seam next to the A-arm tube with the resulting added heat weakening the first weld.

Seamless steel tubing is plunged to form a tube out of round bar stock that is reheated to high temp then forged and quenched in dies to form a single strong piece of tubing or pipe. If you can see a seam it is rolled and welded mild steel.

I have used Hotchkiss in my '85 Impala and pushed the suspension to the edge of grip on the tires all of the time. I enjoyed driving that car not only in a straight line but on a road track or autocross parking lot rally. Never an issue. On my Nova builds of the seventies and eighties I used PST suspension parts as they were a Moog distributor and made their own bushings sway bars and Tubular arms to correct the bad caster and Ackerman steering issues found in first gen Camaros and Novas. Toe-in also changed with front end lift or falling so it was a wonder they handled as well as they did. The visible difference in quality between PST and Hotchkiss convinced me that Hotchkiss was worth the extra expense though I could never convince my customers of that.

Big Dave
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2016, 01:46 PM
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This was on a Cutlass, it broke as the car was leaving the parking lot.
After reading all the reviews I decided to give the Ebay control arms a chance, $250 for all 4. Before installing them I replaced the ball joints with quality ball joints and 5 years later and many autocross and track events, they are still on the car. best $250 I ever spent. I was just trying to say that just because the label is Made in USA it doesn't always mean the parts are built right. These companies are in the business of making money, they will do everything possible to make the profit margin bigger. Made in USA used to mean something to me, nowadays sadly it lost it's meaning, especially since companies like MSD and many others are manufacturing parts in China and putting them in the boxes that say Made in USA. It should say "packaged in USA".

I apologize for derailing the thread. Bottom line is don't buy the part just because it's more expensive, do your research, ask others, buy smart. Not all USA made parts are superior(anymore) and not all China made parts are inferior.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-10-2016, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Eddie; don't worry about derailing the conversation...it's all good info as are individual experiences. I'm afraid in many instances you're right that made in USA doesn't always mean anything and further more very difficult to prove unless you actually know there's a factory. Even then the quality MAY not be superior. Back to the A arms, however, hard to imagine a full set of 4 at $400 being quality when I paid over $600 for two. The pair I got from GW were truly superior, in my estimation...very heavy, very nice welds, nylon greaseable bushings, etc. Hope I got what I paid for! Looked at Hotchkiss also but believe they told me I needed to use their upper and lowers in combination to attain the 5 degrees caster where as GW told me they had it built into the uppers and the lowers didn't matter.




On another note, here's a strange one... after converting the manual steering to a 600 box power unit and moving the idle arm as per instructions, the wheels are toe'd out considerably...enough to hardly get them to go to normal with the available adjustment in the tie rods. What do you guess that's all about??? Will finish playing with it tomorrow but sure doesn't seem right? Bet I've taken in an inch, maybe more turning the adjusters to bring in the wheels. Can't quite figure why changing the box and location of he idler would have that significant an effect. Any ideas???? Bob
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