Another Drum->Disc Conversion Thread - Impala Tech
Brakes & Suspension Conversion Questions & more

 
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Another Drum->Disc Conversion Thread

Hi Everyone,

(My apologies in advance for the long windedness of this post!)

I want to upgrade the brakes on my Impala to front disc, and have been doing the research on what products are out there.

Firstly: 1969 Impala 327, stock with stock ride height, currently with power drums. It’s a street driven car.

My main criteria is: stock appearing, and direct bolt on. I’d also like to use a single source – mainly given comments I found throughout the forum suggesting a single supplier to avoid problems. Not to mention that sourcing several parts in Canada can sometimes be difficult. Some of the kits I found will fit a 1969 – but they are actually designed for 1968 and you need to source 1968 spindles – not something I’m overly interested in doing.

I’m looking for feedback on the various suppliers and kits they sell; how easy were the kits to bolt on, what kind of quality are the kits, etc

Also curious if anyone went the drilled/slotted route, and was it worthwhile (if you have the ability to compare)?

Here’s what I’ve found:

MP Brakes
Has a kit, $995 with standard rotors, $1120 with drilled/slotted. Only concerns about the booster not appearing like stock.

Direct Fit Brakes Inc.
Has a kit that supposedly does 1969, $549 for standard, +$40 for drilled/slotted. One of the cheapest kits out there. In this case, my experience says you get what you pay for, cheap kit = cheap/low quality parts – is this the case here? Thier booster appears more stocklike in the photo, hard to tell though.

The Right Stuff Detailing
From what I can see, these guys have an amazing set of conversion products, but not for a 1969.

Stainless Steel Brakes
Like above, I’m seeing great feedback throughout the forum – but seemingly nothing available for a 1969. (Year One sells SSBC, says “use 1969 spindles”)

Performance Suspension Technology
I only found one response for PST on the ‘velle forums; they seemed happy, but nothing for 1969.

Classic Performance Parts
I didn't see anything about this paticular vendor.

Musclerodz
Seemingly nothing beyond a 1964 Hydratech kit.

Impala Brake Parts
I found one kit, $1150, stock ride, dual piston calipers. Listed for 1958-1970. Looks like a bottom only kit. There’s a few others, like a 14” wheel kit for $850, non-stock appearing booster, but I have 15” rims, so I’d rather find a kit with larger rotors for better stopping (I’ve driven cars with undersized rotors…), not to mention something with a stock appearing booster.

Impala Bobs
These guys have two kits. One is designed for 1968, you need 1968 spindles, $799. The other says “Your Spindles”, $1099. I haven’t seen any feedback in any of the forums on either of these kits.

Baer, WilWood, Kore3, and Global West all carry performance style brakes – probably great on a kit/custom car, but not something I’d want for a stock appearing Impala.

Classic Industries
Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a 1969 kit. Perhaps I’m blind - it was probably right there staring back at me.

Have I missed any vendors?

Thanks in advance

-Rob

Rob
'69 Impala 327 Custom
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 12:34 PM
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Looks like you've done some homework!

As far as drilled/slotted rotors go; they are more for looks on street cars and actually diminish the swept surface area of the rotor. Rotors like these are designed to dissipate heat more quickly to reduce fade in a racing situation, but under normal driving conditions with a big 'ol Impala they won't make a difference. You need lots of surface area with a big car.

From what I have gathered the 69-70 models front spindles were unique. Most companies that sell conversions for that year have specific instructions about the spindle. I'm sure some other members here can offer more help for the 69-70 model.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 12:52 PM
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Yep, for the 69-70 (I have 70) you need spindles from 65-68. I got set of used ones on Ebay. I do not think changing spindles will change the stock appearance much more than look of discs where the drums were.

I have manual drum brakes all around and conversion is on my to do list. I just need funds to get the kit. The ones I was looking at was CPP and Matt's Classic Bowties. Both sets are put together by CPP but for some reason MCB is selling them about $25-50 cheaper. Look on Ebay where power front set for our cars is $425 plus $55 shipping from Matt's.

I can't comment on quality though because I haven't installed them yet. The only thing I know that CPP and Matt's kit is basically disc kit for 79 Malibu. My only concern is that the rotor is I believe either 10.5" or 11" which may be kinda small especially for my 2 ton wagon.

Anyway, let us know once you decide and post some pictures of the conversion. I would be curious how smooth it went as I am probably another 2-3 months before I can order the conversion kit.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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It will be a while before I actually do the install - the cars about to go into storage for the season.

I'm doing my research now so I know what I'll try & pick up later this year as the dollar approaches parity.

One advantage I found going with 68 spindles is apparently cars ordered with disc brakes on 67-68 had dual piston calipers, whereas the 69-70 counterparts had single piston calipers.

That to me would be a good reason for changing the spindles. Right now though, sourcing a set of spindles means I'd probably have to import them - these cars aren't numerous in our scrap yards around here, unfortunately!

Regarding the slotted/drilled feedback, that settles my thoughts - I will go with the regular rotors, makes sense.

Thanks!

Rob
'69 Impala 327 Custom
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmarles View Post
It will be a while before I actually do the install - the cars about to go into storage for the season.

I'm doing my research now so I know what I'll try & pick up later this year as the dollar approaches parity.

One advantage I found going with 68 spindles is apparently cars ordered with disc brakes on 67-68 had dual piston calipers, whereas the 69-70 counterparts had single piston calipers.

That to me would be a good reason for changing the spindles. Right now though, sourcing a set of spindles means I'd probably have to import them - these cars aren't numerous in our scrap yards around here, unfortunately!

Regarding the slotted/drilled feedback, that settles my thoughts - I will go with the regular rotors, makes sense.

Thanks!
1965-'68 Impala's used the four piston fixed bridge Girling Style disc brakes that were used on the C2 corvette. The 1969-'70 single piston disc brake is unique to itself and shared by nothing else (which is the reason they got rid of it, since it goes against GM's policy of one part fitting as many cars as possible). So if you have drum brakes on a 1969-'70 Impala you have to swap out the spindles and retro fit the earlier disc brakes which are still easily found in many parts houses.

The old style brakes have one fatal flaw. They will corrode baddly (cast iron caliper with aluminum pistons in the presense of water makes for corrossion thanks to alkalyn brake fluid. SSBC got their start in the high performance brake business by sleeving the cast iron calipers with stainless steel sleeves (which is why they are called the Stainless Steel Brake Company). If you do get the earlier disc brakes be sure to have SSBC upgrade your cast iron calipers to SS liners.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Neat background on Stainless Steel Brakes! I didn't come across that previously.

I suppose this is something I should be asking the other vendors about, what metals are used in the pision/caliper assembly - or do you think these kits would contain the corrections needed (eg all cast iron instead of a Al/Fe combination?)

-Rob

Rob
'69 Impala 327 Custom
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 06:59 PM
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Hey Rob,
Nice bit of research. Here's what I did to put discs on one of my 70's. Picked up complete system from a70 (spindles,calipers,discs distribution/proportioning block, and booster,from Classic Chevy Enterprises, in New London,Wi. The guys name is Randy Popke. Too bad Lake Michigan is between you and him. Maybe you guys could meet in Sault Ste.Marie!!! Sent the booster to "Booster Dewey" in Oregon to get rebuilt and plated.This is where MOST of suppliers get theirs from. Then www.oldmusclecars.com supplied rebuild kits for calipers WITH SS pistons as BIG D mentioned. New bearings and seals I got locally,just make sure to take old ones with you. Now this next point has been brought up before, and I have CRS (Can't remember Sh-t) and not sure where I saw this....BUT new discs are the same as ones used on a Corvette. Which year??? This is where CRS kicks in. Now as for brake lines,got mine from Right Stuff Detailing. I know this sounds like a lot of work and $$$ , but IT ALL fit and I can go to Auto parts store and just say 70 w/disc brakes, without having to remember what year,or special bearing to fit drum spindle to Rotor. Hope this helps...it wasn't as much $$ as one would think.
Gary
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 09:32 PM
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Check Out ABS Power Break, Inc.

www.abspowerbrake.com

They may have what you are looking for. I also have a 69 Custom and they looked like they had complete sets.

Ape Out.

Make: Chevrolet
Model: Impala Custom
Year: 1969
Doors: 2
Engine: 327 V8
Trans: Powerglide
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 09:35 PM
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The link is actually http://abspowerbrake.com/
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 02:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBDropTop View Post
Now this next point has been brought up before, and I have CRS (Can't remember Sh-t) and not sure where I saw this....BUT new discs are the same as ones used on a Corvette. Which year???
That's right I've seen this on the internet but I believe the link isn't good anymore. Using 1980 covette(used for a multiple number of years) front rotors(fallout style) on the original 70' hub(you'll have to seperate the hub from the rotor, yes it is acutally two pieces) you then can place the corvette rotor on the Imps hub and viola!

Also as a point of info all 70' custom coupes had front discs as standard equipment.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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I also found Late Great Chevy appears to sell a direct bolt-on kit that has the same photo as MPBrakes, for the same price as MP Brakes ($995 for non-slotted)

I didn't see any pricing on ABS Power Brake, but it appears as if they sell the Delco factory style booster/master combos... I'll email to find out.

BBDropTop - thanks for the detailed info on building a kit up - I like the idea of being able to walk into a parts shop and buy replacement parts... Again, the kit idea appealed to me in Canada as it's one big shipment rather multiple smaller shipments, but I think given the selection/feedback, I will consider your suggestions and price that route out as well.

Thanks guys, keep the ideas & suggestions coming!

Rob
'69 Impala 327 Custom
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 11:01 AM
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As far as the 4 piston fixed calipers go: they were offered on the Corvette starting in 1965 but weren't offered on other GM cars until 1967 and only ran until 1968.



I don't think you'd want to go this route. The calipers for B bodies are unique and very hard to find. Calipers from the other models will NOT work (there are subtle differences like the width and brake line location). And these will cost you @ $140-200 each and will have a core charge of $125 for each old caliper. I have these on my Caprice and learned a lot about them when I had to have them rebuilt. Most shops that have them won't even sell you a pair unless you have good cores to trade.

I think your best bet is to find a way to install a more popular single piston, floating caliper disc brake set up from 1971+. That way in the future you can find the replacement parts easily and affordably. (I did this on my 67 Camaro and it was cake.) Or find an original 69-70 disc set up at a swap or eBay and restore it.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBDropTop View Post
Picked up complete system from a70 (spindles,calipers,discs distribution/proportioning block, and booster,from Classic Chevy Enterprises, in New London,Wi. The guys name is Randy Popke.
Do you have any contact info, eg an email address or phone number for Randy? I checked out the website, but the "About Us" page is blank (sorta like they're transistioning websites or something)

thanks!

Rob
'69 Impala 327 Custom
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 02:51 PM
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ABS Power Brake, Inc.
233 N. Lemon St.
Orange, CA 92866
V. 714 771-6549
F. 714 771-7329
Email: Contact ABS

1967 Chevy Impala 4 dr hrd tp...
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hintonl View Post
ABS Power Brake, Inc.
LOL, thanks - was actually looking for the contact info for Classic Chevy Enterprises, their website seems to be missing some pages...

Rob
'69 Impala 327 Custom
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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 04:09 PM
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Hey Rob,
Randy is usually traveling the country picking/delivering parts. He is at most major swap meets,and goes south and west to find quality used parts. THE best way to get him is by phone 920.982.5871. You will probably get an answering machine which he usually checks...daily(sometimes). If you're ever in the Green Bay area,he sees customers by appointment. Then you drive around, he has three farms with CARS. Most are in barns or chicken coops, and not small ones either. I recall walking thru three of the coops probably about 100 feet long filled with nothing but B-bodies. And he is always open for trading parts.
Gary
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 10:10 PM
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Here is someone else you can check out.

http://www.ssbrakes.com/commerce/bra...Caliper%20kits

Ape Out.

Make: Chevrolet
Model: Impala Custom
Year: 1969
Doors: 2
Engine: 327 V8
Trans: Powerglide
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Spoke with Randy, he has nothing available disc wise, right now. He'll keep his eyes out for me.

Rob
'69 Impala 327 Custom
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-23-2009, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Guys,

Still doing research. I will post my findings shortly, but basically I'm considering putting together a kit which would use a new master cylinder, but with my OEM drum booster (which works fine).

Reason I'm thinking of going this route is to keep the OEM look; buy basically a manual disc kit as it contains everything BUT the booster.

Has anyone tried this? Are they technically the same booster pn#?

Thanks.

Rob
'69 Impala 327 Custom
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-29-2009, 03:57 PM
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Any Updates?

Ape Out.

Make: Chevrolet
Model: Impala Custom
Year: 1969
Doors: 2
Engine: 327 V8
Trans: Powerglide
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post #21 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-30-2009, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Ape, sorry for the delay. Very busy! Here's what I have so far; again, sorry in advance for the long-windedness of the post!

Option #1: Direct Fit Brakes kit
Pro: Cheap
Con: Cheap cost could mean cheap parts. Would want to confirm it's a stock appearing booster. Piston likely not sleeved with stainless.
Total kit cost is: $549USD + brake lines.
I emailed these guys, but never heard back from them. I also didn't find any reviews/feedback on thier kits, so I have no idea about quality, etc.

Option #2: Complete MP Brakes (DB1724P) or LGC kit (520125)
Pro: Pre-assembled kit, designed to bolt right up to a 1969.
Con: Non-stock appearing booster, piston likely not sleeved with stainless.
Total kit cost is: $955USD + brake lines.
I spoke with Fred from MP Brakes on the phone for a while. We actually decided my best best was to actually buy the manual kit ($100 less), as it contained everything BUT the booster. This meant I needed to determine if I could use my stock oem drum booster behind a new master cylinder in his kit. I did see/hear a few things about MP's quality and would feel comfortable buying from them, although their kit at $855 was probably the most expensive of the kits I'm considering.

Option #3: Complete kit from ABS Power Brake Systems Inc.
Pro: ABS Power Brakes sells stock appearing boosters.
Con: Piston likely not sleeved with stainless.
From [email protected]: "wise choice.#311-A13.complete front disc kit zero off set.$400.00 a simple bolt on . original look 11" Delco style booster master with prop valve $250.00"
Total cost would be $650USD + brake lines.

Option #4: Complete kit (FSC65DCC) from Right Stuff Detailing
Pro: "Your choice of booster". Cheap, but had a seemingly good response in the forums about quality.
Con: Need to source 1967/8 spindles, piston likely not sleeved with stainless.
Total kit cost is: $495USD + brake lines+ spindles.
I spoke with Todd on the phone for a while, he admitted he probably couldn't help me out, but praised MP Brakes as I guess they sell to each other.

There were quite a few other options, eg PST has a kit very similar to above, free shipping, but the kit cost was $760, and required '68 spindles.

SSBC has a kit, but it's non-OEM appearing.

I considered building a kit relying on research and sourcing as many parts locally as I could, but that route seemed like it would be time consuming and likely quite frustrating in one way or another...

I also considered mixing a few kits, eg buying JUST the bottom kit from MP Brakes and sourcing the other components from TRSD; With this route, I'm likely to get all the right parts, but it was also probably the most expensive route. (Probably $1000+ by the time you factor in shipping, etc)

Option #5: MBM Brake Kit
This one I could source "locally" (Canadian side of the border). Don't know anything about the kit quality-wise. I had met a vendor based out of the Windsor area at a local swap meet this spring. I came across his information again after I made the initial post, and emailed the other day for more info about the kit. Haven't heard back yet - I'll try and give them a shout when I get a moment.

Thanks to Gary/BBDropTop, I have a lead on a 1970 setup. I'm hoping that they'll sell the components minus the consumables (eg the rotors) to keep the weight down. Not to mention, the kit was obviously used and the rotors were nearing the end of life, no sense paying for shipping on that... If the lead turns out, I'd likely order the required refurb kits from OMC. My biggest problem there is OMC's detail on the refurb kit (2485GM) was limited, and upon email inquiry, they said that the piston was not stainless sleeved. Gary assures me nevertheless that it is, as that's what he ordered.

Regardless of which route I take, I'm likely going to order the stainless refurb kit and "upgrade" the brakes prior to install.

I also have a local speed shop guy looking at a few options via his supply chain for me, I need to touch base with him to see how he's making out.

So, that's where I'm at. Pretty much still in a wait-and-see mode.

Thanks to Gary on several useful leads, he was a big help in getting me going.

Anyone know anything about the booster question? Will the disc/drum master line up with the oem drum booster?

Rob
'69 Impala 327 Custom
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post #22 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2010, 01:52 AM
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Hello, we are RIght Stuffs biggest US dealer in Brake Conversions...

We do offer their single piston front kit with Booster/Master/Prop for $425

Its correct you will need 65-68 stock drum spindles...They are pretty easy to find.

Our kits are Lifetime warrantied and come with good directions.

Another VERY important part you have overlooked on a CONVERSION style kit is you will need new hardlines...the new props are diff. from the original and if you haven't replaced them you should....Brake fluid attracts moisture and that leads to BAD corrosion in the lines that you can't see.

Give me a call or PM to discuss our kits

Toll free 866-628-8746 or 925-828-5555

Thanks
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post #23 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2010, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Matt,

As an update to this, I've decided to go with MP Brakes. The kit is a bolt on for stock '69 spindles. Costs a bit more money, but there's a lot less up front headache in the end (worth the costs IMHO). I also recently found a local supplier can source the MP Brakes kit.

I should mention I didn't forget about the brake lines - if you read the summary, TRS was $495+Brake Lines+Spindles. I can source lines from a variety of places, both local & stateside, so I wasn't overly worried about those other then remembering that I had to do them.

Thanks for the reply!

Rob
'69 Impala 327 Custom
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