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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I'm looking to have a front disc brake conversion kit installed on my 1965 Impala SS. I was looking into the Classic Performance Products (CPP) kit, but when I called and mentioned I had the factory drum brake wheels, I was told I would need to get different wheels. I called around to other manufacturers and was told the same. One told me that it's because the brake and caliper wouldn't clear the rim.
I want to retain the SS hubcaps that are on the current 14" wheel. I did some research and found that later models had disc brakes offered. Does anyone know of a 14" wheel that I can use to install disc brakes with and keep my SS hubcaps?

Thanks!
 

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I'm going the same route and in the end, I ended up purchasing different wheels/tires along with the brakes. I was unable to find anything for my 66 that would fit inside my 14" cragars. I made it count by going the big brake kit route, Good luck.
 

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Welcome to the Team Juan!

The only 14" inch wheels that will clear a stock single caliper GM caliper on an 11" rotor where used on a Nova, Camaro or a Chevelle. These are all steel 14 by 6 or 14 by 7 inch wheels with neutral back spacing and five lug on 4-3/4 inch bolt circles. These wheels are rare and expensive. They will also tear up your tires when they are being mounted by a tire machine operated by a minimum wage teen age temp worker as there isn't a bead well for the tire bead to drop into. Here is what the difference in the wheels looks like:

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f375/sstaz/P1000912.jpg

All disc brake equipped big cars came with 15 inch wheels (usually Corvette Rally wheels) because the brakes that Chevrolet used on your car (1965-'70) from the factory came off of a Corvette and used a Girling four piston brake caliper.

If you want to use the CPP single piston GM caliper brakes off of a mid eighties A or G-body car (intermediate sized not designed for a full sized car) then you will need to find a 14 flat bottom steel wheel or a 14" Rally wheel for a disc brake Camaro or Chevelle from 1969-'74 that wasn't a Z/28 or SS as they all used 15 inch wheels starting in 1969.

If you don't want to spend the rest of your lkife looking on e-Bay for these wheels this company finds and resells them:

http://www.classicchambered.com/classic/wheels.html

Big Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Big Dave!

What are your thoughts on using a wheel spacer to get the clearance for the brake and calipers?

I am only looking to get the front brakes upgraded, but would I still have to install the spacers on the back as well?

Here is an example of the spacer I am talking about. I'm not sure if it's the correct one for the wheels I have on, it's just for example. It would add 2" to the wheel spacing.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/5x4-75-to-5...1965|Model:Impala&hash=item257ec7b56e&vxp=mtr
 

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JJP92, I am willing to bet that the wheels advertised as being 14" wheels to fit disc brakes will NOT fit on a stock B body disc brake setup. They will fit Camaro, Chevelle and Nova which have smaller brakes. Make sure you get a "money cheerfully refunded if they don't fit guarantee" if you spend money buying wheels that are advertised as fitting on a disc brake Impala.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Darth, I looked into what you were talking about. Thanks for the heads up! Alot of the 14" disc brake wheels were for smaller vehicles. I was, however, able to find this wheel on Eckler's (link below). The only thing that I am noticing is that it is a 14x6 wheel whereas the factory wheels are 14X7.75 from the directories I have found online. On a tangent, how do hot rodders do routine tire maintenance (i.e. tire rotation) on cars that have different tire sizes in the front and back? This might be good for me to know in case I do end up with 14" wheels with different widths on the back and front.

http://www.lategreatchevy.com/full-...14-x-6-for-disc-or-drum-brakes-1958-1972.html
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As it stands, I see two options for keeping my factory hubcaps and original look.

1. Wheel spacer - but would I have to space all 4 wheels if I am only upgrading the front brakes?

2. 14" disc brake wheel like the one on Eckler's Late Great Chevy for Impalas. But, how do I maintain the tires (tire rotation) for a vehicle that has different sized tires in the back and front? Do I just swap the driver and passenger side tires on the front and rear?

This is all a long learning process! But assuming everything goes great, it will be helpful for any future projects after I finish college!

Thanks!
 

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I do not like wheel spacers (generally used to change the bolt pattern so that you can bolt on some killer wheels you like off of a brand of car that won't normally fit your car; example a set of Mopar Magnum or Ford Shelby wheels). The reason I do not like wheel spacers are two fold; but both reasons are based upon the fact that a wheel spacer changes the track (width) of the car's suspension.

First thing is the added stress placed upon wheel bearings and ball joints because you have increased the length of the lever arm that applies an additional torque on the parts.

The second thing is your steering handling and alignment will be affected by the added track, as you will now magnify any movement about the pivot point of the front end. This will make your steering twitchy wanting to dart one way or the other following every crack in the road.

As to having mismatched tire sizes hot rods have used big and littles since the fifties as a bigger rear tire has been required to obtain enough traction to accelerate the car without slipping the tire. Today's rubber compounds have all but eliminated that issue, but the tradition continues because everybody else is doing it (hearding instinct).

Big Dave
 

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We usually don't put enough miles on a collector car to rotate the tires. Besides a lot of us run different size tires front to rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the help!

After calling around, I think the route I'll be going with is ordering the 14x6 wheels that Eckler's offers designed to clear for disc brakes and the CPP kit. The only thing is that the kit that CPP has that would fit the 14" wheel comes with a 2" drop spindle, which I know looks nice for a car with mag wheels, but I've never seen a car with the factory hubcaps get the front end lowered 2". I'm not sure if it'll look sharp or just outright weird.

What are your thoughts on the drop with factory hubcaps?

I'm also going with the American Classic Wide Whitewall radials (2 1/2") tires. It currently has the 2 1/2" Remington G-78 tires which are in pretty bad shape.
 

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Darth, I looked into what you were talking about. Thanks for the heads up! Alot of the 14" disc brake wheels were for smaller vehicles. I was, however, able to find this wheel on Eckler's (link below). The only thing that I am noticing is that it is a 14x6 wheel whereas the factory wheels are 14X7.75 from the directories I have found online. On a tangent, how do hot rodders do routine tire maintenance (i.e. tire rotation) on cars that have different tire sizes in the front and back? This might be good for me to know in case I do end up with 14" wheels with different widths on the back and front.

http://www.lategreatchevy.com/full-...14-x-6-for-disc-or-drum-brakes-1958-1972.html
Very cool, wish those would have been around years ago when I put a set of 4 piston disc brakes from a 68 on my 66.

I would still ask when you order to make sure they are stating they fit factory disc brakes, and not just later kits that may use a smaller brake setup. Might as well be safe.

Make sure you test one first thing on the car when you take it out of the box!

And would you report back here once you've done it?
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Darth, definitely will do. I asked them repeatedly about it fitting the kit, and they kept saying it should work as that's what it was designed for. They also said that if it didn't, I could return it within 30 days as long as its in "sellable" condition, i.e. no scratches or dents. I basically have to make sure everything clears without actually bolting it in.
 

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CPP's basic disc brake kit uses 11" rotors and single piston calipers from 69-72 Chevelle. I have it on my 65 SS. It works well for day to day driving. I upgraded to their slotted, drilled rotors too. I have overheated them running canyons in Malibu, CA. They are not up to snuff for road racing and such.

I thought these were supposed to work with 14 wheels. Oh yeah, the kit I have moved the front wheels 5/8" out on each side. But, they may have made changes since I bought my set up.
 

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I installed their disc brake conversion on a friend's 58 Caddy. The spindle side works good, using 12" 1990 caddy stuff. But, the setup they had to replace the verticle Bendix Treadlevac brake booster/master was complicated and literally came apart three times. I finally made them tow the car there to fix the problems. They had to re-engineer their brackets and such to work correctly. But, the car's owner is still skittish about driving it now. I spent 18 months putting on all the trim, fixing the stock AC, and making it reliable enough to drive daily; but now he has second thoughts. We even talked about putting all the stock drum stuff back on.

In all honesty, I haven't been too happy with CPP lately either. I think their brake conversion is still good, but I would stay away from ball joints and tie rods from them. When I asked if they make their own I got, "Oh no, we use whatever our local supplier sends us." Not confidence inspiring.

I have CPP's tubular A arms up front, but had to replace the ball joints before I even got the car aligned. No complaints on their A arms though.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
UPDATE:

I purchased the 14" disc brake wheels from Eckler's for the front end and had them powder coated along with the rear wheels to match the car. Got some new American Classic whitewall radials all around. Bought the disc brake conversion kit from CPP using the stock spindle. Not sure if you are familiar with Fast N Loud, but I had Phipps Automotive, sometimes shown on the show, install the brakes. The car stops beautifully!
 

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I know this is an old thread but has anyone else here done this conversion on an Impala and used 14" stock steel rims?
 

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I know this is an old thread but has anyone else here done this conversion on an Impala and used 14" stock steel rims?
There are no "stock" steel wheels that will clear a disc brake because the caliper will crash into the interior of the wheel. There are as mentioned 1969-'72 Steel wheels used on the Camaro, Nova, and the Chevelle equipped with optional disc brakes that will clear the caliper. The problem with these wheels is that they are rare making them expensive when you do find them. Additionally most people who ordered disc brakes did so on SS model cars which have rally wheels with trim rings or hub caps installed, or on the Chevelle SS five spoke steel wheels, not plane steel wheels, making a plain steel 14 inch disc brake wheel nearly impossible to find.

You could follow Jay leno's lead who had custom off sett billet aluminum 17 wheels made for his Torronado to look like the Torronado/El Dorado wheels used with big block TH400 front wheel drive. Or the 18" inch steel wheel with custom Buick full wheel covers made to up grade his aunt's Buick that he lived out of when he first came to L.A. If you want that stock look all it takes is a lot of money. just depends upon how bad you want that look.

Big Dave
 

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Ok, I need to word that differently, is there anyone who has put on one of these kits and used it with stock steel wheels from a 14" disc brake equipped car, such as a Camaro, Nova or Chevelle?

I have a set of these disc brake steel wheels but I don't want to buy a kit only to find out it still won't work with my wheels. They will NOT clear the stock 67-69 Impala disc brake setups but I am hoping they will clear this aftermarket Impala disc brake setup.

I have no interest in anything but 14" stock steel wheels that allow me to run my stock wheel covers. Jay Leno and I have nothing in common.
 

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The 1967-68 disc brake option used the four piston Girlling caliper off of the Corvette with a special one off wheel hub. From 1969-'71 the factory changed from the expensive Girlling brake system when they made a special set of calipers and thicker rotors that where larger than those used on the smaller cars because they didn't know if the bigger car would stop safely with the smaller caliper and were afraid to risk it. Once the single caliper disc brake system introduced across the GM line in 1969 had been out for a few years GM felt the risk to their profits would be low enough to substitute the smaller brake caliper and rotor used on their lighter cars on the Impala. It was done to reduce the number of parts in inventory to save money. By 1972 all of GM's sportier cars where using 15 inch wheels if they had disc brakes installed. My mom's 1968 Caprice came with disc brakes and 15 inch Corvette Rally style wheels.

Big Dave
 
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