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how to get more stopping power from front brakes?

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how to get more stopping power from front brakes? Empty how to get more stopping power from front brakes?

Post by dhw3971 Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:37 pm

I would like to get some better braking performance for my station wagon. I'm guessing that upgrading the front discs would be the place to begin but I don't know where to start: remove OEM rubber and replace with braided steel lines, new pads only, new calipers and pads or go whole-hog and get a kit that replaces the rotors/pads/calipers.

What is your two cents' worth on disc brakes?
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Post by texan01 Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:06 pm

Ceramic pads, and make sure its got 11x2" drums.

Save for swapping in the 12" B-body brakes and rear disc brakes, theres not much more you can do to the system we have.

You could swap in stiffer springs in the front to reduce the dive and let the rears do more work.

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Post by TrendSetter Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:18 pm

my 02 silverado felt weak until i swapped from vacuum to hydraulic brake booster. felt like a big brake uprade and it was cheap and easy. there is a thread here with someone that did the swap.
i just got a 73 wagon last week and plan to make that my first mod.

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Post by Flywheel Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:00 pm

You need to make sure your braking system is operating as designed. Is your booster and proportioning valve functioning correctly, are your rotors and drums within spec? The more volume within the calipers and wheels cylinders, the more spongy the feel. If your drums have been resurfaced it's possible that the shoes aren't making full contact. There are shops that specialize in brakes that will machine your shoes to fit your drums. Verify the part number of your master cylinder as bore sizes within can greatly affect braking performance, you also might research master cylinder bore sizes to get a better understanding of braking performance. Shock absorbers and springs can also affect braking. Be sure your system is operating as designed and all parts are within spec before you decide an upgrade is necessary to fit your needs. Best of luck!
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Post by Joe73 Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:17 pm

Shock absorbers and springs can greatly affect your braking. But switching out the 3 rubber flexible lines to stainless braided lines makes a world of difference. I learned that when I changed to stainless in my tahoe. Claims were made of a shorter stopping distance at 55mph. It was correct. Especially since I towed alot and the boat trailer did not have its own brakes. The tahoe was much better in a panic stop because of the stainless lines. Also, brake fluid, it should be changed out every 2-3 years. I do that on all my vehicles.
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Post by pila Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:02 am

Sometimes, the booster may seem like it's OK, and still need to be replaced. My '75 Elco seemed barely OK, even with the 9 inch rear end w/ 11 X 2.25 drums. I replaced the booster, and it made an amazing difference... The booster was from my '77 Elco, original part.. Rubber parts, like diaphragm etc, just get old !!

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Post by brownbomber77 Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:20 am

I would definitely stick the B Body spindles on it and larger rotors. Hoses and pads only do so much but another inch of braking surface is pretty significant. Best thing is, you don't have to break open the lines. The spindles bolt into the stock location and the calipers are the same. I would really start there.

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Post by pila Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:34 pm

You didn't mention the size of the rear drums.... On Chevelle & Elco, the larger rear brakes (11 inch) didn't come along until '76, unless the wagons had the bigger drums as stock (???)

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Post by dhw3971 Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:47 pm

Some time has passed since I asked my question, so I had better describe the changes I made to the front brakes. (rear brakes are stock and were left alone but based on wear may be a project for next year)


1. Last August I replaced each rotor with one of these: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-br-62002lc
2. Brake pad swap: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/hwk-hb103f-590

3. This year I changed rubber flex line to steel braided line and...
4. replaced vacuum booster

The pads and rotors were changed first and I did get better stopping. I had to make several hard stops from 30-45MPH to seat the pads as directed by the instructions. I recall more initial bite as I pressed the brake pedal and not a gentle slowing as before.

After the lines were replaced I did not notice a difference.

Brake booster did make a difference especially in first moments of pressing the brake pedal...more stopping power in first inch of travel so now I can press on brake pedal with less force to get same result.
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