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Old 07-23-2012, 06:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

With a 427 under the hood, my 1963 Galaxie's stopping power was not as good as the acceleration it was putting out, so I was in the search for a good value for money disc brake kit.
Although most kits would work the same, I settled for the Tom's Classics kit found on eBay. It seemed like a good all round kit at a good price, where everything was supplied, and I wouldn't have to go searching anywhere for parts to complete the conversion.

There are three kits that are on offer.
Complete kit including discs, calipers, master cylinder and booster.
Same kit but master cylinder only and no booster.
Same kit but no master cylinder and no booster.

Below is what you get in the complete kit.



I opted for the kit with master cylinder but no booster. The reason being that the 427 usually wont give enough vacuum for boosted brakes, and secondly I don't think there would have been enough clearance for the valve covers.

First thing to do when the kit arrived, was to compare the new monstrous master cylinder with the factory original.



I then compared the rotors and calipers with a spare set of '71 Galaxie ones I had in the shed. It turns out that the new rotors are in fact dimensionally the same as those for a '71 Galaxie, the only difference being the slots and drilled holes. The new calipers also were similar in a way, where the pistons are close enough each to being around 2 3/4 inches each.



Now to get started on the disassembly of the stock drum brake set up.
You need to remove everything right down to just leaving the stub axles.
If this is out of your reach, then it's time to leave this whole job for your mechanic.



Since this kit, and most others don't come with the rear dust shields, the first thing to do was to see how close my spare '71 Galaxie shields matched up. This shows how easily they will be to adapt.



Next up is to trial fit the caliper bracket and see what needs to be done. The instructions say that some small amount of grinding needs to be done at the lower mounting just behind where the bolt goes through.



While I was at it, I thought I'd see how the original backing plate would fit, to see if that could actually be made into a dust shield. I think it can, with some reworking and some cutting and trimming.



These kits are designed to suit both the small and larger bearing stub axles. My '63 uses the small bearings, so I'm assuming the larger ones are when the chassis was changed from 1965 up.

I then trial fit the small bearings on the stub axle.



Next, I fit larger bearings on my spare '71 stub axles to see the difference. I did this for those who might be reading this who have the larger stubs.



Next is a comparison between the two. There is a considerable difference.



Back to the bracket. I found it easier to do a little chamfering on the bracket first. Then if necessary, you might have to do a little bit of grinding in that same area on the back of the stub. It's not hard, but just needs to be trial fitted a couple of times. Just remove some metal along the length of this straight bit in the below picture.



Once that is done, mount the bracket up, and take some measurements from the bracket to the machined face to make sure it is parallel. Once it is, it is time to bolt it down.



Next up, fit the caliper momentarily, and trial fit the dust shield so you know where it needs to be trimmed. Here it is all trimmed and ready to paint.



One last thing that I wanted to do was to check the clearances inside the wheel which was going to be used. With this kit, and most other kits, you must use 15" wheels with the large center hole of around 70mm.
With the disc and caliper in place, there is roughly about 1/2 inch clearance from the caliper to the inside of the rim.



I also wanted to check the clearance between the dust shield and the caliper. A little trimming was needed.



Since I am satisfied that everything is now ready to be bolted up for good, the fun begins. It is worth taking the extra time to do a little bit of pre-planning, then when it comes time for final assembly, it is easy.
Here is the lot all bolted up and nearly complete. All that needed to be done was to set the bearings correctly, fit the split pin and grease cap.



That just about finishes it down here, so up under the hood to fit the master cylinder.
The instructions tell you how to bench bleed the master cylinder. It's easy enough. I tried it the traditional way where you run a couple of hoses from the two outlets back into the top of the master cylinder, but it didn't work. The master cylinder comes with two steel plugs. Use them and push the piston with a rod or screw driver for a minute or so until the air bubbles stop and the piston can't be depressed much anymore.

The bracket which came with my kit does not need to be used. The master cylinder can bolt direct to the firewall. Then attach the supplied combo valve.

Below is a comparison between the standard and new master cylinders.





All that needs to be done now is to make up a few lines, bend them and flare them. Then bleed the whole brake system and test drive the car.

This one last final picture shows how good this disc brake set up looks on the car.



Overall, this is a very good and simple enough kit to fit.
The only frustrating thing from this whole assembly was fitting those damn grease covers in the end of the hubs. If that was the only annoying thing, then life is good!
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1970 Galaxie 500 Sportsroof.
1963 1/2 Galaxie 500 Fastback.

Last edited by FATNFAST; 07-25-2012 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

I took lots more photos if anyone wants to know or see more.
Cheers Dan.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Nice write up, it is a very complete kit. I see you got drilled and slotted rotors. I'm going to have to prowl the Pick A Part for some dust shields to fit up to mine.
Mike
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

I read here only a month or two ago that someone had the disc conversion without the booster, and they said it stopped very well.
I will be doing the small lines this weekend, and will hopefully bleed it and test it in the next few weeks. I'll definitely post up the results here when it's all done. Naturally I'm hoping it'll all be good.

Yes the kit is complete. In my case it had two sets of bearings, an extra bracket for the firewall, and an adjustable push rod which is way over length and can be cut down.
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Excellent thread, Dan! This'll help me a lot when I bolt mine up. Don't forget to post the results of the actual stopping procedure when it's all finished!
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Very timely photoshoot for me!

I'd like to know how you plumbed into the original tubes down by the distribution block. Did you hand-bend the original tubes so they would point up or cut and re-flare?

Also, did the MC have a residual valve in one port? Finally, can you tell if that combination valve is the common 70's Chevy one sold all over e-bay like 1971-1977 GM Disc/Drum Combination Proportioning Valve Factory Street Rod | eBay
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Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.-combo-valve-71-76-gm.jpg  
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Putts drives a 1965 four door Galaxie. Rebuilt 390. 4100 on a Performer, AC, PS, PB w scarebird front discs on Cragar S/S, MX transm w/3.0 rear. The sound, seats, dash and hood are customized.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Yep, the valve appears to be exactly the same, since the master cylinder and calipers are Chevy, then I reckon they must all work together.

As for the tubing, I bought myself a cheap double flare kit, tube bender, and tube cutter. Then went to the local coupling shop, ( they sell all sorts of brass, steel couplings for air , hydraulics etc ) and bought some brake fittings and brake tubing.
I will run the lines from the valve down to where the the original "Y" piece was, and fit proper brake line joiners to connect to the two individual front lines and the single rear line.

I'll post some pictures up on the weekend when I am doing this.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Thanks. That seems to me to be the most challenging part of the job, rebending or cutting & flaring and coupling those tubes way down in the bowels of the engine bay. I'm looking forward to your report!
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Putts drives a 1965 four door Galaxie. Rebuilt 390. 4100 on a Performer, AC, PS, PB w scarebird front discs on Cragar S/S, MX transm w/3.0 rear. The sound, seats, dash and hood are customized.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Nice job, Dan. What are the original and new MC bore sizes? Are the directions easily readable and understandable for all levels of abilities (not including those that lack enough basic skill)? Good stuff.

David
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Easier than buying and double flairing tubing go to a well stocked NAPA store and they have various lengths of pre flaired tubing. The only thing I had to buy to install was a union to extend my rear line, an adapter to reduce to match a line to the prop valve and a flare fitting cap to plug the extra hole in the factory junction block.
Just be careful routing the rubber hoses, mine looked good on the lift but on the ground withe suspension loaded the drivers side robbed the tire on a sharp left turn.
Mike
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

I measured the piston on the caliper and it's close enough to 2 3/4". According to the info on the side of the box the master cylinder came in, it is 1" bore.
I figure that since they have sold hundreds of these kits which match the master cylinder, calipers and combo valves together, it's all got to work.

The instructions are simple enough, but could have been a little better for the novice mechanics.

The combo valve wont take the brake light switch as on the earlier Galaxies like mine, so I will be plumbing it in to a T piece going to the rear brakes, just away from the valve itself.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Dan, this may sound completely ridiculous, but I can't for the life of me get the master cylinder cap off! I'm just dummy assembling things on the bench and figured I'd have a go while I was there. I've pulled and pushed on the metal tangs but the damn things won't budge. I feel like such a novice...! Tips?
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Gotta pry the retaining clips up and over the nubs on the cap with a screwdriver, mine are a bieech too.
Mike
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Yeah mine too. At least it'll never leak out past the seal.

I used a small block of wood and a few taps of a hammer.
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:09 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Galaxie Front Disc Brake Conversion.

Mike, do you have this same kit without booster?
If so, how do you find the brake pressure and overall stopping power?
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