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14FF disc brake rear - is it worth it?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by AussieK5, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. AussieK5

    AussieK5 1/2 ton status

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    I'm tossing up whether to bite the bullet and shell out the bucks for a conversion on my 14FF (79 K20) or overhaul my drums.

    The truck is being converted with a crew cab and flatbed and will serve as a daily driver/expedition/limited towing rig. 35s will be the largest tires fitted, suspension will be coil springs all-round with airbag overloads in the rear.

    ATM the rears are grabby when cold and lock solid in the wet, any hard stops the rears lock well before the front...pretty standard stuff for these trucks except for the complete locking (without unlocking) in the wet...very uncool. The factory prop valve is most probably siezed. The brake cylinders are not leaky but that doesnt mean in the past the rear pads were not contaminated at some point. The pads are adjusted as per normal specs.

    A E-brake disc set-up with ALL new components will set me back just under $1000 fully installed (by me of course....I know it can be done for next to nothing Stateside but down here I have no options but to order parts in for this modification.

    Today I'm fitting an aftermarket prop valve as it is needed for either set-up option.

    I can get my shoes re-lined for $50 and the drums machined for $25 each..all up $100....that leaves 900 for all sort of essential mods.

    Bearing in mind this rig is no extreme wheeler, my question is, with freshened-up rear drums (as new) and operating (and adjustable to compensate for loads) prop valve in a 2.5 ton truck are discs really worth the expense?

    TIA

    Jas
     
  2. smokkey1

    smokkey1 1/2 ton status

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    I have disc brakes on my 14ff, It was a HUGE difference in the braking. I spent alittle under $250 for the conversion. I don't have ebake setup though and didn't do anything else to the system.
     
  3. AussieK5

    AussieK5 1/2 ton status

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    I have to keep the E-brake ...what was the state of your rears before the conversion? was the truck braking like it was supposed to from the factory or did the rears behave in much the same way as mine?
     
  4. smokkey1

    smokkey1 1/2 ton status

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    I had a 14sf with drums. then installed a 14ff with disc brakes. the drums that I had before sucked big time they weren't grabbing all that much. the pads were good is just felt like they were never doing the job. Now with front and rear disc brakes I can stop on a dime.
     
  5. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    My dads 14FF locks up any time traction is less than optimal. My 14SF wasn't braking right either.

    In my case it was a parts issue...PO didn't re-assemble the brakes right.

    My dads case I assume it's the same. In your case, I'd also think the same.

    If it's locking up, I don't see the drums being the issue, unless they've got some sort of buildup/caked on stuff.
     
  6. AussieK5

    AussieK5 1/2 ton status

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    You may be onto something, I was thinking brake fluid contamination of the pads but that usually get worse as the pads warm up...mine behave slightly better when every things warm. That would be a combination of many things, but still, contaminated pads should be worse when hot.

    Anyway I'm convinced 14FF equipped trucks didnt leave the factory with this problem of locking up and you may be right with incorrect assembly by the PO.

    I will pull the drums and check the shoes etc for correct assembly....it is almost like they are set-up back to front as drums in reverse are self energising, drums correctly set-up can still lock in reverse needing you to move forward to unlock them....though this usally only occurs when the shoes are worn and clearances are therefore loose enough to allow this. My drums stop fine in reverse and from memory I think I had more feel through the pedal when hard stopping, there was no grabbing or locking....though this may have been due to weight transfer.

    Thanks Dorian for the insightful input.
     
  7. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    When I first installed my 14FF it had all new drum brake parts that were installed and adjusted correctly........it stopped fine and better than the original 10-bolt drums. Later I installed the standard rear disc setup (3/4 ton rotors and calipers).

    When the drums were working correctly I noticed no real change in braking performance. However, the issue I had with the drums is that all of the trails we run have some sort of mud or water you have to deal with and I had issues after every ride with the drums. I constantly had to pull the drums off (big PITA with the 14FF) and clean and readjust the brakes, assuming the junk hadn't seized up the adjusters or prematurely worn out the shoes.
     
  8. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    the drum brake stuff on my K5s ff14b is VERY low mile... gimme some $ that I can put towards discs and I'll give ya all my drum stuffs. :)

    j
     
  9. shane74

    shane74 1/2 ton status

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    Dang man! You know how much it costs to ship 100 lbs of parts to Aussie land? It ain't cheap! lol.
     
  10. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    lol! hadn't even looked at the guys screen name. :haha:

    j
     
  11. AussieK5

    AussieK5 1/2 ton status

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    LOL yeah thanks jekbrown for the offer but postage is a killer!

    Shane I would order one of your kits in a snap if I was local, they look really well executed.....with our ****ty exchange rate and shipping I have to think twice about some mods.

    6.2 thanks for the input, thats kind of what I figured. The rears only contribute to 30% of the braking so in a truck (as opposed to a tuned race car) I didnt expect to see a massive improvement in braking with all things being equal. My rig will very rarely be up past the axles tubes in mud so I think I'll persevere with the drums for a while longer.......
     
  12. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Yep, my 14SF would lock up the brakes with the slightest amount of brake apply even on perfectly dry pavement, but only on one side. Upon disassembly, the reasons were pretty obvious...PO had put the front shoes on one side, and rear shoes on the other side. :rolleyes: Of course, the star adjuster had also been put on backwards on one side, and instead of realizing that it was together wrong, they ground off most of the adjusting wheel as well.

    Contaminated brake shoes in my car acted similar, but as you note, when cold there was no issue, after only two brake applies or so, they locked up with almost no pedal pressure.
     
  13. AussieK5

    AussieK5 1/2 ton status

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    Well I spent the day wrenching on the truck installing a Willowood PV, bleeding the system and sorting out the rear brakes.

    The shoes were installed correctly but I believe at some point the shoes had been re-lined as the lining on the primary shoe extended way too far down giving it almost as much surface are as the trailing shoe. I trimmed 2" of each of the primary shoes and hey presto, a brand new truck...well almost. With a combination of a operable PV and tuned shoes my stopping distance has been less than halved.

    The rear brake work however uncovered a weakness with the fronts...they wont lock the front 33"s at all. This is probably due to the the age/condition MC and the sludge it had in it and or the possibility I sucked in some air whilst flushing the lines.

    I will be stripping and bench bleeding the MC tonight and hope to see a improvements on the massive gains already made.

    Thanks everyone for your input, you saved me a lot of heartache. The PO was a mechanic so I made some silly assumptions and overlooked the most obvious fault.

    Cheers

    Jason
     
  14. cyncrwler

    cyncrwler Registered Member

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    They have complete kits on Ebay. I purchased my stuff seperately and spent more. My rig is off road only but the difference is absolutely amazing. But I don't drive on the street every day so I dont know how how they will perform on a daily driver
     

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