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THE OFFICIAL DISC BRAKE CONVERSION POST

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Grim-Reaper, Nov 11, 2002.

  1. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Ok here is where I'm at. I'm using Bill's (45APC) kit. It has been installed on my 75 with a 12 bolt rear axle. The kit works good and other than bleeding problems with the callipers mounted up top I'm super happy with the parts he is selling. I do however like the calipers up top and out of the way. The bleeding difficulty is just a work around and not really a big deal.

    I'm using 77 Eldorado calipers with parking brake. I still have the stock Proportion valve installed. For hoses I am using 79 Chevette front hoses and they have worked out pretty good. I was able to hook them dirrectly to the existing hard lines so no other modification was needed other than making a small bracket to mount the line on.

    Right now I am experiancing a soft peddle with excessive travel. Other than the possiblility of air still in the lines has anybody else found a possible cause for this.

    I would also like to hear (and see if you have pisctures) how people ar hooking up the caddie parking brake. I keep hearing all these problems with it but with my rea axle on jack stands and the truck in drive I was easily able to stop a spinning 35 with a 9/16 wrench on the stud. That leads me to believe that some of the problems people are having are installation related. So what works?

    Lets also hear some of your cure for the rear lock up problems. I would really like to hear if anybody has tried Inline tub's Disc/Disc Proportioning valve and what they experianced with it.
     
  2. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    This is going to encompass 10/12/14 bolts and Dana 60 all in one?
     
  3. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Ok, first off on the spongy brake pedal, is this an old master cylinder that you are dealing with? I'm sure you've seen the posts, but if not, bleeding an old master cylinder with the "conventional" method of pushing the brake pedal to the floor can cause a previously good MC to fail exactly as you are experiencing, (I think) spongy pedal with too much travel. It happened to me! Wow that sounds cheesy. But anyway, I bled it for hours trying to fix it, never could get it any better than "spongy", but it held the truck fine.

    It took mine about a month of driving before the pedal actually started dropping and the brake light came on as I sat at a light with my foot on it. Good thing I have a manual tranny, I might have plowed into the car in front of me had I an auto.
     
  4. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    So should some of the info from the other posts be moved over here or should we just link to them? Does this mean that we should stop posting in the other threads and just start doing it here?

    Let me add another thought on the adjustable proportioning valve. It is really just an adjustable restriction on the brake line, right? So the pressure from the MC gets divided proportionally to the valve setting and the rear caliper restriction. For example, if the MC is putting out 200 psi to the rear circuit, you might drop 50 psi in the stock combo valve and 50psi in the adjustable valve, leaving 100psi reaching the rear calipers (keep in mind that I am making up all of these numbers and ignoring all other restrictions in the system). So not only are you reducing the pressure to the rear calipers, you are increasing the pressure at the output of the combo valve. This should affect both the proportioning and metering functions of the combo valve.

    So it is possible that the adjustable valve offers improvement not only to the rear lockup problem, but also to the pedal travel problem. This should happen by two effects:
    1) the increased pressure at the output of the combo valve is seen as increased rear pressure, which will open the metering valve for the fronts quicker.
    2) the rate at which fluid flows to the rear is reduced relative to the amount of fluid flowing to the front (since we haven't changed the master cylinder), which should give front braking power with less pedal travel.

    Remember that we are asking the rear circuit of the MC to supply a higher volume of fluid than it was designed for, so to engage the rear brakes will probably require a lot more pedal travel than with drums. Because there is a metering valve in the stock combo valve, the fronts do not engage until the rears have and this is most likely what is increasing our pedal travel. If so, we will only solve that problem with a new MC.

    If what I am saying is true (and anyone believes that is possible /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif) then bypassing the stock proportioning valve should give back the big braking power to the front, but will probably not give us enough power to the rear. The disc/drum MC would likely lock the fronts before it has supplied enough fluid to the rear to give them much pressure.

    Any other thoughts?
     
  5. SCOOBYDANNN

    SCOOBYDANNN 1/2 ton status

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    this is the one i posted WAAAAYYY back in the day
    ___________________________________________________________
    <font color="blue"> 1. Misfits brackets and spacers ($65.00)
    2. Bolts to hold caliper-2 1/2" long (8 @ $0.80)
    3. Locking nuts on the back of the bolts cause I'm paranoid
    (8 @ $0.65)
    4. 1975 Dana 44 8 lug rotors (2 @ $35.99 w/ 2 yr waranty at Auto Zone.
    5. New seals for the bearings (berings were fine)(2 @ $2.59)

    All I need are the calipers
    From what I've noticed prices are different everywhere but here the Dana 44 rotors are $35.99 each w/ $10.00 core
    and the caddy ones are $70.00 each w/ $70.00 core. Umm yeah i think I will go w/ the Dana 44 unless I can find the caddy ones much cheaper.
    I need the caliper hardware (the bolts and sleves to mount it to the bracket) and pads (i think the calipers were either loaded or you can get them loaded for a little more.)
    Rubber brake lines cause the caliper moves and therefore would eventually break the hard line. I can get them here for about $5.00 but you can order them through TSM for $50.00, yeah you know what i'm gonna do.
    And if need be a proportioning valve. Check the summit catalog.

    All of this added up is around $260---Half of what you'd spend on the TSM kit. Of course add $190 if you use the caddy calipers and $45 for the TSM brake lines. and what ever for the proportioning valve.
    </font color>
    ___________________________________________________________
    and here are the problems w/ my setup-- <font color="red"> none</font color>
    i positioned the calipers on the top towards the front---not how i have seen them in any other coversion---but i have no problems. i have changed <font color="red"> nothing</font color> in the brake department ie. master cylinder, prop valve, hard lines, anything... the brakes are pretty touchy but once you get used to them gosh darn things stop better than any sprots car, new truck, hot rod etc.. than i have ever driven.

    on the other hand my friend did the same exact setup and has had nothing but problems---and he changed the entire brake system and is still not happy w/ it---i guess it depends a lot on the truck.
     
  6. DieselDan

    DieselDan 1/2 ton status

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    Yes we definately need to weed through all the BS.

    1: If the mastercylinder has equal sized pistons front and rear, and both pistons move an equal distance when the pedal pushed; the same volume of fluid is passed to front and rear brakes. Can some one verify the front &amp; rear mc bore size?

    2: The combination valve. Somebody PLEASE slice an old valve in half so we can verify the parts and princibles.

    IE: it is my understanding the Chevy combo valve uses a metering valve to "hold-off" pressure to the front (75-135psi)in order for the rear wheel cylinders to expand. No residual pressure valve is used.

    And the Pressure Differential Warning switch only senses when the front or rear of the master cylinder fails. No where in the combination vavle is fluid diverted front to rear or "closed off" to prevent fluid loss.

    Right? /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
     
  7. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    It seems that the Eldorado MC has a 1.25" bore, same as our stock MC's. It also has the same fitting thread sizes. It is cheap, too.

    See it Here
    See stock MC here.

    Does anybody have any exploded views of Master cylinders to confirm whether or not there is any real difference between the disc/drum and disc/disc units other than reservoir volume and maybe a residual pressure valve? I just can't think of anyway to make the front and the rear apply different pressures unless the front and rear circuits use different bore sizes.

    Here are some simple formulas I found to figure out your output pressure:
    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />

    C = pedal ratio
    D = pounds of pressure apply by your foot
    E = area of you master cylinder
    F = pounds of pressure out of the master cylinder
    C X D /(divided by) E = F

    Example: If you have a 1" master cylinder the area equals 1/2" x 1/2" x 3.14 = 0.785 Square Inches. So, 100 pounds (of applied foot pressure) X 6 (pedal ratio) divided by 0.785 = 764 pounds of pressure.
    If you have a 1-1/8" master cylinder, 100 psi X 6 (pedal ratio) divided by 0.9935 = 604 pounds of pressure.

    Here is some info on master cylinder with "constant" of 6 to 1 pedal ratio and 100 psi being applied.
    3/4" master cylinder = 1359 psi
    13/16" master cylinder = 1158 psi
    7/8" master cylinder = 998 psi
    15/16" master cylinder = 870 psi
    1" master cylinder = 764 psi
    1-1/8" master cylinder = 603 psi

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Which points us back to this guy:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    Since I'm busy trying to confuse people with ideas, I'll go ahead and spit this one out to see what you think.

    How about a new interpretation of how the combo valve works?
    Refer to the diagram above. I have stared at that thing for probably 15 minutes trying to figure out how the left and right sides interact so that the metering valve can delay front pressure on the basis of rear pressure and control rear pressure based on front pressure for proportioning. First of all, notice that this is circular logic. Now consider this: MAYBE THERE IS NO INTERACTION BETWEEN THE LEFT AND RIGHT SIDES! I mean think about it, how would any fluid or pressure transfer from side to side without moving the switch for the brake warning light? You can probably change that switch without losing any brake fluid or having to bleed. The metering could be done based on front pressure alone. If you assume that the front and rear circuits of the MC provide the same amount of pressure, then waiting until the rear brakes get x psi, is the same as waiting until the front gets x psi, right? The proportioning valve may also work based only on rear pressure, just like the adjustable proportioning valves work, no? The only reason, then, that the two are mounted in the same housing is so that the driver warning switch can be used. If you look at the springs in the diagram, they don't seem to interact with the switch piston at all. For that switch to work at all, it has to have a spring inside it to return it to the open position. Without that, after you trigger it once, it might never reset itself. Given that, it may be the switch itself that holds the switch piston on center unless there is an imbalance in brake pressure.

    If all of the above is true (still just my theory), then it means that:
    a) we can safely gut our combo valves of everything except the switch and switch piston
    b) the whole operation of the switch has to be based on equal pressure from the front and rear portions of the MC, meaning that the only possible issue with re-using our stock MC is the reservoir volume (and swapping a new reservoir on should be possible).
    c) if we wanted to recalibrate the rear brake bias, it should be possible just by swapping springs in the prop valve section until the right rear bias is achieved.

    Have I convinced anybody else? /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  9. Thumper

    Thumper 1/2 ton status

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    Well, Im no expert, but I have ran the rear discs for nearly 1 yr now. First, its a 12
    bolt, with stock front calipers (no e-brake). When I did the swap, I left everything from
    the rear T at the rear diff forward in place. Immediate problem: The rear discs were
    dragging badly, groaning, and heating up hot. I asked around and was told that there
    is a check valve in either the master cyl. or the combo valve to hold the rear drum
    shoes in almost contact with the drum so they dont have to move much to brake. No
    one knew where it was, just that there is one. I checked the MC by removing the lines
    and peeking in, bleeding it, pressuring it in reverse, and couldnt find any evidence of a
    check valve in the rear circuit. So, I did some research on the combo valve. Couldnt
    get any firm info on it containing a check valve either so I opted to bypass the rear
    lines out of it totally. Of course, as soon as there was no further pressure in the rear
    half of the PV/CV the light came on and the fronts worked fine. No big deal, I lived with
    the light for a while. The rear discs also seemed to release and stopped dragging.
    Awesome. Fast forward about 6 months. I am driving along the trail, head down a rainy
    slick hill, apply the brakes and the rears lock up but no fronts. A little more testing and
    I determine that my pressure to the fronts have dropped almost to nothing. I bleed
    them with no results. I check the calipers. Both good. My determination: the stock
    CV/PV that I left in, has screwed up due to the rear system being locked out for so
    long... no proof, but sounds logical. No one can back this up around here either. So I
    install a T and remove the valve completely. Now I have direct pressure to the rears,
    and also to the fronts. The fronts work again, although on the recently slippery roads,
    the rears lock way faster and harder than the fronts. Which is not pleasant on icy
    streets. My determination: I need to install a adjustable PV in the rear system to cut
    the rear pressure down so they all lock at the same time or the rear after the fronts
    slightly. Makes sense... thats my next step. As far as losing a line and losing brakes...
    seems like it wont happen. About 2 months ago (after full removal of the PV/CV valve)
    I had one of the metal segments of the caliper line on the rear get caught by a tree
    and bent. It bent so that the rubber portion was contacting the tire. It rubbed a hole
    in the line and I put the brakes on and blew the line. The pedal went almost to the
    floor, but I still had front brakes. They sufficed enough to stop the truck safely... mind
    you not in a panic situation. So, thats about it for my experiences and input.

    Just one mor einput from my experiences: I was told that the caliper should be positioned high and back of center on the rotor cause the front wheels will toss rocks etc at the caliper and any protection is good protection. I havent seen any evidence of this, but he said that the new trucks Ford i think tried it and they were haveing troubles with thier calipers getting beat up by debris... ?
    Also... when you mount your calipers, whichever you use, ensure that you use right on right and left on left. There is a difference. If you put them wrong, you will see right away why. The bleeder screw will be in a lower position than the line and you wont be able to bleed them properly. I will admit it... I did it. I used the stock front calipers and when they are wrong, the bleed screw will be at 4-5 oclock, instead of 12 oclock when on the right sides. And my buddy with his aftermarket kit had the same prob. So, just some advice, double check your calipers on install.

    Mike
     
  10. blazen_md

    blazen_md 1/2 ton status

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    This may have been covered a thousand times also but where is a good place to buy the mounting brackets from for my 14bff??
     
  11. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    45acp makes a kit for the 14 bolt FF

    Derbinator also

    Misfit also.

    Of the 3, 45acp (Bill) still regularly posts on this board, and his kit is very high quality. Send him a pm...

    Rene
     
  12. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    1: If the mastercylinder has equal sized pistons front and rear, and both pistons move an equal distance when the pedal pushed; the same volume of fluid is passed to front and rear brakes. Can some one verify the front &amp; rear mc bore size?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Since the front and rear MC reservoirs are different sizes, that would seem to indicate that there is less fluid used on one vs. the other. Perhaps its just less pushed. I've never had the piston out of one, but more more from the rear reservoir would require a piston with two different diameters, and less from the front would require a smaller piston diameter there. I don't believe GM did that.

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    The combination valve. Somebody PLEASE slice an old valve in half so we can verify the parts and princibles.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    That combo valve picture is out of a GM service manual I believe, so that *is* one cut open.
     
  13. Waxer

    Waxer 1/2 ton status Author

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    I bought 3 sets of Derbinators kits for the 14 bolt FF and couldn't be happier. The quality is amazing, they came with a large ring as opposed to individual spacers (yuck) and all the grade 8 mounting hardware for $100.
     
  14. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    Since I have installed my 14b disk converison, I have not had any of the problems associated with the system . I did nothing more than the swap and left the rest of the system alone including the stock proportioning valve. I don't get any rear brake drag and when descending down steep slippery hills I get even braking. The only thing I've found with my valve is that it triggers a light if either the front or rear pressure is un-equal (like air in the lines of a leak). I run a 78 Blazer, perhaps the valves are different on the older trucks. I also run my calipers in the stock caddi locations.
     
  15. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Ok swimming through the murkyness.
    My MC is relatively new so I don't think I have a problem there. Too the person that asked. It probably has 2000 miles on it. I had orriginaly tried to power bleed the rears with vacuum and could not get any fluid too flow. My though (because I had seen the PV cutaway) was that I was sucking the PV shut. I got my 10 year old in there pumping and I had clear bubble free fluid in about 5 pumps (I never let the MC drain and had capped the lines right away so should not have had an issue with air in the MC).

    OK the summery I am seeing from everybody's posts.

    Ok sombody said the metering valve on the front needs between 70-175 psi to overcome befor they start applying pressure to the front cuircuit.... a Lot more than I was expecting but it does make sense in a round about way.
    My take on that is that may be the key to the spongy peddle. Maybe on the Disc/Disc PV it has two metering valves and brings up peddle feel and removes some of the touchy peddle that people are complaining of when they bypass the PV. Possibly it also acts as a residual valve and keeps a little pressure in the line so the pads do not retract too much. By not letting them retract but a little means the next stroke will not need to take up the travel before it can build the pressure (see where I'm going with this?).

    Ok most of the posts where they feel the brakes are working great but a bit touchy all but one says they bypassed the PV. The one that didn't bypass might have a defective PV and could explain why overall his brakes are work like those with with the PV bypassed.

    So all our problems seem to be a problem with the PV. I think the stock MC is up to the task since we are getting so many cases of rear lock up and touchy brakes.

    I think in one of the posts that it was Blue had, he said the Impalla guys were removing the spring out of the rear of the PV on their Disc conversion. I may give that a try and see what happens. It seems like it would keep the light function but basicly allow the rear circuit operate with out the PV. In a round about way if I'm correct about the mettering valve also acting like a residual valve then this would explain why the impalla guys are haveing good luck with this modification. The rears are retracting more than the fronts so they and not grabbing as quick because it takes more fluid to get them activated in the first place....Well that's my twisted thought at least.

    If it doesn't work then I'll bypass the PV completly. I do not think it's all that great of idea to try to run that PV with only one circuit connected. I see the possibility of having a problem with the switch piston.

    On the adjustable PV. I don't think that saying it restricts flow is quite what it does. I think it's more of a presure regulator. It would act accross the whole band as it opperates. It would basicly remove a percentage of pressure. So ive at light brakeing it would remove say 25% of the pressure but at full braking it would still only remove 25% of the pressure. Hope that makes sense.
    If it just restricted flow then it would eventually still achive the same end pressure just be delayed a little. Look at it as a water pipe. If you had 100psi of water pressure going through a 1/4 line and a 1 inch line you still have 100PSI. Now if you filled a 1 gallon container that was underpressure once the one gallon container was full you would still end at 100psi of pressure. You just effected the rate of flow once it had enough time to fill the container it will eventually reach the same 100psi pressure.
    With the adjustable PV that 1 gallon container would only be at say 75psi after the adjustable PV. It's a pressure regulator not a flow regulator.
     
  16. Michael

    Michael 1/2 ton status

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  17. harry

    harry 1/2 ton status

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    When we did the rear disc conversion on my cousions FJ40 we removed the rear metering valve in the master cylinder and it fixed the rear draging problem. I did the rear disc conversion in my 69 k5 but since it a full rebuild of the car I have not gotten around to see if this metering valve is in my master cylinder??? If it is I will take it out. In the link below, the tech note after step 9 shows what I am talking about.

    rear disc
     
  18. DieselDan

    DieselDan 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks Blue. I've got that same cutaway but I can't post it (read: techno-clod). I agree with you whole-heartedly. The two pressure sides are not connected. I think the resevior capacity has nothing to do with mc bore size but rather caliper piston extension with pad wear vs. minimal shoe wear.

    Mike, that typical disc/disc system is fine for Hotrods with the MC mounted below the floor boards. But there is a good 2 foot drop from my MC to the caliper - thus no need for residual valves.

    I think the comments on touchy brakes are mainly from experience with the rears locking too easily. If the rears are proportioned correctly the brakes (front &amp; rear) won't feel that touchy.

    One last thought: The brake action on dry pavement will require more forward bias (from more weight transfer) than any slicker surface. Thus if you're doing all your testing on a dirt road, you'll be in for a surprise during the morning commute down I95. /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  19. TONYP

    TONYP 1/2 ton status

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    Ok, let me throw this in....I'm putting together a 14FF with disk on it, and it will hold my 15" 6-lug rim....
    I've found a ford caliper with e-brake and rotor to fit it..the calipers were $50.00 from a junk yard and came with the e-brake cable and brake hose...the rotors where $38.99 each from kragen, i'm making the brackets this week and will do a write up on this....the caliper will work on the 12 bolt too...
     
  20. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    I was talking tonight with my friend Ralph who has been a auto mechanic for 20+ years. We hashed my soft peddle problem for a while and discussed drum verses disc brake systems. Here is what he had to say about how the stock PV work and why it's causing the soft peddle with Disc/Disc.
    On a drum brake you want a completly uneffected flow back into the master once the presure is released. The reason being is the drum have a tendancy to self activate, another reason they need about 65% less pressure. Thats why there are heavy springs to retract the shoes. So the situation with my soft peddle is no different than if the drums were misadjusted and giving a soft peddle.
    The metering valve does exactly what Blue had said. It allows the drums to get started on activating before throwing in the fronts. Now the conflict a lot of us are having is "if"the metering valve also functions as a residual valve. Acorrding to Ralph it does act as a residual valve . It prevents the pads from excessivly retracting. His comment on a Disc/Disc PV is that it incorperates a light metering valve for the front and a stiffer metering valve for the rear. This keeps the rears from coming on so strong then it does have a PV in it to regulate the amount of pressure to the rear.
    His comment would be the adjustable PV should cure the issues. The reason being is it will still act like a residual valve and prevent the rears from retracting so far and causing the soft peddle. A 2lb residual valve would make my peddle come back up conciderably.
    Now his proof for the metering valve also acting as a residual valve is the fact that you have to apply some pressure to over come it when driving the pistons back in. If you cracked the bleeder screw you can drive the piston in fairly easy. Granted you are fighting the amount of fuild the line can handle when you drive the piston back but your also figting about a 2lb residual valve. 2lb is not going to cause an excesive amount of drag. It takes several hundered psi to really get the brakes to start clamping down. the 2lb that it takes to prevent the pads from over retracting is nothing as far as the pressure the pad has contacting the disc.
    This falls into place with Blue saying that removing the spring from the PV to disable that and then adding a adjustable PV is making the Impalla folks happy. The are also gaining a residual valve with the Adjustable PV. It's built into it.
    There is a speed shop near me. I'm going to see if they have a Wilwood adj PV in stock and play with that. In my mind it seems to be the logical cure to all the problems I am having. Hopefully I can lay my hands on the PV this week and tinker with it this weekend and see if it play out the way I think it's going to.
     

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