As much as we all love our classic Mustangs I have to admit that I’ve become spoiled by modern power disc brakes. The old manual drum brakes of 40 years ago just don’t seem to cut it anymore. So, what choices do you have. There are certainly plenty of choices out there, everything from the big brake kits with huge rotors and multiple piston calipers to very straight forward “I just want my car to stop really well” brake conversions. But be sure of one thing! Not all kits are created equal!
Here are four hard and fast rules that you need to keep in mind when you are shopping for a brake conversion:
1. If you have to change your spindles, look elsewhere.
2. If you have to change your tie rod ends, keep looking.
3. If you have to change or modify your brake pedal, that’s not the right kit for you.
4. Can you buy replacement wear parts from local sources? If not you should move on.
There are kits out there that are made to fit your car, if you are doing any of the above you are adapting a generic kit to your car.
You can tell a well designed kit by how it installs. I good kit will bolt right on to your current spindles without replacing or modifying them. Using all new bearings and seals installations like this are a snap. The master booster combination is key! Why would you want to go through the expense and frustration of modifying your brake pedal? Quality kits are available for use with manual or automatic transmission cars. Those kits bolt directly on to your firewall and your brake pedal.
Cross drilled and slotted rotors, the truth is I have them on my car. Do I really need them? Nope. I just think they look cool. I don’t do any high performance driving and I’m pretty good about not riding my brake pedal. So, if you’re not over heating your brakes they really may not be needed. But, like me you may just like the way the look. In that case what the heck. In most cases the same goes for multiple piston calipers. If think about it how many modern cars have multiple piston calipers? A very small percentage. Admittedly on my 98 Mustang I do have the Cobra multiple piston calipers, again mostly for looks but on my 66 I opted for the single piston “I just want to stop really well” version.
Next I guess we should talk about powder coating the calipers. For me this is much less optional. I want my calipers to look good and be protected. I’ve tried painting them but I really haven’t had much luck at that. After a short time they are chipped up, paint peeling, etc.. I don’t want to take the time to do that job over and over again. Now that powder coating is available for most calipers and it is relatively inexpensive it is a good choice for me personally.