Ol’ Blue ’71 Chevy – Converting Chevy 14 bolt to disk brakes


I have a serious dislike for drum brakes. They are an old design, overly complicated, and don’t work all that well. When off-road or in extreme conditions, they often get loaded up with mud/sand/ice/salt and become even less effective. So when I started building up ‘Ol Blue, they were one of the first things to get upgraded.

Ol' Blue 62

When I bought this truck the brakes were almost completely non-operational. As in, it doesn’t really stop at all, much less well. Being of the new spoiled generation, I immediately blamed it on the drum brakes. They were the first thing to go.

Original drum brakes with the drum off. There is a possibility that they were indeed operational, but since this truck is pushing probably around 400-500HP, I figured it would be a good idea to upgrade anyways.

Original drum brakes with the drum off. There is a possibility that they were indeed operational, but since this truck is pushing around 400-500HP, I figured it would be a good idea to upgrade anyways.

Backing plates removed and Ruff Stuff disk brake conversion plate installed.

Backing plates removed and Ruff Stuff disk brake conversion plate installed.

The ruff stuff and other common 14 bolt disc brake swap kits use front brake rotors and calipers off mid ’70’s Chevy trucks.

Brake Caliper

The caliper on the left is a ~75′ 4WD front 3/4 ton caliper and the caliper on the right is a ~75′ 2WD front 3/4 ton caliper.

Note for people installing disks on their 14 bolt. The caliper on the left is a ~75′ 4WD front 3/4 ton caliper and the caliper on the right is a ~75′ 2WD front 3/4 ton caliper. Everything is the same except for the brake lines/banjo bolts. Keep this in mind when you order your calipers/lines from the store to make sure you get the matching stuff.

I ended up going with the 4wd calipers and 4wd lines, they seem to be a LOT easier to find and the auto parts store keeps them in stock.

New rotors and brakes installed. I re-used the old studs for the hub.

New rotors and brakes installed. I re-used the old studs for the hub.

Check out the size difference between the drum setup and the disk setup. There is a considerable weight savings by going to disk brakes also.

Check out the size difference between the drum setup and the disk setup. There is a considerable weight savings by going to disk brakes also.

*** Always use jack stands when you have a vehicle in the air!!!!!***
I don’t know you, but I certainly don’t want to see you squashed like a bug.

Done, with a view of how I ran the brake line up and over the leaf springs since this truck will most likely be seeing some trails.

Done, with a view of how I ran the brake line up and over the leaf springs since this truck will most likely be seeing some trails.

Disc Brake Conversion

Done

I do not have a picture of it right now, but I also removed the factory combination valve and installed an adjustable proportioning valve in the rear brake line (available from Summit Racing/Jegs). This makes it so you can adjust your brake bias between the front and the rear brakes. I did this by finding an empty road and doing a succession of hard stops. At first, the rear tires were locking up before the truck came to a stop. I kept adjusting until the rear tires no longer locked up and the brakes “felt” right.

If you want to get really detailed about it, you could probably check the temperature of the front and the rear rotors after a hard stop to see which one is doing more braking. I didn’t bother with this, I was just happy that they worked.

The only downside to this particular kit is that it doesn’t have an emergency brake provision. I have heard/researched that you can buy Cadillac Eldorado rear calipers and they will fit in these brackets, but they are hard to find and expensive so I didn’t bother. Right now I just don’t have a parking brake, but am looking into transfer case parking brake setups for the future.

 

 

 

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