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 Post subject: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 7:09 am 
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Location: Düsseldorf/Germany
Hi Folks,

Yesterday I saw 2 ads with early 50s Cadillacs which have new disc brakes installed.
This could be an option for my 1950 Cadillac convertible.

Anybody here with experience in that case?
It seems to be a big change.
Does it make sense according the investment and labor?
From which car are these disc brake systems?

Your suggestions please.


Many thanks in advance!

SIXMILLION DOLLARMAN :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 8:14 am 
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You can buy a kit.
http://www.lowrider.com/how-to-tech/cha ... onversion/

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 9:47 am 
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Joined: May Sat 12, 2012 1:33 pm
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Location: Rochester, NY.
I know that the big Imperials had Lambert-Ausco brakes in 1950-54, but it was nothing like todays compact disc brakes.
These 'disc' brakes still had internal wheel cylinders (not calipers) that 'cammed' the pads into an internal disc surface. The disc halves separated to service the brakes inside. The 'disc' was almost more like a 2-piece drum:
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/195 ... ern-discs/


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Warner Robins, GA
From what I understand replacing drum brakes with disc brakes actually adds value to the car as it makes it safer to drive.


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Dec Mon 08, 2008 8:27 pm
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Location: alameda,CA
I own a huge 1955 Mercury Monterey 4 door sedan and it has its original drum brakes on all four wheels. Of course it takes forever to stop and one needs to really pay attention much further ahead down the road to plan stops. Others who own old cars like me have says converting theirs to disc brakes was like suddenly having a new car. I've thought about doing it . It would cost me about $2,000. I only drive the car around here in town so it's not a big problem. But occasionally I take it out on the freeway and I must be very careful since none of the other cars are as sluggish to stop as mine.


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 5:05 pm 
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Joined: Mar Tue 03, 2009 11:12 pm
Posts: 1359
Location: Hutchinson KS
I remember reading decades ago that Jags were winning races not because they were faster but because they could slow down faster at the corners due to having disc brakes. Makes sense.


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 5:30 pm 
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Location: Mission Viejo, southern California
Those concerned about value may simply save the old parts. I put Porsche front brakes made by BremBo on.my 1996 Impala SS. It required buying and modifying Cadillac knuckles. Now there are numerous front and rear disc brake kits which require no machining for a wide variety of vehicles. Driving a car with front drum brakes (the old NASCAR brakes excepted) at anything over parade speed unreasonably endangers both those in the car and those in other cars.

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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 6:06 pm 
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Location: alameda,CA
I just saw the OP is from Germany. The costs might be a bit more since the parts will probably need to be shipped from the US from some kind of specialty shop. The way its done on my model for example is to take spindles from a late 70's-early 80's Ford Granada, which are super common still and the junk yards are full of em'. But in Germany? The car was never sold there of course...


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 7:07 pm 
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Joined: May Sat 12, 2012 1:33 pm
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Location: Rochester, NY.
Disc brake conversion is more than the caliper, pads and rotor installation. Hydraulics also have to be addressed and modified safely. A single-circuit master cylinder has to be changed to a dual-circuit master cylinder as front/rear requirements differ.
Drums require a residual valve, discs do not. Discs require a hold-off valve, drums do not. Front/rear brake proportioning must match for safe stops.
Many of these hydraulic valves are combined in the 'combination' valve. These valves are tailored for a specific car/truck, so installing it on an old car may require an 'adjustable' set of valves.
Modern disc brakes are not self-energizing, where many drum brake systems are. This may require the addition of a power brake booster in drum brake vehicles without power brakes when converting to disc brakes.
Front brakes do about 80% of the stopping, so going to larger brakes in the front may also require a 're-balancing' of front/rear hydraulics.


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 7:08 pm 
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Location: Lehighton, PA.
Tube Radio wrote:
From what I understand replacing drum brakes with disc brakes actually adds value to the car as it makes it safer to drive.

Not if it's an antique/collectable. Modifications from original decrease value.

Larry

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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 7:32 pm 
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Location: Warner Robins, GA
If it is a rare or other valuable car then you would be right.

I was talking more about the more commonly available cars people like to restore.

Used to be that any safety improvements took away from the value, but in more recent years they actually add to the value.


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 7:41 pm 
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Anyone who can maneuver around the streets in German cities in a genuine ami-straßenkreuzer has my respect as a driver!

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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 8:44 pm 
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No doubt for a driver, even if occasional, discs are plus in safety and value... If you are talking about concours show/trailer queen, then the brakes would be a determent to value... I used 1969 Torino discs on my '72 Comet(Maverick twin), it was all bolt on... One of first questions people have about these cars is how does one convert to disc, did not even have the option till '74 models...


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 8:49 pm 
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Location: Roseville,Ca
bobwilson1977 wrote:
I own a huge 1955 Mercury Monterey 4 door sedan and it has its original drum brakes on all four wheels. Of course it takes forever to stop and one needs to really pay attention much further ahead down the road to plan stops. Others who own old cars like me have says converting theirs to disc brakes was like suddenly having a new car. I've thought about doing it . It would cost me about $2,000. I only drive the car around here in town so it's not a big problem. But occasionally I take it out on the freeway and I must be very careful since none of the other cars are as sluggish to stop as mine.


A simpler way I used on my '56 Chrysler was to add a vacuum booster and mastercylinder from a '63 New Yorker. Bolted right in,already had a good vacuum source on the intake,only drilled 2 holes in the firewall.Still has the original 4 wheel drum brakes and it now stops on a dime!Much easier to drive in today's traffic.
Phil

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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 9:25 pm 
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Location: Beautiful Downtown Burbank CA
FStephenMasek wrote:
Driving a car with front drum brakes (the old NASCAR brakes excepted) at anything over parade speed unreasonably endangers both those in the car and those in other cars.

Wow, like saying all AA5s (with hot chassis) should only be used in museums. :x


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 9:33 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, Iowa
Drum brakes when serviced and adjusted work well actually, my old rig can lock 'em up when necessary and stop on a dime, to suggest they are somehow inherently unsafe is just absurd. Now in "as found" condition they are often in terrible working order, but then that isn't quite the same thing is it? It's akin to plugging in an old radio without replacing the capacitors. Plenty of people are out driving around today with completely neglected modern disc braking systems for that matter.

Drum brakes have problems in that they are subject to fade on long mountain downhill grades.


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 9:37 pm 
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Mike Toon wrote:
FStephenMasek wrote:
Driving a car with front drum brakes (the old NASCAR brakes excepted) at anything over parade speed unreasonably endangers both those in the car and those in other cars.

Wow, like saying all AA5s (with hot chassis) should only be used in museums. :x
Not at all the same! The radio presents a danger only in odd circumstances when both the chassis and a ground are being touched. The car with horrible brakes present a danger in normal usage. My mother learned to drive at age 50, after my father died. Her first car with front drum brakes was a real hazard.

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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Litchfield Minnesota USA
Anyone on this forum is more likely than not to be old enough to have driven many cars with drum brakes.
Were you scared when you were driving those cars? Did you have nightmares about not being able to stop before running into the back of a semi or th edge of a cliff? Did the car take over and just keep on going with an evil bent toward your complete destruction?

All I know is that I've driven as many different types of cars with drum brakes as I have driven with disc brakes.
I know that disc brakes, even those cars with only front disc, do have the ability to deal better with heat, thus reducing brake fade. That is really about the only difference in braking performance until you get into the most recent types of auto brakes.

Think back to 1965 when the first disc brakes were being seen on American road cars. (Corvette for instance)
Did you drive any of these? I surely did. I noticed that they didn't fade after several hard applications. But they didn't stop the car much if any sooner, if that's your only goal.
With the drum brakes, you can make a very short stop, but you won't do it twice in the same minute. Moreover, if you want to drag it down from 120 to 0 mph, drum brakes will fade before getting to 0. But they will still have stopping power, just not as much as you'd like.
News flash - Disc brakes also have fade. Especially the older ones that at the time were considered the best thing since running water in the house.

How things change.
Now we have brakes that you really don't notice the fade. On even basic piles of junk new cars have brakes that will out perform the finest drum brakes ever made.
But does this all of a sudden make all those drum brakes dangerous? How in the heck did any of us survive if those brakes were all that dangerous? I'll tell you how - We drove within the limits of what we were driving. That is the same today. We know the limits are higher now, and we drive within or up to those limits instead of the older limits.
You CAN actually step into a '57 Chevy and drive it without being killed or killing someone else. All you need to do is drive within your limitations.
My last vehicles with drum brakes left my ownership, hopefully to better caretakers than I, back around 2000. I miss them. Two Big, heavy old 1940's Dodge Power Wagons. I should have kept one of them. They didn't stop well, but then they couldn't go fast either so I guess that's a draw.

Don't be afraid to drive a car with all drum brakes as long as they are in good condition, as is the case with any sort of brakes. If the idea scares you, check into your driving habits and see if those habits need some adjustment.

Mark D.


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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 10:39 pm 
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Location: Georgia, 30236
Properly maintained drums always worked as well as discs for me.

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 Post subject: Re: New front disc brakes on early 50s Cadillacs
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2017 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Feb Fri 22, 2008 3:28 am
Posts: 375
I discovered when visiting some relatives out of state that drum brakes sure don't work wet. Where I lived it never got that wet.


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