Thunderbird Front Brake Upgrade

The stock 89-97 Thunderbird rotors were 10.87" and designed for 15" wheels. The only factory brake upgrade for the Thunderbird came in 1997 with the 11.57" rotor which came as on option under the "SPORT" package which required 16" wheels. 89-92 Thunderbirds used an eariler style spindle and braking setup so these upgrades only apply to 93-97 spindles. 1989-1992 Thunderbirds must replace their front spindles and sway bar end links with 1993-1997 Thunderbird/Mark VIII spindles before they can upgrade to any of the bigger brakes. 1993-1997 spindles can be found in many salvage yards for around $50-$80 each. Listed below is a guide to brake upgrades for the 93-97 Thunderbirds/Mark VIII cars. Several brake upgrade options are available depending on the size of your wheels. Note: If you see other brake kits listed for 1994-present Mustangs any of these will fit the 93-97 spindles.

10.87" rotors with 1999-up Mustang 2-piston PBR calipers for 15"-up wheels

1999 - 2004 Mustangs came with optional dual piston calipers for use on 11" rotors with 15"-up wheels. These calipers are a direct bolt-on for any 1993-1997 Lincoln Mark VIII or Thunderbird. The Mustang uses an 11" rotor while the Thunderbirds used a 10.87" rotor. The close rotor sizes allow the use of the Mustang caliper bracket and caliper to work on the stock rotor without having to switch to the Mustang 11" rotor. Lincoln Mark VIII owners will have to use the T-Bird 10.87" rotor if changing. These caliper and caliper brackets are available as new or used.

These GT calipers and brackets can be found at many salvage yards. Try a search for 1999 Mustang calipers at you will find hundreds of hits. Also these can be purchased new or remanufactured from Ford. NOTE: Give them your old Thunderbird calipers as cores to reduce the cost.

 1999-2004 Ford Mustang Base/GT calipers

Part Numbers Description Cost
XR3Z2B120AA NEW Caliper Right $81.00 each with $40 core charge
XR3Z2B121AA NEW Caliper Left $81.00 each with $40 core charge
XR3Z2V120AARM Remanufactured Caliper Right $51.00 each with $80 core charge
XR3Z2V121AARM Remanufactured Caliper Left $51.00 each with $80 core charge
XR3Z2B292AA Caliper Bracket Right/Left (2 needed) $47.00 each
XR3Z2B296AA Caliper Pin Right/Left (2 needed) $11.00 each
XR3Z2A492AA Caliper Rubber Boots (pair) (2 pair needed) $6.00 each pair
N805163-S190 Caliper Pin Bolt (4 needed) $5.00 each
XR3Z2001AA Brake Pads with retainers $83.00 set
W706548 Banjo Bolt with washers (2 needed) $4.00 each

1993-1997 Mark VIII 11.57" rotors for 16" + wheels

11.57" Brakes require 16" wheels min. These brakes came equipped on 93-97 Lincoln Mark VIII and the Thunderbird 1997 Sport optioned cars. Ford is not the only source for these parts. Check with junk yards and local autoparts stores for rebuilt calipers and other parts.
11.57" Rotor
Caliper Bracket
Caliper Bracket
Brake Pads
Caliper Bracket Bolts
Rotor Retaining Nuts

Loosen all lug nuts, jack car up and remove wheel. Using a 10mm socket loosen the Banjo bolt that attaches the brake line to the caliper. Tighten the Banjo bolt back so the brake fluid stops leaking. Using a #50 Torx bit remove the lower caliper brake bolt. Lift the caliper up from the lower side and remove the pads. Use a wire or coat hanger attached to the upper A-arm to suspend the caliper out of the way. (see picture)

Next remove the two caliper mounting bracket bolts with a 15mm socket then remove the rotor. Note: remove the caliper retaining push nuts from the studs by turning them counter clockwise. Clean area with brake cleaner. Note: this is a good time to regrease the lower ball joint.

Next remove the Banjo bolt from the old caliper and install on the new caliper using 2 new brass washers. Tighten the bolt down until the fluid stops leaking.

Install new rotor & insert push pins over the studs to hold rotor in place. Install new caliper mounting bracket and add thread sealant to bolts, tighten bolts to 95lb-ft. (see picture)

Install new brake pads and caliper.

Finally open the caliper bleed screw and bleed the brake system. Keep the brake fluid resavour from getting too low during the bleeding process as air bubbles will occurr. Note: For a home made bleed system use a 2 foot piece of 1/4" rubber hose and a clear bottle. As the brake fluid fills the bottle you will see when the air bubbles stop and the hose submerged in the fluid will prevent any air from getting back into the caliper.

Finally install the wheels and torque the lug nuts down to 85-105 lb-ft. Install is the same for other side.

Mustang 2-piston Cobra PBR calipers with 13" rotors for 17"+ wheels

The Mustang 5 on 4.5" bolt spaced rotor must be redrilled to the Thunderbird/Mark VIII 5 on 4.25". Several places offer rotor redrilling of bolt patterns. If switching to the Mustang 5 on 4.5" hubs you can install this brake setup without any modifications. This will require Mustang 1994-up wheels. Since the Mustang 1994-up front hubs are a direct replacement for the 1993-1997 Thunderbird hubs.

On the passengers side you will have to remove the brake line and grind one side of the Banjo block down so both sides match before it will fit on the PBR caliper. That banjo bolt is a 10mm x1.5 pitch thread pitch. You can either reuse the bolts from the Mustang brake hoses or purchase another set of banjo bolts to use on your stock brake hoses. Also get another 2 sets of crush washers too. Almost any local autoparts store should carry these banjo bolts and crush washers. Earl's sells the banjo bolt with crush washers under part number 997517 (Thread : M10x1.0).

Mustang 4-piston Cobra Brembo calipers with 13" rotors for 17"+ wheels

This kit is sold through Ford Racing part # M-2300-X and will require redrilling of rotors to the Thunderbird bolt spacing. If switching to the Mustang 5 on 4.5" hubs you can install this brake setup without any modifications. This will require Mustang 1994-up wheels. Since the Mustang 1994-up front hubs are a direct replacement for the 1993-1997 Thunderbird hubs.


MN12 Performace Inc.