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Discussion Starter #1
I just bout my 1995 T-bird LX v8 yesterday. Seemed to roll clean off the lot but, there's always one thing they don't tell you about :)

The drum brakes gag

Yeah, they're a little past their prime, so I'm shooting for a conversion.
I know this question has been ask before, and I wouldn't be asking again, but the more info I dig up on the job, the more broken links and dead-ends I find, and I could not be more utterly confused :(

What do I need to do a full conversion? I have never done one before, so excuse my ignorance, as I've only worked with discs before.
What parts will I need? I've seen tidbits here and there about a cobra swap? Can I expect this to be a pain in the booty or am I in for an easy ride?
Thank you for your patience :)

P.S. She pulls to the left when braking. Is that gonna be resolved by a full brake replacement (Front and back, as im planning) or should I be worried?
Steering seems, loose?
 

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You will need new to you (can be reman'ed) calipers; new rotors; new brake pads.

You may want to obtain a disc brake set of rear spindles. Yours MAY be drilled already; if so, you won't need the new-to-you spindles. If not, you can either have yours drilled, or as I said at first, obtain some disc brake spindles.

If you do swap spindles, I would highly Highly HIGHLY recommend getting the bearings replaced in them before installing them ... just because of your cousin and mine, Justin Case. The spindles can also come from a Mark VIII (which were all disc brakes.) DO note the year; the calipers and rotors need to match each other, along with the pads. I'd also match them to the spindles, but that's not really a problem.

You will need the guide pins and boot kits, unless your calipers just happen to come with them.

You will need new rear brake hoses (disc and drum are different.)

You will need new parking brake cables (disc and drum are different.)

You will need the banjo bolts and washers; they MAY come with the calipers.

You will need new parking brake cables.

Note: You can obtain almost all of this at the boneyard from a disc brake equipped MN12 or FN10 (Cougar, TBird, or Mark VIII). I would NOT use the rotors and the pads; I'd seriously consider reman'ed or new calipers (PowerStop actually sells a nice matching set ... or did at one time.)

Note: You'll require caliper mounting brackets too - again, if you scavage the rear hubs out from a MN12 or FN10, you'll have all that.

To take the hub out and put it back on, you'll need (not want, NEED) new axle nuts; do NOT get the Dormans which will chew up your halfshafts! The original Ford part is still available; get that if possible. At worst, if you scavage from the boneyard, keep those and double-nut your rear axle.

While swapping, consider if you want to migrate to the Mustang hub pattern. NOW is a good time, although it makes rotors a bit more difficult to pick up (due to the difference in bolt pattern.) With a steady hand, you should be able to redrill the MN12/FN10 rotors to match.

That's about it.

Of course, as with any brake job, brake fluid; I'd bleed the system completely so that it runs new and gets rid of the old.

Picture time - for a home guy, this kit works OK as long as you pull the cowl cover over the master cylinder (the filler won't fit without): Pneumatic Brake Fluid Bleeder with Auto-Refill Kit You can quite often find equivalents on eBay or Amazon for less, too.

OH! You'll need the proper caliper tool if you're recycling a boneyard caliper, and for your next time. This one is cheap but should do the job for you, and like above, you can find better on Amazon and eBay - this is more so you know what to look for: Disc Brake Pad and Caliper Service Tool Kit 11 Pc.

(Also there's always coupons for HF, and seems like everyone has a HF there ... )

You can buy brake fluid, pads, etc. all off Amazon also; but check around for pricing and quality. Do NOT buy the cheapest rotor you can! Alas, it seems like most are made in the same factory in China, but I've had better wear off the Brembo rotors I bought a while back than almost anything else. Wagner also seems to do OK, as does ACDelco. (When you put over 40,000 miles a year on your vehicles, yah, you get used to doing brakes ...)

RwP
 
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I just caught that about the steering.

Plan on a full front end rebuild due to age.

I'll bet you have strut rod bushings failing due to age; do NOT buy the thermoplastic replacements!

Since they're no longer made by Ford, I will have to point to Super Coupe Performance for a possible replacement. Also TBSCShop.COM for another source, complete with the stainless steel ferrules.

Also.

BUY A COPY OF BOTH THE FACTORY SERVICE MANUAL AND THE ELECTRICAL VACUUM TROUBLESHOOTING MANUAL for your car.

I can NOT emphasize that ENOUGH.

Otherwise, you're like the blind man being signed to by the deaf mute ...

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for all of your advice! Also, it you can find a conversion kit out there thats compatiable I would seriously be intrested. Unfortunately its looking like Im going to have to hunt for my treasures online for the time being... Thanks, Corona. :(
 

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I don't think anyone sells a kit.

Hit up car-part.com and your local boneyards; I'd look for a Mark VIII since they're all rear disc.

RwP
 

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Again, if you locate a Mark VIII in a pull-a-part or u-pull yard, you can grab everything.

While there, I'd grab the half shafts. Shucks, that'll make it even easier - pull the spindles and half shafts, along with the lower spindle bolts (keep those to sell to those of us converting to Mark VIII LCAs!), rebush the spindles, replace the rotor and pads, use new hoses and parking brake cables, and you're golden; if the bearings are good, won't even have to pull the axle nuts!

Note the year of Mark VIII; I don't think they changed the rotors, pads, and calipers, but I could be wrong, and it might be significant later.

RwP
 

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I don't think anyone sells a kit.

Hit up car-part.com and your local boneyards; I'd look for a Mark VIII since they're all rear disc.

RwP
as are all 97 Tbird’s and a Cougars, or all with ABS. Likelihood of finding those is much higher, I can’t find Mark VIIIs at yards anymore
 

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as are all 97 Tbird’s and a Cougars, or all with ABS. Likelihood of finding those is much higher, I can’t find Mark VIIIs at yards anymore
Thanks for the addendum.

I dunno, I get 9 pages on Car-Part.COM when I search for a rear hub for a Mark VIII ... although, TBH, that also lists the MN12s since they interchange.

RwP
 

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Why dont you just fix your drum brakes, replace the wheel cylinder, new drums and shoes. I would go for a front PBR calipers upgrade from a 99-04 Mustang instead of rear disc conversion. More stopping power, less work and less money. Do a search on this site for instructions.
 

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Why dont you just fix your drum brakes, replace the wheel cylinder, new drums and shoes. I would go for a front PBR calipers upgrade from a 99-04 Mustang instead of rear disc conversion. More stopping power, less work and less money. Do a search on this site for instructions.
I've gone through this with my 95LX. The front brakes are inadequate! With drums on the rear they are simply awful!
First I went with the PBR caliper conversion. That was well worth the trouble and expenses. The front brakes went from really awful to awfully good, but you could tell that the rear drums were just along for the ride. I went to pick and pull and stripped the rear suspension parts from a 97 T-Bird, then had the bearing replaced and did all of the bushings while I had it apart.
The critical part is in the front fender well in front of the battery. Ford calls it the brake control valve, but it is the proportioning valve. If you don't change it when you do the conversion, your rear brakes are still just along for the ride and don't contribute to you stopping. From the master cylinder trace the brake lines forward until you come to a block with two lines in, and four out. That's the control valve. You need the one off of the donor car.
If you want to put icing on the cake of a good conversion spend the money and get braided stainless brake lines. They firm the pedal up nicely, and contribute to giving you the brakes that Ford should have put on the car in the first place.
Most of the conversion information is available in the archives.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Honorable mention to both Ralph and Tbird LX, This information was really helpful. I feel a lot more confident about doing this now, and hopefully, corona will open my junk yards back up in a couple months. Until then, because im impatient (and brutally honest at that), I'll be searching online, so do let me know if y'all come across some goodies.

in the meantime, I was looking at those power stop discs, can anyone confirm a matching part number for me? Just wanna make sure I don't have to claim fraud again for something expensive that was clearly cough poor discretion cough on someone's devices. cough
Lesson learned after narrowly avoiding incurred fees regarding those heavily inebriated (probably) midnight casino charges (on what I assume to be, based off of a clearly uneducated observation.) a depressing hazy morning for such a criminal.. (but that's just an assumption.)

sharp inhale ....at least he had a good time right, boys?....

Lesson learned: the luck does eventually run out. in my case it was after a jackpot and an impromptu ID check; Dad-hats work wonders until they realize "taylor" on your ID weighs about 60 more pounds then you look like you can bench press in a set.

Good news is progress is going well. got the air silencer removed, stereo installed, time for the subs, and then possible some more small tweaks here and there. :) See you all soon!
 

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I forgot to mention - since the rear calipers are also the parking brake, you need a caliper tool to turn the calipers IN to get the new pads in.

That's why I pointed to the caliper tool set.

You may be able to rent one from AutoZone/O'Reilly's/Advance/Princess/NAPA/whoever your big box store is.

But they're not that much, and it's nice to have a good tool set for things like this.

(Then again, I tend to do 40,000+ miles a year most years, so I tend to do my brakes more often then most ... that 40K is split between the car and the truck now. Well, all on the truck, car isn't moving.)

RwP
 
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