10.8" PBR Dual Piston Caliper Installation Instructions
By: Sir William - TCCoA President
One of the biggest complaints from Thunderbird and Cougar owners is the poor braking quality and longevity that our cars experience. Well, we're trying to change that. With the help of the TCCoA, KVR Performance has introduced a 10.8" dual-piston caliper that is a direct bolt-on replacement for our stock calipers. This caliper is also available from FORD for the 99-04 Mustang GT using the stock sized non-sport rotor needing only a slight modification to the passenger side caliper.
By increasing the amount of force that's exerted on the pads, the Australian-made PBR calipers are able to slow your car down quicker and with less effort. This added stopping power allows for safer driving and a healthy piece of mind knowing that you can jam the binders on hard from nearly any speed and they won't fade or go away at all.
Please keep in mind, this installation was performed on a 1997 Thunderbird LX. All the steps should be the same, but some bolt sizes may be slightly different on other years. In order to complete this swap, you must have either a 93 or later Thunderbird or Cougar or upgraded your front spindles and anti sway bar endlinks to 1993 or newer models.
Tools and Parts Required:
*19mm deep socket
*3/8" ratchet with 4" or 6" extension
*10mm open end wrench
*Diagonal cutting pliers
*12" piece of 1/8" ID clear tubing
*A small pan to catch dripping brake fluid
*LOTS of blue shop towels
*...and a friend to help with the bleeding
The first thing you should do is find a level place to work and then get the front end of the car in the air. Be sure to set the parking brake.
Step One: Remove Tires and Wheels. I really don't think I should have to explain this one. You'll need that 19mm socket for this.
Step Two: Remove Stock Calipers. You need to remove the caliper retaining bolts from the spindle. These should be 15mm. You'll find this much easier if you turn the wheel all the way away from the side you're working on. I suggest removing the bottom bolt first as the brake line may inhibit access to the top bolt. After you have the caliper unbolted, remove the brake line. The banjo bolt on the brake line is 10mm.
The old caliper will slide up and slightly rearward off the rotor. If you have heavily worn rotors, there may be a ridge preventing easy removal. If this is the case, simply twist the caliper slightly to compress the piston and it should come off easily.
Step Three: Remove / Repair or Replace Rotors. Remove your old rotors from the car. This is usually quite easy, however the rotors may be rusted to the hub or, if they're original, still held in place by some nifty assembly washers from the factory. The assembly washers are simply very thin steel rings designed to hold the rotors or drums on the lugs while the cars are on the assembly line until the wheels are put on. You can remove them by grabbing and twisting them to pieces with your diagonal cutters.
If your rotors are rusted on, simply tap around the hub area repeatedly until they loosen. This doesn't mean get out the 12 lb. sledge hammer. Just keep lightly tapping around the hub as you turn the rotor until it breaks loose. Then just pull it off.
If you're replacing the rotors, you've got it made. Simply put the new rotors on and you're done. However, if you're using your existing rotors, you'll want to have then checked for trueness and thickness tolerance. Any competent parts store should be able to handle this part. They'll put them on a brake lathe and turn them to ensure a straight, flat surface.
Step Four: Mount New Calipers. Since your PBR calipers already come with the pads loaded (hopefuuly), you don't have to worry about that. All you need to do is slide the caliper on over the rotor where the stock one came off. They can be a bit of a pain to line up perfectly, but a little perseverance and you'll make it. Using the original retaining bolts, attach the new calipers to the spindle. A little Loctite Blue here wouldn't hurt. Be sure you get them good and tight, you don't want them backing out any time soon. ) IMPORTANT: The calipers will mount on either side of the car equally well. Be sure to mount them with the bleed screw on top. If not, you will not be able to remove air from the system.
Step Five: Attach Brake Line. Since the PBR calipers use longer, better banjo bolts, you'll need to remove the old bolts and copper crush washers from the mounting block on the end of the brake line. There are several ways to do this, just be sure that you don't hurt the mounting surface of the block in any way. I would suggest using your diagonal cutters or a flat screwdriver to gently pry up on the washer to get it passed the first thread of the bolt. From there, you should be able to remove it completely by simply holding it with your pliers and backing out the bolt.
Next, simply put the new banjo bolt through the block with a copper crush washer on either side, and mount it to the caliper using your 14mm socket. This connection needs to be tight, but not too tight. 1/2 to 3/4 turns past snug should seat the washers quite well. The PBRs from ford will need to be modified to fit the brake line. You can grind the caliper down to fit, as it is obvious where the modification is needed.
Step Six: Bleeding. Of course you may already have done this once or twice if you slipped with a wrench or pinched your fingers somehow. But we're not talking about you, we're talking about your brakes! The process of bleeding is done to remove all the air from the brake lines. Air in brake lines = BAD. Before you begin, make sure your master cylinder is full. Add enough fluid to top if off if need be. Be absolutely sure your cap is completely on your master cylinder reservoir prior to bleeding. If not, you'll have fluid everywhere. DO NOT let your reservoir run dry.
Starting with the passenger side, remove the rubber cap from the bleed screw. Attach the clear hose to the nipple on the bleed screw. This will help keep things cleaner. Now, have your friend pump the brake pedal once or twice then hold pressure on it as you open the bleed screw. You will see fluid come out along with some air bubbles. Repeat this process a few times until you don't see any more bubbles. Then, taking the wooden handle of a hammer or the plastic handle of a screwdriver, gently tap all around the piston area of the caliper to make sure there aren't any trapped air bubbles in it. Bleed it once or twice more. If all is well, you're ready to go. Take a small bucket of water or a garden hose and rinse off the caliper to remove any brake fluid that may be on it. Repeat this procedure on the other side and you're done.
Step Seven: Wheel Reinstallation. Normally, you'd think this is easy, however I want to share a couple of tips with you that will make your life better and easier in the future. First, when you put your wheel back on, align the valve stem of the wheel with the painted lug on the hub. Don't ask why, it's a balance thing...trust me on this one. The main thing is to torque your lugnuts evenly. I suggest 90 lb/ft on aluminum wheels. Don't skimp on this. USE THE TORQUE WRENCH! By making sure you're wheels are torqued evenly, you lessen the chances of rotor warping due to uneven heat transfer between the wheel and hub/rotor assembly. It doesn't sound like much, but it matters.
Step Eight: Rotor Break In. This step will only need to be completed if you are putting brand new rotors on your car. The proper procedure for 'seasoning' NEW rotors is to take the car up to about 25 MPH then slow down gently to about 5 MPH. Do this 4 or 5 times then park the car for a two or three hours until the rotors are back to ambient temperature completely. The reason for doing this is that it helps to align the molecules in the steel making the rotors stronger and less prone to warping.
There, you now have new and better brakes for your MN12. I hope you enjoy this kit as much as I do mine. Just be careful and drive smart and safely.
God Bless and Fly Low!
Sir William TCCoA President