Author Topic: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?  (Read 331 times)

pancho400cid

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Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« on: September 14, 2018, 06:39:39 PM »
So, I'm in acquisition mode for parts for my 1978 Trans Am, 400 Pontiac, Auto trans, front discs / rear drums.

Emphasis is on front end parts with the goal of making it a roller.  I have a PTFB GT kit that will go on when it goes together.

I need, calipers, rotors and pads.  I can't swing $2K Baer, Wilwood etc. brakes.  Is there a set-up that's a notch or two better than stock that I should consider?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 07:19:03 PM by pancho400cid »
1978 Trans Am - Chesterfield Brown - current project
1978 Trans Am - Silver - future uncertain

pancho400cid

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1978 Trans Am - Chesterfield Brown - current project
1978 Trans Am - Silver - future uncertain

Aus78Formula

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2018, 09:37:55 PM »
I always wondered if the 'upgrade' of the dual piston calipers like that to fit replace stock setup was actually worthwhile or more for those who wanted some colour and a brand name there, and money better spent for even one of the more simple versions that used larger rotors and new stub axles. Since my car is not on the road and international shipping of heavy items isn't fun, I've done neither, but still keeping watch of those who have taken the intermediate steps.

pancho400cid

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2018, 10:42:09 PM »
Pretty much where I'm at.  I definitely don't expect massive improvement without going to bigger diameter rotors and more brake surface.  But I gotta buy "something" and the price difference may be "manageable"... but definitely significantly more than stock parts.

Ultimately a brake is a device that converts the kinetic energy of the car into heat.  The ONLY way to improve stopping significantly is to increase the heat removal rate.... bigger brakes, more surface, ventilation, etc.  I get all that.

Maybe rotors like these?  :

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/pwr-ar-8202xpr/overview/year/1978/make/pontiac/model/firebird

I put aluminum drums on the rear as I did not want to mess with converting to disc.  I also am not sure whether I want to put bigger wheels on the car.  I have some WS6 snowflakes now.
1978 Trans Am - Chesterfield Brown - current project
1978 Trans Am - Silver - future uncertain

Aus78Formula

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2018, 12:11:16 AM »
That's a good point with the larger rims. It's handy to swap original size back on for certain occasions, and at the the same time some of the other brake upgrades require a few jumps in diameter which may rule some out now that 18"+ has become more of a performance norm, at least with newer vehicles and kits.

Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2018, 12:11:16 AM »

roadking77

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2018, 07:50:18 AM »
Gonna play devils advocate, but I have a stock setup and it is plenty good for the driving I do. I dont race, just cruise around the country side and hit up an occasional show. I did put in new parts but they came from the local auto part stores. I replaced rotors and calipers with new pads up front for less than $120. The back drums still had enough life that they were left alone(I will change those  out over the winter just because).  New power booster and m/c, new brake lines. NOW, if I was putting together an autoX car, or a street racer I would def. go aftermarket.
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pancho400cid

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2018, 09:43:18 AM »
Roadking... this is a car forum.  Common sense has no place here!   :P
1978 Trans Am - Chesterfield Brown - current project
1978 Trans Am - Silver - future uncertain

roadking77

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2018, 08:35:06 AM »
LOL!
Finished!
77 T/A - I will Call this one DONE!
79 TATA 4sp-Next Project?
79 TATA - Lost to Fire!
86 Grand Prix - Sold
85 T/A - Sold
85 Fiero - Sold
82 Firebird - Sold
'38-CZ 250
'39-BSA Gold Star
'49-Triumph 350
'52-Ariel Red Hunter
'66-BSA Lightning
'01-HD RoadKing

scarebird

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2018, 09:13:47 AM »
roadking is right though, the stock setup works well.  Best bang is Hawk HPS pads and a dual 9" booster if power.

jonathonar89

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2018, 09:37:50 AM »
Surprised no one has brought up the 1LE setup yet.  Just have to get the spindles and rotors.
1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=61460.0

pancho400cid

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2018, 11:27:43 AM »
I just noticed a sticky about the 1LE setup and will look into it.
1978 Trans Am - Chesterfield Brown - current project
1978 Trans Am - Silver - future uncertain

Aus78Formula

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2018, 01:00:09 AM »
Surprised no one has brought up the 1LE setup yet.  Just have to get the spindles and rotors.

You can only have so many replies at once on a new post! I assumed that chasing up larger rotors and different spindles, as already discussed, were beyond the intended question.

yellow1098

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2018, 02:51:22 PM »
I just upgraded my stock parts as well...new stock rotors and calipers and hawk pads and steel lines just from the calipers up.....it stops hard and good when the car is up and running but at a light or slow speeds I have to press the brakes really hard to stop the car.....I'm thinking it might be a master and booster issue? Not sure....OP are you having this issue as well?

79merlin

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2018, 03:23:16 PM »
I just finished putting Wilwood D52's on with a hybrid of the 1LE package. In all honesty if I were to do it over again I would probably instead invest in OE parts and use some higher end brake pads. I have not driven the car yet so its not that it stops better or worse, just that I am probably at about 350 bucks, and for not a lot more I could have gone with the Kore 3 setup. Upgrades are a slippery slope.
I also am running 17's. You know for a fact the OE stuff fits the 15" wheels and I agree that the factory original brakes always felt plenty adequate to me. Just my 2 cents.

pancho400cid

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2018, 04:24:40 PM »
Quote
OP are you having this issue as well?

No.... my car is in a thousand (or more?) pieces scattered in multiple locations over two counties right now LOL.  I'm doing a resto and it won't be back together for a long time to come.  Current focus is getting the subframe back together to make it a roller for paint.

Quote
I just finished putting Wilwood D52's on with a hybrid of the 1LE package. In all honesty if I were to do it over again I would probably instead invest in OE parts and use some higher end brake pads. I have not driven the car yet so its not that it stops better or worse, just that I am probably at about 350 bucks, and for not a lot more I could have gone with the Kore 3 setup. Upgrades are a slippery slope.  I also am running 17's. You know for a fact the OE stuff fits the 15" wheels and I agree that the factory original brakes always felt plenty adequate to me. Just my 2 cents.

Yeah... right now I'm leaning toward "good" stock components.  This based on cash flow and other factors.  The brakes may well get "really" upgraded in the future.... to rear discs and big rotors, bigger wheels, etc.  I have never seen anyone on-line saying that the Wilwood D52's are significantly better than good-working stock calipers.  It seems kinda "all or nothing" with upgrading the brakes.
1978 Trans Am - Chesterfield Brown - current project
1978 Trans Am - Silver - future uncertain

Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2018, 04:24:40 PM »

79merlin

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2018, 06:28:42 PM »
I can say that the D52 calipers look very nice. cosmetically they are a big step up from rusted oem calipers. But a $5 rattle can of caliper paint can solve that too.

I did do the disk upgrade for the rear. I went to the pick n pull and yanked everything from a 4th gen v6 camaro. with the BRP spacers everything lined up perfectly. I did have to relocate the passenger rear shock. I dont know that I have more than $150 tied up in the rears and that is with brand new pads, and a brand new prop valve off ebay (for 4 wheel disks instead of disk drum)...

jonathonar89

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2018, 09:22:50 PM »
I just finished putting Wilwood D52's on with a hybrid of the 1LE package. In all honesty if I were to do it over again I would probably instead invest in OE parts and use some higher end brake pads. I have not driven the car yet so its not that it stops better or worse, just that I am probably at about 350 bucks, and for not a lot more I could have gone with the Kore 3 setup. Upgrades are a slippery slope.
I also am running 17's. You know for a fact the OE stuff fits the 15" wheels and I agree that the factory original brakes always felt plenty adequate to me. Just my 2 cents.

Yes, the the 1LE setup does close in on the price of Kore3 once you add the Wilwood caliper but like you mentioned, the OE style parts work great in street use.  The cool part about the 1LE is that you can fit some stock wheels.

For the price of Kore3, I would go with the PTFB/Wilwood kit.  Much lighter due to the rotor design.
1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=61460.0

tribute

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2018, 07:48:28 PM »
Something must be wrong with my braking system then if all your cars stop well.  I press the brakes and have to have them completely compressed just to keep from moving from a dead stop.  Have replaced master cylinder but it still doesn't stop well.  Very interested in the outcome of this thread.

yellow1098

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2018, 08:51:20 PM »
Tribute .....I have the exact same problem!! I just upgraded to new stock rotors and calipers and hawk pads...I was just about to buy a new master and booster to solve the problem...but if that didn't work for you maybe it's the other thing I was thinking and a vacuum issue? Maybe we can get a quick answer in this thread as I was just about to post a new thread on this issue...

79merlin

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2018, 05:38:49 AM »
If you are getting that much travel in your pedal then I would suspect you have air in the system. I would start out by bleeding all 4 corners. One issue I have had with mine is that the prop valve got stuck thus blocking off all brake fluid from going to the rear of the car. I had to stab the brake pedal several times very very hard in order to get it to pop back open.

roadking77

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2018, 06:33:32 AM »
I was gonna say the same about the air. My breaks worked perfect when installed. I drove the car hard for about 4 hrs on twisty, hilly roads in a road rally. By the end my pedal was going to the floor to get the car stopped, almost to the panic point. I thought it was odd that I would burn through new pads that quick. Took it back to the shop and there was a line going into the booster that needed tightened, it was letting air into the system. Guy tightened things up and breaks have been working great for the last year now. The way I figure, the systems the engineers designed for these cars worked great when they were new.  I drove quite a few new ones back in the day and they all performed great. So, why re-invent the wheel (pardon the pun). I know technology has made great advances in the last 40-50years and there are superior products, but for limited use, original is fine.
Finished!
77 T/A - I will Call this one DONE!
79 TATA 4sp-Next Project?
79 TATA - Lost to Fire!
86 Grand Prix - Sold
85 T/A - Sold
85 Fiero - Sold
82 Firebird - Sold
'38-CZ 250
'39-BSA Gold Star
'49-Triumph 350
'52-Ariel Red Hunter
'66-BSA Lightning
'01-HD RoadKing

yellow1098

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Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2018, 08:36:16 AM »
Along with the OP's question....if your replacing the master and booster....if I'm buying from summit or the other parts stores how "aftermarket" do you go if your replacing the MC and BB? Complete stock replacement? Right stuff "stock bolt in"?...or DSE upgrade aftermarket?

Re: Upgraded front brakes that wont "break" (the bank)?
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2018, 08:36:16 AM »
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