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post #1 of 24 Old 03-30-2009, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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brake upgrades on tight budget

Here is my problem. I want/need to upgrade my brakes. Right now I have stockers with MM stainless lines and supposes race?? pads on the front (this is what is was told but have not pulled a wheel to verify yet). I am kinda tight on funds this year and would like to keep my 4 lug wheels as I have a set of 31 spline axles and the diff needs to be re-built anyways. So what are some cars that I can possible pilfer a rear disc set up off of? Sorry if this a newb question, I am new to Stangs and to trying to make cars handle (other than in a straight line). I need to do this as cheaply as possible for now. Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 24 Old 03-30-2009, 11:00 PM
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Here is my problem. I want/need to upgrade my brakes. Right now I have stockers with MM stainless lines and supposes race?? pads on the front (this is what is was told but have not pulled a wheel to verify yet). I am kinda tight on funds this year and would like to keep my 4 lug wheels as I have a set of 31 spline axles and the diff needs to be re-built anyways. So what are some cars that I can possible pilfer a rear disc set up off of? Sorry if this a newb question, I am new to Stangs and to trying to make cars handle (other than in a straight line). I need to do this as cheaply as possible for now. Thanks in advance.
Save your money and stay with the rear drum brakes (for now.) The factory suspension has so much front dive and rear-end lift that it can't really allow the rear brakes to do much work, regardless of whether they're drums or discs.

Right now, your best bet is to run good high-temp brake pads (I used Performance Friction Z-Rated pads back when I rab factory brakes on my '88,) high-temp brake fluid, and duct as much air to the rotors as possible.

I open-tracked my Mustang for years like this.


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post #3 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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do you still think the same if I am running a MM PHB and TQ arm setup? The car has quite a bit done chassis and suspension wise, just not much on the brake side. BTW I bought it like this.
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post #4 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 09:23 AM
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i would sell all the 4 lug stuff and get the 5lug stuff and some 17x9" wheels and buy some 13" cobra brakes on the front and leave the rear drums alone until ya get cash to change them later.

No matter what kind of rear brakes you put on the back it will not come close the stopping power of just the cobras on the front.


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post #5 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 09:51 AM
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do you still think the same if I am running a MM PHB and TQ arm setup? The car has quite a bit done chassis and suspension wise, just not much on the brake side. BTW I bought it like this.
If it has a torque arm, then yes, you can dial enough rear brake in to be useful, and you can easily dial in enough to overwhelm a rear drum setup. the torque arm drastically changes the rear's anti-squat-anti-lift behaviour compared to the QuadraLink setup. You won't get as much use out of the rears as you would if you changed the front's anti-dive percentage (you need to make major changes to the K-member's geometry to do that,) but you're pretty close.

Jay is right -- not much sense in staying 4-lug. Anything you do with a 40lug setup is going to be a dead-3end, performance wise. There are no cheap upgrades for serious braking in the 40-lug world, and the expensive solutions (i.e. Baer,) do not get you the performance as a junkyard Cobra setup.

So, leave the brakes alone for now and save up for a 5-lug setup.

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post #6 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 10:11 AM
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I went down the 4-lug route, and I spent more money trying to make the car stop with 87-93 front brakes and t-bird rear discs than I spent doing the Cobra brake upgrade. Save up and go with the 5-lug Cobra stuff, it is cheaper in the end.

The only thing I would do with your current set-up is to flush out the fluid and use some high quality/high temp brake fluid. Some decent pads would also be good, but clean, fresh brake fluid is important.

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post #7 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 10:32 AM
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The only thing I would do with your current set-up is to flush out the fluid and use some high quality/high temp brake fluid. Some decent pads would also be good, but clean, fresh brake fluid is important.
Do whatever you can to duct as much fresh air to the center of the back side of the rotor as you can. You'll be asking a lot of these little 11" rotors, and you'll need to cool then as best as you can.

Also, learn to conserve your brakes. Unless you're qualifying or passing under braking, there's no need for banzai threshold-braking on every turn.

Instead, brake a little earlier, and a little longer at a lower level. Also, learn how to scrub speed wothout using the brakes at all by tossing the car into the corner and letting it slide a little bit to scrub speed.

You won't hurt your lap times very much and not only will your brakes last longer, but you'll be learning a valuable skill. (What do you do when your brakes go away in a race? If you learn to drive fast wothout using as much brake, you'll be way ahead of your competitors.

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post #8 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 11:18 AM
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I am not sure if the original post was directed at open track, street, autocross, and all of the above. For street use and autocross, the ducting is not needed. If you are going to do anything on a track, then get as much air as you can to the center of the rotor. I fabricated some plates to seal off the rotor and used ducting and blower fans to try and keep things cool.

More info on what you are looking at doing with the brakes always is helpful.

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post #9 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Street and auto x mainly, maybe a high speed auto x here and there. I want to do an open track but right now it is not in the cards. I know the 5 lug is the way to go, but then I need new wheels etc. Like I said I am new to these cars and figured maybe there was something I could do on the cheap for the time being. Thanks for the help guys
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post #10 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 01:19 PM
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Like everyone has already said just save up the scratch for the Cobra brakes. It's not a ton of money and you can go super fast with the Cobra stuff as long as your car isn't a pig and you drive decent. I wouldn't recommend wasting your time with the smal 4-lug ####. If you're due for a brake job now I'd get a good set of Hawk HPS+ pads (or pick your flavor), stock rear shoes, and flush the system with some fresh fluid. That's about all you can really do with what you have.

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post #11 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 02:03 PM
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Like everyone is saying, dump the 4-lug setup and go 5-lug.

BUT if you have to make do with the 4-lug brakes and you learn to take care of your brakes, you'd be surprised what you can do. I ran the 4-lug setup for 9 years. In 2004 I finally bit the bullet and installed Cobra brakes. To get the most out of your 4-lug brakes:
  1. Run the best, highest-temp brake fluid you can. Motul RBF 660 is very good. Castrol SRF is the absolute best, but damned expensive.
  2. Run good, high-temperature pads. I started with Performance Friction Carbon-Metallic pads and later moved up to Performance Friction's Z-rated pads. There are a ton of pads out there for Fox brake calipers that are just as good. Look at Hawk and Porterfield for a start. Beware running "race" pads. If they're really race pads, they won't work well when the brakes are cold -- exactly what you DON'T WANT on the street, where they're dead-cold 90% of the time. Unless the car is a trailer queen, your brakes need to work when cold.
  3. Run good quality rotors. You'll be cracking them very often if you don't take care of 'em (and fairly often if you do,) so try to find rotors with a lifetime warranty. I ran Raybestos just because of their warranty. Wagners are also fairly good. DIN'T run cross-drilled torots, no matter what others say. They will live a short, violent life. Also, don't run slotted rotors. They're more expensive, don't have a lifetime warranty, and won't give you ane longer life or better performance. (I cracked so many rotors that I always had a spare pair, along with wheel bearings, packed with grease and ready to go at every event. I got a LOT of practice changing Fox rotors!)
  4. Run STEEL-caged USA-made Timkin wheel bearings. Ford OEM bearings and many replacement bearings use glass-impregnated Nylon bearing cages. These will get overheated and melt. You want a bearing with a STEEL cage.
  5. Use Mobil-1 synthetic wheel bearing grease which will withstand the heat generated by the brakes MUCH better.
  6. To prevent tapered pad wear, get a set of stainless steel caliper bushings from Maximum Motorsports.
  7. Get braided stainless steel brake lines for a better pedal feel.
  8. Run high-performance brake SHOES in the rear. Jim Dingle at Performance Parts, Inc. (PPI, a Corral advertizer,) still has these, I think. He also has high performance pads, but I've never used them.)
  9. Upgrade to 72mm SVO calipers and an SVO master cylinder. This will NOT give you better braking, but ithe larger piston will support the back of the brake pad better, reducing tapered wear and giving you more pad life. The combination of the bigger piston and the bigger bore in the SVO master cylinder also gives a slightly harder brake pedal, which I prefer.
  10. Brake ducts, brake ducts, brake ducts!
  11. Take it easy on your brakes -- this is probably the biggest thing to do next to running good fluid and pads.
  12. Flush your brake system every 2-3 events, religiously.

That's pretty much all you can reasonably do without dropping a ton of money on the car.

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post #12 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 03:59 PM
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There is some very good advice here.

Save up for the 5 lug conversion. In the meantime get some good pads and good fresh fluid and call it a day. That should be sufficent for street and auto x use at least until you upgrade. If you need new rotors you can get new ones for a very reasonable price. Just don't bother with the pimpy cross drilled or slotted type rotors. You don't need them (says the guy with drilled rotors. Hey, they we're on the car when I bought it. They will be replaced with solid)

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post #13 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 07:43 PM
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Like everyone has already said just save up the scratch for the Cobra brakes. It's not a ton of money and you can go super fast with the Cobra stuff as long as your car isn't a pig and you drive decent. I wouldn't recommend wasting your time with the smal 4-lug ####. If you're due for a brake job now I'd get a good set of Hawk HPS+ pads (or pick your flavor), stock rear shoes, and flush the system with some fresh fluid. That's about all you can really do with what you have.
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post #14 of 24 Old 03-31-2009, 07:48 PM
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Ditto, I ran the 4-lugs stock brakes (with PF-Z $60 pads from PepBoys). They did "fine" for my rookie years...
Go ahead and you will be fine, just be careful and aware if you start feeling fade (dont push it 110% if its not built for it).


Years later did the M2300K kit 13" PBRs:


Finally (why do it right the first time, when you can pay 3x) Brembos with rotots on hats from Cloeman:

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post #15 of 24 Old 04-01-2009, 09:25 AM
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Once you get a few bucks saved up start checking the classified section on here for used spindles and calipers. You can usually find them at a really great price.

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post #16 of 24 Old 04-01-2009, 10:47 AM
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If all you're going to be doing is autocross, I advise against the big brake upgrade. Brakes are not taxed hard at autocrossing, and the foxbody brakes are featherweight in comparison to the Cobra brakes, rear discs, and larger wheels and tires that go with them. If you fade the stock setup and good pads at an autocross event, you're doing it wrong or you're running something that pushes the definition of "autocross". Short of that, having to carry, turn, and accelerate the extra mass of the big-brake upgrade makes a BIG difference that is not offset by any magical upgraded braking capabilities in an autocross environment. Been there, done that.
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post #17 of 24 Old 04-01-2009, 10:59 AM
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sorry for the thread hijack, drudis i want that rotor setup! i have the same calipers i am running 1 peice slotted brembos where can i buy the hats/rotors and the wheel studs?

thanks
Jay


jd1969

install brake cooling ducts on front!! this is the key, must have ducting if nothing else do that!
also would run the Performance friction street pads, i like them better for autox rather than hawk hp+.
i would run valvoline sythentic brake fluid much cheaper best bang for the buck.

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post #18 of 24 Old 04-01-2009, 11:19 AM
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sorry for the thread hijack, drudis i want that rotor setup! i have the same calipers i am running 1 peice slotted brembos where can i buy the hats/rotors and the wheel studs?
I'm going to hijack you hijack.

I run the same rotors. The hats are custom pieces from Todd at TCE in Arizona. The rotors are from Coleman racing (at least mine are,) and the fasteners are mil-spec NAS bolts, washers, and nuts. I run ARP wheel studs pressed into the factory hub.

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post #19 of 24 Old 04-01-2009, 12:31 PM
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Ditto on Robert's parts, and emailed Jay privately.

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post #20 of 24 Old 04-01-2009, 01:05 PM
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Ditto on Robert's parts, and emailed Jay privately.
I just wasted about an hour of work time perusing your site. Way to kill my productivity dude.

Good stuff.

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post #21 of 24 Old 04-01-2009, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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WOW, I never thought this thread would take off like this, thanks everyone. I do already have the MM braided lines, both front and rear. So it looks like I will be doing some duct work and just getting better pads and fluid. I think my local club does what they call "high speed" auto x a few times per year at Blackhawk Farms, so if I do one of those I will bear in mind the advice I got here. I want to get a few auto x's under my belt and get some instruction before I go too far. The car is already set-up waaaayyy beyond my driving ability.
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post #22 of 24 Old 04-01-2009, 07:04 PM
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Just like everyone else has said. I have the Cobras up front and drums in the rear and they work just fine for me.

Cheaper than VHT and works great.
So sticky it will practically pull your shoes off, just like the movie theater
floor..
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post #23 of 24 Old 04-01-2009, 10:13 PM
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Just like everyone else has said. I have the Cobras up front and drums in the rear and they work just fine for me.
What MC and booster do you run with your setup? Does your pedal go soft or hard from the stock setup?

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post #24 of 24 Old 04-03-2009, 10:45 PM
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If all you're going to be doing is autocross, I advise against the big brake upgrade. Brakes are not taxed hard at autocrossing, and the foxbody brakes are featherweight in comparison to the Cobra brakes, rear discs, and larger wheels and tires that go with them. If you fade the stock setup and good pads at an autocross event, you're doing it wrong or you're running something that pushes the definition of "autocross". Short of that, having to carry, turn, and accelerate the extra mass of the big-brake upgrade makes a BIG difference that is not offset by any magical upgraded braking capabilities in an autocross environment. Been there, done that.

I second this if the car is primarily used on the steet with occasional autocross time. On my 86, I ran the 87+ fronts upgraded to 73mm SVO calipers with SSBC rear discs (same as 93 cobra and/or T-bird Turbo Coupe) for more than 12 years with little complaint for the use of the car - 99% street. The brake dive/rear jacking does reduce rear brake effeciency pretty dramatically, but you have some of that corrected. With that said, I also have an 01 Cobra; have to say, even on the street with little to no track time these brakes are impressive. Hence, I did upgrade the 86 to the larger cobra fronts which required the purchase of the 5-lug wheels. Now, I've owned the 86 since 89 and will not sell it. So, I felt this upgrade was worth the cost. A true budget on a car that might not stay in the family would be a different question. It's all in what you want, can afford and intend to do with the car.
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