Who has done a disc brake conversion?

Forward Look Forum

  1. Minty ‘59 Savoy

    Minty ‘59 Savoy New Member

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    Thinking about doing a power disc brake/drum conversion on my '59 Savoy. Just looking to see who has done what and how to accomplish this. I know there are different conversion kits, but has anybody pieced together their own conversion?
     
  2. cantflip

    cantflip Old Jagoff with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    :welcome: Dig around a bit, there are a few threads that I recall going into this on Forward Look cars. Also reach out the the aftermarket companies, I think Wildwood had something for them (they did an Imperial for Jay Leno on TV). With enough digging, you may find the Formal spindle conversion, but it involved a lot of grinding on the spindles that made a number of us decide it wasn't a good alternative.

    For anyone who's wondering why I'm not sticking to my usual "leave the drums alone" line, Forward Look cars use a different brake shoe configuration. I don't think they are self energizing and may leave a lot to be desired on a DD. Plus an obsolete master/booster combination that could be a benefit to upgrade.

    BTW, Minty, the work you are contemplating isn't rocket surgery, but isn't easy novice stuff either. That's not to imply that you can't do a fantastic job of it, but you will most likely learn a lot about how parts are made to work together doing this project correctly. If you decide to go the (theoretically) cheaper route of using Formal spindles, @C Body Bob had a pair for sale... if not, I have some (somewhere). The mix and match of parts creates as many problems as it solves in most cases.

    You will find the majority of members here will want to help, as long as you are receptive to their advice. There will be plenty of bad ideas thrown in by lots of well intentioned folks as well. So please be careful who's lead you follow as you work through this.
     
  3. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    Just for the sake of argument, I used a '59 Belvidere as a daily driver for a few years with no issues. '60 Desoto and '61 Seneca as well.
    My priority would be to update the Master Cylinder. If you lose your master you've had it. Though the emergency brakes on these cars work surprisingly well.

    Enough of the tech talk. How about some pictures!
     
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  4. C Body Bob

    C Body Bob Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    My spindles are from a 74 C body
     
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  5. cantflip

    cantflip Old Jagoff with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Pads, rotors and calipers were used for many years after on pickups and vans. So maybe those rotors will be useful, but there has to be a better way than all the grinding done in the known attempt at this conversion IMO.
    :thankyou::thumbsup:
     
  6. 5wndwcpe

    5wndwcpe Active Member

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    I used the SSBC kit on my '57 and though it's manual disc, it works well. Bolted right up with no issues.
     
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  7. stubs300

    stubs300 Senior Member

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    Nope, your kinda vague on your question, do you want a kit or piece meal it? I went with the SSBC route on a 66-300. I don't have a 59 Plymouth so I don't know what your options are, you'll just have to shop and figure out what you want to do. The upgraded master would/should be your first priority to fix as mentioned above. There's this option as well for starters if you piece meal it, Good Luck. 1957-61 Plymouth, Dodge front
     
  8. OKDart

    OKDart New Member

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    Try here:
    Viewing a forum - Brakes, Wheels and Tires
    lots of topics on brake conversions and they're fwd look specific.
    I think it's the Scarebird kit that is just an adapter with all the other parts sourced new for an A body, which are still available from the parts stores.

    As far as the emergency brake, it is effective, but since it's on the driveshaft, you will only have braking on one wheel if your rearend is an open differential.
     
  9. Minty ‘59 Savoy

    Minty ‘59 Savoy New Member

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    Well I should have been more clear. I was looking for people who have done disc bake conversions on Forward Look cars 1957-1961. I was interested in peoples' opinions on what they had done and what they would change or do differently. I understand that there are one or two places that offer everything from caliper brackets to full on kits (AAJ, ECI, Leed, PST, Scarebird, SSBC, TheRamMan, RustyHope, Wilwood). I am also aware that there are uncommon conversions that can be done, example-using everything from the spindle out from a Dakota pickup (recently heard of this one and not quite sure if the source info was correct). With all the different donors that can be used for calipers and rotors parts availabilty and price play heavy on my direction. Just because the spindle from a 1962 Studebaker Avanti(random example-IDK if it really fits) will work that is not a direction I would want to choose.

    @cantflip The m/c will be upgraded to match the disc/drum or even the disc/disc setup that I end up choosing. It won't be upgraded till I choose the rest the system upgrades (buy the upgrade only once). I haven't seen the Formal spindle post, but will look for it. Thankyou
    @78Brougham For the sake of argument a stick with a piece of leather wrapped around it to push on a wooden wheel was adequate when horsepower was alive and required oats and hay.:lol: This car will be a driver, maybe not everyday but could if I wanted to. It will be used for long overnight road trips. Thankyou
    @C Body Bob Did you use the 74 spindles on a 57-59? If so what were the donor vehicles that the rest of your parts came from?
    @5wndwcpe That was exactly what I was asking for!:thumbsup:
    @OKDart Thankyou for that link. I will start surfing over there since it seems more 57-61 specific. As far as e brake on driveshaft that is long gone. I had to have a new driveshaft made as I have swapped a 360-727 combo in, swapped the rear end also.
     
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  10. stubs300

    stubs300 Senior Member

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    I'll be honest with you. I don't know how many 59 owners there are here? But I do know there's not a lot of them. We will help anyway we can with what you've got goin on.
     
  11. C Body Bob

    C Body Bob Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    No I still have the spindles. From a Newport I parted out
     
  12. sixtyf

    sixtyf Active Member

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    SSBC seemed to be the most professional from my research. They do front and rear kits with master cylinders, proportioning valves etc and use your factory spindles so no changes in geometry etc. Scarebird do kits but they involve grinding parts to fit and the caliper brackets don't look to flash ( not sure they would pass compliance here in NZ ). Also AAJ brake conversions. When the OEM total contact brakes are set up properly they work really well, it's just the single circuit that's always in the back of our minds.
     
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  13. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    I agree completely. As i said before, I've used my '59 Plymouth, '60 Desoto, and '61 Dodge as daily drivers for years. Plenty of stopping power. Back then i never have much thought about the single circuit master cylinder, it was what it was. LOL, but now... that'd be be my priority.
     
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  14. sixtyf

    sixtyf Active Member

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    I had the rear flexible hose blow out on me as I was backing my '60 out of the shed, it was a moment of panic! It was very fortunate that it didn't happen while I was out and about.
     
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  15. goodneighbour

    goodneighbour Well-Known Member

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    I used the front spindles from a 73 sport satellite, direct bolt in in my 60 Savoy. Upper and lower ball joints are the same, just had to adjust the tie rod ends as the steering arms are a wee bit different. Power brake booster and m/c came from The Right Stuff.
     
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  16. 69PHOENIX

    69PHOENIX New Member

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    Hi Fellas, first Post so it may be a little sloppy. Replying from the Mystical Land of OZ. Many years ago I had a 1959 Dodge Custom Royal that I attempted to Convert to Discs. The first thing I discovered was that the Single Piston Sliding Caliper type Disc Brake set up on the 69-72 Dodge Phoenix (Plymouth Fury to you, 15 inch wheels) used the same bearing size & spacing as the 59. So it was only a matter of sliding on the Disc & tightening the Nut & Split Pin. However the Clever part was in Designing a Caliper Mount, from what I figured for someone who was "HANDY" it wouldn't be Incredibly Difficult. I have seen a set of mounts fashioned from 1/2 inch plate steel, but this was on a 60 Dodge Phoenix (Maybe Pioneer to you fellas) that was using local GM 14 inch Discs.( Spindles had been machined down to accept the Discs.) At about that stage I was Retrenched and after 8 months unemployed i sold the car to a fellow Club Member. (It was either the car or the house, You can live in a house but not really in a car) Before it was sold I had managed to fit a set of 73 Dodge Monaco Discs & Stubs by having a local Machine Shop turn up a set of sleeves to adapt the DCR Ball Joints to the Monaco Spindles. The only Problem might be in the wheel alignment but as he has yet to finish the car I don't know if the Problem actually exists. I don't want to drag on for ever so if anyone needs more info flick me an Email. Kind Regards Tony.M
    N.B. My Personal Opinion is: The Larger 15 inch Discs are the way to go. No one wants a Four Cylinder Rice Burner as a Bonnet Ornament!