NOTE: This page is still under construction - I'm fleshing it out as we complete our swap.
This document details the final parts used to swap disc brakes onto a 64 Valiant using parts from a 76 Duster. It lists each part along with details such as which car it came from, how it was obtained (original car, donor car, rebuilt part, new part, other), and what was done to it. It also lists details for the rear axle swap we did to upgrade the rear of the car to the same 4 x 4.5 bolt pattern for the wheels as on the new front disc brake setup. For now, it's very A-body specific, since that's what we did the swap on. I'll eventually be including other details here that are related, but just be aware of the original source and reason for gathering this information as you read the page.
If you want to find out more about this swap than I've written here, you should do what we did to find out all of our information about this - just head over to www.google.com and type in "valiant disc brake swap". You'll find tons of good reading on the subject all over the 'net. Be warned that some of the articles are a bit hastily written, and have numerous minor typos and such in them (some in important areas like what year cars work for what pieces!), so be sure to double-check what you're reading against a few other articles to be sure. The aggregate information out there is very plentiful, and overall, very good. Just read multiple articles to get a good, rounded picture of what needs to be done and why.
Original Cars and Donor Cars
The original cars are the ones that are what we want to put disc brakes on - for this article, we are primarily concerned with the '62 - '72 A-body cars. Yes, this includes a few years that already could have come with disc brakes, but they would be units that have weak rotors and the less desirable small 5 on 4" bolt pattern for the wheels. This also covers car with various drum brake setups and the early single-reservoir master cylinder setup. All of this will be upgraded as part of this swap. The end result will be a disc brake front end using a dual reservoir master cylinder (optionally with power brakes) that has the desirable 5 on 4.5" bolt pattern for the wheels.
The donor car of choice is a '73 - '76 A-body. For the core pieces of the swap, you'll want to grab both control arms, the spindle, the rotors, the calipers, the caliper adaptors, and the flex hose. Basically you want to disconnect the flex line from the body and both the upper and lower control arms from the body - and then take everything that falls off the car as one big piece to be dealt with later. You'll also want some other key pieces - the front hard lines, the proportioning valve (with attached wiring stub), the hard lines that go from the proportioning valve to the master cylinder, and the master cylinder. If the car has power brakes, grab the power booster as well. While you're there, you might as well grab the pushrod that goes from the brake pedal through the firewall - just in case you end up needing it.
I ought to describe the over view of the swap here. Maybe as soon as I have more time, I'll update this page some more.
Front Suspension and Brakes
This first chart is for the front suspension and disc brake pieces we needed - we are rebuilding the suspension at the same time as swapping in the disc brakes, so there are a lot of extra things in here that are not strictly needed. However, unless your car is a pristine original or has been exceptionally well maintained, you should do the extra work to rebuild the front suspension at the same time. Stuff wears out, and more stopping power isn't going to help you if the car still wanders all over the road due to a bad ball joint or worn out control arm bushings.
These details are the same for both sides of the car, so to make this chart simpler, I only listed one side of the car you should repeat this list identically for the other side of the car. Why is this simpler? Because you only want to work on one side of the car at a time so you can use the other side for a visual reference if you get confused, or just to make sure you aren't getting confused. If you've done this before, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't done this kind of work before, well, you'll just have to trust me on this one.
As you can see, virtually everything you will use comes from the donor car. Take advantage of this when cleaning and painting the parts from the donor car - you can get them ready before you tear into your car and do the swap faster - while still having taken the time to clean and paint all of the stuff that's going on the car. This is important to do - stuff rusts and looks nasty real fast if not painted. So take the time to clean and paint everything. You'll thank yourself the next time you have to work on your brakes.
This chart lists other parts that you'll need to complete this swap. Theyre not side specific like the stuff in the above chart or are generally sold in pairs. These will be needed along the way, so make sure you get them. I'm glossing over the whole master cylinder topic for now, but will add more about this to the page later on as we figure out more details.
Front Disc Brake Upgrades
The end result of this swap is that you will have the 10.87 rotors on the front. As a possible upgrade, you could source and use the proper parts for the 11.75 rotors. Also, there are some calipers which are considered better than others. Details on the extra parts needed for these upgrades to the basic disc brake swap are in this chart - these items all replace similar items you already got for the chart above.
First up is the larger rotor upgrade so that you get the 11.75" rotors. My understanding is that you can use the same calipers on both the large and the small rotor setups. The only difference is in the caliper adaptor - it needs to be from a car with the larger rotors for the calipers to be at the proper position. The actual caliper and pads are the same, so that's easy. The primary arguments for this swap are to get more braking power and have a larger, sturdier rotor that can take more abuse and absorb more heat from repeated high speed stops without problems. The primary arguments against this swap is that it could be overkill for an A-body - with limited vehicle weight and a slant six (limited engine power), you could be adding way more unsprung and rotational mass than you need. That's potentially bad because the unsprung weight hurts your ride and handling, and the the engine has to overcome the extra rotational mass to accelerate the car. The general consensus of the A-body community seems to be that the larger rotors are not needed for slant six vehicles, but that if you're running a hot V8 that you might want to do it. We're sticking with the smaller rotors. Anyway, you need to upgrade the basic parts list with the parts below to get the larger 11.75" rotors on your car.
Next up is the calipers - you need to decide if you want to use slider or pin type calipers. First up, you need to be aware that this is more a question of preference and maintenance work rather than stopping power. Also, depending on what exact year and style caliper you get, some parts could be more of a pain to find. These calipers are the ones most people list to go along with the large rotor swap. If you are staying with the smaller rotors, you could upgrade to the pin type calipers, or just go with whatever you got from your donor car. We're sticking with what we got from our '76 Duster donor car.
Rear Axle and Brakes
The rear brakes and/or axle are also being upgraded to make sure we get the same 5 x 4.5 bolt pattern for the wheels as on the new front disc brake setup. That will allow the user of the same wheels on all four corners of the car. We havent figured out yet if we want to use the entire rear axle from the new car or just the brakes from it. We will likely use the entire rear axle as-is if it bolts up to the existing driveshaft without too much work. The list of parts is the same for swapping the Duster brakes onto the original rear axle or for simply using the Duster rear axle as-is. This list represents a full set for the entire rear end for both sides of the car as this stuff is typically purchased or dealt with all at once. I included a quantity number after each part for clarity.
Page last updated 01/02/2009 01:51:39 PM