Chevy Nova Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
247 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I am the idiot. I have the 74 nova l96/6l90 build going on. I don't know a lot about braking systems, and am hoping to get some help.

A user informed me that stainless steel lines are the way to go. So that is the way I am going. Do I get the pre-made lines for a 73/74 (mine is a sedan so I am worried they won't fit) or do I bend/flare my own? Also, how do I decide on a master cylinder/ booster. I was looking just at summit and there are soooo many choices. The main reasons I am wanting to replace these is because I have been negltful the last 13 years and have not really done any fluid changes , and I figured it would be easier to do since I have the car all apart.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Slippery slope.

If you replace one piece, replace it all....
Anything that touches fluid should go if it's over 20 years old.

While you are in there I'd suggest DOT5 fluid, but ONLY if every single piece of it is replaced. Lines, hoses, MC, Wheel Cyls, Calipers, etc.

Reason for this is DOT5 and original style(DOT3) fluid don't play well together and will ruin your system if mixed.

DOT5 is better in the long run, as it's non-hydroscopic and doesn't allow much rust to get inside the brakes system. I've been using it on a Studebaker that had sticky brakes for years, after the change....... Much better. No stuck cylinders. However I was restoring, so I had to change everything in the process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,198 Posts
Hi. I am the idiot. I have the 74 nova l96/6l90 build going on. I don't know a lot about braking systems, and am hoping to get some help.

A user informed me that stainless steel lines are the way to go. So that is the way I am going. Do I get the pre-made lines for a 73/74 (mine is a sedan so I am worried they won't fit) or do I bend/flare my own? Also, how do I decide on a master cylinder/ booster. I was looking just at summit and there are soooo many choices. The main reasons I am wanting to replace these is because I have been negltful the last 13 years and have not really done any fluid changes , and I figured it would be easier to do since I have the car all apart.
I would contact the vender regarding pre bent lines fitting a sedan. I really don’t think there is a great difference but there is a chance. I would suggest that you remove the existing lines as carefully as possible so you can match up your old lines with the pre bent replacements or if you end up bending your own lines you have a template to match your factory lines..

If you’re master cylinder was working fine leave it be.. It’s not that difficult to change later. If you’re making any other significant changes with the brakes like going to disc on all 4 wheels then you’ll need a different master cylinder.. Brake line diameter requirement might also be different. Plan out your system then order/purchase what you need vs guessing at what you need.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
Since you are new to the brake game I highly recommend you learn from the professionals. Go to Wilwood Brakes site(click here). The Tech Support section has LOTS of great information(including why not to use DOT5 fluid, it's in the Tech Tips section). Click on the links within the tips to learn more. Of course they will describe Wilwood products but the fundamentals applies to all brake products. You will learn a lot!
Hope this helps.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
Regarding DOT5 fluid per Wilwood,
DOT 5 fluid is not hygroscopic, so as moisture enters the system, it is not absorbed by the fluid, and results in beads of moisture moving through the brake line, collecting in the calipers. It is not uncommon to have caliper temperatures exceed 200 degrees F, and at 212 degrees F, this collected moisture will boil causing vapor lock and system failure. Additionally, DOT 5 fluid is highly compressible due to aeration and foaming under normal braking conditions, providing a spongy brake feel.

Whenever you add fresh fluid to your existing system (never mix fluids of different DOT classifications), it immediately becomes contaminated, lowering the boiling point of the new fluid. For maximum performance, start with the highest Dry Boiling Point available (try Wilwood Hi-Temp 570 Racing Brake Fluid), flush the system completely, and flush it regularly, especially after severe temperatures have been experienced.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
648 Posts
I really like bending and flaring lines. If you have a nice bender and double flare tool, it's enjoyable and you can make the lines just the way you want them. I've never used stainless lines though, which I assume is more difficult since everything about stainless is. If you live in a dry climate, or don't drive your car in bad weather, there is no need to do stainless other than it does look nice.
 

·
Premium Member
72, 2 Dr, 383, 700r4
Joined
·
1,387 Posts
I'm not pushing any particular vendor but I had a manual 4 wheel drum and went to the power front disk conversion retaining rear drums. Then I followed up on a separate order for the stainless hard lines. I got all of this from Right Stuff and it all fit perfect. But, DOT 3 is the recommended fluid for the system. The system is fully bled and pumped up with no issues. I have been seeing many reasons for not using DOT 5 as previously mentioned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,300 Posts
Ditto on what everyone else has said. Can't help you with the differences on 4-doors, but I got my stainless steel lines from Right Stuff and I've been happy with them. I had to make very slight adjustments to the pre-bent lines, but they were about 90% fitment out of the box.

I'd also suggest you search for a company called Pirate Jack. Yeah, I know the name sounds corny, but these guys will talk with you, know what they're doing, and their parts are less expensive than the big names. I wanted a lightweight master cylinder, a smaller but adequate booster, and didn't know which cylinder bore size was best. Pirate Jack fixed me up right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
247 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
You guys are amazing. I have a follow up question. So I have drums on the back. I am trying to figure out if it makes sense to swap them to disc. So what I am trying to figure out is in terms of parts, is it cheaper to change drums or disc? Like if I invest in the conversion will I eventually BRAKE even after N brake changes?

I am reading over willwood's stuff, I reached out to right stuff, and I will look at pirate jack. I feel like I have heard of PK before.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
My try these guys?

Used the following on my 65 and was very happy with the products. Took a little tweaking, but fit very well. They also had good support when I had a couple of questions. Used there pre formed SS line kit and dual master cylinder upgrade.
https://www.getdiscbrakes.com/

Good luck with your project.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,300 Posts
You guys are amazing. I have a follow up question. So I have drums on the back. I am trying to figure out if it makes sense to swap them to disc. So what I am trying to figure out is in terms of parts, is it cheaper to change drums or disc? Like if I invest in the conversion will I eventually BRAKE even after N brake changes?

I am reading over willwood's stuff, I reached out to right stuff, and I will look at pirate jack. I feel like I have heard of PK before.
You ask a difficult question about breaking even if you go with rear discs because I don't think it's a purely financial question. But, regarding nothing but dollars, my opinion is that you'll never recover the cost of the conversion. It's simply cheaper to keep what you have. BUT...

You've got to make a long-term decision on what you want out of this car. And while most people will tell you that rear discs are a must for safety, performance, etc., there are those that run drums and are quite happy. The ONLY reason I converted to rear discs is because I have a used Dana 60 rear end, and I didn't find out until after the installation that it was missing e-brake hard parts, and those parts were impossible to find. I had to convert to discs just to get a working e-brake, which was included in the package I chose.

I looked back over my build notes and found that I spent $762 for a complete rear disc conversion kit. I *think* I got this from CPP, but I don't remember. If you want to search my build thread, I probably have the brand name in there. Look for posts somewhere around July 2015. It's possible you can get the conversion done for less (mine may have been more because of it being a Dana 60). You can also find cheaper brands, but you don't want to go too cheap when you're dealing with brakes.

I also looked at my notes and found that I got an aluminum master cylinder, dual diaphragm booster, proportioning valve, and brackets for $260 from Pirate Jack. Your mileage may vary - that was a few years back. I strongly suggest you look through my build thread regarding some posts I made last year on adjusting the master cylinder. I had mushy brakes, and no one on this forum and not even a mechanic found the problem. I eventually found it and documented it, and it has to do with installing a new master cylinder, potentially from any manufacturer.

And, back to your original question, you see that rear discs will set you back a few C-notes. I don't see how that would ever come out cheaper than keeping your drums even if you pay a brake shop to do all the current and future work for you. About 2/3 of your stopping power comes from your front brakes, so the rears don't get chewed up very fast at all - you may not EVER need to change your rear brake pads again on a car that isn't a daily driver. But, there are other reasons than dollars to convert to disc. I don't push one way or the other - I just put the info out there for you to make an informed decision.

If you choose to go with discs, either now or later, you MUST change the proportioning valve. This isn't hard to do, but you can't forget.

And one final opinion. I've changed my own brake pads and rotors for ages - when dealing with discs. I tried doing drums once and said I'd never do it again. Brakes are relatively simple when it comes to working on an existing system. Figuring out a whole brand new system can be daunting, but if you get some help and the right components, just about any DIY grease monkey should be able to do the maintenance. Even with drums, you can do it, I just found it 10x more frustrating than the simply design of discs.

BTW, no need to refer to yourself as an idiot. Idiots don't ask questions. There's a difference in naïve and stupid. Naïve people are welcome here on Steve's. A lot of us started out in the same boat as you, and even those with considerable experience are still naïve in many areas. Electrical stuff still gives me fits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
247 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
You ask a difficult question about breaking even if you go with rear discs because I don't think it's a purely financial question. But, regarding nothing but dollars, my opinion is that you'll never recover the cost of the conversion. It's simply cheaper to keep what you have. BUT...

You've got to make a long-term decision on what you want out of this car. And while most people will tell you that rear discs are a must for safety, performance, etc., there are those that run drums and are quite happy. The ONLY reason I converted to rear discs is because I have a used Dana 60 rear end, and I didn't find out until after the installation that it was missing e-brake hard parts, and those parts were impossible to find. I had to convert to discs just to get a working e-brake, which was included in the package I chose.

I looked back over my build notes and found that I spent $762 for a complete rear disc conversion kit. I *think* I got this from CPP, but I don't remember. If you want to search my build thread, I probably have the brand name in there. Look for posts somewhere around July 2015. It's possible you can get the conversion done for less (mine may have been more because of it being a Dana 60). You can also find cheaper brands, but you don't want to go too cheap when you're dealing with brakes.

I also looked at my notes and found that I got an aluminum master cylinder, dual diaphragm booster, proportioning valve, and brackets for $260 from Pirate Jack. Your mileage may vary - that was a few years back. I strongly suggest you look through my build thread regarding some posts I made last year on adjusting the master cylinder. I had mushy brakes, and no one on this forum and not even a mechanic found the problem. I eventually found it and documented it, and it has to do with installing a new master cylinder, potentially from any manufacturer.

And, back to your original question, you see that rear discs will set you back a few C-notes. I don't see how that would ever come out cheaper than keeping your drums even if you pay a brake shop to do all the current and future work for you. About 2/3 of your stopping power comes from your front brakes, so the rears don't get chewed up very fast at all - you may not EVER need to change your rear brake pads again on a car that isn't a daily driver. But, there are other reasons than dollars to convert to disc. I don't push one way or the other - I just put the info out there for you to make an informed decision.

If you choose to go with discs, either now or later, you MUST change the proportioning valve. This isn't hard to do, but you can't forget.

And one final opinion. I've changed my own brake pads and rotors for ages - when dealing with discs. I tried doing drums once and said I'd never do it again. Brakes are relatively simple when it comes to working on an existing system. Figuring out a whole brand new system can be daunting, but if you get some help and the right components, just about any DIY grease monkey should be able to do the maintenance. Even with drums, you can do it, I just found it 10x more frustrating than the simply design of discs.

BTW, no need to refer to yourself as an idiot. Idiots don't ask questions. There's a difference in naïve and stupid. Naïve people are welcome here on Steve's. A lot of us started out in the same boat as you, and even those with considerable experience are still naïve in many areas. Electrical stuff still gives me fits.
I cannot thank you enough for your answers. In terms of cost, I think it is cheaper for just pads vs everything it takes to redo drums, but you do make a good point that I will not have to change them very often in the rear. Eric from Pirate Jack is suppose to call me later so I will talk to him and fill up my cart. I will report back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,257 Posts
Unless you're daily driving your Nova, you likely may only change one set of pads in the life of the car. There is no real FINANCIAL reason to change. Discs are easier to service, look cooler, and suffer less from fade, but the initial cash outlay is pretty steep and the benefits are marginal.

I went with with Grand National Aluminum drums, used the long shoes on both sides and went with a race compound shoe (Porterfield brand). They stop great and I wouldn't change anything.

http://www.superchevy.com/how-to/49418-cheap-street-brakes/

https://techtalk.mpbrakes.com/drum-brakes/11-rear-drum-brake-upgrade-kits-for-gm-and-ford

https://www.porterfield-brakes.com/categories/Brake+Shoe/Full+Race.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
There is no real FINANCIAL reason to change. Discs are easier to service, look cooler, and suffer less from fade, but the initial cash outlay is pretty steep and the benefits are marginal.
I will disagree with your last 3 words. The benefit is safety!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
247 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Thank you everyone for your insight. I talked with Pirate Jack yesterday and they sorted me all out. 1315 for everything I need (disc conversion in the rear) . They were drilled and slotted discs, but I think I might just go basic bitch discs since I am mostly just going to be road tripping and not tracking or anything super high speed. I am going to try to get a hold of right stuff again today just to compare parts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,257 Posts
Thank you everyone for your insight. I talked with Pirate Jack yesterday and they sorted me all out. 1315 for everything I need (disc conversion in the rear) . They were drilled and slotted discs, but I think I might just go basic bitch discs since I am mostly just going to be road tripping and not tracking or anything super high speed. I am going to try to get a hold of right stuff again today just to compare parts.
Based on your intended use, I doubt you'll ever need the rear discs.

I've hauled mine down from 140 mph on a road course and routinely pulled it down from 115 mph at the drag strip.... rear drums work just fine if maintained. Most of the work is being done by the FRONT, not the rear brakes, as our cars are biased about 70/30 from what I've seen and read.

Kev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
247 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Based on your intended use, I doubt you'll ever need the rear discs.

Most of the work is being done by the FRONT, not the rear brakes, as our cars are biased about 70/30 from what I've seen and read.

Kev
I know, but discs are so much easier to deal with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,257 Posts
A couple pictures from the internet and a good spring tool and I had mine completely rebuilt in about an hour for both sides. It's really not that bad and again - you're basically only doing this once.

I bet you spend more time trying to figure out aftermarket parking brake cables for you disc brakes that it would take to completely rebuild the drums.

Do what you want - it's your time, your money and your project! Just don't dismiss drums because they're marginally harder to rebuild.

Kev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
Thank you everyone for your insight. I talked with Pirate Jack yesterday and they sorted me all out. 1315 for everything I need (disc conversion in the rear)
When you say 1315 for everything, what does "everything I need (disc conversion in the rear)" include?
Is this front & rear disc, master cylinder/booster, etc?
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top