Disc brakes were not available back in 1962, so we’re retrofitting these onto the Buick with the help of some brackets from Scarebird Mechanical, and the remaining parts from RockAuto.com. Scarebird makes rake brackets to converts lots of ‘60s cars to disc brakes using factory components, and RockAuto is a great online parts resource. Click Read More for details and the video!
There are two things about this swap that we think are really cool.. the first is that the Scarebird brackets allow you bolt on 1971-1976 full size GM calipers and 11 7/8” rotors. These go right on the original drum spindles without any modifications or machining. You don’t even have to remove the spindle. The other cool thing about this swap is that all the parts are extremely popular, wich means they’re cheap. We got the whole setup from RockAuto.com– calipers, rotors, bearings, seals, hoses, and the master cylinder and booster for around than $300.00. And, being common GM part numbers, you can get replacement pads anywhere.
Our first steps were to remove the old brakes and detail the spindles.
We carefully removed the spindle and steering arm from the car and prepped them for cleanup by scraping off the major grease chunks and rinsing them down with some brake parts cleaner from the Justice Brothers.
The Eastwood Company is a great resource for restoration supplies. We got a 24x36 inch abrasive blast cabinet to strip the old paint and crust from our parts. This Eastwood cabinet is made of Polypropylene and has a large side door for easy access. It came fully assembled with foam seals in place, we just needed to screw in a lightbulb and add our abrasive.
Once we blasted our parts clean, we used more Eastwood goodies to keep them looking good. Eastwood sells a variety of aerosol-based paints that mimic factory finishes like cast iron and aluminum. We used their Detail Gray on the cast iron parts to keep them looking clean and protect them from rusting.
We sprayed the caliper brackets with Aluma Blast for a cast aluminum appearance. Our remanufactured master cylinder came to life with Spray Gray and Silver Cad, which made the cap appear similar to fresh cadmium plating. Everything was cleared with Diamond Clear, a semi-flat clear designed to protect the paint.
Rough cast iron always looks cool, but usually not for very long. Even slight humidity turns the metallic grey to rusty orange before your eyes. Not so with these Eastwood paints.
The remanufactured master cylinder wasn't very remanufactured-looking when we pulled it out of the box.
Again, a quick pass with Eastwood detail paints and it actually looked new.
When all the parts were dry, we test assembled the brakes on the bench. The Scarebird brackets are CAD designed and laser-cut from quality steel for strength and durability. They have grade-8 nuts welded in place for the caliper pins, and the quality is first-rate. These retail for right around a hundred dollars.
We bolted the brackets to the spindle assembly and installed the special machined caliper retaining bolt that Scarebird includes. This bolt is necessary for clearance.
Here you can see just how the Scarebird bracket attaches to the stock spindle.
With the bracket in place, we test fitted our calipers to find we needed to machine off a raised area on the caliper. There were millions of these calipers made, so there are bound to be some variances in the design over the years. Once we ground off the raised rib, the calipers bolted right on.
Here's the caliper assembly bolted on and ready to go... er, stop, that is.
Finally, we re-fit the spindle, and test assembled the brakes on the car. We didn’t pack grease into the bearings yet because this whole system has to come off again when we paint the frame and front suspension components, but we liked what we saw so far.
The Eastwood products look great, and these big discs should help this sled stop much straighter with less fade than the old drums. Scarebird mechanical makes these brackets to adapt factory disc brakes onto a variety of '60s cars. Check them out at Scarebird Mechanical.
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