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50-54 Chevy brake tech?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Fat Hack, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    from Detroit

    These cars are enormously popular, so I know there's GOTTA be several HAMBers who've upgraded the brakes on theirs. I certainly am not after four wheel discs...but I'd like some input as to what is neccessary or recommended?

    I have nothing against four wheel drums...I've owned many cars so equipped, but never one of these. How good ARE the stock drum brakes on these things?

    If I can get away with it, I'd like to stick to just adding a dual reservoir master cylinder and running the stock drums, but if there is a stupidly simple bolt-on front disc brake conversion using factory parts, I'd be tempted to alter my plan and go that way.

    Stock manual steering suits me fine...I just need to know what to expect from the stock brakes...and if I should expect to do any major upgrades in that department?

    (This will be for my Hack Wagon...a low buck 50-54 Chev wagon with a V8, auto tranny and just built to have fun with at the next HAMB drags and other gatherings...but it'll probably see use as a parts chaser and driver as well!)

    Should I add lots of brake parts to my list or just keep it close to stock?

    ie: What do YOU run on YOUR 50-54 Chev?

  2. Carla did a panic stop tonight, a first in the 54 for her. SHe said they did not lock up and stopped well. I have an ECI dual MC bracket, the correct dual MC for my app wich is stock drums front and a 70 Nova rearend/stock drums. I recently adjusted these and they are as good as a person needs. Any more is just icing.
  3. shoebox72
    Joined: Jan 24, 2003
    Posts: 1,491


    49&50 brakes suck. 51-54 brakes are self energizing and stop much better. I put 53 brakes on my 49, the backing plates & drums go right on the early spindles. I had to get reducer fitting to mount the 49 steel line to the 53 rubber hose.Most good parts stores have the adapters in them orange Dorman cabinets. My $0.02


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  4. KnuckleBuster
    Joined: Oct 6, 2002
    Posts: 298


    I just bought new front drums and shoes for mine - CHEAP! My only comlaint is that it pulls right now (haven't installed new brakes yet). Other than that, it stops great! actually stops as well if not better than my '85 pickup truck. Shouldn't be a problem for you.

    P.S. did I mention these are the original 50 year old brakes on a 60,000 mile car?
  5. ray
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 3,757


    my plans are right along what Tdude did, plus drilling the drums, and adding vent holes and ducting to the backing plates, with fresh air coming in the ducts from the grille area. i wanna have a little fun in the mountains, but keep the look of drums.
  6. where have you found brake parts cheap? The main reason I am putting disc brakes on is bacause after finding what I thought was the cheapest prices on stuff I need, it was only $30 cheaper than running discs with a conversion. $330 vs $360
  7. You'll be fine, Ray, with the 51-up brakes as long as you keep 'em fresh.... while you're at it,run a 53-54 steering gearbox. Has roller bearings where the 49-52's have hokey ass bronze bushings. I hadda learn this the hard way with my 50 delivery. At least I got some strong arms out of the experience but my nerves are shot. Scary steering with the old box.
  8. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,412


    51-54 are Bendix brakes and are the same across those years (pre-51 used Huck brakes and they suck comparatively). The difference between 51-52 and 53-54 is in the master. The 53-54 has a smaller bore, which makes braking easier, but otherwise the rest of the system is the same.
  9. W Vaughan
    Joined: Jan 19, 2003
    Posts: 108

    W Vaughan
    from Benton Ms.

    TMan did you get your master cylinder from ECI? You have the same setup I have on my 53, but I'm not sure about the MC I'm using.
    Will Vaughan
  10. MIne was bought locally. I am using a 1969 Chevy C10 MC part # E64885.........1" bore. I got lucky on one count, Zeke told me it was a 70 Nova rear. I would know better if I pulled the rear wheel cyls and measured their bores. I dont recommend following my lead. If you are doing this conversion, send me your wheel cyl bores and app and I can look up a baseline for you. BTW, my MC was $27
  11. That MC uses the bolt on ECI mount. The rear spring pads were relocated.

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