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Disc brakes an `62 Chrysler. Who`s done it?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bondo Slinger, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. I`m getting tired of fighting with the stock drums on my big Chrysler. This thing has to be safe and reliable as my wife drives it all the time too.

    Anyone done a low buck disc brake swap on one of these? I`ve contacted Master power brakes and they`ll do one for me for $1400. Kinda thick coin and they won`t fit under my 14" supreames.

    Any thoughts appreiciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. Hey,

    I've got a 61 Chrysler and researched this on line 4 years ago.

    The consensus on the Chrysler sites was to buy from this guy:

    Scarebird Classic Brakes LLC
    Lynnwood, WA 98036

    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    AND: They offer a HAMB Alliance discount!

    Good Luck,
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  3. Ruiner
    Joined: May 17, 2004
    Posts: 4,145


    I dunno what your problem is with drum brakes, my '63 Dodge Custom 880 stops like a champ with 4 wheel drum brakes...I'm assuming you need new brake shoes and to get them adjusted properly...

  4. overthehill
    Joined: Nov 22, 2010
    Posts: 9


    check out newer imperial they had disc i think you can swap housings, or you can use 65 and later they did not have tapered axles
  5. BigBlockMopar
    Joined: Feb 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,360


    I've done it, on my '62 NewYorker wagon.
    Converted the drums into discs by using '73 11.75" Chrysler rotors. These rotors are about $45 new. But since you want to retain the 14" wheels this won't work for you.
    Because a wagon is a heavybeast I really wanted the 12" rotors so I upgraded to 15" wheels.

    '72 and earlier "2-piece" rotors will fit perfectly onto the '62 splindles. The later '73 rotor requires bushings on the spindles since it's bearings sizes are larger.

    I drew up caliper adapters and had these lasercut, to mount the '73 caliper brackets onto. I used a '80s Minivan style aluminium mastercylinder, but for better braking performance you'll need an MC with a 15/16" piston diameter.


    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  6. I gotta say too that I don't understand this almost universal desire to swap drums brakes over to discs. I've had some older Mopars and they seemed to stop well with drums, even with manual brakes. The only drawback on this vintage of Mopars is the rear drums on the tapered axles, but I assume that you're not having to pull them off every month. And I might think differently if the drums were made of unobtainium but my guess is that the parts are out there and affordable.

    I'm not trying to get your hackles up, but this statement got my attention. :rolleyes:

    "This thing has to be safe and reliable as my wife drives it all the time too...and they`ll do one for me for $1400. Kinda thick coin..."

    I appreciate your safety concerns and that you don't want to spend more than you have to. But is it possible that you installed some $30 off-brand shoes and tried to get away without turning the drums or installing new hardware? Are the automatic adjuster parts installed correctly? For well under $1400 I would think that you could have everything done at a brake shop, and not with a set of "Thunderbolt Greaseslapper" brake shoes. For a little extra safety maybe look into upgrading to a dual master cylinder, assuming that yours is a single. I'm not trying to bust your hump, I'm just saying how'd I approach the situation.

    I always kind of wondered what kind of liability insurance do these brake conversion vendors on Ebay carry? :confused:
  7. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,125


    Generally I would agree that a disc brake swap is unnecessary on a 60's car but I have quite a few of these ForwardLook era Mopars and the front drum system with the double wheel cylinders is a shit system, and the rears are a bitch to deal with because of the tapered axles.

    I've heard that the 67-72 rotors will fit onto the earlier spindles like BBM mentioned so that seems like a worthwhile route to go, and making caliper brackets I would guess is not all that difficult.
  8. da dodge brother
    Joined: Apr 2, 2010
    Posts: 386

    da dodge brother
    from wisconsin

    Has anybody ever tried drilling the brake drums. C.H. Topping has an article on their website explaining this. It is supposed to work as well if not better that a disk brake conversion
  9. So you're thinking that a '62 Chrysler still used a dual-servo non-self energizing brake setup? I'd have guessed that those were gone by the late '50s. My '64 Savoy has a single wheel cylinder self energizing systen and that's partly what I was basing my response on. I was always impressed with the brakes on that car.

    If that '62 has the dual-servo setup then I think I can see a better reason to upgrade to self-energizing drums or a disc/drum combo.
  10. 4woody
    Joined: Sep 4, 2002
    Posts: 2,103


    I did them drill the drums on my 50 Plymouth. It was definitely better, but by the time I did that and a complete brake job I coulda just done discs- which is what I did the next time. I'm not that much of a purist.
  11. just one reason my 56 Fury is on hold.....those front brakes....
  12. Scarebird
    Joined: Sep 26, 2006
    Posts: 885

    Alliance Vendor
    from ABQ, USA

    I would like to see more of this bracket.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  13. Arominus
    Joined: Feb 2, 2011
    Posts: 394


    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  14. Arominus
    Joined: Feb 2, 2011
    Posts: 394


    I understand it, i drove a 57 dodge and 58 new yorker daily and braking performance was all over the place. Sometimes they would be awesome, sometimes they would pull, or lock up or totally suck. Granted i was younger and did not have a pressure bleeder but i can't say i have fond memories of the brakes. Im going discs for sure.

    Scarebird, neato brackets you have there, have you driven a FL car with your setup? pretty good stopping power? i was looking at those 4 piston SSBC ones but i dunno if i really need that much clamping power with a fairly stock 392.
  15. BigBlockMopar
    Joined: Feb 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,360


    They have. You can see the original drumbrake backing plate hanging on a hook on the car in my pic above. Chrysler went to a better design in on the '63 models.


    I originally had drawn and cut the adapters for a '64 Chrysler spindle as can be seen in the pic above here. But since my '64 project got put on hold, I modified them to be used on a pre63 spindle. The one I used on my wagon won't win any beauty prices but I used it as a basis to draw up a new design.

    I'm currently in the process of converting my '60 NewYorker to discs, which has the same spindle.

    Not the best pic but it shows how it's mounted;

    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  16. texoutsider
    Joined: Jul 6, 2005
    Posts: 826

    from Frisco, Tx

    Boy did you say a mouthful.........same here...have had many of the shitty brake Mopars.......that double system was the worst ever.

  17. storm king
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,991

    storm king

    On the other hand, a heavy duty Mopar drum brake system, installed by someone who actually reads the Mopar factory manuals, can be a system equal to any disc setup. I use as an example "the Brick", Mopar Action Magazines' 69 Valiant, which used Mopar taxicab drum brakes on several "one lap" events, road racing, drag racing, and driving over 12,000 miles in one week. It outperformed many exotic sports and muscle cars on road courses.
  18. BigBlockMopar
    Joined: Feb 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,360


    A small lightweight car is much easier to slow down then 4000+ lbs fullsize cars.
    But I agree, if everyting is upto snuff and all the planets align along with a supermoon outside, a drumbrake system can work 'ok'.
    I've got/had drumbrakes on my '60 and '62 Chryslers. The brakes on the '62 where only good at filling your underwear, while the brakes on my '60 Chrysler actually do a decent job of stopping the car. But the '60 has a stroker motor under the hood so an upgrade in the braking department is wel advised.
    But while replacement parts are still 'fairly' easy to come by, and also considering the amount of morons on the roads these days, I plainly refuse to spend any money on a marginal brakingsystem.
  19. The skinny on this is 60-62 use some damn goofy front brakes, and the easy fix is to go to 63-64 type brakes if you can find the parts. Hit or sign on their mailing list, one of the guys has done that upgrade on several cars and is quite happy with it.

    Out back, throw away the tapered axle rearend and put something more easily servicable in there and that solves the rear brakes at the same time.
  20. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,082

    from California

    I always get a kick out of these people who don't feel discs on an old ride is a worthwhile change.

    where do you live that there are no other cars on the road? take any late model in decent condition and do a 60 - 0 stop and measure how long it takes. do the same with your early 60's Dodge.... I figure the difference will be a minimum of 20 feet. probably closer to 40 or even 60.

    discs will drop a big chunk of that stopping distance. I have been in a wreck where if I had stopped one foot before where I did there would not have been a wreck at all, if I had stopped one foot ahead of where I did my car would have been totally mashed and sent spinning off in who knows what direction, maybe even rolled. who knows what sort of injuries the other driver and myself would have incurred. stopping distance is important. discs will reduce that no matter how perfect your stock brakes perform.

    somehow or another people get the spindles and everything from a 70's Mopar... can't remember which one.. Volare maybe? these spindles even lower the car a bit.

    FATMAN makes dropped spindles for these cars as well.

    there are guys on ebay selling a "kit" for discs on these early 60's cars.. quite expensive though.
  21. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,579


    Well Said!!
  22. stevorunner
    Joined: May 27, 2010
    Posts: 25


    try muscle car
    they are drum brake guys from Texas
    I have them on my 69 Road Runner
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011
  23. Hey BigBlockMopar,

    Any chance you could tell us the thickness of the plate steel you used, and the length of the metal tubes you ran the bolts through to properly space the calliper?
    This info would really save a lot of time fabricating a similar set up on my Mopar.

  24. Scarebird
    Joined: Sep 26, 2006
    Posts: 885

    Alliance Vendor
    from ABQ, USA

    Thanks for posting that pic. I like the way that mounts on the outside negating any toe-in work or steering stop mods. If I could get those cast caliper mounts it would be an effective design change.

    Those "SSBC" calipers and rotors are 1965-67 Mustang stuff: rotor is only 0.875" thick.
    Joined: Jul 22, 2009
    Posts: 431

    from KS
    1. The Gas House Gang

    scarebird sells caliper bracket .valare rotors78 vintage,chevy truck calipers , 8,8 rearend out of explorer complete 150.oo four wheel disc 550,oo total plus got 3.73 gears all done in a58 coronet.
  26. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,331


    The brackets, hardware and research that Scarebird provides is second-to-none. I just finished up a disc swap on a 1949 Plymouth using Scarebird parts. I can't say enough good things.

    The braking went from not too bad, to alarmingly impressive. This thing now stops better than my OT/DD, and that is a modern vehicle.

    0% change in outside appearance, 100% change in braking performance!
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  27. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    from KCMO

    In the short time I had a 55 desoto, (dual wheel cylinder)
    the brakes were aweful and the master cylinder would not take a rebuild, then the booster quit. I changed it all out for new stuff from AAJ and it stopped much better. Best money we spent on it by far.
  28. having personally dealt with mark the owner of scarebird and seen the level of quality he maintains in his work using his products with be huge upgrade from what you have now. he does his homework and listens to the feedback to help maintain or improve his products, sorry if i lost anyone it's what they used to refer as "CUSTOMER SERVICE unlike some other vendors that peddle substandard parts.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  29. I have used Scarebirds kits on 3 different cars with excellent results. With that said, I used a complete disc setup from a 77 Plymouth Volare on my 58 Coronet. It was a simple bolt on deal with only a minor modification needed on the tie rod mounting arm of the spindles. Very easy swap and was $150 at the junkyard.

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