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Technical Front disc brake options?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Steven Cole, May 29, 2021.

  1. Steven Cole
    Joined: May 1, 2021
    Posts: 6

    Steven Cole

    Does anyone know if the front rotors from a 2000 Ford Explorer will work with any of the 1931 Model A spindle options from somewhere like Speedway, or another speed shop? Or know of another stock disc rotor that those spindles will accept?

    Preference would be for a matching lug pattern for the rear end, which is from the Explorer. The idea with the project is to build something awesome from, mostly, what we have available around the area, and not get any of the big performance kits available.
     
  2. junkman8888
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 953

    junkman8888
    Member

    You are about to get flamed as this is a "traditional hot-rod/custom website", meaning no S-10 frame swaps, no Mustang II, no air bags, no front disk brakes unless it's a TR-3, or a Crosley.
    To answer your question, years ago, if you wanted to upgrade to disk brakes you had to find someone with the time, talent and tools to adapt whatever was available, now you can accomplish the same result cheaper, quicker and safer by buying an off-the-shelf kit. Brakes and suspension are no place to experiment.
     
    Steven Cole and gimpyshotrods like this.
  3. Buy the kit.... They're not that expensive (you can find them complete for as little as $300) and use commonly-available parts. I admire your desire to do this the 'old fashioned' way, but if there was a easy bolt-on rotor available, the kit guys would be using it. You will have to swap for '37-48 Ford spindles.

    If you have fab/machining skills, I'm sure something could be built but keep in mind most late-models now use sealed non-replaceable front bearings (serviced as a hub assembly) that aren't compatible with older spindles. And I seriously doubt you'll save much if any money...
     
    stillrunners and Steven Cole like this.

  4. Question? Why would you put disks on a Model A? All the "street roddy" setups we sold at the shop didn't perform any better than a properly setup hot rod drum brake setup. In fact, disks from a heavier/newer vehicle were overkill and a waste. Plus, drums just look right. Disks look out of place on most every car trying to look like a good ol hot rod.
     

  5. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,264

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    Crazysteve is right. Find a basic kit that includes brackets etc then you can add your own rotors, calipers etc sometimes cheaper than a "complete" kit.

    I did a basic kit with brackets and bearing adapters, then I machined the bearing adapters to match a different bearing so I could run old mopar rotors.
     
    Steven Cole likes this.
  6. The '64 Avanti rotors almost fit a round back spindle. Just pretty much a bearing swap. They are 5 on 4.5. But they are not an automotive warehouse part. Like Steve ^^^^ says buy the kit and have parts that are easy to come by. ;)
     
    Steven Cole likes this.
  7. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 2,057

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    Don't most kits with the ford bolt pattern use either volare or granada rotors? Seems like a place to start.
     
    Steven Cole likes this.
  8. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 21,856

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It is a common thing for MII kits. The spindle snout on an A is quite a bit longer.
     
  9. I would think you need to upgrade you spindles if you are using Model A, 35 to 48 would be easier to adapt brakes, HRP
     
    Steven Cole likes this.
  10. Steven Cole
    Joined: May 1, 2021
    Posts: 6

    Steven Cole

    No frame swap or air bags here. I'm running everything off a '31 Model A frame. Original front beam. Replaced the rear end because the one with the frame was shot. This one won't be a hot rod... I would call it a classic custom, but maybe my definition is off.

    To address some of the other things: Both front drums were unsalvagable (one side was only the backing plate and some of the internals); and since the rear is going disc brake, figured we might as well do the front too. The original drums would have been great though. The body is non-existent; so we'll be making a cab from old parts. That, and the knowledge base here, is part of why I'm here: In this area, a jalopy is a vehicle cobbled together from several other things to make a serviceable machine, that often times, with the right craftsmanship, look pretty cool.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
  11. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 21,856

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    (Slightly) later-model juice (hydraulic) brakes are the way to go. Traditional, period-correct, and plenty effective on an A.
     
    Steven Cole, Tman and olscrounger like this.
  12. Sounds like you need a plan and a theme. Do you just want to cobble together random parts or do you want a nice hotrod? Maybe you lean more towards a streetrod? Your current plan sounds like the road to an abandoned project. We just saw a nice A coupe project given up on and sold here last week and he arguably had a bit of a plan.
     
    Steven Cole likes this.
  13. Steven Cole
    Joined: May 1, 2021
    Posts: 6

    Steven Cole

    "Cobble" may have been too strong a word.

    I have a plan and vision of what this thing will be; but, it will be an amalgamation of many things, most of which we have ready to fabricate. There will be lots of figuring out finer details as it goes (brackets, mounting points for the body we're using for the cab, etc); but those things are all manageable.

    The front disc brakes that would work off a whatever-year spindle is about the biggest tie up. Sure, we can order one of the kits (which is sounding like the most solid option); but there's the curiosity of what else would work, or what can we make work.

    The project isn't being entered into without experience on fabrication, frame work, custom mounts, or much else (though neither of us enjoy the wiring side of things at all!); but we're definitely inexperienced on the time period, and can't express well enough the appreciation for the knowledge base, help, and insight here.
     
    Koz likes this.
  14. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,548

    Koz
    Member

    I know I just put my balls on the chopping block, but there is, in my humble opinion a place for discs on HAMB friendly cars. As an example I offer Dennis Broeske's '27 coupe, ( do a thread search on here, it has been covered quite a bit). This is a real hot rod and uses four wheel discs. I agree with all of the stuff above and the cheapest way is to just buy a kit and swap out those spindles. If you don't have cash for that you are doomed in trying to piece one together out of salvage goods.

    Go ahead, I asked for it.......

    [​IMG]
     
  15. 10 spokes are about the only place disks look BETTER than drums. But, that car also has a race vibe to it. It works
     
    VANDENPLAS, fauj and Koz like this.
  16. King ford
    Joined: Mar 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,476

    King ford
    Member
    from 08302

    If you have access to a lathe and adequate skill you can use mid 70s FORD half ton truck rotors and machine the inside of the rotor for the early Ford bearing and seal, turn the 3/4" portion of the spindle about an inch further in , press a bushing in the late FORD outer wheel bearing then fabricate a caliper bracket.....I hate to say it but the single piston caliper with the 2 bolt arrangement that aaahhhh chevy used for YEARS is easy to build brackets for....
     
    Steven Cole likes this.
  17. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,548

    Koz
    Member

    Another option is to "accessorize" them like D Russ has on his Vicky. There's an excellent thread on here that shows the process.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 10,420

    Budget36
    Member

    I understand the replies about using drums, but since he already has a disc rearend, how would drums up front and discs in the rear work out?
     
  19. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 7,063

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Yeah, careful about heat retention with that setup. Hot brakes don't work so good. Ventilated disc brakes expel heat out through the outer diameter of the disc, they draw air in through the center and expel out through the outer rim. That set up blocks the air, I wouldn't do it.
     
  20. Model A brakes usually do not get converted to hydraulic. I am not going to say that it is impossible, but it is one of those things that there are just easier roads to follow. Yes you can use Model A spindles if you really want to but round backs or F1 era spindles are easy to find and are your best option.

    Most of us do not really care if you run disc brakes. More often than not our cars are traditionally inspired as opposed to "traditional". This is not to say that we do not aspire to build traditional cars, but there are tradeoffs that happen. Brakes and transmissions seem to be a common tradeoff.

    Anyway getting back to it Model A spindles can be used but '35 and newer spindles are not hard to come by and are your better option.
     
    Steven Cole likes this.
  21. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,218

    Elcohaulic

    I changed the 8 lug drums on my 64 Bonneville to disc and brand new stock drums. What a mistake!! This car stopped so much better and faster with the big Aluminum 11" drums but they had high spots that wouldn't come out unless you cut the whole .. Another good thing about the aluminum drum set up was how much lighter everything is compared to the iron drum system.

    My car stopped so much better with the drums!
     
  22. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 21,856

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I only see that he as an Explorer axle. I am not seeing any mention that it has discs. Maybe I missed that.

    The first few years of the Explorer had drums in the rear.
     
    Budget36 likes this.
  23. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 32,138

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    All Explorers are 5 on 4-1/2 bolt pattern so adapting them to Ford spindles and hubs is going to take redrilling one or the other from the get go. the 4 wheel drive rotors have a center hole id of 2.84 which is pretty small compared to 40 or most Ford drums.
    Around this area you get laughed out of town if you show up with a 2 wheel drive Suv and I'd bet that there are some Ford dealers who have never sold a 2 wheel drive Explorer in the PNW unlike in the south or flatlands.

    I'm with the others in go with 37/41 round back spindles and buy the kit with the 4-1/2 bolt pattern and be done.
     
  24. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 10,420

    Budget36
    Member

    You’re right, no mention of rear discs.
     
  25. Post #10 he says rear disks
     
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  26. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 10,420

    Budget36
    Member

    I stand uncorrected;)
     
    Tman likes this.
  27. Steven Cole
    Joined: May 1, 2021
    Posts: 6

    Steven Cole

    Wow this has gotten a lot more attention than I expected. I really appreciate everyone's input and expertise. Looks like I'm gonna have to just bite the bullet and get different spindles and a kit.

    That's what I dig about a custom build: The traditionally inspired bit. Customization with proper respect to the source, but leaving "rules" up to interpretation, inspiration, or imagination (or budget! Ha!)... Those are the sorts of projects we usually put our heart into.
     
    Koz likes this.
  28. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,218

    Elcohaulic

    Look for a spindle with low KPI number like 5. Then set the positive caster to 5-6...
     
  29. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 21,856

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I am going to sit corrected. I'm tired.
     
  30. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 21,856

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have never seen spindles that fit on a Model A axle where you get to choose the KPI.

    Do you have a link? I could use some.
     
    Tman likes this.

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