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Sorta Tech: ECI discs on a '49-'52 chev....what the intsructions don't tell you

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by drdave, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. Well, it has been a long weekend in the garage with not much sleep trying to thrash out a brake redo on my '49 Fleetline so the thing will actually stop like a car should. After months of research, reading the catalogs, searching the HAMB and the internet, I decided on the ECI disc brake conversion for the stock spindles. I ordered their full kit, which included the caliper brackets, bearings/seals, inner bearing adapter for the spindle, calipers, hoses and hardware. For the master cylinder, ECI provided a new disc/drum unit and a new bracket for standard trans cars. I also got a hold off valve and anti siphon valve for the front brakes. I decided to do a "sorta" tech article since, even though this was a "bolt in" deal, there were several things along the way the vague instructions didn't include.

    The weekend started with disassembly of the front end, which went remarkably well. My car was restored in the 80's, so all this stuff had been apart then and I was not working with 50 year old stuff that had been sitting on the ground rusting....a big help. I also installed Fatman's dropped uprights and steering arms and cut one and a half coils from the springs. Our story begins here after that has all been put together.

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    Here you see the new caliper braket mounted and the adapter for the new inner bearing and seal driven onto the spindle. You will need a 1.5 inch-ish inner diameter pipe to drive those on. Go slow and put a rag between the pipe and the adapter so you don't nick the adapter. It takes some good slugging to get it on, but you don't have to wail on it. It is plenty tight on there and the instructions did not suggest locktite...and I didn't use any. I doubt it's going anywhere. :)

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    This was my first big hang up of the weekend and the subject on my previous post about this crazy hose. Before putting the rotor on and getting that all buttoned up, I decided to put the caliper on with the hose to see how it would route to the frame, hoping to use the factory hose mount to go to the hard line. Well, as you can see, with the hose in the proper position on the caliper, the hose runs right against the upper A arm and the top of the upright. This was a sure to pinch and cut the hose deal here and had to be fixed. You'll also notice the first curve in the hose ends up being higher than the bleeder, which means air can be trapped there when you bleed the brakes...not good either.

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    Here is a pictrue of how the hose is supposed to go on the caliper for the original application (78-81 Camaro/Firebird). You can see the cast semi circle around the head of the hose, which prevents it from being mounted in any other position, even though what I really needed was for the hose to exit straight up in this picture.

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    After posting on the HAMB and the encouragement of others previously in this pickle, I took out the handy cutoff wheel and "clearanced" the cast ring to make an opening for the hose to mount where I needed it. You can see I also had to trim down the ear on the right where the hose used to go...that ear hit the top rear bolt on the caliper bracket. While I was trimming, I also trimmed the hard line end of the brake hose where it goes into the frame bracket. It had a hex end to index into the Camaro frame braket, but the '49 bracket has a round hole. After reading another HAMB post, I saw someone suggested trimming the hex off the brake hose so it fits in the round hole....you only do this on the very end where it fits in the bracket of course, since you still need to get a wrench on the hose when you tighten the hard line. :) Be sure when you are doing all this trimming, you plug the caliper and hose holes so you don't get shavings in your brake system. ;)

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    Here is the caliper trimmed and the hose in the new position to clear the '49 suspension. You don't see that little ear trimmed off in this picture so it clears the bolt...I was about to learn I needed to do that in a minute. Remember what I said about what the instructions don't tell you....:rolleyes:

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    Here we are all back together. You can see the much more favorable routing of the hose and now mounted to the factory frame bracket. I'm a happier camper now. :D

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    We did have a bit of an issue mounting the calipers with the pads over the rotors. The inner pad was too tight against the rotor to seat. We scratched our noodles on this for a bit and finally just laid some 80 grit on the floor and sanded the inner pad until it fit...about a 1/16th of an inch. The front end was finally assembled, nice and pretty. We're into this deal about 15 hours at this point...two guys. It's now 8pm on Saturday...eat me some vittles and head to the master cylinder.

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    I used a master cylinder bracket from ECI that they just started making. Most brackets on the market are only for automatic cars since the clutch pedal mounts to the factory master on standard cars. There are some other brackets out there that maintain the factory master. These brakets allow you to still keep the pedals mounted to the factory cylinder and just gut it and run the brake rod all the way through to the new master. This puts the new cylinder under the seat which makes for all new problems when it comes time to bleed this puppy. So, I was happy to see ECI's new bracket and jumped on it. The new master cylinder is for 68-72 Mustang with disc brakes. Nice clean set up that still allows access through the floor rather than under the seat...if you want that sort of thing. I didn't want a firewall mount set up, so this one worked great for me.

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    Oh, you wanted this pretty, too? :D You can see the nice, gaping hole I hacked in the floor. I stated the car had been restored in the 80's, and the guy chose to pop rivet and glue (no kidding) this flat galvanized down to fix the rusty floor. Maybe that was the best option then, I don't know, but either way it's gonna go. So, just to make my life easier this weekend, I just whittled this here hole to be able to put the whole bracket, mc and pedal assembly in from the top assembled rather than have to put it in piece by piece under the floor. You may decide to do different. I will point out, however, that once again, the instructions do not mention that the top of the master and cap clip sits nearly and inch taller than the bottom of the floor. So, my (and your) new hole cover will have a nice hump in it to clear the top of the assembly. The ideal way to do all this would be a Corvette remote fill master cylinder, which I plan to do when I replace the floor pan. The trick with that set up is that the piston in the Corvette cylinder does not have a bore for the push rod to go into. It only has a dimple, since on the Corvette it is mounted to a power booster and the pushrod is contained and self aligning, as opposed the this setup where the push rod has no other guide than the bore in the piston. So, to use the Corvette deal, you would have to fab some sort of loop or something on the master cylinder bracket to help keep the push rod lined up. For me, that's another project for another day and for now, the hump in the floor will do.

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    When I ordered everything from ECI, they told me I would need these valves in the front circuit. The small in-line one is a 2 lb anti-siphon valve which keeps a small amount of pressure on the front brakes to keep fluid from siphoning back out of the calipers into the master cylinder, since the master is at a level below that of the calipers. The square valve is a hold off valve that delays the front brakes just a moment until the rear drums begin braking. You can also see a brake line looping back into the top of the master cylinder....don't forget to bleed the master cylinder into itself (bench bleed) first or you will never get all the air out of the system. ;) At the point of this picture, all the brake lines front to rear had been replaced and everything is pretty much hooked up. It's 3am Saturday and I headed to bed, figuring all I had to do was bleed it in the morning and I'd be driving it to work Monday.

    Well, Sunday came and before dad got there to help me bleed the brakes I finished the wiring of the new alternator....I converted the car from 6 volts to 12 over the weekend, too. Dad shows up and as I finish the wiring, I had him top off the radiator. What's that dripping? Oh great, thermostat gasket it bad. Ok, no big deal, I've got another one right here. Super! One of the bolts is frozen Before I snap it offand make myself really happy, I have the presence of mind to spray it down with WD40 and walk away...we got brakes to bleed and that can sit.

    Get to bleeding and life is good...easiest bleed I had ever done. What's that dripping? Splashing from the open master cylinder my dad says. Plus, there must still be coolant dripping from draining back the radiator....OK, I'll buy that. Get to the last wheel and see drips under the car where there hadn't been any before. Just grand! Crawl back under and try to tighten up the valves in the last picture. Still had one at the anti-siphon valve that I couldn't get resolved and will have to remove that section of line and sort it out. I was beat, and was not up to the task and walked away. I really had planned on driving it today, but had had enough. Wish I could have ended this with a performance report, but you will have to wait for that...the next several weeks are crazy here and doubt I will get back to it for a few more weeks, but I'll let you know how it works then! :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  2. Thanks! Good pics and writeup. Keep us posted on how it all works once it's on the road.
     
  3. check around before you buy the remote fill master cylinder- you should be able to find what you need with the deep plunger hole.
     
  4. As a final update on this setup, I finally have it all buttoned up and working. Been several weeks since I have had time to get back outside and get this little project finished. It works great and I recommend the set up highly. I do have a couple of additional points to add on the finish. On the pipe thread side of the 2lb residual valve in the front system, I did have to use some teflon tape to keep the joint from leaking. I talked to ECI about not being able to stop the leak at that joint and they said some teflon tape would be ok (keeping it off the first few threads, of course, to keep it out of the brake lines). That solved the problem and the system finally bled nicely.

    The other additional point I would add is the length of the shaft from the brake pedal arm into the master cylinder. After I bled the brakes, the pedal still went about 1/2 way to the floor before I started to feel pressure. The play was from the pedal going down before the shaft actually started pushing on the master cylinder piston. I had made that intermediate shaft with the heim end too short. Simply backing the shaft back out the heim end a bit solved the problem. So, if you have all the air out of the system and still have too much pedal travel before you feel pressure, check that.

    Now for a front end alignment and time to put on some miles! :)
     
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  5. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,572

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    my brakes came from RB's and didn't come with a hose. i ditched the stock location for the hose bracket and welded one on where it cleared everything and bought a hose that worked at the local parts house. they love me there cuz nothing I ever buy is in the computer.

    my master cylinder bracket came from chassis engineering, but I did not need the clutch pedal since mine was a V8/ auto. it cleared the floor with no problems.

    be sure and come back and report how those dropped spindles worked out.
     
  6. Saoutlaws_Gotti
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 754

    Saoutlaws_Gotti
    Member


    my F.L.A.P.S. love me for the same reason
     
  7. The dropped spindles worked great, although the combination of the spindle drop and a coil and half off the springs may have been a tad too much as I am real close to running on the bump stops....although that has never bothered me before. ;) When I put it all together, I did not make any attempt at aligning the front end and I was waaaaay off, but it goes in in the morning for an alignment and should be fine. I am running 15x5 front wheels with 3 inch back spacing and 205/75's for tires and had to pull my fender lips out a bit for clearance. I plan on using '55 chevy fender lips eventually for the flare and that should help as well.
     

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