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Disc Brake Conversion

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  • Brakes: Disc Brake Conversion

    Can a complete 64 Commander power disc brake setup bolt on a 53 Commander Coupe? Anything special need to be done?
    51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
    53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
    62 Volvo PV544 Sport

  • #2
    why bother there are better aftermarket systems out there. For most it is a selling point over the stock Studebaker brakes.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you mean the discs, calipers, hoses, etc., then yes...I believe they all will work. If you're including the booster and master cylinder...no. You will also need disc brake wheels as well. I also agree with swvalcon...there are better aftermarket systems available.
      Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

      Comment


      • #4
        And don’t forget the spindles. The back of the spindle flange, where the 6 bolts are for the backing plate on the drum brakes, has a machined surface where the caliper bracket mounts. Essentially the same spindle, but with this area machined flat. Otherwise brackets won’t fit.
        But, yes, I agree with those above. Go modern disc brakes if you can.
        Then you must remember to fix the master cylinder. It has a 10# check valve in it. Remove that check valve and install a 10# check inline to the rear drums and a 2# check to the front discs.
        sals54

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lelshaddai View Post
          Can a complete 64 Commander power disc brake setup bolt on a 53 Commander Coupe? Anything special need to be done?
          You can greatly improve the 1953 brake system by just bolting on the drum brakes from a later V8 Studebaker. If everything is up to "snuff", I find them to be more than adequate. I have made this simple and inexpensive conversion on several 1953 Commanders. If you insist on having discs, I also recommend going to an aftermarket conversion.
          Gary L.
          Wappinger, NY

          SDC member since 1968
          Studebaker enthusiast much longer

          Comment


          • #6
            If you are going to do that, make sure you move the REAR brakes over from the 64 also. They are matched to the front discs and quite different from the 53 drum brakes and the 54 and up drum brakes.

            Gary's idea is a good one. Unless you do a lot of mountain driving or driving in deep puddles, there isn't an advantage of disc brakes over the 54-66 drum brakes (IMHO). They will both slide all 4 wheels evenly when applied fully and both can be modulated to provide maximum braking just prior to lock up without the car changing ends. An advantage of the drum brakes is that you don't need a booster. The Studebaker (Bendix) disc brakes were some of the first used on cars. They work well when rebuilt, installed, and adjusted correctly, but the technology is old school.

            If you go with aftermarket discs, make sure you follow the provider's instructions on which rear brakes, master cylinder, booster, and front/rear proportioning valve to use. I would recommend you check with Jim Turner.
            Dick Steinkamp
            Bellingham, WA

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            • #7
              I was just checking since I had a chance to pick some up. I already have the late 50's drum brakes on her.
              51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
              53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
              62 Volvo PV544 Sport

              Comment


              • #8
                JMHO, but I'm one of the few here who still appreciates the OEM disc brake system. When everything is new it works better than drums and in other than road-racing, is entirely safe and effective in today's traffic. If I had the opportunity to pick up a complete front and rear DB system at a reasonable price, I'd rebuild and install it.

                Bottom line, yes the original disc brakes are obsolete and there are better, newer available, but then that is true for every single mechanical part on a Studebaker. It's a slippery slope.

                jack vines
                PackardV8

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with Jack, the original Studebaker disc brakes are better then drum brakes. If they weren't do you think that Studebaker would have decided to use them? Do you not think that testing was done prior to making the decision to use discs on the Avanti?
                  I have the original Studebaker disc/drum brake system on my 66 Daytona with one modification, a dual master cylinder. The brakes are excellent and stop the car straight and true, quickly. Everything has been rebuilt with original parts including new steel and rubber flex lines.
                  I believe that the newer conversion disc brake systems are better then the original Studebaker/Jaguar systems, but unless you plan to race the car or power the car through mountain roads, not worth the conversion. The kicker to this is that totally rebuilding an original system is more costly then converting to a newer system, so that may make the decision easier to make.

                  If the original poster can get the 64 spindles or have his spindles machined for the Studebaker discs and the system is rebuilt it would make a nice braking system. I agree that the rear drums need to be updated also or there may be issues.

                  Originally posted by PackardV8 View Post
                  JMHO, but I'm one of the few here who still appreciates the OEM disc brake system. When everything is new it works better than drums and in other than road-racing, is entirely safe and effective in today's traffic. If I had the opportunity to pick up a complete front and rear DB system at a reasonable price, I'd rebuild and install it.

                  Bottom line, yes the original disc brakes are obsolete and there are better, newer available, but then that is true for every single mechanical part on a Studebaker. It's a slippery slope.

                  jack vines
                  sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
                  1950 Champion Convertible
                  1950 Champion 4Dr
                  1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
                  1957 Thunderbird

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Actually it has the complete front end. The frame was cut at the firewall and all the components are there including the steering column, booster, master.
                    51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
                    53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
                    62 Volvo PV544 Sport

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Then you don't have the special rear brakes, the eleven-inch by two-inch non-servo drums, with the small cylinders that can work with the disc brake system pressure, without the need for a proportioning valve. And, of course, your '64 Commander used a firewall-mounted booster and master cylinder, and the '53 has an under-floor master cylinder. Hawks equipped with disc brakes used a special Hydrovac mounted under the hood, that got pressure from the regular under-floor master cylinder.

                      If you really want to upgrade to disc brakes, the Turner brake kit is the way to go. But you will add unsprung weight to the front end.
                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I actually am happy with the upgraded drums I have. Was just seeing if these could work. Sounds like more effort than I need to do.
                        51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
                        53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
                        62 Volvo PV544 Sport

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PackardV8 View Post
                          ...When everything is new it works better than drums...

                          jack vines
                          Originally posted by thunderations View Post
                          I agree with Jack, the original Studebaker disc brakes are better then drum brakes.
                          Can you guys define what you mean by "better".

                          On the same car (same weight, CG, wheels and tires) both systems (stock 54 and up drum brakes and 63-66 disc brakes) will lock all 4 evenly, and both can be modulated to apply maximum braking force prior to lock up (which would result in the shortest stopping distance). I believe both cars would stop in the same distance. If the brakes were wet (deep puddle) the discs would out perform the drums. Since the drums will fade before the discs, discs would be preferred in those circumstances (long down hills with heavy braking) where drums would fade. My personal experience is that the non-power assisted drum brakes are easier to modulate than the stock power assisted disc brakes.

                          I've had both setups on Studebakers (not aftermarket discs, however). Both stopped straight and true. I've always wanted to have a "stop-a-thon" at an IM to see if there is a difference. I couldn't figure out how to insure the test cars would be going the same speed and apply the brakes at the same time without some sophisticated test equipment, however.
                          Dick Steinkamp
                          Bellingham, WA

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Interestingly, the generally most conservative US independent was the first to offer disc brakes as standard on a production car. (Crosley? fuggidaboutit; a toy car.) As previously mentioned, the Big Three OEMs had to be dragged kicking and screaming and late in the game to switch to front disc brakes. That larger tires and wheels, heavier cars, higher speeds and yes, customer demand, forced them to spend money they didn't want to spend is all we really need to know about front disc brakes being "better".

                            jack vines
                            PackardV8

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You can "Google" (Automotive disc brakes vs drum brakes) and get the engineers reasoning for discs being better overall. Has to do with the direction energy is used to stop a rotating object. I don't understand everything I know about the subject, but have used both and prefer the discs on all 4 corners if possible.
                              sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
                              1950 Champion Convertible
                              1950 Champion 4Dr
                              1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
                              1957 Thunderbird

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