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Disc Brake upgrade

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  • #16
    Welcome to the forum.
    We can tell you were from a different world when you mentioned "number matching"
    The only numbers that match on a Studebaker are the number on the tag on the door post and the number on the tittle.
    Robert Kapteyn


    • #17
      Here's my 2 cents on Studebaker drum brakes.

      From 1954 to the end of production Stude drum brakes on V8 cars were pretty much the same. The later cars got finned drums. They are very good brakes. They were designed for the weight of the car and the front/rear weight distribution. All parts were engineered to work together...from the width and circumference of the shoes, to the diameter of the wheel cylinders, to the stroke and diameter of the master cylinder, to the pedal geometry.

      The shortest stops from speed occur when you modulate braking force to occur just before wheel lock up. If you lock up the wheels, stopping distance increases. If you lock up either the front or the rear FIRST, stopping distances not only increase, but the car will change ends.

      The stock drum brakes on a 54 and up V8 Stude are designed to NOT lock the front or rear first. You can modulate the pedal pressure just short of lock up for the shortest possible and straight stops.

      When you start changing components, it becomes a crap shoot. The system is no longer balanced as it was designed. If there is a MC change with a different stroke and/or diameter your required pedal pressure will change...often with either a lot more pressure required or with braking becoming overly sensitive. If you install discs on the front, they are going to over power the rears. You can install an adjustable front to rear proportioning valve in an attempt to balance the system, but you'd better be good at dialing that in to get close to OE balance, and again, the force needed on the pedal is going to change.

      Lots of folks have installed disc brakes on older cars. IMHO it is a false sense of security. My guess is that in most cases the car will take a longer distance to stop and will be unbalanced in braking. Keep in mind, the car will stop in the shortest distance just short of wheel lock up. Even a well designed disc brake system will not change this. Your best hope is that through luck or good hydraulic engineering the car will stop AS QUICKLY as the OE drum brake system.

      The advantage of discs is that they work better in the wet than drums and they do not fade as quickly as drums. If you drive a lot in heavy rain or often in the mountains or plan repeated stops from high speeds, a well designed and balanced disc system should be considered. If you drive your Stude like most, the only advantage to discs (IMHO) are the bragging rights.
      Last edited by Dick Steinkamp; 03-09-2015, 08:26 AM.
      Dick Steinkamp
      Bellingham, WA


      • #18
        I like that DBs will "straight line stop". This was one of their original claims to fame in the 1960s, which Stude drum brakes could not and cannot make. Drums often pull to one side or the other, without predictability, nor rhyme or reason. When hauling down quickly, at today's road speeds or in inclement weather, this can be dangerous.

        Front or rear wheel lockup is definitely not a problem with today's drums; lucky if they will stop in a 40 acre field. In the last drum equipped car, I inadvertently rolled through several intersections because the brakes simply would not stop.

        Poor stop-ability is primarily due to inferior composite now used on re-lined shoes. In the good old days, when drums stopped well, I recall bronze sintered, screeching shoes, but they are now against EPA. They still pulled to one side or the other.

        I'd love to see just one vendor take some initiative and offer a relined shoe with modern, effective material, as is available on disc pads. Even if higher priced, its hard to put a price on safety.

        IMHO, the only place for drums is on trailer queens.
        Last edited by JoeHall; 03-09-2015, 03:42 PM.


        • #19
          I put a Turner kit on my Champ truck. It was the best thing I have done to the truck so far. The instructions were good and the installation was easy. I highly recommend Jim's kit
          1962 Champ

          51 Commander 4 door


          • #20
            Try stopping from 100 mph with a Stude with drum brakes. I tried this with a 1960 Hawk when I was in High School. It stopped straight but it took a loooong time. So I went home put Studebaker front disks and adapted some jag disks and rear calipers from an XKE. Those were also Dunlop calipers just like the ones on the front of the Stude except with smaller pistons and provision for a parking brake. I ended up taking about 1/5" off of the diameter of the rear disks and mounted the caliper appropriately to get the proper proportioning.

            Bottom line is I don't like the Studebaker drum brakes. Even the finned ones such as the Hawks had. I did put metallic linings on my Dad's 63 Hawk and that was not too bad. Most likely you can't get metallic linings anymore for drum brakes.
            David L


            • #21
              You would think somebody relines brake shoes with a good material. Heck, almost all trucks use drums on the trailer brakes and axle brakes. Losing asbestos so long ago, you would think a new material has been invented to equal the old stuff. But as said, the drum style is subject to water and over heating problems not present in a well designed disk system. I was pretty happy with the braking of my 63 GT in 1966, but it had the Avanti brake option. Now I have a 63 Avanti, and find the brakes "wanting" vs. My 13 Mustang GT and my wife's 14 Terrain. Our perceptions change over time.
              Last edited by karterfred88; 03-10-2015, 12:21 PM.


              • #22

                Originally posted by rkapteyn View Post
                Welcome to the forum.
                We can tell you were from a different world when you mentioned "number matching"
                The only numbers that match on a Studebaker are the number on the tag on the door post and the number on the tittle.
                Robert Kapteyn
                LL T FUNNY!


                • #23
                  I still have sets available if you want something more modern. Just checking in here from time to time.

                  '63 Avanti R1, '03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves.
                  Check out my disc brake adapters to install 1994-2004 Mustang disc brakes on your Studebaker!!
                  I have also written many TECH how to articles, do a search for my Forum name to find them