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Converting to disc brakes on your Thunderbird will provide you with significantly improved braking, and is not a hard conversion to make. The photos included, and description provided, are related to the disc conversion kit available from Thunderbirds One in Gastonia, NC.
On all of the installations I have performed, I have removed the hydraulic brake light switch and installed a mechanical switch from CASCO. On the conversion shown here, the brass block for the brake light switch has been completely removed to clean up the installation, and reduce the number of joints. All conversions have included switching to DOT5 silicone brake fluid.
A dual master cylinder is installed to separate the front brakes from the rear. The original push rod should be replaced with an adjustable push rod which can be adjusted to take up slack between the push rod end and the master cylinder piston. The new push rod is installed lower on the brake pedal so it will increase the master cylinder piston travel. The rod has a swivel (Heim) joint on the end that attaches to the brake pedal. The adjustable rod is available from several of the Thunderbird parts dealers.
Disc brake calipers are designed to operate at higher hydraulic line pressure than original drum brakes, as a result it is very beneficial to have a power brake booster. These steps are written presuming you have a power booster on your car. If not, the brake fluid lines would be slightly different. A booster is highly recommended. Even with a booster these brakes will not give you the feel of the disc brakes on your new vehicle, it still takes a bit of pedal pressure. The biggest advantage is the straight, true stopping, and the resistance to fade.
It is recommended to leave all hydraulic fittings loose until everything is in place and all clearances are checked.
New rear wheel cylinders are provided with the kit. The different diameter in them eliminates the need for a proportioning valve.
Please read these steps completely prior to beginning your work.
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Note. If the conversion is not made by a certified brake technician it is highly recommended that a brake inspection be performed by a certified brake inspection station.
Article and photos submitted by John Sailors