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How to Assemble Our Ford 9 inch/8 inch Disc Brake Conversion Kits-Tech Talk

4/27/2020
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Joe and Zach walk you through how to assemble one of Speedway's Bolt on Nine-inch Ford Disc Brake kits in this step-by-step guide.

This kit includes bolt-on caliper brackets, 11-1/4" vented rotors, 78-88 GM emergency brake calipers, brake pads and hardware.Because the kit is universal, it will work on a variety of Ford rear ends like the big and small bearing 9-inches, and both old and new style Fords.

If you're starting with a new housing and axles, you will start by pressing the bearing retainer on the axles. After that you'll place the plate provided in the kit on, then slide the axle in. Making sure that the caliper is up and to the rear, you'll then use a combination of lock nuts, flat washers, and Loctite to ensure the fasteners stay tight. Moving on to the rotor, be sure to check the hole size for the axle studs as well as the center register. Depending on your application, it is not uncommon that these will need to be enlarged. Before final assembly, be sure clean the brake rotors. Once you've done that, you are ready to determine the offset of the caliper and what stack of spacers you're going to need.

Once you have your spacing measured, in order to assemble it you'll need to pull it all apart, pull the caliper back off the bracket, and pull the rotor off to enable you to get to the bolts and nuts to bolt the two halves of the bracket together. After checking your spacing one more time, be sure to use Loctite when you assemble it all for the last time. It's also a good idea to use caliper grease on the slide bolts.

With the non-emergency brake kit, at this point you should be good to go. If you're using the emergency brake kit, you'll just need to hook your brake cable up, get the pad moved right up to the face of the rotor, and then you can start bleeding the air out of it. Find more specific steps in the video or the transcript below!

Video Transcript

Joe: "Hey everyone, welcome to Speedway Motors Tech Talk. I'm Joe and today Zach and I are going to assemble one of our bolt-on nine-inch Ford disc brake kits. And this kit is pretty universal as far as nine-inch Fords go right."

Zach: "Yeah it is universal. I mean it's got rotors with a 5 on 4 and 3/4 or 5 on 4 and a half-inch bolt pattern so it'll work on Chevy or Ford wheels. It'll work on 8-inch Ford rear ends, small bearing nine-inch, big bearing nine inch, you know old and new style so pretty much any nine-inch Ford it'll work on."

Joe: "And you'll see when we start putting it together, there's a lot of different sort of spacers and bolt patterns in the brackets that enable it to be so universal. And because of that, there are a few little tricks that you have to pay attention to when you put it together so we're going to walk through it today."

Zach: "So, the first step just assembling this brake kit is to get the axle shaft installed in there. So, we're going to take this bearing and retainer off of here. This retainer isn't going to be used in this particular case just because it's so thick the T bolts aren't long enough to clamp both of these down at the same time on our on our bracket here."

Joe: "And your application may be different if you're starting with the housing that's already assembled. That’s a stock housing or something, the thickness of that bearing retainer may be different. You know there are some variables there. So, since we're starting with a fresh housing, since we're starting with fresh axles, we're going to just take this bearing retainer off. You'll just look at your application and look at the length of your T bolts and make that decision but this piece in combination with this will be sufficient to press the bearing on and you'll see that when we assemble it you'll kind of see what we're talking about."

Zach: "We need to head over to the press and put it together. I believe so."

Joe: "All right we're back from the press we've got our bearing retainer pressed on here. This plate comes with this brake kit. What it's meant to do is basically simulate the thickness of the backing plate. So, you want to make sure that goes on first and then slide the axle in.

And then this will sit there like so, and then you're ready for this bracket. And you want to make sure that you orient this bracket so that the caliper is up and to the rear and so that's going to look like so. And you'll see how this will, as you tighten those T bolts down, will press that bearing in. And we're using some lock nuts and then we're using flat washers here because these holes are slightly oblong, so you want to make sure that you use the washer. We're also using a locking nut and it may be wise in this situation to use some Loctite as well. You know, like I mentioned before, this is not a bolt that you want to have come loose. And you'll basically go until it's snug on the end of the axle housing."

Joe: "Up to this point, this is basically going to be the same for any nine-inch housing with this bracket. We're getting to the part now where the universal nature of this kit comes out. And once you put the rotor on, you're going to see with the offset, what stack of spacers you're going to need to position the caliper. But one thing you're going to encounter before you get to that point is the hole size on the rotor, and this is going to be common of a lot of aftermarket brake kits. A four and a half forward or Mopar pattern is quite often drilled out to half-inch but GM cars, the four and three-quarter bolt pattern used 7/16 studs more commonly. So, you're going to find that's a 7/16 hole. These studs, while they're 7/16th's, they have a shoulder in them that is half-inch and it's not going to allow you to put the rotor on all the way. So, the first thing you're going to have to do is going to be to enlarge these holes.

Zach: "So now that Joe's got the wheel stud holes drilled out in the rotor, that will slip over them just fine. One other thing that you run into once in a while with aftermarket parts, like this happens to be a Currie axle. This center register is just a little bit tight so we're going to have to open that up a little bit to get the rotor to slip on all the way.

Joe: "And that's going to vary you know depending on whether you have an OE axle, whether you have a different aftermarket axle. We chose to make this on the tight side because you want it to be tight because you want it to index the rotor. You know had we made it looser, you would potentially have some slop and some issues there. So, you know just a few thousandths isn't a big deal maybe something that you encounter depending on your axle."

Zach: "So, an important thing that you need to do before you put this all together is to clean the brake rotors. You know when you get them in the box, they're in a bag and they've got some oil and stuff like that on them to keep them from rusting. And so, a good thing to do is to take them to a solvent tank and just rinse them off. And then you can use brake clean then Joe's going to rinse them off here and then blow them off with air.

Joe: "And it's just kind of a best practice to not touch the friction surface or the brake pad if you can avoid it, just to keep from getting oil from your fingers on it. So now that that's on, we can move on to the next step which is to determine the offset of the caliper and what stack of spacers we're going to need."

Joe: "All right, our next move is to mock up the caliper on the caliper bracket, and then we're going to slide it over the rotor and we're going to kind of take a measurement. Your spacers will go between this bracket and this one, and that's what determines the offset. So, this just assembles on the slide bolts we put the standoff side of the boss up against the caliper. It's kind of a lot to hold so it helps to have a buddy. And then you want to make sure that you're centered, that this is roughly centered on the slide, and we get about three eights on that. Once you have that spacing measured, in order to assemble it you'll need to pull it all apart, pull the caliper back off the bracket, and pull the rotor off to enable you to get to the bolts and nuts to bolt the two halves of the bracket together. And then you'll reassemble it and check your spacing one more time."

Zach: "This would be another good place use some Loctite too when you put it together for the last time."

Joe: "And because this is a sliding caliper, when you check this you want to make sure, that you kind of slide it in both directions and make sure that it make sure that it's mostly centered. One thing you definitely want to do too when you put this together for the last time is put a little bit of caliper grease on these slide pins. That way it allows that caliper to move back and forth freely without binding up at all."

Joe: "Now that we're all installed, if you're using the non-emergency brake version of this kit, you're pretty much home free. You just bleed the caliper, make sure your bleeder points up, leave the caliper as you would usually. With the emergency brake version there's a little bit of a trick that we've learned the hard way. We thought that you could just bleed it like you would a normal caliper, it's not true. This emergency brake lever actually moves the piston in and if you don't do that then you're just never going to get them bled.

Zach: "Right, so a lot of times you want to go ahead and hook your brake cable up and adjust it. Get the pad moved right up to the face of the rotor and then you can start bleeding the air out of it. And you can see the piston come out if you look down in there you know just make sure that the piston is drawn out snug. And once you've done that, bleed the brakes and you're on down the road. Yep. You know so there's a few tricks to installing this because it's a universal kit. It's meant to cover a lot of applications but once you've got those handled it's a really great kit. Thank you Zach, and thanks to everybody for watching."

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