Although Chevrolet's popular C10 series pickup trucks are considered new by some truck enthusiasts, they are still old enough to often be equipped with drum brakes. Drum brakes may have been thought to be sufficient 40-plus-years ago, but they really leave a lot to be desired. Especially now that we are accustomed to front disc brakes (and commonly four-wheel disc brakes) on our late-model drivers. For those who may be too young to be familiar with drum brakes, they will usually stop adequately under normal conditions, however, they can quickly (slowly?) prove to be less than adequate in a panic stop situation. Additionally, they do not disperse heat as quickly as discs, so their performance tends to fade when used frequently over a short period of time. While there are disc brake upgrade kits available from a variety of aftermarket sources, some of us prefer to avoid the cash outlay that is involved with that choice of modernization and safety. We will address installing four-wheel disc brakes on Chevy C10 trucks in a few months, for this issue however, we'll address a relatively low-buck process of upgrading to front disc brakes on a '68 Chevy Stepside.
Begin by supporting the front of the truck on jack stands and then remove the front wheels
The spindles used with drum brakes do not have provisions for mounting disc brake calipers
Remove the cotter pins from both tie-rod ends as well as the castellated nuts. Ideally, th
Starting in 1972, front disc brakes were standard equipment on GM light duty trucks. After all, U.S. lawmakers and auto manufacturers were especially focused on safety in the early '70s. Factory installed seatbelts had been mandatory for a few years and pickup trucks now required a "big" rear window as standard equipment. So, it made sense to add disc brakes, especially to trucks that may be carrying a heavy load.
While there are already jack stands supporting the framerails, a floor jack is used to com
Since many of these disc brake-equipped trucks are still around, they are a good source for spindles, rotors, calipers, and a master cylinder for a budget swap. You may need to purchase new rotors, and should plan on replacing consumable items such as bearings, seals, brake lines, and brake pads. You will also need to replace the master cylinder with one that is designed for a disc/drum combination. Even with new rotors, this swap is low-buck compared to an aftermarket kit, and provides a substantial improvement in stopping ability. Swapping to five-lug rotors also broadens the candidates for wheel choices if you are interested in doing more personalization to your vintage ride ... and who isn't?
To make this much needed upgrade to my C10, I took it to Morfab Customs. I could have probably done the work myself in my garage, but then who would take the photos? Read that as it is relatively easy if you have any mechanical skills. It will be necessary to use a ball joint press, so if you don't have one, plan to borrow, rent, or purchase one.
With the A-arm supported, the ball joint nuts are removed and a pickle fork is used to sep
Photos with captions will provide the details, but the overall concept is as follows: Remove the existing wheels and tires, disconnect brake lines from each drum brake, and then remove the existing brake drums and spindles. The spindles from'72-or-newer trucks are a good source for the necessary mounting brackets for the disc brake calipers. Grease the wheel bearings and install them with the seal into each rotor, then slide the brake rotor onto the spindle and secure with the appropriate hardware. With the rotor in place, install the brake pads into the caliper and then mount the caliper with the appropriate hardware. Repeat all of this for the opposite side and then remove the brake lines from the proportioning valve (including the rear lines, even though you are not changing rear brakes). Remove the proportioning valve and existing drum/drum brake master cylinder from its mount and then install a disc/drum brake master cylinder and proportioning valve. Now reconnect front and rear brake lines to the proportioning valve and to each front caliper. Bleed the brakes, install the wheels and tires, and then have your truck aligned. When all of that is completed, you should take your truck out for a testdrive and be able to relax quite a bit more when you are behind the wheel.
While we're at it, we might as well install new ball joints as well. The upper ball joint
The lower ball joint is pressed in and can be driven out with a hammer.
The new lower ball joint need to be pressed into place in the lower control arm with a spe