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72 Challenger Disc Brake Conversion Walk Through

Brakes

  1. Scott19_72

    Scott19_72 Member

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    The Mission: Complete a disc brake swap from manual four wheel drums to manual front disc/rear drum with a combination of junkyard parts and parts store grade aftermarket parts.
    The Specs: 1972 Dodge Challenger. Original Four Wheel Drum Car, Manual Brakes.
    The Donor car: 1973 Plymouth Satellite.
    Total cost: Approximetely $800 and most of my patience


    So here we are, a full year later... While I'm stoked with the results the process was a huge PITA. Now I know why I waited 14 years to do my disc brake swap. The good news is everything works. The bad news is it took a year. To be fair, it was a year that saw a debilitating freak wrist injury (something called De Quervain's Tendinisis from a lifetime of wrenching, motorcycle riding and weight lifting), the birth of my second son and working a very demanding job. To be fair-er(?) I can lock the front brakes of my Challenger now!
    :thumbsup:

    I took a lot of pictures throughout the process and I want to post them walk-through style so if anyone else is going to take this on it will be that much easier. I had quite a few lessons in what not to do and if it wasn't for the excellent members of this forum I'm sure she'd still be up on stands in the garage tonight. I owe you guys and the least I can do is save you having to re-answer some of the same questions over and over again!

    Note: It will take me some time to type this all up so consider it a work in progress.

    Now let's start with the short list of things you'll need:

    All the tools you think it will take and around 20 more you'll have to pick up, naturally on 20 separate runs to different parts/hardware stores. And tunes. You'll need tunes. Oh, and the spindles, caliper brackets and dust shields off of a junkyard 73 Satellite will be mighty handy too. I'd also recommend you score the calipers for cores when you buy rebuilds at your local parts store. I also got the Satellite emblems for my toolbox, just because they were cool. I've hauled these parts around in this box since '99, better late than never?


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    Some competent help never hurts either?

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    On the spindles: There's some debate out there online and in magazines as to whether or not B-body spindles and control arms bolt right onto our cars. They do. Gloriously.

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    The Before:

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    Step 1: Remove brakes?
    :icon_scratch:
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    Step 2: Remove spindles. This was actually quite hard. It turns out a 21 ounce California framing hammer is a poor choice to hammer on spindles with. I tried this ball-joint separator tool and really gnarled the threaded end of the upper ball joint. I shredded the boot too. This is bad. Its bad because this boot and the ball joint must be pressed in as one piece, meaning technically I should have then pulled the upper arm and had a new boot and ball joint pressed in, adding a few more days (and bucks) to my project. I RTV'd the boot shut and hoped for the best instead. It's on my follow-up inspection list to see if it holds.

    I was later informed by the excellent members of this forum that this part of the job is easily handled with smacking the same place on the spindle (pictured) with a much larger hammer. I picked up a 5 pounder and it did the job (without any more ball joint destruction) on the other side in a matter of minutes. These pictures represent about ten hours of idiocy on my part. Use the sledge, trust me on this.

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    Step 3: Bolt up the new-to-your-E-body spindles. These B-body spindles bolted RIGHT in. I mean like PERFECTLY RIGHT IN. I didn't know this when I took the picture but they even preserved my alignment. I'm going to take it in and get her laser aligned to make sure nothing wears funny, but the steering wheel tracks perfectly centered, just like with the stock spindles.
    It's worth pointing out I went with the calipers in front of the disc setup. I've read you can do it both ways and I'm not sure of the advantages of one or the other. I liked this setup after the first few of what would end up being around a hundred million test fittings.
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    Cleaning up the old parts with a wire brush on a power drill is a good move. I used the axle nut to bolt a piece of PVC tube over the bearing surfaces to make sure I didn't scratch them up.

    Step 4: Stand over this pile of inferiority, flex both arms and your chest and shout "I AM ALL THAT IS MAN!"

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    Step 5: Bearings, Seals, Hub/Rotor

    I worked in auto parts 10 years ago and I bought most of the things I used back then based on the stock application for the 73 Satellite I looted for hard parts. It all fit together in the end. I wish I could go back in time and high five myself. GREAT SUCCESS!

    This one was a head scratcher too and worth mentioning briefly. The lip on the 5121 seal goes DOWN, into the hub (as pictured). It makes sense if you think it through, the rubber lip would be destroyed against the spindle if mounted the other way. Oh and the National brand seals are FAR superior to other brands I checked out. Even if the parts shop has to order them, it's worth the wait. The 7032 rotor in the pic has a bunch of other good equivalent part numbers you might be able to use in a pinch. This is a cheap imported brand and the alignment wasn't perfect so I bought a much better quality Ameri[SIZE=4]can made set[SIZE=4] that I was muc[SIZE=4]h happier with.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]

    View attachment 13080 View attachment 13081 View attachment 13082 View attachment 13087


    Test fit, test fit, repeat. Then repeat again. Then again.
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    One of the cheap imported hub/rotor assemblies wouldn't snug up no matter how tight I made the axle nut. It had a quarter of an inch of play in it with the nut bottomed out. I picked up some American made units for about $50 each and they were much better machined and fit nicely.


    View attachment 13085
    I painted the calipers to help me tell if the wheels were rubbing, NOT as a fashion statement.


    View attachment 13086
    It's important to keep a clean work area...


    View attachment 13084
    I didn't use these caliper pin clips. I think you need four of them for a proper install and I only had the two. Plus the common consensus on forebodiesonly was you can trash them. They just kind of bent when I mocked them up anyway so I'm not sure if they buy you too much. If anyone wants to weigh in I'd be interested if you use them. And if you bought them recently, where the hell did you find them?

    Step 6: Calipers


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    iPhone pics August 2013 1296.jpg


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    --------------------------------------
    ...Stay tuned, more to come!!!!


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    iPhone pics August 2013 1296.jpg

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    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  2. moparleo

    moparleo Well-Known Member

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    Just FYI. The upper ball joint is not pressed into the arm, it is threaded and uses a special Mopar ball joint socket to replace. No need to remove control arms.
     
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  3. Scott19_72

    Scott19_72 Member

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    Much obliged... I will probably make it a point to replace them both either way based on that!
     
  4. ramenth

    ramenth Moderator

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    Good write up. Had me laughing at points.

    And no matter what the magazines say (Mopar Action...) the separator is useless. Smack the damned spindle with a BFH right at the joint and watch it pop.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
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  5. Chryco Psycho

    Chryco Psycho Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the type of Caliper used some use a flared hose that threads right into the caliper & have to mount in front of the spindle so the hose point though to the rear , other calipers use a banjo bolt & can be rear mounted .
    The clips are just rattle clips , if you buy semi loaded calipers the clips are provided with the caliper , I alway use them just beacause the were there originally .
    I agree with the hammer meathid to seperate ball joints !!
     
  6. moparleo

    moparleo Well-Known Member

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    Also another FYI. No matter which side you mount your calipers on, the bleeder screw MUST be on top or you will never get the air out of the system.
     
  7. ramenth

    ramenth Moderator

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    I've had 'em towed in to my shop like that.

    The one that drove me nuts as to why I couldn't get it bled is the one where the lines were routed above the master cylinder. Took me a while to figure that one out until I looked down and saw about 12" of line above the master. Folded 'em down and voila, bled out just fine.
     
  8. Scott19_72

    Scott19_72 Member

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    Oh man... Wait until you see my lines. I went Stainless and I'll never do it again. I'll have pics up next week with more confessions of my sins. I might never pop the hood again... No air in them though after the first bleed, thankfully.
     
  9. 70Hardtop

    70Hardtop Well-Known Member

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    I know I'm many months late with this but did a search for upper ball joints as I want to remove mine. I could see they were threaded (got entire arms out and cleaned up) and was going to tell the thread originator NOT to press them out as they will damage the arms! But moparleo has already pointed this out.

    It is a common mistake to try to press them out. I have cleaned up mine of crud and rust and now soaking in trans fluid. I just bought a big wrench as the correct socket is way too expensive here ($84!) and will see how easy they screw out. If no luck I will make up a tool (weld some plates into a rough socket) .
     
  10. Sedanman

    Sedanman Active Member

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    Are you satisfied with the swap you did using the 73 B body spindle set up? I'm selling a set and someone stated that they don't work right on E bodies. Thanks in advance for your feedback.
     
  11. Scott19_72

    Scott19_72 Member

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    I am. I haven't put a ton of miles on the car since the swap, I had a career change and an out of state relocation and life happen right as I was finishing it up. I haven't had it aligned so I can't vouch for that one, but everything else seems to be in order. It seems to track about as straight as it did before the swap. There are a few articles that I read prior to the swap that debunked some of that B-Body spindle anxiety, I'm sure your buyer can find them online without too much trouble. LOVE the stopping power of the conversion though. The first time I locked the front brakes up before playing around with the proportioning valve, I had tears of joy!
     
  12. Scott19_72

    Scott19_72 Member

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    WOW Amazing write up!! THANK YOU OP for including the PART NUMBER OF THE MASTER CYLINDER! That's definitely not SOMETHING YOU WOULD REMEMBER YEARS LATER WHEN YOU NEEDED IT! I love this forum!! Suck it, Facebook Groups!

    PS. Apparently the life expectancy on one of those bad-boys (Raymold 25-36307) is 2,017 days...
     
  13. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that would make it easier! Good write up.
     
  14. Scott19_72

    Scott19_72 Member

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    Thanks, great call. I'll put a note in there!