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SaturnHunter 09-15-2017 11:15 PM

Rear Disc conversion
So I have a 2002 Saturn SL1 and I was wanting to do a rear disc conversion on it. Could anyone tell me what parts I would need from any other Saturn and possibly post links to a parts site that would have them? When I do the conversion I'm going to record it and post it on YouTube for others to learn from. Thanks :banana:

fetchitfido 09-16-2017 08:19 AM

Re: Rear Disc conversion
It's a direct bolt-on swap from any '91-'97 DOHC w/ABS (SOHC's still had the option of drums w/ABS '91-'97 but can be used if they have rear disc). Rear disc was dropped entirely starting in '98.

The only "gotcha" is the parking brake cables, for a SL/SW you should be good with cables for a '96-'97 SL/SW. The cables are the same length for both brake styles but the tab on the end of them are just enough different you can't swap between disc & drum. '91-'96 SC cables are roughly 3" shorter than every other model because their shorter wheelbase is taken out on the poor rear seat foot-well, so don't get those cables for any SL/SW.

I'll never buy another '80's/'90's GM with rear disc, the looks and ease of working on them is not worth the requirement of tearing apart every 4-6 months ('89 Gutless Supreme went through calipers yearly, 3 S-Series with rear disc had to at least be re-greased every 5-6 months if not replaced).

OldNuc 09-16-2017 09:01 AM

Re: Rear Disc conversion
There are a couple of brands of aftermarket brake cables that are too short, be careful as they will not stretch. You can go to RockAuto and look at the overall length and figure out which ones will fit. Do not buy off brand cables as they will not fit or last.

As fetch pointed out this is not a great idea of a performance increasing swap, it is a major continuing maintenance headache.

alordofchaos 09-18-2017 12:37 PM

Re: Rear Disc conversion
And on the other hand, Luke mentioned that in the entire ~650,000 miles that he drove his Saturn, [I]he did so on the original rear brakes [/I]- never replaced any part of the drum brakes

Astrofarian 10-08-2017 07:55 AM

Re: Rear Disc conversion
So....apologies for thread-jacking here a bit but am I correct in concluding that this is a mod that I shouldn't consider? I THOUGHT discs on the rear would be an upgrade but the general consensus here seems to indicate that it's just adding a failure-prone headache to a perfectly reliable system. Can someone please clarify this for me?

fetchitfido 10-08-2017 08:21 AM

Re: Rear Disc conversion
Disc brakes require more maintenance than drums, this is made worse with rear disc on FWD cars...the moving parts never get moved to keep them freed up TO move so you need to re-grease them at least every 12 months. Half the rear disc S-Series I've had required new calipers because the idiotic parking brake mechanism seized up due to rust.

If you want better looks and don't mind higher maintenance then rear disc is fine, but unless I got a parts car of the same model as what you have now with rear disc...IMO it's just not worth the effort even for the "looks".

Waiex191 10-08-2017 08:40 AM

Re: Rear Disc conversion
My drums have needed surprisingly little attention in 205,000 miles. Not at all like the old 4 wheel drum brake cars. So while they are still a pain because they are drums, you almost never get to feel that pain.

Astrofarian 10-09-2017 06:49 AM

Re: Rear Disc conversion
Ok, got it.....thanks guys. I was dreaming of doing this mod "one day" but now I guess I'll just spend the money on something else for the SC2.
But I AM going to sandblast and paint the drums so they 'show' a little better through the Enkei rims.

2NDSOUT 10-10-2017 08:53 AM

Re: Rear Disc conversion
After changing the rear pads and rotors on my 94 Homecoming Edition-

What a pain in the ass. There's no room at the back, when you are trying to get to the Calipers.

I know others here think highly of doing a Mod swap on Brake conversions...

Do yourself a favor- if you don't "HAVE" to do the Swap... DON'T

In my opinion, after wrenching on these cars for 20 years, it's simply not worth the time, money, and effort that you will spend under the back of the car with extensions- trying NOT to hit the muffler when trying to get to the Caliper brackets and other parts... I'm still amazed that GM even decided to have rear pads and rotors on the back of these cars, and everything held together with 10mm bolts. :dizzy:

Better off sticking to the Drums Brakes. Easier to get parts, and easier to fix, if needed.

alordofchaos 10-10-2017 10:20 AM

Re: Rear Disc conversion
Don't some folks say they have slightly better brake performance / handling with rear disks? Racers / autox, etc

Waiex191 10-10-2017 12:28 PM

Re: Rear Disc conversion
There is a tendency after spending money and time to feel it was worth it.

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