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Old 09-15-2017, 11:15 PM   #1
SaturnHunter
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Idea 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

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Old 09-16-2017, 08:19 AM   #2
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2001 SC2
Default 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).

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Old 09-16-2017, 09:01 AM   #3
OldNuc
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1998 SC2
Default 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.

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Old 09-18-2017, 12:37 PM   #4
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1998 SL2
1997 SL2
Default Re: Rear Disc conversion

And on the other hand, Luke mentioned that in the entire ~650,000 miles that he drove his Saturn, he did so on the original rear brakes - never replaced any part of the drum brakes

...
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11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 124k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

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Old 10-08-2017, 07:55 AM   #5
Astrofarian
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2001 SC2
Dizzy 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?
-M!ke-

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Old 10-08-2017, 08:21 AM   #6
fetchitfido
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2001 SC2
Default 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".

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Old 10-08-2017, 08:40 AM   #7
Waiex191
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1999 SL2
Default 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.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, owned since new
5 speed manual
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!

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Old 10-09-2017, 06:49 AM   #8
Astrofarian
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2001 SC2
Default 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.
-M!ke-

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Old 10-10-2017, 08:53 AM   #9
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1994 SL2
1999 SL
Thumbs Down 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.

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

...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
94SC1 340,501 Miles
Org. Engine/Auto Trans
2/97-10/08
Gone 3/12

92SL1
05VUE
91SC

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Old 10-10-2017, 10:20 AM   #10
alordofchaos
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1998 SL2
1997 SL2
Default Re: Rear Disc conversion

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

...
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11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 124k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

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Old 10-10-2017, 12:28 PM   #11
Waiex191
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1999 SL2
Default Re: Rear Disc conversion

There is a tendency after spending money and time to feel it was worth it.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, owned since new
5 speed manual
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!

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