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Old 08-08-2005, 04:56 PM   #1
makavelif50
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1999 SL2
Wrench Rear Disc Brake Conversion

hi there im really interested in doing a disk brake conversion on my 99 SL2. i have a disk conversion kit. i just have a few questions is it worth it? is there a noticeable different in braking? also is it a difficult conversion to do? i mean ive read instructions on how to do it but its also a lot different when you really rip in to it. and since ive never done anything like this before i was just wondering if i can get through this job without any major problems. when i change out the brake lines is brake fluid going to be pouring out? sorry for all the questions i just want to make sure that i understand what im doing before im knee deep in crap. thanks

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Old 08-08-2005, 06:37 PM   #2
ProDarwin
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

I never even changed the lines. Yes, its easy to do. Yes, there is a noticeable difference, not in power, but in feel and consistency.

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Old 08-08-2005, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProDarwin
I never even changed the lines. Yes, its easy to do. Yes, there is a noticeable difference, not in power, but in feel and consistency.
oh really you dont have to change the lines? the old ones will work fine? what do you mean by power? stopping power?

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Old 08-08-2005, 07:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

yes, stopping power. Actually, the initial clamping force is usually higher on drums, meaning they will be easier to lock up. The discs have a solid feel, especially during repeated higher speed stops.

Yes, I used the lines from the drums. They work just fine, and I still cannot find a reason to switch them.

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Old 08-08-2005, 08:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

really? wow im kind of surprised to hear that theres no difference in stopping power. i thought that there would be a difference in stopping power thats kind of why i was thinking about doing this.

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Old 08-08-2005, 09:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Some say there is, but I've only read that it's a difference of 3 feet. Which 3 feet could keep your front bumper out of the trunk of the car in front of you.

For my car, I haven't justified the cost for the increase in stopping power. If after I start doing alot of lapping and the drums gets heat soaked, then I will probably consider it.

The drums also have a higher moment or interia, so theoretically, the rear disc equiped car should accelerate faster as well as slow down quicker.

Unsprung weight, it's probably pretty close. The knuckle for the rear disc car is pretty beefy. It probably has a slight edge though.

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Old 08-09-2005, 09:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProDarwin
yes, stopping power. Actually, the initial clamping force is usually higher on drums, meaning they will be easier to lock up. The discs have a solid feel, especially during repeated higher speed stops.

Yes, I used the lines from the drums. They work just fine, and I still cannot find a reason to switch them.

i've been told that the drum lines are a hair shorter and could cause a problem during either full compression or rebound of your suspension. i have no idea if this is true or not, but it came from a source i trust...


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Old 08-09-2005, 11:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

you can only stop as fast as your tires will let you

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Old 08-09-2005, 11:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom92SCm
...

The drums also have a higher moment or interia, so theoretically, the rear disc equiped car should accelerate faster as well as slow down quicker.
...

--Tom
Studies have shown that drum equiped cars are actually faster in the 1/4 mile. In a disc braking system the pads never let come of the rotor, this causes extra drag. Properly setup drums fully retract.

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Old 08-09-2005, 11:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Discs cool much more effectively than drums. Because of this they are better at repetitive use.

I didn't think the conversion made a huge change in my car untill I drove my wife's SL2 for about 3000 miles. As said before the discs feel much better. Braking seems to be more accurate. I also did SS lines when I did mine though, so some of that feeling could be coming from those. If you think you can swing the SS lines they are about $130 from tirerack. It ran me less than $75 for the rotors, pads, calipers, and E-brake cables, so I figured even with the SS lines it would be a little more than a third of what some of the kits out there can cost.

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Old 08-09-2005, 12:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud819
Studies have shown that drum equiped cars are actually faster in the 1/4 mile. In a disc braking system the pads never let come of the rotor, this causes extra drag. Properly setup drums fully retract.
Good to know!

Thanks
--Tom

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Old 08-09-2005, 01:26 PM   #12
makavelif50
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

thanks guys for all the great info. and does anyone know how to install the e brake cables? do you have to pull up the console? i read this somewhere and wasnt too sure about it. are the e brake cables under the car. and well i think that disk brake system is a much better system then drums and id rather have disks all around i think just a lot easyer to deal with.

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Old 08-10-2005, 04:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

If stopping power is what you're looking for, I'd suggest a big brake kit up front.

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Old 08-10-2005, 05:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

It still won't increase stopping power. Bigger brake just increase heat storage ablity. It makes it much harder to overheat your brakes, meaning they are less likely to fade. Pick up any magizine where they compare braking before and after a big brake upgrade. You will see that most times the upsized brakes never improve stopping distance. Many times you will fine braking distances increase; Of course the big brakes will be a lot better after then the stock ones in high heat, repeatitive braking.

Stopping power is only increased 3 ways.
Tires (allowing you to break harder before locking the car up)
Weight (either changing the balance or making the car lighter)
Brake balance (changing the percentages of braking force from the front or rear)

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Old 08-10-2005, 06:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

really is that so? i didnt know that. what about having better calipers? wouldnt that increase stopping power too? how can you change the brake balance on the car? it sounds like it would hard and difficult to do.

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Old 08-10-2005, 07:29 PM   #16
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by S3aturnR
i've been told that the drum lines are a hair shorter and could cause a problem during either full compression or rebound of your suspension. i have no idea if this is true or not, but it came from a source i trust...


s3aturnr
They are longer as far as I can tell.

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-Travis

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Old 08-11-2005, 12:59 AM   #17
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud819
Studies have shown that drum equiped cars are actually faster in the 1/4 mile. In a disc braking system the pads never let come of the rotor, this causes extra drag. Properly setup drums fully retract.
On a normal disc braking system, yes, that is true. But with GM's quick take up master cylinder, the piston is pulled farther into the caliper. This helps with fuel mileage. I think we have the quick take up master cylinders, so we probably don't have to worry about the drag.

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Old 08-11-2005, 06:02 AM   #18
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by makavelif50
how can you change the brake balance on the car? it sounds like it would hard and difficult to do.
You'll need an adjustable brake proportioning valve. And yes, it is very difficult to do. You can easily make things worse by messing with it. The brake systems were designed pretty well on a Saturn S series. Better tires, better pads, good fluid and SS lines are really the only good improvements to be made on th car.

--Tom

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Old 08-11-2005, 08:09 AM   #19
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Quote:
really? wow im kind of surprised to hear that theres no difference in stopping power. i thought that there would be a difference in stopping power thats kind of why i was thinking about doing this.
the 1st cold stop might be the same, but when you're doing hot laps and need to be on the brakes over and over and over and over again, the rear discs cool down faster. the brake pedal feels more solid with rear discs compared to drums. i've done two rear disc conversions myself. the pedal is firmer with rear discs. with the rear drum there's some mush to the pedal. regarding using drum hoses on rear discs, i was told by a saturn brake engineer that there's a risk of the drum hoses popping off the rear discs under hyperextended rear suspension movement. the rear disc hoses have a metal section on the end that the drum hoses lack. oh yeah one way to change the brake bias is with brake pad compounds. one time i put higher mu (.49) pads on the rear discs than what i had on the front discs (.47). it worked ok most of the time but when the car was empty (spare tire and jack removed) and low on fuel, it wanted to lock the rears before the fronts under heavy braking. look in my gallery. there's a picture of tire smoke coming from the rear tires. D'oh! after that event I went back to NS187 pads on the rear.

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Last edited by eRic 02sc2; 08-11-2005 at 08:15 AM..

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Old 08-11-2005, 12:22 PM   #20
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Default Re: Rear Disc Brake Conversion

Great tip on using pads for controlling Bias, Eric. But would your bias also change when the brakes start heating up?

Tom, I seem to remember the hardlines for the brakes being different sizes too. I would imagine that if you were going to reproportion your brakes you would want to run new hardlines.

emailer33, The disc drag isn't big enough to worry about. But there is more then with drums. Most people doing any kind of motorsport would be best served by discs and their cooling abilties despite the drag. I was just stating want I had seen in tests. I would still rather have discs.

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