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Old 09-01-2021, 11:29 AM   #1
mbr
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Default Rear disc conversion

Anybody selling complete rear disc conversion kits these days?
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

Best bet is a junkyard, they are in about 1 of every 10 cars I see
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

Kits? Never seen one. Not worth the effort anyway.

P-brake cables ($25ish each), calipers, caliper brackets ($80ish each with calipers) and (if your current knuckles don't have the mounting eyelets) knuckles.
Getting the knuckles off requires cutting and replacing a roughly 10" long high-test (metric 12.9?) bolt that was pretty much NLA across the country 10 years ago (I bought the last 2 in the region about 10 years ago lol).

Then you get to replace the calipers at least bi-yearly if not yearly because the p-brake mechanism is junk.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

IIRC, the stopping distance changes from rear drums to disks is really small. Worth it vs. buying better tires and front caliper/pads?
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Old 09-01-2021, 03:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
Kits? Never seen one. Not worth the effort anyway.

P-brake cables ($25ish each), calipers, caliper brackets ($80ish each with calipers) and (if your current knuckles don't have the mounting eyelets) knuckles.
Getting the knuckles off requires cutting and replacing a roughly 10" long high-test (metric 12.9?) bolt that was pretty much NLA across the country 10 years ago (I bought the last 2 in the region about 10 years ago lol).

Then you get to replace the calipers at least bi-yearly if not yearly because the p-brake mechanism is junk.
Can still buy the bolts, I got them from Fastenal about 2 years ago for $30 and some change a piece.
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

Junkyard is not an option and not worth the effort. I am looking at options for new parts. What parts can't I get new?
My knuckles have the eyelets. They don't need to come off, do they? Other than cleaning them, they can stay on?
I've never had a vehicle with drums that worked properly, and I know how to work on them. They're ok when adjusted, but after the first few nanoseconds of driving, they're MIA. Those adjusters are prehistoric tech. No, they're not broken or on the wrong side.
For that reason, with the discs not needing adjustment, they will work better. Stopping distance will be better since the drums are hardly ever optimal.
What is it about the parking brake that requires new calipers often?
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Old 09-01-2021, 06:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

Stopping distance?
It won't stop you any faster, as the rear drums (or rear disc's) on a Saturn won't matter much....the rear's don't do much to stop your car anyway. That's why the rear drums are so thin to begin with and why that last a very long while before needing replacement.
Not worth the effort.
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

GM used a ratcheting rear caliper piston and ratcheting p-brake. Both seize up due to the elements fairly often no matter how much its used.

All you're going to find, brand new, are rotors, pads and p-brake cables. The cables are going to be super fun to find the correct set, there's 2 for each wheelbase (disc & drum use different cables, '91-'96 Coupes use shorter cables than all 4drs and '97+ Coupes) and the aftermarket doesn't understand this fact with their interchange. I think the rubber hose is different as well between wheel cyinders and calipers, should be the same regardless of model as long as you get it for a caliper.

If your knuckles have the eyelets then it's a fairly easy, bolt on, swap.
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Old 09-02-2021, 07:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

I haven't decided 100% on doing this, just gathering info and reading old posts for now.
Actual stopping distance is not a factor. There are many reasons to dump the drums. The biggest is that they're almost never working at their best.
These folks who say they have 300k on the original drums and shoes make me laugh. That's because they're not working. The adjusters are not doing their job and the shoes are not making contact. They're riding on the front brakes only.
I think most people, Saturn drivers included, don't know when their brakes aren't working right. I'm pretty sensitive to anything that isn't right about my vehicles, bordering on the obsessive. I want to keep this SW2 as long as I can.
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
Stopping distance?
It won't stop you any faster, as the rear drums (or rear disc's) on a Saturn won't matter much....the rear's don't do much to stop your car anyway. That's why the rear drums are so thin to begin with and why that last a very long while before needing replacement.
Not worth the effort.
^^^^^^

What he said. X3.

Edit to add.

It might even LENGTHEN your stopping distance in emergency stops - as the rear disc will lock the rear wheels sooner than drums - thus losing working traction.
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:01 PM   #11
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

On my motorcycle I don't use the rear brake except when I'm stopped. In a panic braking situation I'd rather focus on using all of the 90% of the braking that comes from the front, and ignore the potential 10% I get from the rear. Much like onlinebiker says - when the rear wheel locks, you tend to let up on the front brake and lose out on the 90%.

But, disc vs drum brake philosophy aside, I don't think you can buy all new parts if you want to make the swap.
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:36 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

185,000 miles on the car, and I haven't touched the drum brakes since I've owned the car in 2004. So +1 to the drums doing absolutely nothing.

My Saturn is scheduled for a rear end rebuild this winter - wheel bearings, shocks, sway bar links, the whole shebang. And if those drums and shoes, etc are coming off of there in the process, I'm sure not putting old stuff back on.

So, given that I have to buy all new parts anyways, I'd much rather put discs on the back as well.

I noticed I have the eyelets the other day while looking at a few other things. Is the consensus here that all I need to put discs on instead of the drums is:

--New parking brake cable for a '98 SL2 with disc brakes.
------How hard is it to replace this? I see where it comes out of the floor pan underneath; does it disconnect somehow there, or are we talking about a new cable all the way up to the e-brake handle?

--New calipers with mounting brackets.

--New discs

--Obviously rear brake pads

--New rubber brake hose for Saturn with rear disc brakes. My current ones are shot anyways.

Anything else?


Side note - I also have a beater 96 SL2 that already has the rear disc brakes and the stopping power between the 2 cars is very noticeable. I'm inclined to think that's because my 98's rear drums aren't adjusted or working at all, and that the discs are working in the 96. Ymmv.
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Old 09-02-2021, 01:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

Gotta pull the rear carpet towards the front seats to gain access to where they come into the body and where they attach to the load balancer on the p-brake handle. I don't think the center console has to come out, but its possible. Pretty sure the rear seat bottom has to come out to release the carpet.
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Old 09-03-2021, 09:22 AM   #14
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

Rock Auto has all the parts. Any brands to stay away from?
Big price difference for the hubs. Will the economy brand I've never heard of be ok, or stay with name brands like Moog, Raybestos, etc? Timken is too pricey.
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Old 09-06-2021, 07:09 PM   #15
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

I have a '94 SL2 HCE with rear discs. About every 8K miles, there is some kind of issue with the rear disc brakes. It's either shoes, discs, or caliper sliders.

In the 5 years that I've owned the car, I've been into the rear brakes 5 to 7 times. I've put probably 3 sets of rotors, 6 sets of pads, 2 sets of slide pins and rubbers, and one caliper & bracket.

I would rather switch to drum brakes. Less hassle, and MUCH cheaper to maintain. And as long as you keep your rear shoes adjusted, they'll stop just as well I believe.

As far as disc hub bearings being more expensive, they're the same as drum hub bearings. There are only 2 different hub bearings, and the difference is with or without ABS.

I actually replaced both my rear factory hub bearings a few years ago because I THOUGHT they were growling. Turned out to be cupped tires. I kept the original bearings at the time. And recently reinstalled one of the originals back in the car because the new replacement actually went bad wherein the hub portion slid off the end of the spindle portion like some kind of retainer nut came loose inside it. Only the rotor and caliper kept me from losing a wheel. Of course this made me have to replace a rotor and pads AGAIN.

I'm not a fan of rear disc brakes by any means.

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Old 09-07-2021, 09:05 AM   #16
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

Preston, I'd be interested to know what caused all those failures. Poor quality parts? Brands? Moisture getting in the calipers?
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Old 09-08-2021, 02:07 PM   #17
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

Is there a post somewhere that details how to remove the carpeting and replace that p-brake cable? Those step by step guides are super useful...
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Old 09-09-2021, 12:04 PM   #18
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

I have most of the parts, still waiting for the hubs. Ordered SKF, supposedly as good as Timken.
Question about bolts. Can the bolts from the drums be used on the discs? The drum backing plate-hub bolts be used for the caliper bracket-hub?
The brake hose banjo bolts be used for the disc brake hose banjo?
I assume the hub-knuckle bolts can be reused, but what about the others?
I plan on finding a boot that fits over the parking brake mechanism to seal out moisture intrusion. I read that is a common problem. If I can't find a boot, I'll use baggies, better than nothing.
I always remove the front caliper sliders and clean/relube whenever I remove the snow tires after winter, so that won't be an issue.
Any other thoughts before I tear into this?
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Old 09-09-2021, 12:15 PM   #19
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Default Re: Rear disc conversion

My impression is SKF is better than Timken these days. My SKF front bearings were not chinese.
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