Front disc brake conversion on a 64 ImpalaPosted by Carl King - 08/06/09 at 06:06 pm
Last November when I stripped a 94 Buick Roadmaster for the 350 LT1 engine and trans, I was lucky enough to be able to pull the front disc brake assembly complete with Antilock Brakes and all the necessary wiring and controllers. Now its time to take some measurements to see if the spindle/rotor assembly will work on my stock 64 Impala control arms.
An alternative motive for doing this is to get rid of the junk if the parts aren’t going to work for what I’m trying to do.
So I tore my 14 year old son away from his game system and dragged him kicking and screaming out to the garage to help out his old man. You’d have thought I was asking him to help move an outhouse or something.
We shared the task of jacking up the front end, and removing the wheel so we could get comparison measurements of the 94 Buick spindle/rotor assembly and the spindle/drum assembly on the 64 Impala. I asked him to hand draw a face view and a top view of the disc brake assembly so I’d have a visual reference along with the measurements.
We took the measurements from the top side of the
top ball joint knuckle down to the spindle center line, and up from the bottom side of the lower ball joint knuckle. This measurement will tell me if using this setup will maintain the height of the front end, or raise or lower it. We came up a difference of 3 inches between the spindle and the lower ball joint knuckle for the 64 Impala and the 94 Buick. This is a bit much for what I’m trying to do.
The Buick spindle was 3 inches closer to the lower ball joint than the original 64 Impala setup. Some people might think, “Oh great! A drop spindle”, but when you realize lowering the spindle would move the wheel further away from the car body effectively raising the car. Oh man, that won’t do.
These assemblies were equipped with ABS sensors. If I’m going to junk these parts I need to remove the sensor assemblies so I
can put ABS on my 64 Impala. At this point I don’t know if I can really do this with these parts but if I throw them out with the parts, I know I won’t be able to.
What looks like a ring gear is really a many toothed reluctor where the magnetic sensor rides just outside of the ring. The motion of the spinning gaps and tooth crests tell the ABS system the wheels are still in motion. If the wheels lockup during braking and the car is still moving, the sensor indicates the brakes have locked and the ABS system eases off the brake.
I need to get this ring off. When I get the spindle/rotor assembly I can use, I can have machine shop fit this ring to the inside of the rotor. The magnetic sensor was easy, just one bolt holding it in place. I had to use the cutting torch to heat the ring, forcing it to expand so I could use a hammer and pry bar to tap it off.
And there I have it. Now I’m gonna look into whether or not the Chevrolet Part Interchange Manual will reveal the correct parts I need. If not I’ll look into picking up a disc brake conversion kit.