Thanks for the thoughtful answer. I'm quite set on the styled steel wheels, and would go with the Legendary 17x7s if I were to move up to 17". They have 4.25" backspace. I'm a little insane so I prefer a narrower wheel and fatter tire, cosmetically. Not sure how that would work on 17s with a narrower sidewall but I guess there's one way to find out.It sounds like you're at a crossroads now. For a lot of the issues you have stayed about poor quality is a good reason to look at aftermarket purpose built parts vs stock replacement. You're using your car more as a DD, I'd say splurge for some new aftermarket parts.
As far as the tires skidding, that's more of a problem with a hard tire. As you stated 15" tire choice is limited. I would say go for 17's. Let's face it, they're the new 15's. This is a very common size, tons of choices at reasonable prices you can get anywhere on the road. Personally I like the 17" American Racing version of the TTD. you can even get it in the ideal 4.75" BS for a 8" wide wheel.
I totally understand your choice for rear disc choice. I think it's the right choice in your case. I couldn't agree more.
Front brakes, well the stock KH is a good set up. Maybe try a different pad. However the big 12" TA brake kit SoT is a awesome set up! With a stickier tire then your current tires, maybe with a 17" tire that's wider you may not be able to lock them up. Anyway with the SoT TA brakes, you'll NEVER have to worry about brake fade or anything else. Not to mention they weigh less then your current set up.
I'm not trying to spend your money but if your proposed upgrades are what you want and in your budget, go fo
Yep, I pulled up a tire size calculator and a 225/50/17 is nearly the same size as my current 215/65/15 (25.9" vs. 26"). My 215/65/15s fit perfectly with no rubbing issues and I don't even have my fenders rolled. But I also have narrower wheels so who knows what that does to the overall tire shape. At any rate, I think it'll fit... I think.225/50/17 is kinda tall IMO but so is 215/65/15 ,,, But your close in overall diameter with those sizes . I'd go more like 225/45/17
No matter what you have if your wheels are locked your not stopping as fast as possible
especially if your tires UTQG treadware number is rather high
As awhtx said, yes I have a '56 rear out of some large station wagon or another. No taper on the tubes, factory drain plug underneath, smooth back.Hi Kelly....well first thing is do you really have a 1956 9 inch rear? Ford started making them in 1957. Do you happen to know what it's out of? The big bearing rear is found in the larger Ford cars of that era like a Ford Ranch station wagon. I have one out of a 1958 Fairlane and it's a small bearing rear. The brakes on mine were 11x2" and the actual shoes if I remember right were only about 1 3/4" wide. BTW.. those drums are really rare and hard to find. I changed out mine to a F150 size..by using a backing plate from a early 70's F100 and the rest from an F150. The early 9 inch rear that fits in a Mustang is the same width as a 65 Mustang but has 3 inch tubes and no taper at the ends. An early 9 inch is actually a about an 8 3/4 inch gear but a late 9 inch fits in it. That's what I did... put in a late model chunk.
The housing should have 2 dimples and most also had a factory drain plug underneath. My 58 does. Here's a couple of pics. Got any of yours?
Yeah, I'm not expecting improved braking power from the rear discs over the drums - since my drums are dialed back with a prop valve, I already know that even the drums are overpowered for what is needed on the rear. But I do think that the discs will bring me improved consistency and better parts quality. As you say, the drums are just not in a great state I think. Or the MC. It's hard to say!I have an Explorer rear end with discs. Before the swap, my stock rear drums worked just fine. I can honestly say that after the swap, I can’t really tell a difference in stopping power. Worked well before, works well now.
I’m sure you’re right about fade and weather as far as disc superiority, but I don’t track my car or drive it much in bad weather so that’s not much of a factor.
I did have to go to larger wheels to clear the Explorer rear discs. They too have an internal drum parking brake and that pushes the swept area of the rotor and the caliper out so that my old 14’s wouldn’t fit, and I question if 15’s would clear.
Regarding the larger wheels and new tires, I’m very pleased with that update. The 17” tire selection is great, and my butt dyno tells me I have no negative effects of heavier wheels or lower tire sidewalls. The ride isn’t harsh and the handling is spectacular.
Based on your listed situation, rear discs wouldn’t be a bad thing, but that has more to do with the poor state of your drums and potentially the aging master cylinder than the superiority of discs.
Right, and that's what kind of got me onto the 17" wheel/tire track. I want something that is actually sticky and has great wet AND dry performance. There doesn't seem to be a lot available in a 15" anymore that prioritizes those three things.Hi Kelly... the fact that you CAN lock up the wheels is an indication that you don't necessarily need MORE braking power but, rather, need to transfer more of that power to the pavement... the opposite of losing traction under acceleration.
I fear you might have a bum master cylinder if you have "disappearing brake fluid" without the sign of an external leak. Crawl under the dash and pull back the dust boot where the brake pedal pushrod goes into the firewall and look for signs of leakage there... that's the most common source. Same deal with wheel cylinders... look under the dust boot for signs of fluid. Many years ago I purchased a wheel cylinder hone. I've probably used it a hundred times...enough to replace the stones, anyway. Rebuild kits are still readily available and are cheap.
The biggest problem I see out there, today, is the quality of friction materials. IIRC you run EBC front pads, don't you? They're decent as are Porterfields. I also thing Porterfield makes 10 x 1-3/4 shoes in the R4 spec and, should you think you NEED more rear brake you can always scare up some Aerostar/Ranger 10 x 2-1/2 backing plates and adapt them to fit. While an 11.2 inch front rotor isn't exactly huge by today's standards, it was enough to who down 428CJ's in the day and you CAN get caliper mounts to move up to the D-1 Lincoln/T-Bird versions of the K-H 4-piston and THICK 12 inch rotors.
As far as the pavement goes, it's all tire contact patch and coefficient of friction...which is affected by things like weight transfer/inertia, centrifugal force, etc. A tire with a hard rubber compound that is overinflated with skim along the road surface. Excessive nose dive and transfer of weight from the rear will lessen rear brake effectiveness forcing the fronts to do more work. Nose dive will also change wheel alignment causing dynamic changes in camber and toe that can affect tire contact patch. Don't forget that when you move to a larger front tire that the assembly will not only typically weigh MORE, but that weight will be farther out from the axial center which will INCREASE the inertial forces of the spinning tire so bigger isn't always better.
Some things to digest, anyway.... I'm not convinced that most brake "upgrades" are really upgrades that are needed, other than replacing existing parts that are adequately designed by may be worn out or poor quality.
Yes, I agree. But swapping out old drums for new drums, vs drums for discs, is a fairly minimal price difference, and at this point I'm afraid of all drum wheel cylinders!I autocross with the stock rear drum brakes with no issues. You have a problem with your brakes but the rear brakes being drum isn’t the problem.
Just that they have more weight farther out to the edges, more inertia to stop and more effort needed to get them spinning. Not worth really worrying much about I guess, but its there and will be another negative within the "friction circle"(googly it) of these light-ish cars. (Theory substantiated by Porsches braking and handling better with 18" wheels opposed to 19 or 20)Not clear on what you were saying about the tires/wheels.
I hear ya on the 15 inch tire choices... I think I'd probably go with 18 inch.... I have 18's on the Magnum and there are lots of choices... 225/60R18 Yokohama Avid's now... probably the best tires I've had on it since new... came with Continental, replaced with Coopers, then Michelins... the Coopers were okay, the Michelin's plain sucked...way too stiff.Thanks for the thoughtful answer. I'm quite set on the styled steel wheels, and would go with the Legendary 17x7s if I were to move up to 17". They have 4.25" backspace. I'm a little insane so I prefer a narrower wheel and fatter tire, cosmetically. Not sure how that would work on 17s with a narrower sidewall but I guess there's one way to find out.
I've got EBC Reds on the KH brakes up front, so I don't think I could get much better than that. I think if I got an actually sticky tire and resolved my rear brake and/or MC issues, the fronts would do a lot better.
The TA brakes are pretty cool but 2 grand is a LOT for those things! If I was really committed to spending a lot of money I'd go with 17" wheels and big Wilwoods to go with it, I think.
Yep, I pulled up a tire size calculator and a 225/50/17 is nearly the same size as my current 215/65/15 (25.9" vs. 26"). My 215/65/15s fit perfectly with no rubbing issues and I don't even have my fenders rolled. But I also have narrower wheels so who knows what that does to the overall tire shape. At any rate, I think it'll fit... I think.
As awhtx said, yes I have a '56 rear out of some large station wagon or another. No taper on the tubes, factory drain plug underneath, smooth back.
Yeah, I'm not expecting improved braking power from the rear discs over the drums - since my drums are dialed back with a prop valve, I already know that even the drums are overpowered for what is needed on the rear. But I do think that the discs will bring me improved consistency and better parts quality. As you say, the drums are just not in a great state I think. Or the MC. It's hard to say!
What size wheels/tires do you have on your car? I see quite a few people with pretty fat tires on their '65/66, but every car is different of course. I'm trying to get away with not rolling my fenders because I'm afraid I'll crack the billion coats of clear that are on the car.
Right, and that's what kind of got me onto the 17" wheel/tire track. I want something that is actually sticky and has great wet AND dry performance. There doesn't seem to be a lot available in a 15" anymore that prioritizes those three things.
I will check my MC. The wheel cylinders have leaked under the boots in the past multiple times (replaced multiple times). I haven't had good luck with new Wagner wheel cylinders at all, between them leaking and them having badly machined bleeder screw threads, so I am about done with them. I'd rather put a top-quality part on from the get-go then spend a lot of time trying to fix something that's brand new that shouldn't need to be fixed!
Yes, EBC up front so I don't think my front brakes are really an issue. I know at least that the fronts should be operating at 100% capacity, were they not hindered by the rest of the system having air in it. I can bleed all air out no problem, rotors are true, pads minimally worn and properly bedded in. I think they are probably fine and I'm not that interested in upgrading them unless they prove unable to stop whatever tire I put on the car. But I'd like to make a point - while the KH brakes did stop a 428CJ back in the day (and they still do now), the problem is that all other modern cars have so much BETTER braking power. People are constantly slamming on the brakes at the very last minute because their cars are equipped to stop on the head of a gnat, and I'm afraid that one day I won't be able to plan for that and I'll end up stuffed in someone's trunk. This is a case of wanting to be towards the front of the pack in a braking arms race, if you will.
Fortunately, I don't get much nose dive at all with Jane. I keep a lot of weight in the rear (misc road trip stuff I'm too lazy to unpack, full size spare, toolkit, etc.) and I think that helps. She stops pretty level front to back. Or maybe I just don't get nose dive because I skid before I have time to really get a good bite into the road!
Yes, I agree. But swapping out old drums for new drums, vs drums for discs, is a fairly minimal price difference, and at this point I'm afraid of all drum wheel cylinders!
If Ford's "proportioning valve" in the 80s did what GMs metering valve always did, it should delay the front pressure momentarily. The reason for this is excess front disk brake wear could occur in low-speed easy driving situations because the front brakes will do almost all the braking. In high-speed aggressive braking, the metering valve probably doesn't matter. For a grandmother who never drives over 25 MPH, it will prevent premature pad wear. See the link below. 1. Proportion pressure front and rear 2. 10 psi. residual check valve 3. Metering valve to apply pressure to the rear brakes before the front brakes 4. A brake warning light to detect a loss in pressure https://www.classicperform.com/Instructions/PDF/PVK.pdfOne way to get away with slightly better brakes in the rear is to add a later model proportioning valve, I installed one from a 1986 T bird 2 door in my car. I believe Mustangs started adding these somewhere in the early 70s. These delay the full pressure to the rear circuit for a microsecond so as you stomp the brakes and the car nose dives so the unweighted rears won't lock up, as the car settles back, the rears get full pressure. You can then go to the larger 2.25" or 2.5" (CRS here) rear brakes (a common upgrade to put drums and backing plates from early station wagons) and/or try Porterfield brakes in the rear.
Yep, knew you'd chip in with exactly this recommendation! IIRC, a set of Avons is what, $1400? I'm not considering any big brake kits... I'm considering small rear discs, to circumvent the drum problems, and I'm considering swapping to 17" wheels and tires. A set of 17" wheels and tires will run me less than 1 set of Avon tires, even with the added cost of the silly stick-on white letters!! And given that a set of Avons will last me a year or less, I'd be shooting myself in the foot financially to run those.Kelly, I think your money is best spent on just better tires. I don't have to tell you the ones that will transform your car, you've read my posts enough to know my feelings on the best 15" tires.
You can get that set of Avons and spend less than the big brake kits you are considering.
Aside from that, buy some Porterfield R-4s rear brake shoes and have the drums turned so they are perfectly round.
Yes, my current tires are really hard, even though they never squeal. It is pretty interesting when you hammer the throttle and the car just skates around with no sound from the tires at all! I usually have them inflated to 30 psi, a couple psi below spec.I had a set of Firehawk GT's on one of my 2nd Gen RX7s. They were plenty sticky and I had to get pretty stupid to get them to bark at all. That being said, the 8YO BFG T/A's that came on Vickie's 65 had become so stiff they barked in a parking lot just turning down an aisle. Start with the wheels and rubber and see if your condition persists. As a tire hardens, it gets very sensitive to air pressure. Lower the air pressure by 3-4lbs and see if they suddenly become very chatty. Definite sign of a hard tire. Especially in a long sweeping turn.
I personally am not a fan of the 17's. It's a looks thing and I'm firmly old school on that. Too many cars looking like the Hot Wheels from the 80's+. At some point I feel I will have no choice though.
Yes, I saw that the Yokohama Avids got great reviews! They are available in a 17" and they were top of my list if I do make the swap. Glad to hear that you like them!I hear ya on the 15 inch tire choices... I think I'd probably go with 18 inch.... I have 18's on the Magnum and there are lots of choices... 225/60R18 Yokohama Avid's now... probably the best tires I've had on it since new... came with Continental, replaced with Coopers, then Michelins... the Coopers were okay, the Michelin's plain sucked...way too stiff.
I do get a bit of a fountain, but it's fluid not bubbles. Always kind of thought that was normal as long as there weren't air bubbles coming with it. Hmm. That does sound like exactly my problem though! Do you have any recommendations for a good brand of MC? Both disc/drum and disc/disc, if you've got em. Currently I have a '74 Mav 15/16" disc/drum master. Bought it brand new from... you guessed it, the parts store. Ugh!!!Well, I'm gonna go with a dead master cylinder just to be different. If you take the top off the master cylinder you will likely find (as I did on mine) that when you hit the brakes and watch teh reservoirs, you will see a beautiful fountain bubble up in the rear circuit, its gonna make a mess so do it slowly or paint eating fluid will go everywhere. Its not working and teh pressure is going back into the reservoir instead of going to the rear wheels. This is why you can't get the reservoir to seal and where your fluid is going. The fountain stresses the MC seal. I bet you are locking up the front wheels and the rears are doing little to nothing. I had the exact same problem and was stunned at my car in autocrosses when the rears were actually working correctly. The car also stopped nose diving when I hit the brakes.
If you decide to put disk brakes in the back, make sure you install a proportioning valve on the rear circuit so you can dial back the rear circuit. It is very dangerous for teh rear brakes to lock up first which initiates a spin. Assuming you stick with teh KH fronts, you have to set the proportioning valve manually and will end up nominally where TEH REAR BRAKES CANNOT ADD MORE BRAKING THAN THE STOCK DRUM BRAKES as the engineers designed your balanced system. Note the irony here...
One way to get away with slightly better brakes in the rear is to add a later model proportioning valve, I installed one from a 1986 T bird 2 door in my car. I believe Mustangs started adding these somewhere in the early 70s. These delay the full pressure to the rear circuit for a microsecond so as you stomp the brakes and the car nose dives so the unweighted rears won't lock up, as the car settles back, the rears get full pressure. You can then go to the larger 2.25" or 2.5" (CRS here) rear brakes (a common upgrade to put drums and backing plates from early station wagons) and/or try Porterfield brakes in the rear.
Edit: Check the clearance between your drums and the backign plate, you may already have the right backing plates for teh larger drums
As for wheels, more rubber is mo better. There is a large class of us running 225s on 16s (me) and 17s by 8" wheels. I like the 16s because they are baby bear just right, still enough meat to be a nod to old school with a nod to more modern and you get some nice response in turns from the shorter side walls. 225-50-16s or 225-45 17s, all teh cool after market wheels are 8" wide. I have a volvo with 17s and as a daily driver, I do not like them. They are a rougher ride as you loose the pillow effect of a 15" / 16" - 65 /50 aspect ratio tire. For a true road warrior like you, I would seriously consider this. Go drive some 225 45 17 X 8 s on a like weighted car and see what you think.
One last edit: If you stay with 215s, I don't think the contact patch, stopping power, for 15s vs 17s will be any different since the tire diameter of all the wheels is nominaly the same due to the aspect ratios going down. You have to go wider to get more contact patch. New tires will stop better as softer rubber will grab better...
Yeah, all of the fiddling around with drum parts is the reason that I am considering swapping to discs. It is hard to get the specs on a disc wrong! No worrying about shoe fitment, bad arches, bad wheel cylinders, yada yada... I just don't see a reason to stick with the drums. Stopping power will be the same with a properly built drum or disc, but the drums will require a lot more work to get working as they should.Before I swapped wheels and tires, I would replace the MC as suggested. I assume you are using a dual bowl. I would also install a good proportioning valve if you haven’t. Make sure the system is balanced and bled properly. Test.
If the above doesn’t yield comfortable results, I would consider two options. One as Z suggested the P R4-S rear shoes. Be sure to buy them from someone whom will work with you like John at ORP. I say this because Mark and I both tried the R4-S shoes on our cars yielding the same results. The rear wheels would not turn with the wheel lug nuts torqued. Both sets were sent back to Porterfield for proper arching to the exact specifications of newly turned new drums. No change. So I throw that out as a caution. The other option would be upgrade to the larger 11 1/4” rear drum kit that John sells. Test.
If the above doesn’t yield comfortable results, I would do as Z suggests and get AVON tires. If you haven’t priced them, they are expensive and don’t last long. I know you like to take long trips so this may not be a viable option. Although it would keep the correct wheels on your car...which is the reason I concur with his suggestion.
After that, I guess your stuck with bigger wheels and tires...and bigger brakes if you desire.
Not late to the party at all! Responses:Hi Kelly, late to the party but here are some random ideas.
1. You didn’t indicate which wheel(s) is(are) locking up when you stand on the brakes. The reply may lead one to an answer.
2. You stated that you “have two right side backing plates.” It seems to me that the plates are different (mirror images) for a reason. Could this be causing the “wrong” rear to lock up prematurely? Could it cause the self-adjusting feature (if they have one) to grenade the brake?
3. Have you tried a premium parts’ supplier (i.e., NPD) for your wheel cylinders?
4. I will assume that you have a residual pressure value in the rear circuit.
5. I might try a set of high-performance tires first (yea, they don’t come in RWLs but sometimes we have to sacrifice).
6. I’ve also considered going to 16 (perfect size) or 17 wheels to expand the tire option dilemma. One “problem” I see with 17” wheels is that the brakes look ridiculously small behind them (might not be an issue with your steel wheels). So, going to a larger diameter wheel/tire leads to $$$ spent for larger brakes. Vicious circle.
7. Getting new front brakes with aluminum calipers and hats might offset any increase in 17" wheel mass/inertia.
8. With the bigger diameter rear drums you might be overpowering the rear tires. There are a large number of wheel cylinder diameters, so maybe getting ones a size smaller would result in a better front/rear balance? I assume your left and right are the same size.
Fountain - no bubbles that's what I'm talking about not good, Sometimes a tiny squirt initially but as you continue to push, it must stop - there should be nothing. I actually went to a ranger master but I'm not really crazy about it. I'll do something else next time. Let us know what you decide and how it works...I do get a bit of a fountain, but it's fluid not bubbles. Always kind of thought that was normal as long as there weren't air bubbles coming with it. Hmm. That does sound like exactly my problem though! Do you have any recommendations for a good brand of MC? Both disc/drum and disc/disc, if you've got em. Currently I have a '74 Mav 15/16" disc/drum master. Bought it brand new from... you guessed it, the parts store. Ugh!!!
The difference in tire height is near negligible at only 3mm. But the 225/50's will protrude outward three times that distance, a full 9mm (3/8") further than what you have now, and you say you're barely clearing as is. I'd call that a roll of the dice with both aggravating and monetary implications. Even if someone pops up and says that combo works for them, their car may not sit like yours does stance-wise which is visibly lower than stock.I'm most concerned about the backspacing and fitment of these things. My 15x6" wheels, with 4.00" backspacing and 215/65/15 tires, just barely clear because they are tucked in pretty perfectly. 225/50/17 tires should be just a little shorter than the old tires and so should fill up the wheelwell perfectly, just as the old tires did, but I'm afraid that they won't tuck right and may not clear. I've tried a few offset calculators and they all seem to give me different answers so who knows. Maybe I'll start a thread to see if anyone around here has those wheels (or equivalent) on their cars right now without issue.