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Rear Disc Brakes part II


For several years, we had hoped to be able to convert the rear brakes from drums to discs. For years, one company, TSM (The Streetrod Manufacturing Co. Inc.) had a kit listed on their site but it was perpetually unavailable because they were unable to find anyone to make longer replacement studs. Finally last year, just for giggles, we checked their site and were amazed to find that they actually had the kit available now. It seems they finally decided to abandon the idea of making replacement studs and instead, make a rotor with a 'hat' tall enough to slip over the studs and be held in place by the wheel. The kit came with a choice of brake calipers. All parts in this kit are new. The calipers we chose were originally designed for the rear axle on a 76 - 78 El - Dorado with parking brakes. They came with pads, and mounting screws.

Another view of disc brake conversion installation.
Another view of disc brake conversion installation.
Rear view showing brake line modificaitons for disc brake conversion kit.
Rear view showing brake line modificaitons.
Rear disc brake conversion brackets installed and hub back in place.
Rear disc brake conversion brackets installed and hub back in place.
Rear disc brake conversion kit installed on the sterling axle.
Rear disc brake conversion kit installed on the sterling axle.

With the brackets in place, we had to reassemble the axle before we could install the rotor and the calipers. So we set about reinstalling the hubs. With the hubs in place and the bearings tightened to specs, we replace the axle shafts and re-bolted them to the hubs. Now we could place the rotors over the studs and install the calipers. With one person holding the rotor in place, the other slid the caliper with the brake pads, down in place over the rotor and in line with the mounting holes on the bracket.

From the inside, the caliper pins were slid into place and then tightened with an Allen head wrench. At this point all that was left was to modify the hard brake lines and install the new braided stainless steel lines to allow the calipers freedom of movement.

For the brake lines, because we have a braided stainless steel hose that runs from the frame to the axle tube, we could not pinch off the line as recommended in the instructions. So we disconnected the hard lines from the junction block and plugged the fittings to prevent the brake fluid from draining out. Now we had to figure out where we wanted to mount the fittings for the brake hoses and terminate the brake lines. We decided to bend the brackets for the hose fittings with a 90 bend so we could drill and tap the Off Road Unlimited lift blocks and mount them on the rear of the lift blocks. Once the brackets were bolted to the ORU lift blocks, we connected the TSM brake hoses to the calipers. Next, we cut the previously existing brake lines and re-bent them to meet the brackets we just installed. After bending and double flaring, we connected the brake lines to the new fittings and then to the junction block.

At this point, we then opened the bleeder screws and let the system gravity bleed. After most of the air was released, we bled the calipers as you normally do by pressing the brake pedal with the engine off while someone else opens and shuts the bleeder screws to release the air. After bleeding, we re-installed the Alcoa wheels and the ProComp tires and let the truck back down. It took 5 hours to complete the job, including having to run to the hardware store for the extra grade eight bolts. Not too bad for a project of this magnitude and definitely well worth the effort. Once on the street, the difference was that of night and day. Whereas before, the front brakes did most of the work and the stopping power was ok. Now with the TSM rear disc brake conversion kit installed, the truck responds immediately when you press on the brake pedal. It gives a much greater feeling of control with the increased response.

Final word: It's a bit pricy but the quality is top notch and the value is most excellent. This was well worth the investment, especially with the amount of weight this truck carries. If you have an older F-250HD or F-350 with the 10" Sterling rear axle, this kit is a must have.

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