Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
March 5, 2003

It seems as though people are beginning to get the message. We're seeing more and more high-horsepower street Mustangs with serious brakes on them. This prolif-eration of big brakes is coming from the '94-and-later Cobra parts bins. This stems, of course, from the fact that the Cobra is an OE system, and service parts for it are no farther away than your nearest parts house.

We've seen numerous options--such as different logos and colors--when it comes to these big brake setups, and we wanted to explore an opposite idea of what we usually preach. Normally we would tell you to make it easy on yourself and get XYZ Monster Brake Kit from Acme Corp. and bolt on everything in a weekend.

We're not saying that's a bad idea. On the contrary, if you want it simple and you want what the company offers, then feel free to write the check. But if you want something custom, or want to mix and match, you're going to have to go the piecemeal route as we are doing here. We started with one company and picked up the major items, then we scoured around and finished off our brake-system upgrades after a few more phone calls to some of our advertisers. We did all this while keeping future serviceability in mind.

Our problem stemmed from a previous upgrade done many years ago. We installed a 12-inch, four-wheel disc kit that, at the time, was in its prototype stage. The calipers were oversized for our stock master cylinder (which used racing brake-based brake pads), and we did not incorporate an adjustable proportioning valve. This led to a spongy brake pedal and easily locking rear brakes. It was our only recourse at the time due to our C-clip-eliminator-equipped 8.8 rear, which severely limited our rear-disc options. Now that we've updated to a more widely used option--the 9-inch bearing ends (see "Past Reargrets," July '02, p. 151)--we could choose from many different brake companies and their options. Up front, our options were wide open. Though our stock spindles had been cut and clearanced the first time around, most, if not all, front-disc brake systems come with new or modified spindles. After seeing the many options that Stainless Steel Brakes Corp. (SSBC) offers for performance street use, we decided to give the company a call to discuss our brake needs.

The folks at SSBC suggested their new Force 10 Super-Twin front brake kit. This is their old Super Duty (Cobra) kit with new Force 10 two-piston calipers of their own design. The Force 10 line features a 10-year warranty and has many available options. The Force 10 Super-Twin kit is available for Fox Mustangs and comes with SN-95 spindles and hubs, 13-inch vented rotors, Force 10 aluminum calipers, and DOT stainless brake lines.

The same kit is available for the '94-and-up SN-95, minus the spindles and hubs, of course, since they're already on the car. The Super-Twin can also be upgraded to the positively monstrous Force 10 four-piston caliper, but make sure you have plenty of wheel clearance for these babies. We chose the Super-Twin caliper since we wanted to use 17-inch "Bullitt" take-off wheels from Saleen. There was only one hitch when we we ordered our parts. The Super-Twin caliper was still undergoing DOT testing, so to prevent holding us up, SSBC fired off a set of its PBR calipers with the embossed SSBC logo. By the time you read this, the Super-Twin should be standard in the kit.

For the rear brakes, SSBC was intimately familiar with the 9-inch axle ends from years of vintage and street rod sales. Hooking us up with its Torino A111-3 kit netted us a Cobra-style rear setup with 11.65-inch rotors and Varga aluminum calipers. But instead of the one-piece cast bracket from the 8.8 disc kit with which many are familiar, the Torino kit comes with two-piece brackets that retain the axle itself. There are a few extra pieces in the kit, but it works well on a late-model Mustang with 9-inch ends.

All we needed to finish off our brake upgrades were a few hydraulic-system pieces and figuring out our parking-brake mechanism. We turned to Matt Bobbitt's excellent Fox and SN-95 brake Web site (http://svo73mm.cjb.net) for some tips. We also spoke with him about the project, and after discussing our proposed brake system, he suggested a '93 Cobra master cylinder, an adjustable proportioning valve, his own three-two port conversion master-cylinder adapter kit, and even the proper parking-brake cables, which we ordered from Park- way Ford since they were Ford Racing Performance Parts items. Matt knows Mustang brakes!

Read all the nitty gritty in the photo captions, and then plan your own brake upgrades. There's nothing like being able to stop as well as you can go.

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The major brake-system components came from Stainless Steel Brakes Corp. (SSBC)--its caliper options are what enticed us. SSBC can powdercoat its calipers in several different colors (we chose black) or you can have them polished. Rotor options include Xtra Life plating and degas slots, both shown here on our 13-inch front and 11.65-inch rear rotors.
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The Force 10 Super-Twin kit for Fox Mustangs includes SN-95 spindles and sealed bearing hubs (you can kiss bearing repacking goodbye). The spindles require one minor end-user modification; the caliper-mounting ear holes need to be enlarged for caliper-mounting bolt clearance. The proper drill bit is included, and the work takes but five minutes.
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We're starting with the front brakes. With the vehicle supported by jackstands and the front wheels removed, place a floor jack under the ball joint of the control arm. Remove the two spindle-to-strut mounting bolts. The tie rod end will need to be removed from the spindle as well. A few hard whacks with a hammer on the spindle "eye" will free the tie-rod stud.
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To access the spindle-to-control-arm nut, disconnect the flexible brake hose from the hard line at the frame-rail. You will reuse the brake-hose retaining clips.
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Rotate the spindle assembly to access the control-arm-to-spindle nut. Remove the cotter pin and then the nut. Again, a large hammer will help, with a few careful hits to the spindle eye to pop the control arm's ball joint stud free of the spindle.
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The new spindle supplied by SSBC slides right over the Fox control-arm stud with no problems. Make sure you have the correct side on the car (don't laugh) by confirming you have the steering arm of the spindle facing forward.

Horse Sense: While ultra-trick, mega-inch racing brakes may give your street ride that awesome look you want (with a price tag to match), it's sad when you have to mail-order replacement service parts and park your ride until they show up. With the Stainless Steel Brakes Force 10 system, replacement pads are as close as your nearest D-I-Y parts store.