Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
January 1, 2001
Photos By: Chuck James

Step By Step

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This shot is of the actual system we installed on our ’65. The wheel spacers shown will not be used on future kits, because the hub included in the kit has been redesigned to be used without the spacer for production kits.
Start by raising the front of your Mustang to a comfortable work height, and remove both front wheels. Then remove the bearing dust cap and the cotter pin underneath it.
The bearing retaining nut and washer as well as the outer bearing can be removed next. All of these items are new in the disc brake kit, so there is no need to worry about cleaning and reusing these items.
Depending upon the condition of your brakes, the drum assemblies may be difficult to remove. A few raps with a hammer and some side-to-side “rocking” will usually free them.
The original rubber brake hoses will not be used in this conversion either. Disconnect the hard line from the rubber hose, then remove the brake hose retaining clip to free the hose from the bracket. Use a plastic plug or rubber cap to minimize brake fluid loss.
In order to remove the remainder of the drum brake assembly, the four backing plate retaining bolts must be removed.
As shown here, one of the backing plate nuts was severely rounded by the use of a 12-point socket or wrench during a previous repair.
The bare spindle is now ready to accept the adapter brackets from the disc brake kit. Use thread-locking compound on all bracket bolts to prevent loosening during service.
The main adapter bracket installs to the backing plate bolt holes with new hardware. Make sure the bracket is facing forward with the flat edge positioned as shown.
Next, the caliper adapter bracket is slid in behind the main bracket and assembled with new hardware, which is included. Both brackets can be used on either side.
New hubs as well as new bearings and bearing races for the hubs come with the kit. Install the new bearing races into the hub with a race installer or large socket, then thoroughly pack the new wheel bearings with a disc brake–quality bearing grease.
Install the inner bearing into the new hub, then carefully tap a new grease seal into place (included in the kit as well). Sometimes a large socket or block of wood helps get the seal installed straight.
Slide the new hub onto the spindle with the installed bearing. Not so fast! Where you see the hub in this photo is as far as the hub would go. Since we had already installed the left side of the conversion with no problems, we were scratching our heads.
As it turns out, we had some sort of non-Mustang spindle installed. I hesitate to say a V-8 spindle, but it looked just like a V-8 spindle (except for the four-lug brakes). We ordered a spindle from our friends at Metro Mustang (where we picked up our V-8 spindles for Project ’66), and in a few days, we had the correct spindle (in foreground) installed and the adapter brackets transferred. Now on with the show.
The old hub retaining hardware wouldn’t work on the “correct” spindle; luckily, we scored some hardware from our local Mustang shop, Classic Creations of Central Florida. SSB says its production kits will come with hardware.
The new hub is finally in place with fresh bearings and torqued to the specs listed in the instructions. All we have left to do is install the dust cap.
Ah, the dust cap. Remember when the retaining nut was too big? Well, so was the dust cap (on the right side only). So we had one cap that was too big and another that looked like it came from Bosnia. We opted to purchase two new caps from the local parts store, but SSB says the kit will have these as well.
Installing the rotor is akin to installing one on a ’94-and-newer Mustang—you simply slip it over the hub. The bearings and other parts are already in place.
Shown here is the wheel spacer that came in our kit installed over the hub center. According to Michael Jonas at SSB, these spacers will no longer be needed with the redesigned hub and will not be included in future kits.
The calipers come fully loaded (meaning piston, seals, and pads), and installation is nothing more than sliding them in place and tightening down the two caliper slide bolts, which are T-50 Torx heads.
The new brake hoses are the same for either side and require a copper sealing washer on either side of the banjo bolt fitting. Simply snug this metric bolt for now, because you will need to orient the line in the next step.
Slip the new hose into the mounting bracket, and reinstall the retaining clip. Tighten the original steel line to the new hose with a line wrench or tubing wrench.
Rotate the steering linkage left to right, and check for any obstructions to the brake hoses. Reposition as necessary. Once the hoses are clear, tighten the banjo bolt at the calipers to secure the line.
Our stock 14-inch wheels slip right over our new brakes with no problems. Once the hubcaps have been put back on, no one will even know we have better braking—unless we want to tell them.
The remainder of the conversion occurs under the hood. Remove the original single-bowl master cylinder from the car by removing two bolts and disconnecting the pedal linkage.
The power brake version of this kit includes a factory-style booster with a pedal bracket. To reinstall the bolts removed in the last step requires either the removal of the booster bracket (for separate installation) or trimming the booster retaining bolts.
We opted to use a small cutting wheel and trim about 3/8 inch off the end of the booster retaining bolt to allow the original bolt to slip past. The installation choice is up to you.
A typical 9/16-inch wrench may prove to be too long for some installers for the brake booster. The shorter, full-polished 9/16-inch wrench below it performed the job perfectly. If you don’t have one in your toolbox, now you know you should get one before you start the project.
With the booster in place, there doesn’t appear to be room for a dual-reservoir master cylinder, but it fits. You will also need to locate and run a vacuum source line to the booster if you are installing power brakes as we are here. We’re on the homestretch now.
The new master cylinder includes a bench bleeding kit. We strongly suggest that you bleed the master cylinder to remove trapped air from the new assembly. Bleed the master cylinder until all air is removed, then carefully bolt the master cylinder to the booster—being careful of the fresh brake fluid (cover everything!).
The original rear brake line will be routed through an adjustable proportioning valve and on to the new master cylinder, thus the distribution block on the inner fender will need to have the rear line plugged with the included plug in the kit. It’s possible to install this plug with the distribution block in the car, but we removed it for photo clarity.
While we had to bend our own two new lines for the master cylinder, SSB informed us that these lines will come prebent in the production kits. The adjustable proportioning valve is installed inline and set at its middle setting for testing. The adjustment will depend upon the weight of your car and the braking system.
The last thing to do is screw on the adjustable pushrod to the back of the booster. It’s a bit tight, but you can get it in there. Simply thread the pushrod into the desired pedal height you want, then tighten the jam nut. Reinstall your brake light switch and retaining pin. Now you’re all set to bleed your brakes and enjoy them for many years.

Driving a vintage Mustang every day is usually a pleasant experience, for the most part. You receive smiles, waves, and "nice car" comments from passersby. And let's not forget the feeling of a vintage Mustang acting like a time machine of sorts, as you tool down the road to work, or the simplicity of knowing that the mechanics propelling you down the road can be fixed with basic handtools. Unfortunately, there is a price for driving a vintage Mustang every day. The constant threat of accidents, poor handling in bad weather, and borderline safe brakes are all vying for the top of the list. As more people have dropped the show circuit for driving pleasure, the aftermarket industry has thrived with upgrades and safety improvements for these vintage Mustangs.

Now you can easily drive a vintage Mustang with four-wheel power disc brakes, automatic overdrive transmission, three-point seatbelts, headrests, power windows, and more. That is, of course, if you have a V-8. Although the interior upgrades aren't powertrain-specific, other upgrades are.

Previously, if you wanted disc brakes on your 170ci or 200ci six-cylinder, you had to install V-8 spindles, then convert to a V-8 disc brake setup--which would give you a five-lug wheel on the front and a four-lug wheel on the back (unless you spent more money to convert that as well). But what if you wanted a simple disc brake conversion that retained the six-cylinder's four-lug pattern and fit behind the stock wheels? Finally, Stainless Steel Brakes has your answer. SSB's new disc brake conversion kit for six-cylinder Mustangs uses its own rotor with a modified GM caliper for a bolt-on conversion that requires no cutting or fabrication. The kit can be purchased in either manual or power forms and includes the safety of a dual-reservoir master cylinder. How can you beat that? We installed an early-prototype system on a '65 six-cylinder Mustang to see the results for ourselves. The system felt surefooted, and braking felt modern.

Read on as we install this kit for the first time and see what's what with SSB's latest brake kit.