Wayne Cook
August 1, 2000

Step By Step

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This photo shows the contents of our Stainless Steel Brakes kit from Auto Krafters. Typical of Stainless Steel Brakes’ kits, both the quality and completeness is first-rate. At the bottom are the new rotors, with caliper mounting brackets to the right. Above the rotors are new dust shields to go behind the rotors, and to the right are the brake calipers with stainless steel sleeves in the piston bores so corrosion and resultant leaks will never be a problem. At the top are the various seals, bearings, and hardware. On the top right are the brake pads, flex hoses, master cylinder, and rear brake proportioning valve.
To make the swap from drum to SSB discs, get started by removing the dust cap, cotter key, and castle nut. The front brake drum can then be removed from the car.
Remove the four nuts that retain the brake backing plate. The flat-headed studs that the nuts are attached to will often turn along with the nuts. Hence, the studs will often need to be held with a pair of Vise Grips. You’ll also need to disconnect the flex brake line from the back of the backing plate.
There is no need to disassemble the brake mechanism because the entire assembly comes off together.
Now is the time to inspect the bare spindle for wear or damage. Ours looked OK. Notice our new suspension and sway-bar components from Auto Krafters already in place.
Once the caliper mounting bracket is in position, the dust shield goes over it and both are retained with new fasteners furnished in the SSB kit.
The rotors come coated with a protective substance that must be rinsed off prior to installation. Failure to do this will result in badly impaired braking performance.
The new bearings must be packed with fresh grease prior to use. Don’t forget to pack the hub in the center of the rotor with new grease also.
With the hubs filled with grease, install the new seals by gently tapping around their circumference with a small hammer. Be sure the seals are fully seated with the edge of the seal being flush with the hub opening. Finally, apply a small amount of grease to the rubber edge of the seal itself to protect against damage when the seal goes over the shoulder on the spindle.
With the rotor in place on the spindle, the large washer and castle nut can go into place. Tighten the castle nut to 15 lb-ft, and then back off one notch with respect to the cotter keyhole in the spindle.
In this photo we see the new cotter key going into place. Those greasy fingerprints on the rotor are a big no-no; they will have to be cleaned off with brake cleaning solvent.
Install the new dust cap on the rotor by gently tapping around the circumference with a hammer and flat-blade screwdriver or chisel. It’s difficult to get the seating process started, but be patient and the cap will seat into position.
The dust shield comes slightly oversized from Ford, and SSB includes a notice about the need to trim them slightly. We used a pair of tin snips. Failure to do this will make caliper installation extremely difficult, if not impossible. This minor glitch is a Ford oversight, and not an error on the part of SSB.
Here, Windsor-Fox technician Jeff Holt fits the caliper into place with the fasteners going into the caliper from behind.
When all fasteners are started properly in their threads, torque them down to 53 lb-ft.
With the caliper fastened into place, the brake pads should be installed next. This is easy to do when the calipers are empty because the pistons are retracted all the way.
These special retaining clips are used to secure the pads in the correct position. We used a lock washer on the fasteners because we want to ensure that the brake pads don’t come out of position.
When it’s time to install new flex lines, don’t forget to use the special copper washers included for this purpose. Copper is a soft and malleable metal that will conform to any small imperfection in the seal area and ensure a leakproof seal.
Here’s how the flex line installs on the caliper. Snug the line down firmly, but not too tight, against the caliper. Always use line wrenches when working on any brake lines to avoid damaging the fittings.
Our Fairlane has larger hard-line end fittings than a Mustang, but SSB includes the adapters that allowed us to continue without having to go to the auto parts store on a fitting hunt. SSB kits are famous for completeness as well as quality.
Here, you can see the completed flex brake line installation including the line, adapter, and retaining clip used to hold the line to the factory bracket welded to the car.
This rear-brake proportioning valve is a great addition to the kit and allows you to adjust the amount of pressure going to the rear brakes. It’s a great safety feature for adjustment to avoid premature rear brake lockup.
Here, our new dual-reservoir master cylinder goes into place on the firewall. Now is the time to replace any hard lines underhood that look questionable.
Mount the rear brake-proportioning valve in a spot where it will be easy to adjust. If you can’t find a solid surface to mount the valve, we’ve seen very sanitary installations where the valve is supported by the brake lines alone.
All that remains now is to finalize the brake-line connections to the master cylinder, then to bleed the brakes. The entire installation required less than four hours.

Whenever we begin a new vintage project, one of our first concerns is decent brakes, especially on a vintage Mustang or Ford that originally came with all-wheel drums. In the day-to-day hustle of modern traffic, the last thing we want is to be found lacking in the stopping department. While drum brakes work well on the rear and offer superior holding power for the emergency brake, they can be a real handful when the drums are located all around.

Problems associated with drum brakes include high pedal effort and heat buildup, with resulting fade. Front drum brakes can also give unpredictable performance from one side of the car to the other, especially in wet weather. Add higher freeway speeds into the equation and you could be in for a real thrill ride.

On many ’60s cars, disc brakes weren’t available even as an option. The majority of Mustangs came with four-wheel drum brakes. However, front disc brakes were available as an option or as part of the GT Equipment Group, which put the newly introduced Mustang near the cutting edge of OEM braking performance. The front disc brakes offered for the Mustang were a four-piston-per-caliper arrangement that represented a state-of-the-art package at the time. These four-piston calipers have withstood the test of time and are still a great braking arrangement for early Mustangs and other Fords.

For our project ’67 Fairlane, we knew we would be needing brake improvement for both street use and for hauling down at the end of a 1,320 run. We spoke to Auto Krafters to see what they would recommend, and the result was a Stainless Steel Brakes front disc brake kit for the ‘67 Mustang. Featuring the four-pistons-per-caliper arrangement, the kit was a direct transfer to the ’67 Fairlane, and it bolted right onto our car with no modifications required. Follow along with us as we journey out to Windsor-Fox Performance Engineering for the installation, and we’ll show you just what’s involved in getting your vintage car to stop with the best.