Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
January 1, 2001

Step By Step

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We once again put our ’93 coupe in the more-than-qualified hands of Jay Meagher (pronounced Marr) at LaMotta Performance in Longwood, Florida. LaMotta Performance is a full-service Mustang performance shop located in Central Florida and it handled this installation with ease. Typically such an installation will set you back about $400.
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Stainless Steel Brakes’ front- and rear-disc conversion kits are complete with all hardware needed to install them. The only things we added were new front-wheel bearings. It’s always a good idea to add new front-wheel bearings when working on your front brakes, as they are a wear item, and most high-mile Fox cars probably need a new set. The rear kit we received included a high-volume master cylinder. We also stepped up to the optional slotted rotors both front and rear, which cost an extra $80 per kit. The big news about these two kits is that you don’t have to buy 17-inch wheels or go to a five-lug setup to increase your braking power, thus making the kits an excellent buy for those on a budget.
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Jay begins by draining the rear axle fluid out of our 8.8 and removing the axles. Then the drum brake backing plates must be removed. Make sure to disconnect the brake line before removing the backing plate.
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Install the caliper mounting brackets using the same holes the factory backing plates used. These brackets are side-specific so make sure the caliper will be mounted to the rear.
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With the caliper-mounting bracket installed, mount the splash shield and carefully reinstall the axle. Don’t forget to refill your differential with the appropriate fluid and friction modifier.
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Now we can slide the brake disc in place over the axle studs. The new discs slid right over our Moser axles.
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Install the caliper over the brake disc and use the supplied brake lines to go between the factory lines and the caliper. You will need to bend the brake lines in order to mate them together. A tube bender works best in this situation, but if you don’t have access to one, you can hand-bend them into place. Just make sure there are no binds in the lines because that will restrict brake-fluid flow. You don’t want that.
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New emergency brake cables are included in the rear-conversion kit. Make sure to specify what year Mustang you have because emergency brake cables did change—as in our case with our coupe being a ’93 model. To remove the factory cables, Jay disconnects them from the bracket and uses a 1/2-inch, closed-end wrench to collapse the spring-loaded clip. The new cables attach at all the factory locations and slide in place within the factory bracket.
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Up front, the R&R process is even easier. Start by disconnecting the flex hose from the rigid brake line at the frame-rail using a tube wrench. There’s also a clip that resembles a horseshoe that will need to be removed as well to remove the hose from the bracket. With the clip out of the way, remove the dust cover and the caliper. Loosen the rotor-attaching nut and remove the rotor.
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Clean the spindle using brake cleaner. Install the new inner wheel bearing and grease seal into the new rotor and install the new rotor onto the spindle. Install the outer wheel bearing, spindle washer, and spindle nut, and tighten the spindle nut to 15 in-lb. Then carefully reinstall the dust cap.
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You will need to install these bushings into the calipers before you install them. Jay uses the factory caliper bolts to set them in place.
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Set the brake pads in place within the caliper. Then install the caliper onto the rotor.
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This is a banjo bolt. The hole in the bolt allows brake fluid from the brake line to flow into the caliper. Attach the supplied stainless braided flex line to the caliper using the banjo bolt and torque it to 20 lb-ft.
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The other end of the braided flex line attaches at the framerail bracket using the factory horseshoe clip. The hole in this bracket must be opened up to accommodate the new brake line.
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We opted for the high-volume master cylinder, which is part of the rear-disc conversion kit we ordered. Stainless Steel Brakes provides the lines from the new master cylinder that attach to the factory lines. You will probably need to manipulate them slightly in order to line them up.
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Jay used this little gimmick to evacuate the brake fluid out of the system. When we were finished, he bled the brakes to remove any air that may have entered the system. TIP: If you’re unable to bleed the system fully, loosen the lower front caliper mounting bolt and rotate the caliper upward ever so slightly. This will get the bleeder screw at the highest point and allow any trapped air to escape.

Save for the revolutionary ’84-’86 SVO and the ’93 Cobra, the Fox Mustang’s disc/front, drum/rear brake arrangement left much to be desired in the braking department. Even when new, braking performance was not as hot as the performance coming from under the hood. Although a stock 5.0 Fox Mustang would click off 0-60 in a shade more than six seconds, getting from 60-0 proved an entirely different task. For routine prowling the brakes were fine, but as soon as you started to work them, that’s when the pucker factor went straight through the roof. Can you say brake fade?

In a battery of tests conducted by Motor Trend magazine back in the day (Sept. ’92 issue) between a 5.0 LX and its contemporaries, the Mustang placed dead last in braking distance. It took the Mustang 138 feet to come to a halt from 60 mph, while the average braking distance between all the cars was 122.9 feet.

Contributing to the Fox Mustang’s braking problems are all the performance additions available for it. Anyone worth his racing salt would rather spend money on aluminum heads, nitrous, blowers, and control arms than to buy better brakes. Most Mustangs are faster than stock as a result, but in many cases the factory brakes are left to fend off the laws of physics. If you are in this position, we have the answer to your braking problems.

Stainless Steel Brakes carries a variety of brake kits for a variety of automotive marques. We’re adding Stainless Steel’s Big Brake front disc kit and rear-disc conversion kit. Yes, we could’ve gotten bigger brakes from Stainless Steel, but we just added new wheels and tires, and in order for us to get bigger brakes we would’ve had to step up to a five- lug bolt pattern (more money out of pocket). Furthermore, adding these two brake kits doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy 17-inch wheels and tires.

Even if you still have 10-holes on your Mustang, you can have increased braking capabilities without breaking the bank. The front kit retails for $545 and the rear disc conversion kit, including high-volume master cylinder, will set you back $725. So, for $1,270 you too can have four-wheel disc brakes to show off to your friends.

After our new brakes were installed, we gave them about 500 miles of break-in time without hammering them to make sure everything seated correctly. Once the break-in period was over, we were impressed with their braking power. It doesn’t take as much effort to bring the car to a halt, and the increased confidence in braking power is definitely worth the price of admission.