Since our '70 Chrysler 300's...
Since our '70 Chrysler 300's suspension and brakes hadn't been touched since they were installed from the factory they gave us quite a fight, so we fought back with brute force. when all else fails, get a bigger hammer!
After driving our Hurst edition '70 Chrysler 300 for a while, we realized that stopping this beast was becoming something of a task. While the braking system did stop the car, it was beginning to pull to the right and was making a grinding noise that clearly told us our brakes needed help. The problem is there is not much aftermarket support for Chrysler C-Bodies, so our options were limited. We did find that Stainless Steel Brakes makes a rear disc conversion for the 83/4 rearend, so we ordered the kit and installed it in last month's issue. For the front, however, our options were sparse. If our car was originally equipped with drum brakes we could get an upgrade kit, but our Chrysler had factory discs, and we didn't necessarily want to change to drum spindles due to the rarity of this vehicle. Since no one makes an upgrade kit for our application, we were limited to rebuilding the factory disc brakes but dreaded trying to find parts. You know the story, you go to the local store and ask for pads and caliper rebuild kits, they ask if the car has air conditioning, you ask why that matters, then they say they don't have the parts. We've been down this road before. Of course, we're assuming the local parts store's computer goes back to 1970, some don't. In any case, our research led us to a great source for braking systems out of Charlotte, North Carolina, called Brake Tech Solutions.
With more than 25 years experience designing and rebuilding braking systems, Brake Tech Solutions can either provide the O-rings, pads, and hardware to do the job yourself, or they offer full-service rebuilding of your entire brake system. They can also custom design brake systems for older cars that have no aftermarket support, like ours.
This is a good shot of our...
This is a good shot of our front brakes prior to being rebuilt. As rusty and old as they were, we were skeptical that any of our components could be re-used, but after an overhaul by Brake Tech Solutions they were looking and performing like new.
During the inspection of our Chrysler's front end it was apparent that our front suspension was worn, and that new bushings, tie rods, and ball joints would need to be installed. A quick call to Just Suspension confirmed they had the parts we needed in stock and, once ordered, they arrived in a couple of days. Since our car is fairly rare, and we don't want to stray too far from factory installed hardware, plus we'd be busy with the front-suspension overhaul, we opted to have our factory disc brakes overhauled by Brake Tech Solutions. When we say they are a full-service brake restoration center, we mean full service. When we contacted them and told them what we had, they stated we just needed to remove the front brakes, spindles and all, and they could perform all the work and return the brakes in about two weeks. We must admit we were initially skeptical about the two-week turn time, especially with Christmas looming around the corner, but we removed our brakes and shipped them to Brake Tech for an overhaul.
Before you remove any parts,...
Before you remove any parts, don't forget to loosen the tension on the torsion bar. After removing the caliper and rotor, the spindle is removed by loosening the two bolts attaching it to the lower ball joint, then removing the upper ball-joint retaining nut (shown here) before separating the two with a ball joint separator (commonly known as a pickle fork).
Even during the holiday season Brake Tech Solutions had our front brakes back to us in less time than we thought possible, and the quality of their work was apparent. The brakes didn't look rebuilt, they looked new. Not only were the calipers completely overhauled and coated, new rotors were included, as well as new flexible brake lines, wheel bearings, and all the hardware necessary to complete the job. They even cleaned, inspected, and coated our spindles prior to sending the parts back to us for installation. We have performed brake overhauls ourselves, but have been burned in the past by not having the necessary equipment to repair all the parts. An example of this is the calipers. Inside the caliper is one (as in ours) or more pistons, usually made from aluminum that fit into the steel bore of the caliper. Much like the pistons and bores of an engine, the bore of the caliper will become worn or corroded, and the seal will no longer keep the fluid inside the caliper. While in most applications a new caliper can be obtained, in older vehicles like ours, new parts may not be available. In the absence of new calipers there is only one solution. The caliper's bore must be machined to clean up the damage, the oversize pistons and seals are installed, or the bore is sleeved back to its original size to fit the factory pistons and seals, which is the preferred method. Brake Tech has the tools and equipment to repair calipers and re-sleeve them if necessary. They can even take it a step further and install stainless-steel sleeves so corrosion will never again be an issue. We were impressed, not only with the quality of their work and the short turnaround time, but also with their professionalism and their general knowledge of Mopar braking systems. It's nice to know there are companies as dedicated as we are to keeping these old Chryslers on the road.