Drum brakes have their place—just not on any kind of performance car that’s driven with enthusiasm.
In our experience, drum brakes are good for one and perhaps two aggressive stomps on the brake pedal from speed and then, like Douglas MacArthur’s old soldier, they just fade away. That’s why Summit Racing offers an affordable disc brake conversion kit for most of the popular performance rear axle assemblies including the Dana 60, Mopar 8 ¾, the Ford 8- and 9-inch and the GM 10- and 12-bolt rear-ends. The Summit Racing Disc Brake Conversion Kit is a simple application of adapting a factory style caliper to these early rear-end housings to make the swap a simple one.
We ordered the GM 10/12-bolt kit and spent about 90 minutes carefully installing the system. If you’re good with tools, you could easily do it in under an hour. The kit is a great way to upgrade from those dusty old drum brakes, improve stopping performance, and look good doing it. And all for an affordable price.
What’s not to like?
We didn’t cover the steps involved with removing the axles—a process you must complete to remove the old drum backing plates and install the caliper mounting brackets. This requires draining the gear lube and removing the rear cover. With both the Ford 8.8 and the GM 10- and 12-bolt c-clip axle housings, the cover has to come off to get to the C-clips. Just remove the cover, remove the small bolt that retains the large cross pin, and slide the pin out of the way. This will create enough room to slide the axles in enough to remove the c-clips. Then the axles can be removed.
Unless you’ve done this job before, take the time to read the instructions. They offer plenty of tips on doing the job quickly and efficiently. That leaves you more time to enjoy your ride with its much more reliable stopping power.