1969 Chevelle Manual Drum Brakes - Chevelle Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions & more.

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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 09, 6:54 PM Thread Starter
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Cool 1969 Chevelle Manual Drum Brakes


So I am getting my new ride this week and my first issue is that the brakes are really stiff. I have chicken legs and dont want to pop a tendon pushing down the pedal. Yeah, I weak legs. What is the quick fix?

Get a power booster and keep the drum brakes until I have more $$ to do a conversion? I want to get the A/C fixed at the same time and not sure until i take it in to see what is really wrong with it. All componets are there, but missing belt.

I have read conversion stuff on the site already and seems the going rate is about $1000-1200 bucks for a conversion. How about going to a junk yard and getting compatible disc brakes that will line up with my 69 chevelle?

Thanks for any input! I wont be insulted if you crack about my legs either. The truth doesnt hurt.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 09, 9:01 PM
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Re: 1969 Chevelle Manual Drum Brakes

Having driven my 66 for 2 years with the original four wheel manual drums, I can say that, if in decent shape, or at least intact, they will stop ok.

However, I just finished the install of the Ground Up front disc conversion kit, also manual, I love it. I also got a complete set of new brakelines and new flex hoses. Highly recommended. I have way less than a grand in it.

I checked into the options, but figured that I would spend a couple hundred bucks for any partial upgrade, so I kept the drums working. I did a couple of salvage yard sweeps and found nothing. The chances of finding usable salvage stuff is pretty slim. You can try simply installing new or reman stuff from the parts store, but you will spend a lot of time and money getting all the stuff. The kits are the way to go.

Power drums were an option, so that may be the easiest way to go, with a new booster and master.

My priority was getting a dual master and disc brakes, so that's what I did.

66 Malibu Coupe, home rebuilt 350. Took me 39 years to get her!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 09, 9:44 PM
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Cameron Milne
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Re: 1969 Chevelle Manual Drum Brakes

Oh how power steering and power brakes have turned us into wusses (it is hard to go back).

Self-energizing drum brakes don't take too much pedal pressure themselves, but the natural tendancy is to really press hard once the braking "goes away" (the dreaded drum brake fade). You could easily add a power booster to your drums, but get ready for touchy brakes. Power really makes more sense if you have disk brakes (which require more line pressure) or metallic shoes (you really have to plant your foot until they warm up, which doesn't take long, it just seems that way.)

If you have it, it doesn't matter.
If you don't have it, it doesn't matter.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 09, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Chevelle Manual Drum Brakes

After much research, I am going to do a power disc brake conversion in the front and set it up to do the rear brakes at a later time.

Thank both of you for chiming in and providing your thoughts and recommendations.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 09, 6:00 AM
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Re: 1969 Chevelle Manual Drum Brakes

Front disc conversion is a great way to go, but don't bother with converting the rear drums to discs. I've had many A bodies that had front disk/rear drum and they stopped just as well as any new cars I've driven. Where the benefit of four wheel disc brakes come in (beyond bragging rights) is when you stop and go and hard and fast over and over and over. Short of road rage, that doesn't happen in every day driving.
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