4 Piston vs. 1 Piston Calipers - Chevelle Tech
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Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions & more.

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Old Jun 13th, 05, 7:42 PM
Rowdy Rowdy is offline
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Default 4 Piston vs. 1 Piston Calipers

When considering front discs for my '66 Chevelle, my preference was the nearest to what would have been original ('67 Chevelle), but they proved to be quite elusive, at least reasonably priced. Not long ago, I settled on a '69-'72 new conversion, which performs fine, especially compared to non power 4 wheel drum for 25 years. Yesterday a neighbor gave me a pair of 4 piston calipers that were in the trunk of a '68 Nova SS that he just bought. He is interested in my discs for his '69 El Camino SS Clone. I have a few questions.
1. Why did G.M. go to single piston ? I assume probably price not performance
2. How did the 4 piston perform ? Being new tech for '67, were there problems
3. How hard to find rotors, brkts, kits ?
4. Which spindles ? Original '66 drum, '69 disc, completely different
5. Are these actually Chevelle ? Both rt and lft (they are obviously side specific) have the same casting # 5455530 & 5455533, both calipers have both #'s cast in them.
Thanks Rowdy
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'66 Malibu
540cid 753.8hp 673.4tq
COAN Extreme Street Th400/10"
3.55 12 bolt Auburn posi
DAILY DRIVER
BEST: 60' 1.59 / 1/4 10.591 / MPH 129.70
3770 lbs, 91 Octane, M/T ET Street Radials
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  #2  
Old Jun 13th, 05, 10:09 PM
chevry chevry is offline
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Default Re: 4 Piston vs. 1 Piston Calipers

Those are Camaro castings which had a smaller bore. (1 7/8" vs 2 1/8)"
edit: They might have been used on some Chevelles, but most Abodys used the bigbore.

4 piston brakes are a little more efficient at transferring energy, have more pad surface area, less fade, and less (slower) pad wear.

They have the seals around the pistons, and the pistons are spring loaded. This can create problems. If there is any pitting of the bore it will leak, and if there is any runout in the disc, the pistons wobble and can suck air into the system.
The parts are more expensive, and can be hard to find, esp the correct hose brackets. Camaro hose brackets are available to fit Camaro calipers. I dont know what hoses you would use.
They also tend to wear the pads in a taper, which can make a low pedal if it is severe.
They are also quite a bit heavier than the single piston type.

If I had a '66 and wanted discs on it, I'd probably get the '69 style.
If I had a 67-68, I might want the right ones.
If I had drums and got some free Camaro calipers in good shape, I might try to make them work, but more likely I'd sell them.

I dont know on the '66 spindle. If the '69 bracket is bolting to it, the 67-68 will too. New caliper brackets and the required different backing plate are available new.

The 67-68 Calipers require a rotor with a smaller hub. The 69-72 can use either rotor.
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Old Jun 14th, 05, 4:24 AM
Rowdy Rowdy is offline
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Default Re: 4 Piston vs. 1 Piston Calipers

Thanks for the response, the application of these calipers was the most important issue. Knowing that the casting # is Camaro leads me to believe that they are in fact Chevy II calipers as the Raybestos application catalog states that the part #'s are the same. Actually it states that the pistons are 2 1/16 Chevelle and 1 29/32 Camaro and Nova. I thought it bizarre that the casting #'s were the same, even though they were clearly right and left (different). The brake hose and brackets are attached and rotor/hub,backing plate, etc.. are available aftermarket, I have not located caliper brackets. Since they are not Chevelle items, I'm going to keep the '69 discs for now. I figured that there probably were some performance issues, first year engineering always does ('84 Corvette). With the shortcomings that you pointed out, I may redirect my upgrade goals towards Baer (or similar),no matter what, they'll never be "factory" discs, not on a '66 anyway.
Thanks again,
Rowdy
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Rowdy
'66 Malibu
540cid 753.8hp 673.4tq
COAN Extreme Street Th400/10"
3.55 12 bolt Auburn posi
DAILY DRIVER
BEST: 60' 1.59 / 1/4 10.591 / MPH 129.70
3770 lbs, 91 Octane, M/T ET Street Radials
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88c6MLbQvEI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTd2O5fZ2lU&NR=1
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  #4  
Old Jun 14th, 05, 10:59 AM
chevry chevry is offline
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Default Re: 4 Piston vs. 1 Piston Calipers

Yes, you are right. They came on the ChevyII/Nova in 67-68 as well as the Camaro. I dont know why I keep thinking the big bore are 2.125". I've been corrected many times, and even have a set. 2 1/16". Yup. The small bore are usually listed as 1 7/8, but that's pretty close to accurate (within 1/32").

I thought it was CPP that had the correct caliper brackets for about $200, but I cant find them now. It must have been another site with blue backgound...
Rickscamaro lists some for the J56 option, but I think those were different than the J52 (bigger Vette style rotors, Vette calipers).
CPUcarparts lists 67-68 brackets, used, with no picture. 1967-81Camarocarparts.com lists them in their downloadable catalog, but not online.

That same style of caliper was used from 67-81 on the Corvette, so they work fine, actually great, but they are finicky, and you have to get them perfect the first time. With the '69 single piston floating style, Flunkymonkey can work on them, they stop fine, and you rarely know the difference between a great job and a mediocre one. Plus, if there is a mistake, they dont lead you in circles as much trying to fix it.
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