Conversion to rear disc brakes is an affordable and highly effective solution to this TLC problem. Primary aftermarket suppliers include The Streetrod Manufacturing Co. (TSM ) and Downey Inc.. Both companies offer bolt-on kits consisting of a mounting plate machined to fit on the end flange of the axle housing, rebuilt calipers (typically from mid-sized GM cars) and new rotors (from full-sized GM trucks) machined to fit the TLC axles.
We chose the kit ofered by TSM, and are extremely pleased with the quality of all components and fabrication. Minor grinding on the calipers was required to secure a good fit, but otherwise the installation was quick and easy. With the spring-over conversion and custom spring saddles, new brake lines and fittings were required, but the location and geometry of the new lines turned out quite well. As with the front, brake lines are new 3/16" steel lines covered with clear Tygon tubing to reduce vibration and hopefully inhibit rust.
The image above shows the final installation for the passenger rear wheel. Tires are 35 x 12.50 x 15 BFG Mud Terranes mounted on American Racing 15 x 8 alloy rims with a 3.5" backspacing. These rims fit both the stock front discs and the TSM rear discs very nicely. The TSM calipers are plumbed into the TLC brake lines via an 8" rubber line with a banjo fitting on the caliper end and a 10mm female fitting on the other end. The short S-shaped steel line running from the T-block to the rubber line was a bit tricky to bend and flare, but the end result looks nice. You can also see in the image the relocated filler plug for the rear differential. Relocation to this rather extreme position was required by the tilting of the axle housing in order to achieve optimum drive-shaft angle.
Conversion from the ineffecient rear drum brakes to disc
brakes requires installation of a proportioning valve somewhere in the
hydraulic line controlling the rear brakes in order to achieve proper balance
in braking between the front and rear. We purchased an adjustable
TSM porportioning valve, and mounted it on the firewall where it can easily
be reached for manual adjustment. This image shows the proportioning
valve mounted on the passenger's-side firewall near the original location
of the stock TLC regulator assembly (upper left-hand portion of picture,
behind the air-filter connection of the Vortec fuel-injection cover).
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