In recent articles, we have been replacing worn out items on our project ’86 Corvette. This time, we’re focusing our attention on the front brakes. These are not items that were faulty in design like some of the other items on the early C4s. The brakes were actually quite impressive, but like everything else, they have become outdated.
We are going to be replacing our stock 12-inch single-piston brakes with a set of 13-inch dual piston brakes that came on the 1996 Corvettes. Zip Corvette Parts provided a complete C4 Corvette Performance Brake Rotors package with the Grand Sport calipers and the 13-inch Gas Vane rotors.
We used the upgrade version to install the big brakes on our ’86. This is not a difficult part to replace, but you will need to make sure you can devote an entire day to allow for the chance of complications. You will need a 13mm wrench and a 21mm wrench in order to remove the caliper. You may want to have a hammer handy in case your rotors are frozen onto the spindle assembly. You will also need a small container of brake fluid to top off the system back once you are done.
Click on the images for expanded views – it’s much easier on the eyes.
01: This is what our project ’86 brakes looked like before we started. The first thing you will want to do is jack the front of your Corvette off the ground and make sure you support the car on jack stands. Remove both wheels.
02: Using a 13mm wrench, remove the caliper line bolt. This is a special bolt that is not supplied in the kit, so make sure you do not misplace it. If you are going to be replacing your brake line (a good idea), then you can go ahead and loosen it from the steel line where it is attached to the car and discard it.
03: Use a 21mm wrench to remove the brake caliper bracket bolts. These are very tight so you might have to use a pipe over the wrench to get some leverage. If you have access to air tools, you can use an impact gun to remove these bolts.
04: As you can see in the picture, we are also replacing the bearings on this car. You do not have to remove the bearings if you are just upgrading the brakes. This is what your assembly will look like once you remove the caliper and the rotor. Once the caliper is removed, the rotor should slide off. However, sometimes they are frozen, so if needed lightly tap the rotor with a hammer until it slides off the spindle assembly.
05: Now you can slide the new 13-inch rotor into place. There are left and right sides, so make sure you have the vanes going in the correct direction.
06: You can use lug nuts to hold the rotor in place while installing the caliper.
07: Assembled the caliper and bracket before putting them on, along with installing the new brake pads. Once together, install by sliding the caliper over the rotor and aligning the bracket with the bolt holes.
08: With both bolts in place, install some blue LocTite on them, then torque to 135 lbs.ft.(New retainers and grommets are provided.) Now you can remove the old movement.
09: Now you can install that special bolt you set aside earlier for your brake line. When installing the brake line, make sure you have the little copper washers on both sides of the fitting. Now tighten the brake line bolt to 30 lbs.ft., then fill the master cylinder. Follow the instructions in the manual to bleed your new brakes.
10: Once the new brakes are bled, you can go ahead and remount your wheels. Then get ready to enjoy the added stopping power of the bigger brakes. Not only do you get the performance of the big brakes, but also they have that certain race car image.
Brake Replacement C4:
1984-1996 C4 Corvette Front Caliper and Rotor Replacement
Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
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