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Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: Buzz
Date: October 11, 2021 04:13PM
Would love to replace rear drum brakes w/ discs on our minivan, as well as new cylinders and cables all around. Online info and real life local brake peeps seem to be in conflict. How do I find a decent brake shop to make this happen? Thirty-something years ago I woulda/coulda done it myself, but that's not happening this century.
Thanks.
==
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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: RgrF
Date: October 11, 2021 04:29PM
Make/model/year? With info, if you'd like, I could run it past my guy in Van Nuys or my other guy in Woodland Hills.
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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: Thrift Store Scott
Date: October 11, 2021 04:46PM
If disc brakes were available from the factory on some version your minivan, it should be a relatively easy swap, provided you can find a donor vehicle from which to get ALL the necessary associated hardware of which there will be a lot. Aside from the obvious stuff such as the brakes themselves you'll need a different master cylinder designed for a disc/disc setup, in addition you may need a different ABS unit and associated wiring/sensors, new Emergency Brake cables, and possibly even a different rear axle/wheel hub because disc brakes typically mount to the chassis very differently than drums do.

Assuming all the correct pieces have been obtained and are in good working order, the local brake people likely wouldn't touch the job because it's a modification of an existing vehicle, not maintenance or repair on one, and they don't want to be liable for any problems resulting from a non-manufacturer-sanctioned modification.

There are aftermarket drum-to-disc conversion kits available from various manufacturers for many "classic" vehicles as well as, one assumes, later models too, but the likelihood of a finding such a kit specifically designed for any minivan is low.

Is there a particular recurrent problem with the existing rear drum brakes?



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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: davester
Date: October 11, 2021 05:33PM
On most cars the rear brakes contribute very little to overall braking power which is why so many vehicles had front discs only. You are likely to find that after a costly conversion and adjusting of the front/rear braking balance, your vehicle won't stop any better.



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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: Racer X
Date: October 11, 2021 05:45PM
If you really feel that braking is lacking, some premium heavy duty pads and shoes are your best bet.

My partner's Mountaineer brakes just fine, but when heavily loaded, and with extended braking, the front rotors heat up and they shudder from I assume heat warped rotors. When they cool down, the rotors are fine again. It happens every camping or rock collecting trip with extended hills. This spring I'm going police brake pads and premium rotors at all 4 corners (rear disk too)



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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: October 11, 2021 06:50PM
Not worth it. You would need all the new hardware and brackets for the rear assuming it was ever an option on your van and a new proportioning valve for the front. It will easily be several thousand dollars. Not worth it.



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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: October 11, 2021 09:12PM
On most cars the rear brakes contribute very little to overall braking power which is why so many vehicles had front discs only.


This.

Maintenance on disc brakes is much easier and straight forward to my eye, but converting from drum to disk just doesn't add meaningful ROI at any level, in my opinion.

I wonder if this is a job for a typical brake place, or if something of a higher level custom shop would be needed.



If you really feel that braking is lacking, some premium heavy duty pads and shoes are your best bet.


That's how I'd roll.

There might be a concern about pad/shoe and rotor/drum compatibility.

I went to sintered metallic pads on a bike years back, and quickly chewed up my rotors.

For a good while, stopping was phenomenal, but evenutually it degraded as the rotors got thin (faster than the pads) enough they'd heat way up and I'd get almost immediate brake fade.

Just something to be aware of, if materials haven't improved since.





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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: space-time
Date: October 11, 2021 09:43PM
It’s a minivan not a sports car. Take it easy. You’d be better of making sure OEM system is working properly, including making sure it’s bled properly and has fresh fluid than converting rear brakes from drum to disk.

While at it, check the mAh on the car battery.
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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: October 11, 2021 11:08PM
If you're not going to do it, then it's not worth it.

Also, to get the most out out what brake system you do have, be sure to use only semi metallic pads.
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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: Racer X
Date: October 11, 2021 11:48PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
If you're not going to do it, then it's not worth it.

Also, to get the most out out what brake system you do have, be sure to use only semi metallic pads.

ceramic is where its at these days, or a hybrid ceramic/metallic.



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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: October 12, 2021 09:39AM
Quote
Racer X
Quote
mrbigstuff
If you're not going to do it, then it's not worth it.

Also, to get the most out out what brake system you do have, be sure to use only semi metallic pads.

ceramic is where its at these days, or a hybrid ceramic/metallic.

Not if you want to stop in less distance! But, yes, for squeaking and dust, they are better.
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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: Buzz
Date: October 12, 2021 01:34PM
Googling various car forums says it's not a big deal, just a couple of hundred bucks more than a full brake job. It's an older Toyota Sienna, just before they went to 4 wheel discs. Local places want to turn the job into Fort Knox, Jr., which is not in the cards. Our other cars, Lexus sedan/Acura SUV have discs all around, and both stop way better than the minivan.

I would think there are plenty of compatible, sacrificial disc brake units in junkyards everywhere. Add some new brake lines/cables/pads, and a couple of hours labor, and it's done.
==
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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: October 12, 2021 03:31PM
.....I brake.....for tube tops.......



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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: JoeH
Date: October 12, 2021 03:42PM
Quote
Buzz
Googling various car forums says it's not a big deal, just a couple of hundred bucks more than a full brake job. It's an older Toyota Sienna, just before they went to 4 wheel discs. Local places want to turn the job into Fort Knox, Jr., which is not in the cards. Our other cars, Lexus sedan/Acura SUV have discs all around, and both stop way better than the minivan.

I would think there are plenty of compatible, sacrificial disc brake units in junkyards everywhere. Add some new brake lines/cables/pads, and a couple of hours labor, and it's done.
==

...and a new master cylinder. 4 wheel disc brakes use a different one than is used for front disc brakes with rear drum brakes. Does your rear axles even have the necessary mounting points for the calipers or the discs?
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Re: Speaking of brakes....
Posted by: Thrift Store Scott
Date: October 12, 2021 05:11PM
Quote
Buzz
Googling various car forums says it's not a big deal, just a couple of hundred bucks more than a full brake job. It's an older Toyota Sienna, just before they went to 4 wheel discs. Local places want to turn the job into Fort Knox, Jr., which is not in the cards. Our other cars, Lexus sedan/Acura SUV have discs all around, and both stop way better than the minivan.
That probably has more to do with the Acura SUV and particularly the Lexus sedan being premium vehicles that are expected to be notably superior to similar, less-expensive vehicles in all performance categories, whereas the Sienna was only ever expected to be superior to other minivans at the time.

Quote
Buzz
I would think there are plenty of compatible, sacrificial disc brake units in junkyards everywhere. Add some new brake lines/cables/pads, and a couple of hours labor, and it's done.
==
Go for it then, but keep your expectations as to the end result of the modification realistic.



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