How To Install Baer Four-Wheel Disc Brakes
Baer Four-Wheel Brakes Puts Some Serious Halters On The Ford Pony
From the April, 2005 issue of Mustang Monthly
By Dale Amy
Photography by Dale Amy
The completed front brakes...
The completed front brakes really fill the gaps between the Torq-Thrust II spokes, and will accept a variety of pads
for street or track use. In the late '60s, Trans-Am racers would have killed to have brakes this good.
In the December '04 issue, we took the Classic Design Concepts '69 Mach 1, lowered it, and swapped out its 14-inch stock footwear in favor of 17x8 Torq-Thrust II rims mounting modern radial rubber. This month, the adequate, but not athletic, factory front disc/rear drum brakes will be banished and replaced by more capable four-wheel discs from Baer Brake Systems.
When we left Classic Design...
When we left Classic Design Concepts' Mach 1 project late last year, it was looking good with a National Parts Depot handling/lowering kit and Torq-Thrust II wheels. Now it just needs some good-looking, good-stopping brakes behind the 17-inch wheels.
George Huisman's latest toy is a '69 Royal Maroon 351 Mach 1. George is the guy who signs all the checks at Classic Design Concepts, and he's utterly irrepressible when it comes to personalizing his Mustangs-old or new. Last time, a Street Bandit handling/lowering kit from National Parts Depot, teamed with 17-inch Torq-Thrust II rims, made for a serious personality makeover on his small-block Mach. This month we'll improve the view behind those American Racing rims with some dinner-platter fore and aft discs from Baer Brake Systems.
Because George is, well, George, he chose not just any of Baer's binders, but the road-course-ready Track/Touring Claw kits, with one-piece drilled, slotted, and zinc-washed rotors. Will the Mach ever see a racetrack? Not likely, but it will give change back from the proverbial dime on any street stops. With George at the helm, that's a good thing.
Minus some of the supplied...
Minus some of the supplied mounting hardware, this is one of Baer's Track Claw kits, part number 1261076. The calipers are two-piston PBRs from Australia-not unlike those found on the current Mustang GT-that mount to the Mach
1's factory spindle using the kit's billet-aluminum brackets. The pads are pre-installed. As you can see, braided brake lines are included, as are brackets for the junction between these flex lines and the car's steel lines.
Part and parcel of the package...
Part and parcel of the package are new front hubs and a replacement master cylinder.
Major components of the Touring...
Major components of the Touring Claw rear kit (Baer PN 1262036) include 12-inch rotors, single-piston PBR calipers with pre-installed pads and parking-brake provision, brackets to mount them to the axlehousing, and braided flex lines. Not shown are the kit's new right and left parking-brake cables, and manually adjustable proportioning valve.
Here's the '69 Mach's (optional)...
Here's the '69 Mach's (optional) stock front disc-brake setup, consisting of 11 1/4 x 7/8 rotors on integral hubs
and single-piston floating calipers. Pretty good for their day, but they're like small-scale models compared to the
Four bolts mount the caliper...
Four bolts mount the caliper to its anchor plate, which is mounted to the spindle with two safety-wired bolts.
Normally, you'd simply unbolt the complete caliper/anchor-plate assembly from the spindle and get on with it, but we
wanted to show the components separately to illustrate. CDC's Craig Colden first removed the caliper from its
anchor. For now, he left the brake flex line connected and rested the caliper on the hoist.
The rotor and hub come off...
The rotor and hub come off as an assembly after removing the dust cap, cotter pin, nut lock, adjusting nut, and flat
washer. None of this hardware is reused, nor are the wheel bearings, as the kit contains suitable replacements. In
fact, the new hubs come completely assembled and packed with Redline synthetic grease.
We didn't retain the splash...
We didn't retain the splash shields, which are secured to the spindles with three bolts (arrows.)
As we said, this caliper anchor...
As we said, this caliper anchor normally comes off with the caliper as a unit. We took them off separately to show
how the anchor plate mounts to the spindle at two points (arrows), and to show the mass of this cast-iron piece
compared to the kit's billet-aluminum replacement shown in the next photo.
These black-anodized billet...
These black-anodized billet brackets can now be pre-assembled to the calipers using one hex-head bolt and one
capscrew (arrow). But before mounting these caliper/bracket assemblies to the spindles...
...the stock flex line, shown...
...the stock flex line, shown
here, is disconnected from the chassis brake hard line, and the junction block and its mounting bracket are unbolted
from the framerail.
Replacement L-brackets are...
Replacement L-brackets are included in the kit to secure the new braided flex line/hard line junction to the chassis
(using the original bolts).
At this point, Baer's anodized...
At this point, Baer's anodized front hubs can go on the spindles. These come with all necessary mounting hardware,
including dust caps not shown here.
With the kit's 13x1 1/16 rotors...
With the kit's 13x1 1/16 rotors held in place by a wheel stud or two, the caliper/bracket assemblies can be bolted
to the spindles. The Baer rotors are directionally vented, and are therefore side-specific for proper cooling (we're
looking at the driver side). Proper orientation of the rotor grooves (if so equipped) is also important to minimize
"carbon smearing" from the pad material.
Though they worked OK, the...
Though they worked OK, the rear drum brakes looked plenty skanky behind the open architecture of the American Racing
rims. Here, the crusty drum has already been slid off the studs (the factory Tinnerman nuts were long gone).
Since we're removing all vestiges...
Since we're removing all vestiges of the drum-brake assembly, one of the first steps is to disconnect the brake line
from the wheel cylinder. Ours was sufficiently crusty to require treatment from the flame wrench before it would
The shoes, springs, pivot...
The shoes, springs, pivot nut, and all adjustment hardware must come off before the backing plate can be removed.
Having the appropriate drum-brake tools will speed things considerably. The wheel cylinder can remain on the backing
The backing plate is sandwiched...
The backing plate is sandwiched between the wheel-bearing retainer plate and axlehousing flange, and the axle must
be pulled to get it out. First, four nuts (arrows) must be removed from the axlehousing flange studs. These are
accessible with an impact wrench through a hole in the axle flange, visible in the previous photo.
A poor man's slide-hammer...
A poor man's slide-hammer can be fashioned by reversing the brake drum and securing it loosely with a couple of
wheel nuts. A good, sharp tug should free the axle bearing from the housing, allowing the axle to be pulled right
out, and freeing the brake backing plate.
The zinc-washed caliper mounting...
The zinc-washed caliper mounting bracket is the first of the kit components to go on. Like the old backing plate,
it's sandwiched between the bearing retainer plate and axlehousing flange. The bracket is somewhat universal, as it
can be oriented in a number of different clockings. Craig mounted it in order to place the caliper near the
2-o'clock position; this seemed to clear everything under normal suspension movement.
Next, the new rotors can slip...
Next, the new rotors can slip on, again temporarily held by a wheel nut until the caliper goes on. Note the use of
the black centering ring (arrow) to make the rotor hubcentric around the axle.
The caliper can now be positioned...
The caliper can now be positioned over the rotor and secured to the mounting brackets from the rear, with two
The kit's new parking-brake...
The kit's new parking-brake cable and hydraulic flex line have been attached/plumbed to the caliper. The kit
provides a bracket and stainless band clamp to secure the junction point between flex and hard brake lines to the
axle tube. Craig had to make up a new hard line from this junction to the left/right splitter junction near the
center of the axle-housing.
Though not quite as big as...
Though not quite as big as the new fronts, the rear Baer discs look and work worlds better than the old drums. But
we're not quite done yet.
Underhood, the original master...
Underhood, the original master cylinder must be unbolted from the vacuum booster and replaced with the kit version.
New lines to the pressure differential valve on the inner fender must be bent up, as the new cylinder's fluid ports
are on the opposite (passenger) side.
Finally, the factory proportioning...
Finally, the factory proportioning valve (arrow) must be taken out of the brake fluid circuit in favor of the kit's
manually adjustable replacement. If left in, the OEM proportioning valve would provide too little line pressure to
the rear discs, and if removed altogether, too much hydraulic pressure would go rearward.