Lots of brake threads here... What to do to beef up 98SE brakes? | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

Lots of brake threads here... What to do to beef up 98SE brakes?

Discussion in 'Wheels/Tires/Brakes' started by ar154all, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. ar154all

    ar154all The Police never think its as funny as I did.

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    Lots of stuff here, none that I have found actually answer: "What can I do to beef up the brakes on my 1998 SE?".

    FWIW: I have read pages of threads in this section. Still lookin'. Thanks in advance for serious answers....
  2. ShakeZilla19

    ShakeZilla19 My name is ^^^

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    Replacing worn out struts will really improve braking. Getting some cross drilled & slotted rotors. Ceramic pads are nice. Better tires. Not much else you can do cheaply.
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  3. Rectilinear

    Rectilinear FEOA Member

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    Rather than starting yet another thread about upgrading the brakes on Escorts, I decided that i like this one and will build from here. Many, many threads talking about rear disk brakes, proportioning valves and painting drums.... It's driving me crazy! (though that is a short drive).

    Okay, bear with me, I am in fact an Escort noob, but I am not a noob to modifying and upgrading cars. But let's start with the facts and go from there as far as specific part swaps, ok?

    1. Disk brakes > drum brakes. Period. Escort owners seem to have an advantage over some other makes as there was actually a rear disc brake option on some models. This should allow for an easy swap if you find a good donor car. Grab any necessary parts to make the complete swap, including the spindles, backing plates, calipers, soft hoses, rotors, e-brake cables and yes, the proportioning valve. Rear disk brakes require a different prop valve to work properly, this has been proven over the decades of brake upgrades on any model car. People saying, " well, the disk brake swap looks good, but it doesn't really stop the car any better....." did it wrong. I assure you, Ford (or any other manufacturer) did not install disk brakes on cars because they "look good".
    2. Proportioning valve. Should ALWAYS be changed if you swap to disk brakes. In some cases, the master cylinder itself is designed for use with drum or disk brakes. Again, I said I don't know much about Escorts yet, but I took 3 minutes to do a search and found out that there are two different part numbers for master cylinders with 4 wheel disc and disc/drum vehicles (3rd Gen). Further research will confirm this and I will post it here when I find out the details. Different mc parts numbers may negate having different proportioning valves fi it is built in to the mc. Further research will confirm this and I will post it here when I find out the details.
    3. Painting brake drums for looks. Swapping to disk brakes for looks. Guys, neither of these things will look any better when your car is upside down wrapped around a tree. There are some great power upgrades to make your cars faster, let's work on some serious solutions to help them stop as well.

    Please don't take me as an arrogant know-it-all because of the way I write and make points. I have over 25 years of experience working on cars and I like to push the envelope while keeping projects on a tight budget. I think outside the box and know that there are parts from other cars that will bolt onto our Escorts to make them better. Some may require modification and some may require custom brackets to make them work, but they will work. I am always learning and trying new solutions and these are always geared toward the less popular cars on the road, hey, like these Escorts! I don't believe or give a [email protected] about "me, too cars" like Camaros, Vettes or anything else you can build from a catalog with a basic toolkit you bought at BigLots.

    My particular goal for my car is going to be upgrading the brake system for increased stopping power... read: big brakes. While doing this swap, I also intend on changing the bolt pattern on my car from 4x100 to 4x108 just because I have a set of wheels I am determined to use on the Escort. even if the components I choose change over to 4x108, note that the hubs and rotors can always be re-drilled to return to 4x100 if you want to retain your wheels. Hub bores will be taken into account as well.

    Let the research begin!
  4. EscorGo

    EscorGo FEOA Donator

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    I can lock up my disk/drum setup so I don't know what bigger brakes or 4 disk systems would buy me. Traction is the only other thing that would help. Maybe ABS but that's not an option. Shake's advice is practical.
  5. Rectilinear

    Rectilinear FEOA Member

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    I can't agree with you more EscorGo! Indeed, if you have stock small tires with small contact patches, you can lock them up with not a ton of effort. This brake upgrade would be a consideration for someone looking for more performance, upgraded or at the very least suspension that is in tact ( good struts, bushings, bearings, mounts, etc) and a larger diameter tire/wheels combo that is going to weigh more than the stock wheels and tires and will take more effort to bring to a stop due to having more rotational mass.

    I drive aggressively. I just bought this Escort wagon of mine just over a week ago. I am starting to learn the car now, push it's limits, play with it a bit. I pushed it into an understeer situation this morning on wet pavement just to see how the car would react, which was surprisingly good. Perhaps I should have bought a different car if I drive so aggressively? Nah, the Escort will be perfect. It has everything I need and nothing more. It has no traction control, abs, stability control, blind spot indicators or any other garbage computer that will get in the way of my driving. The Escort has a good weight balance front to rear which will make it more stable and predictable. Parts are dirt cheap and plentiful and it costs almost nothing to operate this car on a monthly basis ( listen to me justfying this gold grandpa-mobile....awwee)....but it has to be interesting! It is wrong-wheel-drive but we will work through that as it also has it's advantages if you are "connected" to your car.
  6. schwinnman67

    schwinnman67 FEOA Member

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    I did the disc conversion on my 98 and it does seem to stop a little shorter, but it still locks up the front wheels in a panic stop... There is about 6 different M/C pn's for Escorts...
    Disc/drum manual, 4wheel disc manual, 4 wheel disc ABS and the same with automatics (reservoir is different ATX and MTX). The prop valves will not interchange from disc/drum to 4 wheel disc (different threads).
    I have the correct ATX 4 wheel non-ABS m/c on my ZX2 now, but when I did the conversion I used an EGT m/c with an ATX reservoir on it.
  7. novanutcase

    novanutcase FEOA Member

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    Recti,

    You and I have the same mindset as far as where we want to take our cars. While I may not go as far as redrilling the hubs, I agree that disc brakes are superior to drum brakes in most cases. Once I get my hands on a set of rear spindles out of a GT I'll probably design a caliper bracket for both front and rear to relocate the calipers for larger rotors. My buddy owns a waterjet machine so once I'm happy with the design I'm going to have him cut out the brackets for me.

    BTW the most important component in braking is not the brakes. Sticky tires will give you the biggest boost in performance.

    John
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  8. ShakeZilla19

    ShakeZilla19 My name is ^^^

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    Drums have more braking force than discs. Discs just dont fade as much. Want to stop shorter? Keep the drums. Or fab up some huge calipers.
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  9. chestypuller

    chestypuller making the wifes commuter better

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    if i wanted better handling, braking and acceleration i would just buy a different type car. not a MPG saving type car.
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  10. Neuron

    Neuron FEOA Member

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    ABS, most people cannot modulate the brake pedal correctly during a panic situation. I put the largest tire that will fit right and keep up the maintenance on the brakes. For what it is I am happy with the brakes, if you drive it like its a Ferrari you better have the the Ferrari Brakes.
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  11. pnmred

    pnmred FEOA Member

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    Cold, drum brakes are superior to disc.
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  12. MenaceMan47

    MenaceMan47 FEOA Member

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    I've had drilled/slotted rotors on my 99 SE for over a year; they are great. Points to Shakezilla; I just did my shocks/struts and added 2" lowering springs, and the braking definitely improved due to less body roll and suspension slop. Front and rear swaybar bushings and endlinks can help, too.

    Attached Files:

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  13. EscorGo

    EscorGo FEOA Donator

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    There's a kit Cobra and a Prowler in our sailing club. Both have rear drums. Just sayin'
  14. Neuron

    Neuron FEOA Member

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    I grew up with drum brakes and feel lucky to have survived. I will NEVER own a drum braked car on four wheels and unless it is front wheel drive not on the rear. I could tell stories forever on mine and many others experience with drum brakes including testing at Orange County Raceway. You don't see them on REAL high performance cars. They are done to be CHEAP!LOL!
  15. EscorGo

    EscorGo FEOA Donator

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    Well you are in luck, they don't make 4 wheel drum systems on passenger cars anymore. I haven't had them since my '65 GTO ragtop and '68 Firebird ragtop. Neither were cheap cars.
  16. Neuron

    Neuron FEOA Member

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    I meant cheaper cars now , obviously disc brakes weren't around that much at that time. My 1968 Firebird 400 had front disc brakes, pretty rare though especially on the base models. Interestingly enough the 1949 Crosley was the first American car with 4 wheel disc brakes.1963 (USA): Bendix produced caliper-type disc brakes supplied as standard fit on Studebaker Advant model and as optional extras on their Hawk and V8 Lark models.

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