Updated! How to upgrade to 1LE brakes
Last updated: June 28, 2002
I don't like to criticize the designers of the F-body, but they never
did get around to making decent brakes for these cars until the 1989 1LE
package. In fact, I think these brakes should have been on every single
V8 RS, Z28 and Trans Am. My 1984 T/A had the original J65 rear disk system,
which in my opinion, was never a very likeable braking system. They used
the original 10-inch J65 disk brake system up to 1988. I finally
ripped out the original rear disk system in 1999, and upgraded to the 1989-up
J65 disk design. It's not a matter of removing the calipers though: I replaced
everything except the hard lines. Master cylinder, proportioning valve,
the works. I finally upgraded the front brakes in the summer of 2001.
Please note that many of the components used during the upgrade come
from GM, and that they are in the process of phasing out the third-generation
parts from their inventory. Thus, you will not be able to follow these
directions to the letter as several of the components are no longer available.
In fact, it was only due to the generosity of this guy named Andy that
I was able to complete the 1LE front brake install: I missed out on the
very last left-hand brake caliper cage, P/N 10132829 when the dealership
forgot to place my order with GM. Luckily, Andy bought the very last one
in North America and sent it to me.
This page consists of two parts: My front brake install notes, and my
rear brake install. Click on the part of your interest or just scroll on
through. There's a link to the remainder of my website at the bottom! There's
quite a bit more project notes like this one to see.
your front brakes
Bill Fong installed the 1LE brakes on the front of his F-body in late
1998, and I thought it was a neat idea. Since then, several of us have
researched the project, and finally came up with a "how to" brake install.
This page was originally somewhat sketchy on the front brake installation
notes, but since I've now bought the parts myself, I think the following
parts list should cover pretty much every nut, bolt, and washer.
There will be cheaper ways to build the system but that part of the project
is entirely up to YOU! Expect to spend between $600 and $900 to build your
brake system from scratch. If you want to shave 20 pounds off your car,
you can spend $1200 for the BAER track kit. If you want good brakes on
a budget, then read on. This installation involves the modification of
the spindle to accept the GM 1LE brake components. 16-inch rims will clear
the 12-inch 1LE rotors, which provide much more braking torque with less
line pressure. Heat dissipation should be better, with a corresponding
increase in fade resistance
Bill Fong wrote me to give us a list of the parts required
to do this upgrade. Based on Bill's work as well as much research by AndyZ28
(Andy Sherrer) and Bill Moates of Heritage Chevrolet, I have derived the following parts
I have substituted the Braided stainless steel brake lines from Earl's,
as I bought some for about $20 less than Bill's quoted price. Summit sells
Russells as well. I ordered the 1989 - 1992 4-wheel performance disk brake
application from Earl's.
You should be able to build yourself a complete 1LE front braking
system for $850 or less, depending on how good of a parts hound you are!
Item QTY P/N
001 002 55008
1LE rotor (Aimco)
LH dual piston caliper (Partsmaster) $40
RH dual piston caliper(Partsmaster)
004 002 18016034
spindle adaptor plate
005 001 10132829
LH caliper mounting plate
006 001 10132830
RH caliper mounting plate
007 004 14084051
Bolts, mounting plate to adapter plate $2.50
008 004 10268875
Washers for use with14084051
009 004 11508133
Bolts: adapter to spindle (12mm x 1.75)
010 001 MX412
Pad set for calipers: Wagner QuickStop $99
011 002 10286122
Brake hose bolt
012 002 10140666
Caliper retaining pins
013 002 F469985
Caliper retaining clips (Federal Mogul) $2.00
Inner bearing set (Federal mogul)
Outer bearing set (Federal Mogul)
Modified 1989-1992 spindle (LH)
Modified 1989-1992 spindle (RH)
019 002 28A190
1LE brake hose (Earls)
Copper crush washers (for brake hose bolts)
021 001 9-13130
ball joint dust boot set (Energy Suspension)
022 001 9-13101
Tie rod end boot set (EnergySuspension)
NEW cotter pin for the spindle nut
NEW cotter pin for the ball joint retaining nut
NEW cotter pin for the outer tie rod end retaining nut
All non-GM part numbers may be found at the Auto Value parts store.
Auto value charges a $25 core charge on the calipers. My partsmaster calipers
were new, not rebuilt. Please note that you can find significant savings
by picking and choosing your components. I chose NOT to buy loaded calipers,
as I wanted a higher quality pad than what is typically offered. Auto Value
wanted $160 PER CALIPER for calipers loaded with Wagner pads. I paid
$101 per caliper after purchasing the calipers, pads, and retaining
pins as separate items. ANDYZ28 says that VIPAR loaded calipers are priced
around $90 apiece, so you can sometimes collect a significant savings by
shopping around. Please note that there are LARGE differences in core charges.
Since you do NOT have a core, shop carefully! Auto Value had the cheapest
core charge I could find: $25 bucks. Autozone wanted $40 core charge per
Master Cylinder: p/n: 18014286 - Same
as the J50 option drum brake equipped cars from 1984-up. If you have drum
brakes, you have the right master cylinder! It is only us poor schmoes
with 1982-1988 rear disk equipped cars that need a different master cylinder.
1LE Combo Valve (proportioning valve)
14089496 1989 1st design: M1.0 tube nut threads (For 1982 -
early 1989 applications)
10136840 1989 2nd design: M1.5 tube nut threads (Late 1989)
10136840 1990-'92: M1.5 tube nut threads.
Measure your existing brake line tube nut threads before ordering.
The Master cylinder tubes have one that is M1.5 and one that is M1.0
so don't worry about them. Worry about your existing brake lines to the
calipers and rear axle.
I used the 14089496 1st design because my car was built in 1984.
Mine required some relocating of the rear disk brake line: My old combo
valve had the line coming in the front, whereas the 1LE piece had it coming
in from the bottom of the valve. My existing line bent with no problems.
Be prepared to replace that line if it's at all corroded. It might crack.
Earl's Hyperfirm® Braided stainless
steel brake lines
302 Gasoline Alley
Indianapolis, IN 46222
Modifying your spindles
There are two types of spindles on the third-generation F-body:
Pre-1989 and post-1989 spindles. The post-1989 spindles are heavier; presumably
to handle the suspension loads a little better. Although you can successfully
modify your existing spindles no matter what the year, I chose to replace
my spindles with some 1991 castings. This enabled me to modify the spindles
off-car while still driving mine. Some people have been able to modify
their spindles while they are still mounted on the car, but I felt more
comfortable using a drill press in order to keep the holes straight. If
you have a good eye and a steady hand, you can most certainly perform these
modifications on your own without even removing the spindles from the car.
If you plan on modifying a separate set of spindles, you may wish to consider
buying some new lower ball joints from MOOG and replacing your old ones
at the same time. If you have good ball joints, then you may wish to consider
ordering some Energy Suspension dust boots as yours may get destroyed when
you try to separate the spindle from the ball joint.
Hacksaw or Sawzall with metal cutting blade
NEW 13/32 drill bit
12mm x 1.75 tap
Tap cutting fluid
File for deburring the casting
Step 1: Hack off the existing upper caliper retaining bracket as
shown. Ensure that your cut is perpendicular to the plane dictated by the
mounting bosses of the dust shield. The cut should also be perpendicular
with respect to the plane on the end-link mounting boss. Make sure you
remove enough material so that the caliper cage clears the casting.
Step 2: Hack off the lower caliper retaining bracket, as shown.
Step 3: Drill the holes (as shown above) Make sure you are perpendicular
with the plane of the mounting pad!
Step 4: Tap the holes (as shown above). Using cutting fluid, turn in
the tap one-half turn at a time. Back out one half turn, then go in a full
turn. Keep backing off half a turn. This breaks up the chips to keep them
from jamming up the bit. Use lots of cutting fluid. Keep dripping it into
Once you have your parts in hand,
trial fit your adapter plate and caliper cage to the spindle and look for
interference. If your caliper cage touches the spindle(steering knuckle)
at any place, you have not taken off enough material. I would suggest at
least .010" of clearance at all places on the cage.
When you have all parts in hand, begin
the installation. Here are some pictures to help you visualize the whole
process. ***Note (6/28/02) - Some people have been applying loctite to the
adapter bracket bolts. This acts as a thread lubricant (until it sets up) and
some people have experienced fastener failure at the published torque settings.
You dont need loctite on these bolts. If you absolutely have to add loctite, be
sure to reduce your final torque by 6 ft.lbs during final installation.
Photographs are courtesy of AndyZ28, and
Bolt socket sizes
and torque specifications
There are a few fasteners that you must
remove or tighten during this installation project. Here is a partial list
including the torque specifications where applicable. Please note that there
have been fastener failures when the caliper adapter bracket is attached with
Loctite. Reduce torque by 6 ft.lbs when using the Loctite.
Outer tie rod end to steering knuckle:
socket, tighten to 30 ft.lbs
Lower Ball joint to steering knuckle:
boxed end wrench, tighten to 110 ft.lbs
(you must remove the strut if you plan on using a socket.)
Strut bolts to steering knuckle 15/16"
Dust shield bolts (removal only) 10mm
Spindle / rotor retaining nut: Cinch down
to seat the bearings, then loosen and retorque to
Caliper adapter bracket to steering knuckle
to 89 ft.lbs without loctite, or 83 ft.lbs with loctite.
Caliper retaining cage to adapter bracket
to 137 ft.lbs
Brake hose bolt to caliper: 13mm
your rear brakes
Here are the project notes for my J65 rear disk upgrade project.
I installed these brakes in the later winter/early spring to correct what
I percieved as a chronic list of problems with the original '82 through
'88 J65 rear disk system. My plan was to have decent brakes that would
hold up to the rigors of an open road race track. I eventually did get
the car to Gingerman raceway where I happily went through half of my brake
pad thickness. The race tires, brakes, and suspension changes resulted
in 1.05 g sustained lateral acceleration, and enough braking forces to
actually make my copilot queasy.
While Bill upgraded
his front brakes, I decided to upgrade my rear brakes. Between the two
of us, we have the complete 1LE braking system! My upgrade was quite a
bit involved, as I had to hunt around for all sorts of part numbers. Now,
before I forget how I did it, I'm going to try to document the brake project
|Here's the parts for the rear brake installation.
Pictures and additional project details will be added on the second
week of January. -Daniel Burk
Axle housing, with disc brake flanges
|Any original disk rear-end housing. I used my original RPO GT4 housing.
If you have drums, your flange is different. Find a different axle or fabricate
your own adapter plates.
10087702 Rotor (qty. 2)
|I bought genuine GM. Aftermarket probably avail.
10132831 PBR Caliper, LH, Purchased used
|I dont know if the caliper comes with the cage or the mounting bolts
or not, so here's the numbers:
14067559 Brake caliper guide pin bolt (2 per side)
14067560 Brake caliper guide pin (2 per side)
14067552 Weather boot for caliper guide pin (2 per side)
10112652 Brake caliper bracket cage(1 per side)
10132832 PBR Caliper, RH Purchased used
|The above applies for the RH side as well.
14047782 Brake hose bolt (2 pc)
|Same retainer as used in the 1LE front calipers
10136853 Mounting bracket , LH
|You'll also need new grade 8 or better mounting bolts . Quantity 8,
3/8" NF, 1.25" in length with nuts, lock washers, and loc-tite. Torque
and loc-tite only on the final fit. You'll trial-assemble once to get the
shim thickness right.
10136854 Mounting bracket, RH
|Cadmium plated. Nice!
Bracket shims (Generally one per side)
26013017 0.81mm thk
26013018 1.57mm thk
26013019 2.33mm thk
|These have been discontinued as of January 1999. I ended up making
my own with a die grinder and a piece of .032" brass shim stock. Took about
60 minutes per shim. These are necessary to center the caliper bracket
cage on the rotor. They fit between the mounting bracket and the axle tube
flange. My right side brake needed one .032" shim, while the left needed
the 2.33mm (.091") shim, which GM (luckily)still had in stock.
10164125 Emergency Brake cables, 1st design (qty 2)
|Lambert Pontiac sells them for $15 each.
Brake Pads, source for GM 1989-up 1LE application
|PF, or Genuine GM
Combo valve, (See 1LE front brake table)
|I used the 1st design.
Master Cylinder, (See 1LE front brake
|Required only if replacing 1982-1988 rear disk system.
Braided stainless Brake hoses (See 1LE front
30" brake tubing for left side
|Metric thread. Standard GM stuff. It will require a tube bender. The
mounting of this tube and the brake hose will require you to braze a bracket
onto your axle tube. Pictures of this detail will be published about the
2nd week in January.
2 Qts axle gear lube.
1 differential gasket.
Strong sense of self-confidence.
|To accomplish this install, you have to pull out the axles. I've never
done it before, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought. You remove one
bolt, and the center pin falls into your hand. You push the axle inwards,
and the C-clip falls out. The axle now slides out. Take care not to crush
Aw, go ahead. mangle that seal! Resist the temptation to use it again!
Get two new ones! Don't install them until AFTER you assemble one more
Once you get your parts, bolt everything up and install the axles. Install
the centerpin, and tighten the lugnuts onto the rotors. Check your clearance
on the bracket cage to the rotor. You don't have to put the calipers onto
the cage, just bolt the cage to the brackets. You need equal clearance
on either side of the cage; This is about .060". Insufficient room means
that your rotors will get scored badly by the rubbing of the cage. Measure
your required offset, then fabricate the proper thickness shims. Remove
the axles again, install your new seals and shims. Torque down your brackets,
re-mount the rotors and cages, and re-check clearance. You can now proceed
with the rest of the assembly.
After installing the new master cylinder and combo valve, I
installed three steel brake line stubs onto the combo valve. These were
bent up and into the master cylinder resovoir. I filled the system with
fluid, then began pumping the brakes, over and over again. The line stubs
terminated under the fluid level, so that there was little possibility
of sucking air. I kept pumping this (now closed and recirculating) system
until I saw no more bubbles coming out of the line stubs. I then removed
the line stubs, and hastily re-connected the brake lines to the combo valve.
|At this point, I started pumping the brakes with the speed-bleeders
installed, and soon had fresh, bubble-free brake fluid coming out of each
caliper. I started with the front-right caliper, then the front-left, then
the rear-left, then the rear-right. I then went around and bled each one
again. With all four wheels off the car, it was easy. I used some surgical
tubing that terminated in a fruit jar as a method for keeping the fluid
off the garage floor. When the last speedbleeder was closed off, I had
a nice, firm pedal. When I placed both feet on the pedal and pressed as
hard as I could, the pedal began a slow creep to the floor. One of the
fittings on the left-rear caliper was loose and leaking a slight bit of
fluid. Once tightened, the pedal didn't move, even by a centimeter. No
further leaks were evident anywhere.
your original disk brake calipers
I imagine that not everyone will want to simply dump their
1982-1988 rear disk brake assembly into the trash... I certainly was reluctant
to go about this project. In fact, I began picking up parts for this changeover
in 1992. That's when I got the new calipers. It took me seven years to
get around to finishing the job. A busted-off bleeder screw finally motivated
me to finish. Well, there is good news for you. GM finally fixed the caliper
design in November 1991/March 1992 with a redesigned piston for the brake
caliper. They did it because so many F-cars had non functional rear brakes!
It became a "safety issue" because 5-speed cars were rolling down the hills
due to non-functional parking brakes. Now, I have read stories about how
you can "pop the pistons loose" with a screwdriver and some artful prying,
but that sounds just too caveman for me. What about you? If so, then
maybe you ought to invest in some replacement parts from good ol' GM. One
would hope that since these are safety related items, that they would still
stock them. It's been 12 years since the last pair of these calipers rolled
out of Van Nuys, so these PN's may no longer be available. Let me know
if they are or not, okay?
Service Bulletin Number: 88-5-19
Bulletin Sequence Number: 106
Date of Bulletin: 9111
NHTSA Item Number: SB029866
Summary: REAR DISC BRAKE CALIPERS SELF-ADJUSTOR NOT FUNCTIONING PROPERLY
|Service Bulletin Number: 88-5-19A
Bulletin Sequence Number: 027
Date of Bulletin: 9203
NHTSA Item Number: SB031035
Summary: REAR DISC BRAKE CALIPERS DO NOT FUNCTION PROPERLY
Here are the two TSB's that apply to the braking problem related
to the 1982-1988 J65 rear disk option. It doesn't really describe the frustration
and performance loss that you experience when your brakes slowly fail.
I once saw a '84 L69/Z28 for sale for $900 that had rusted rear disks which
looked like they hadn't been touched by brake pad in TEN years! The car
was still a daily driver.
|Symptoms of brake functionality loss include:
TSB 88-5-19A describes the revised parts that are needed
to repair these calipers. They include the piston, otherwise known as the
actuator assembly, the seals, some new washers for reinstalling the brake
lines, and some new springs that hold on the shoe. You may also want some
new pads, and some new emergency brake cables. Get them before they are
no longer available! A lot of third-gen F-body stock is disappearing from
GM parts bins, and is no longer being made! This includes 1LE parts as
Don't forget to tie it
up and away from the exhaust. I baked a new cable this way and it froze
within a year. Use a 5/8" copper pipe hangar (39 cents at True-value) and
some pop-rivets. It works great.
TBD 88-5-19A Repair kit: Order these parts.
(Qty. 2) Actuator asm 18019241
(Qty. 2) Seal kit 18019240
(Qty. 4) Brake hose washer 10139097
(Qty. 2) Shoe Retaining spring 18019098
Approximate cost for above components: $120.
Other items you may want:
MY1982 Cable, park brake (left) ??no PN found??
MY1982 Cable, park brake (right,1125mm) 14042082
MY1983-1988 Cable, park brake (lft,1580mm) 10200443
MY1983-1988 Cable, park brake (rgt,1205mm) 10200444
If you have
comments or suggestions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org