Imagine a brake
swap so obvious it will leave you breathless just thinking about it.
Let's face it,
the '85-'96 Corvette brakes weren't the best. Vette Brakes &
Products (VBP) offers the ultimate brake improver: adapting '97-'01
Corvette front rotors and calipers on the old Corvette C4 suspension.
The results from this swap are so impressive that every C4 owner on
the planet should consider it, especially if it's time to change the
worn rotors on your car.
It goes like
this. Take off the old, probably worn front 11.5-inch-diameter rotors
on your car and install new VBP 13-inch rotors in their place. While
you're at it, use the rest of the VBP-designed kit and add a set of
'97-'01 Corvette twin-piston calipers and mounting brackets in place
of the original single-piston units, a set of stainless steel flex
brake lines, and some Hawk HPS high-performance brake pads.
For under $1,000, you'll have a system that decreases braking
distance from 60-0 from 126 to around 105 feet (best stopping
distances noted). In addition, the new system dissipates heat much
better, which decreases the chance of rotor warpage
and other bad braking stuff. Fact is, this system is so simple and so
good, we should have done it a long time
ago. It doesn't require modification of the proportioning-valve
system, brake booster or lines, and is compatible with all factory
ABS system hardware.
from C4 to C5 brakes (not compatible with '84 brake systems)
increases the braking surface area by 25 percent, a huge improvement.
In addition, the VBP rotors are 11 percent lighter than the factory
units and offer better cooling through enlarged vents, in both the
outer perimeter of the rotor and brake-rotor face vents.
On our '86
Corvette, the installation took approximately half an hour, as we
carefully installed the brakes and took the photos you see here. The
most complex part was placement of the caliper anti-rattle clips to
keep the brake pads quiet. Otherwise, the installation went without a
hitch. We bled the brake system with a power bleeder and tested the
system before driving the car. If you're not sure you did this
correctly, seek the help of a professional mechanic and do not drive
the car. Have it towed to a location where the brakes can be properly
bled and safety checked.
included the replacement of the rear rotors, which were, as you can
see, past their prime. We installed VBP replacement rotors and Hawk
brake pads. We wanted to make sure our test was comparable to what
you might experience. We used the same P275/40-17 (front) and
P315/35-17 (rear) Sumitomo high-performance tires, and Corvette Wheel
Specialist supplied 9.5-inch (front) and 11-inch (rear) A-Mold wheels
for before-and-after testing. While our driving results produced the
real numerical gains, the seat-of-the-pants improvement was the best
news. Pedal feel with the system was greatly improved and we were
pleased with the excellent overall driveability.
In addition to
the improvement in stopping distance, there are two important
positives to this swap: greater performance and safety. The best of
both worlds. What a concept.
brakes had to be replaced, especially in the rear. We installed VBP
replacement rear rotors and new Hawk pads. Then we went out for a
test. The baseline result: 126 feet from 60-0 mph.
first step was to remove the stock brake package. Our front rotors
were in better shape than the rear; but when compared to the new
VBP brakes, there was, well, no comparison.
original '86 Corvette front brakes were 11.5 inches in diameter
compared to 13 inches for the VBP rotors, which were 11 percent
lighter and offered enhanced venting for quick cool-down.
removed the caliper, caliper bracket, and rotor, and inspected the
spindle for wear. Despite the dirt, the suspension was in good
condition. We then slipped on the new rotor.
new caliper bracket, as supplied in the VBP kit, fit beautifully
and mounted to the stock suspension. Torque it to spec as noted in