CONVERTING STOCK REAR BRAKES TO 10 X 2 INCH DRUMS

By Sam Griffith {AKA Sigtauenus}

After converting the front of my car from drum brakes to disc brakes, I 
wanted to make an upgrade to the rear brakes as well.  After emptying the 
wallet on the front brakes, I didn't want to spend the money on a rear disc 
brake conversion kit or go to the expense of a Versailles rear end either.  
So, what I did was upgrade from 10 x 1  " brakes to 10 x 2 " brakes.  The 
kits for this in the mustang catalogs and magazines go for upwards of $400, 
but I did it for around $200 and here's how:

I started with the premise that Ford used the same 5 lug bolt pattern on a 
LOT of its cars, and that some of these cars were bound to have a 10 x 2  
brake on the rear.  I went to the junk yard and through trial and error found 
a 1984 Lincoln Town Car that had what I was looking for.  I bought the 
backing plates for $50 for the pair.

Next I researched the 68 cars that came with 10x2  brakes (like the 428 
Mustangs) to see what brake cylinders, brake pads, etc, I would need, and 
what I was specifically looking for was a brake cylinder that used the same 
line fitting that mine already had so I wouldn't have to cut and re-flare the 
brake lines.  What I actually found was that the same brake cylinders are 
used for 10x 2.5 as 10 x 1.75, with 7/8 " pistons.   I could have used the 
same ones I already had but opted for new parts all the way around, including 
new axle seals.  Obviously this could be done even cheaper if I had looked 
further for a donor car that had usable drums, re-used my brake cylinders, 
etc. 

I wish I had a picture of the backing plates to compare, but trust me, there 
is a difference in the off-set for the bigger brakes.  The backing plates 
from the 84 Lincoln bolted right up to my axle housing and had the same holes 
as my original backing plate for the wheel cylinder, parking brake cable, 
etc.  I chose to buy the hardware for the 84 Lincoln (the only real 
difference is the two springs that hold down the brake shoes via the "nails") 
because they were in stock and the 68 set wasn't.  

The first picture shows the passenger side almost completed...looks like 
regular drum brakes do.  In the second picture you can see the difference in 
the sizes of the brake drums and the shoes, and also see how the 84 Lincoln 
drums have the fins for cooling.  

I know 84 Lincoln Town Cars work, but for other donors, here's what I found 
at the parts house using their old book (the computer doesn't help for this):
    68-70 Mustang 
    80-89 Full size Fords (Custom, Galaxie, LTD, Crown Victoria, Country Sedan, Country Squire)
    66-75 Elite, Fairlane, Torino
    69-71 Station Wagon
    63-65 Station Wagon
    61-67 Econoline E150/100
    66-74 Ranchero

Now, here's the fun part.  Not all of these cars always came with 10 x 2 " 
brakes, but some of each model listed above did.  Make sure you measure the 
brake shoe before going to the trouble of tearing anything apart.  I realized 
driving home that I forgot to check the Lincoln section in the parts book, so 
there's even more cars that are potential backing plate donors.  Also, when 
you go to buy parts, make sure the drums you buy are the right 5 lug bolt 
pattern.  For example, just because the Econoline van has backing plates that 
will work does not mean that the drums have the same lug pattern as your 
Mustang (trucks/vans have a bigger 5-lug pattern).  

For extra-extra fun, if you've already converted your front drums to discs, 
you could see if the backing plates from the front drum brakes (10 x 2 ") 
will work on the back.  I thought of this while driving home and realized 
that if the front backing plate bolts up to the rear axle all you'd have to 
do is drill a hole for the parking brake cable and save all the junk yard 
hassle.  I'll leave that job to someone else though.
    
Pep Boys was right down the street so they were my supplier, here's my parts 
list and expenses:

Source      Item                    Part number    Unit Cost       Total       
Junk Yard   Backing Plates                          $25              $50

Pep Boys    brake drum              0-30999-08250   $54.99          $109.98

Pep Boys    wheel cylinder          0-30999-09464    $9.99           $19.98

Pep Boys    re-lined brake shoes    0-30999-09061   $10.99           $10.99

Pep Boys    axle seals              0-30999-1101292  $5.92           $11.84

Auto Zone   brake hardware            7224           $5.29            $5.29

                                                    Total           $208.08


Autozone actually had cheaper prices but didn't have everything in stock.  
Pep Boys had everything in stock so I had them price match to Autozone's 
prices.  Here's Autozone's part numbers for the drums and shoes:

Drums       8896    $54.99

Shoes       481     $10.99


I don't have any scientific data for whether or not this conversion really 
helps braking, but I can say that when I had 4 wheel drum brakes I was on 
more than one occasion literally scared for my life.  Since converting the 
front to disc and putting bigger brakes on the back, I am 100% confident in 
my Mustang's braking ability and have had no problems at all with getting it 
to stop.


To return to the Main Page click here