Affordable Classic: Disc Brake Mounting – 1961 Pontiac Laurentian

Last time around the old drum brake hardware was removed on the front of the 1961 Pontiac Laurentian. This time the shiny and new disc hardware gets mounted.

 

After cleaning the old and very gross grease off the spindle the caliper mounting bracket from the kit goes on making use of the existing hard points.

The bracket uses spacers on two out of three bolts so it adds 1/2″ of additional track on each side. Certainly not a problem for a narrow track Canadian Pontiac.

The brake rotor needs the inner bearing greased, installed and a dust cover added.

 

The disc placed on the spindle then the smaller inner bearing installed.

Unfortunately there was a bit broken off the vacuum input on my booster as delivered. I glued it back on. Time will tell if the repair will hold. Since I ordered this in the US and had shipped it to the border I cannot practically return it. The backup plan is to swap the master cylinder to manual brake mode if the glue fix does not hold. I have since seen this small piece is available in most parts stores quite cheaply so I will likely buy a replacement.

The calipers came unpainted so something needed to be done about that.

A lick of paint gets the caliper looking better and should hopefully stop it from rusting.

The brake pads also came with a couple clips but no instructions. Eventually I figured out the bigger one hooks to one of the pads to hold it to the caliper. The other pad just floats in the caliper. After a rather large amount of puzzling I found out the smaller one is not necessary.

The aftermarket oil filter position fouled with with the larger brake booster and master cylinder combination. It was secured to the intake manifold with a couple U-bolts.

One of the very old oil lines tore when removing the filter housing. I have heard mixed reviews of using an aftermarket oil filter with the 261cid engine. It can cause a drop in oil pressure so another line of thinking is to skip the add-on filter and just change the oil more regularly. So I either need to replace the lines or block them off.

Now that is looking better now. The cotter pin is not yet bent and dust cap not installed just in case I need to take it apart. I still need to adjust the track rod ends for the additional track width. I could not get the adjuster to move so this will need some further attention. So far the all the pieces of the kit fit very well but the instructions are very, very brief.

Unfortunately the stock 14″ wheels do not fit as the wheel as it fouls with the caliper. The replacement junkyard wheels do fit however. I believe with a clean up and a bit of paint they will work. I suspect the stock wheels could be made to fit if a spacer was used.

The next step was some new brake lines which involved building the longer lines and flaring the ends. My friend Rod joined me for this job as we combined the best of his two flaring kits with a piece of mine to get a reasonable set of tools.

The kit came with a manual proportioning valve that operates only on the rear brakes.

We were able to source some pre-built lines where they came out of the master cylinder and stepped down in fitting size. They just need to be bent to fit. The rear goes to the proportioning valve then off to the rear of the car. The front goes to a T connector then for there to each front wheel.

We ran out of tubing for one last small run so we called it a day on the Pontiac at least. Later that evening we helped install a new windshield in a 1966 Dodge Panel truck that belonged to a fellow Beater Challenge alumni. As for next steps there is still brake work to be done as the lines are currently floating freely and need to be secured to the body but the overall the brakes are getting there if a little slowly. Additionally the booster needs to be connected to a vacuum port. The rear brakes will also likely require a little attention with a wheel cylinder a probable replacement candidate. After those tasks are complete the master cylinder can be bleed followed by the whole brake system. Hopefully nothing leaks. If the weather here ever warms up I can finally tackle the water pump as well.

The whole Affordable Classic series thus far:

  1. The Search Is On
  2. Landed One – 1961 Pontiac Laurentian
  3. Dragging It Home
  4. Assessment and Planning
  5. Little Fixes
  6. Shocks and Brake Removal
  7. Disc Brake Mounting
  8. Cooling and Fueling