In general, the brake-conversion-kit market is geared toward high-performance -- not to mention high-cost -- brakes. So deciding whether to buy a conversion kit or gather parts from a junkyard or parts store depends largely on what you're looking to get out of your conversion.
If you're simply upgrading brakes on a much older vehicle, a conversion kit might be overkill, and could end up costing a bit more than donor parts.
On the other hand, the nice thing about conversion kits is that they save you the time and effort of hunting through junkyard wrecks and auto store parts bins to find what you need. For instance, a conversion kit for a 1970 Ford Mustang costs between $1,000 and $2,000. The same conversion performed using a combination of junkyard and auto store parts, cost one do-it-yourselfer $800. [source: Ireland]
Conversion kits can cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000. The lower-end conversion kits have simple flat rotors, while high-end kits often have rotors that are slotted to keep them cool. High-end performance kits also put emphasis on showiness, offering special finishes for the rotors and bright red racing-style calipers.
Keep in mind that although there may not be a specific conversion kit available for your vehicle, there's bound to be a compatible kit out there. Car enthusiast Web sites, forums and message boards are invaluable resources for finding out what kit best fits your needs for a conversion.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Carley, Larry "Parking Brake Adjustment." AA1car.com. 2005 http://www.aa1car.com/library/2003/bf40358.htm. (Accessed 11/05/08)
- Cook, Miles. "How To Install A Power Brake Booster." MustangMonthly.com http://www.mustangmonthly.com/howto/mump_0809_how_to_install_a_power_brake_booster/index.html. (Accessed 11/05/08)
- Day, Richard. "How to Service and Repair Your Own Car." Popular Science Publishing Company, Inc. 1973
- Ireland, Richard. Disc Brake Swap. Woodyg.com. 2001 http://www.woodyg.com/fairlane/finfo/drumtodisc.html. (Accessed 11/01/08)\
- Larson, Rick. "Front Drum to Disc Brake Conversion for Classic Mustangs." Vintage-mustang.com. 1996. http://www.vintage-mustang.com/topics/faq/drumtodisk.html (Accessed 10/29/08)
- NationMaster.com. Encyclopedia Frederick William Lanchester http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Frederick-Lanchester. (Accessed 10/29/08)
- Nextag.com. "Rear Disc Brake Conversion Kit. http://www.nextag.com/rear-disc-brake-conversion-kit/products-html (Accessed 10/29/08)
- Off-road.com. "Rear Disc Brake Conversion." 10/01/05. http://www.off-road.com/trucks4x4/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=264063 (Accessed 10/30/08)
- Payne, Kenneth. "Front Drum To Disc Brake Conversion Guide For 1965-1972 Ford Trucks." Ford-trucks.com. 1997. http://www.ford-trucks.com/article/idx/0/096/article/Front_Drum_To_Disc_Brake_Conversion_Guide_For_19651972_Ford_Trucks.html (Accessed 10/28/08)
- Professional Mechanics Online. 2carpros.com. http://www.2carpros.com/ (Accessed 11/7/08)
- Wendler, Andrew. Personal conversation. 10/29/08 Werner, Rolf and Weed, Jim.