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Braking The Bird's Speed: Improving 3rd-Gen F-Body Braking Performance

GM HighTech MagazineGM High Tech Performance

March 2006

By: Steve Baur
Photos by: Steve Baur

The majority of Third-Gen F-bodies that rolled off the assembly line featured a front disc, rear drum brake system that was deemed adequate for the average Firebird/Camaro buyer who didn't care what was under the hood or how fast they could get from stoplight to stoplight.

The high-performance models, however, received four-wheel disc setups to cope with the extra horsepower from the H.O. and TPI engines. While a four-wheel disc brake system is the better of the two, there are some things you can do to improve upon it further.

Our resident Third-Gen project car Blue Thunder was in dire need of a brake overhaul, but we felt an upgrade was in order, as both the engine and suspension have moved further up in their respective performance realms.

That being the case, we looked for an inexpensive way to accomplish this. This solution included upgrading the stock front brakes from steel single-piston calipers to aluminum two-piston pieces with SSBC's Quick Change Caliper kit.

To complement the Stainless Steel brake upgrade, we ordered a set of braided-steel hoses from Classic Tube in Lancaster, New York. Brake pedal feel and modulation are greatly increased when you add these and with hard turning and braking in our car's near future, we didn't want to rely on the factory rubber hoses. The Classic Tube kit we ordered is a five-piece kit that includes two for the front, two for the rear and a jumper line that carries fluid from the chassis hard line to the rear axle.

brake system is the better of the two, there are some things you can do to improve upon it further.

Our resident Third-Gen project car Blue Thunder was in dire need of a brake overhaul, but we felt an upgrade was in order, as both the engine and suspension have moved further up in their respective performance realms.

That being the case, we looked for an inexpensive way to accomplish this. This solution included upgrading the stock front brakes from steel single-piston calipers to aluminum two-piston pieces with SSBC's Quick Change Caliper kit.

To complement the Stainless Steel brake upgrade, we ordered a set of braided-steel hoses from Classic Tube in Lancaster, New York. Brake pedal feel and modulation are greatly increased when you add these and with hard turning and braking in our car's near future, we didn't want to rely on the factory rubber hoses. The Classic Tube kit we ordered is a five-piece kit that includes two for the front, two for the rear and a jumper line that carries fluid from the chassis hard line to the rear axle.

Old Rubber Brake Lines

Next up are the stock rubber brake lines. We'll be replacing these with some braided stainless steel pieces from Classic Tube. Blue Thunder with its four-wheel discs required PN SBH6017, which is a five-piece kit that retails for $199.

Braided Brake Lines

The new braided brake lines from Classic Tube will give better pedal feedback and allow for better modulation. The new lines install in reverse of the stock removal.

New Line Clips

The lines come with new clips to secure the lines to the chassis.

Copper Washers Included

We used the provided copper washers on both sides to give us more clearance for the fitting.