Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gear Oil Stink

Man, does gear oil ever stink!  And it WONT wash out.  Period.

And I happen to be covered from head to toe in it right this instant. . .

I made it out to the local Pick N Pull to do some minor operating on a 1984 Pontiac Trans Am.  Spent most of the morning there wrestling with my own idiocy and impatience.  Did it pay off?  That's the question.

According to Jeff Smith in the April Car Craft, it's a simple bolt-on procedure to retrofit 3rd Generation F-body rear disc brakes onto first-generation 10-Bolt rear ends.  My Camaro has the 10-Bolt rear, and as far as I can tell, those Trans Am brackets do indeed look like they'll fit.

Here's a pic of the brake calipers.  Very simple.  They might look ugly and rusty, but once I got them off and looked at them, the pistons and seals look brand new.  Some elbow grease and POR-15 will have these beauties looking brand stinking new.

Next is a picture of the bracket/backing plates.  While this doesn't match exactly what Jeff had in his article, but it's close enough for me. He preferred the smaller iron bracket.  I actually like this better, since the splashguard/backing plate is right there.  Should look pretty nice under that Camaro when they're all painted up.

I haven't picked up rotors or pads.  That will come later.  These should take a stock 11.5" rotor.  If this swap works out OK, it will effectively save me around $500.  So if that savings pans out, I'll spend the extra money on good slotted/drilled rotors all around, and a higher-end swap kit for the front.  I will also need to pick up an adjustable proportioning valve to dial in the rear brakes so I don't kill myself or the car.

Without adjustment, the rear brakes can lock up prematurely, which is exactly like yanking on the e-brake lever in your mom's car.  The rear end will immediately trade places with the front.  I will say that can be fun in the right context, but if you're not expecting it, you will die.

So, big picture thinking:  My thought is that with the poly bushings, a Hotchkis TVS suspension, and top-end disc brakes on all fours, this poor ol' six-banger Camaro will handle significantly better than a stock Z-28.  I guess we'll see. . .

The very last thing for today is kind of a long-shot I took while under that Trans Am.  It had a limited-slip differential in that 10-bolt rear end.  For you non-car people, a limited-slip differential makes sure power is evenly delivered to both rear wheels.  This effectively gives you more traction, and better control in hard cornering.

So, I pulled the limited-slip 3rd Member out of that Trans Am.  I'm going to see if there's a way it can go in my bone-stock 10-inch rear.  It's probably a waste of time, but it seems to me like it should be do-able.

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