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I don't think that is a fair comparison because the Colorado has anti-lock brakes. That's probably a big reason it's significantly shorter stopping from 60 to 0. Tires, suspension and weight distribution would have something to do with it as well.

If the El Camino's wheels are locked up with the stock brakes from 60 to 0, I don't think it's going to make any difference in stopping distance by changing to better brakes alone if everything else remains the same.

As far as the other things you mention, I have some things to consider there. Once I get my car back on the road, I'll pay more attention and evaluate it further. It will have a new set of wheels and tires too. Changing from 15X7 to 16X8 with larger tires. Made some suspension changes too.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
I don't think that is a fair comparison because the Colorado has anti-lock brakes. That's probably a big reason it's significantly shorter stopping from 60 to 0. Tires, suspension and weight distribution would have something to do with it as well.

If the El Camino's wheels are locked up with the stock brakes from 60 to 0, I don't think it's going to make any difference in stopping distance by changing to better brakes alone if everything else remains the same.

As far as the other things you mention, I have some things to consider there. Once I get my car back on the road, I'll pay more attention and evaluate it further. It will have a new set of wheels and tires too. Changing from 15X7 to 16X8 with larger tires. Made some suspension changes too.
Oh I agree with you completely on all fronts. Certainly modern ABS technology provides a significant edge to modern vehicles in comparison to older vehicles. I also agree with you that simply upgrading brake rotors, fluids, calipers, and master cylinders alone will not improve braking performance. You sort of hinted at it above, but the capability of your brakes are ultimately limited by your tires and chassis. To this extent, brake modifications should really only be considered after first upgrading wheels, tires, and suspension components first. That way, you will actually be able to use the enhanced stopping power by having tires that can generate more adhesion with the road, and a suspension that can better control weight transfer front to rear.

With that being said, Mike Finnegan of Roadkill managed to get the 60-0 stopping distance of his 1969 El Camino with 18x8 and 18x9 Forgeline DE3C wheels wrapped in Falken Azenis 615 tires and full Ridetech Level 3 HQ suspension down from 162 feet to just 128 feet after installing Wilwood's 14" 6-piston bike brake kit and their manual brake master cylinder. So there are significant performance gains to be made after extensive supporting modifications have been completed.

As far as those later points you are considering, it's worth mentioning that those subjective issues won't really be as prominent if your El Camino spends most of its time on the road. I'm more so an advocate for enhanced stopping power for safety reasons after significant engine modifications have been made. Going fast on public roads isn't terribly safe when you can barely stop your car in a panic situation.
 

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I've changed enough G-body brakes over the years to make me think the 1.5" diameter sounded way too small. AC-Delco lists their stock replacement caliper as 2.5" piston diameter. By comparison, the big-bore replacement caliper sold by AFCO for oval track use has a 2.75" piston.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #44 (Edited)
I stand corrected, the OEM 5th gen front brake calipers must have had a piston diameter of 2.5" and the oversized single piston caliper has a diameter of 2.75". Thanks for the fact check, Bill! I have changed my earlier post to accurately reflect the information you have provided here.
 

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I agree Will.
Cars and trucks have newer brake technology. Many of the commuter cars on the road are also lighter.

I need to be able to stop faster than the bumper in front of me.
 

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I stand corrected, the OEM 5th gen front brake calipers must have had a piston diameter of 2.5" and the oversized single piston caliper has a diameter of 2.75". Thanks for the fact check, Bill! I have changed my earlier post to accurately reflect the information you have provided here.
Toyin, Sorry for taking a while to get back to you on my sticky. As Bill clarifies in a post later in this thread, that the big bore single piston caliper sold by the El Camino store has a piston diameter of 2.75". Allegedly, this increase in size should yield a 20% increase in clamping force when compared to the OEM 2.5" single piston front caliper.



Roger,

In an article titled "El Camino Disc Brakes - The Old-Fashioned Drum-Off" published by in March of 2008, Super Chevy magazine recorded a 1982 5th gen El Camino as having 60 mph - 0 mph stopping distances ranging between 166 and 188 feet.

By comparison, the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado was recorded by Cars.com as having a 60-0 braking distance of 140 feet, nearly 26 feet shorter than even the best run of the 1982 El Camino tested by Super Chevy magazine. This feet is even more astounding when you consider that the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado is a tall, mid-size truck that weighs approximately 36.8% or 1,215 lbs more than our El Caminos. So clearly, by modern standards, our El Camino's are lacking in braking performance.

Similarly, as El Camino's are subjected to modifications resulting in increases in horsepower and torque, enhanced braking power is required to bring all this enhanced acceleration to a halt. Beyond pure stopping power, multiple brake comparison tests have noted that by modern standards, old brakes are laking in pedal feel and modulation as well, rendering the driver more likely to lock up the front wheels and skid in an emergency stopping situation. Furthermore, older braking systems are noted for their lack of longevity, and tendency to cause a "squishy" pedal as the brakes heat up under extended periods of abuse.
I've changed enough G-body brakes over the years to make me think the 1.5" diameter sounded way too small. AC-Delco lists their stock replacement caliper as 2.5" piston diameter. By comparison, the big-bore replacement caliper sold by AFCO for oval track use has a 2.75" piston.

Bill
first, sorry for the multiple quotes and I think I may not be understanding something or a lilttel (little) slow..hahaha. I could verify this by taking my wheel off>pulling the caliper> then measuring..but..asking by typing is easier(but lazier)
1) what do I have now? all is stock. do I have a 1.496" or a 2.500"?
2) I can see the big difference going from 1.496" > 2.500" and the small difference if I had the 2.500" and go to the 2.75"
 

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Great list! I converted instrument panel lights to LEDs when they became available, have 16x8 wheels all around that enhance traction and braking, and have a 2-inch square tube welded between the rear frame rails to reduce flex when the wider rear tires (245R16) hooked up. The tube also gave me an easy way to eliminate the shin-buster hitch and go to a 2-inch receiver hitch. I will add the fuel door mod to my list, and I recommend the stainless steel brake line kit that Eckert sells. In two of my El Caminos, when I had to make a panic stop, an OEM steel brake line burst. Fortunately, there was room on the right side of the road to avoid colliding. Local shops are replacing steel OEM lines on 2003 and 2004 GM vehicles now. Keep posting the great information!
 

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Discussion Starter #48
first, sorry for the multiple quotes and I think I may not be understanding something or a lilttel (little) slow..hahaha. I could verify this by taking my wheel off>pulling the caliper> then measuring..but..asking by typing is easier(but lazier)
1) what do I have now? all is stock. do I have a 1.496" or a 2.500"?
2) I can see the big difference going from 1.496" > 2.500" and the small difference if I had the 2.500" and go to the 2.75"
No need to apologize Toyin, you're good! Let me answer your questions in sequence..
1. If BillyJack's anecdotal evidence is correct (I see him as a reliable source on this forum) your front calipers are single pistons that measure 2.5" in diameter.
2. Your analysis is correct, going from 2.5" to 2.75" single piston caliper will be a significantly smaller difference in stopping power than if you were going from a 1.5" to a 2.5" single piston caliper. That would explain why the advertised difference is only 20%. I imagine that you would be able to feel that slight improvement in stopping power, but I don't think it would be a night-and-day difference. Whether or not that difference is worth the $240 you would have to pay for a pair of big bore calipers is up to your judgement.
 

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If you happen to be pulling the headliner another easy upgrade is to add a map-light rear-view-mirror.
 

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No need to apologize Toyin, you're good! Let me answer your questions in sequence..
1. If BillyJack's anecdotal evidence is correct (I see him as a reliable source on this forum) your front calipers are single pistons that measure 2.5" in diameter.
2. Your analysis is correct, going from 2.5" to 2.75" single piston caliper will be a significantly smaller difference in stopping power than if you were going from a 1.5" to a 2.5" single piston caliper. That would explain why the advertised difference is only 20%. I imagine that you would be able to feel that slight improvement in stopping power, but I don't think it would be a night-and-day difference. Whether or not that difference is worth the $240 you would have to pay for a pair of big bore calipers is up to your judgement.
ok, I wasn't sure if I did in deed have a 1.5" or not, but curious question, what model el camino did have the 1.5?
 

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Discussion Starter #51
ok, I wasn't sure if I did in deed have a 1.5" or not, but curious question, what model el camino did have the 1.5?
I'll be honest with ya, I don't think any Chevrolet El Camino came with a factory single piston caliper with a piston diameter of 1.5". I did a quick search on Summit Racing's website and only managed to find a 1.5" single piston rear brake caliper for 2000's Chevrolet Monte Carlos and Chevrolet Impalas.
 

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2. Your analysis is correct, going from 2.5" to 2.75" single piston caliper will be a significantly smaller difference in stopping power than if you were going from a 1.5" to a 2.5" single piston caliper. That would explain why the advertised difference is only 20%. I imagine that you would be able to feel that slight improvement in stopping power, but I don't think it would be a night-and-day difference. Whether or not that difference is worth the $240 you would have to pay for a pair of big bore calipers is up to your judgement.
on the face of it, point #2 above seems right but I've learned not to trust something I can't prove or disprove. you're not talking just .25" here, that's a CIRCULAR .25" which will give proportionately more clamping power over that area. I don't have the experience or math skills to verify how much it really would be.

As for a night and day difference, don't forget what was said by others about improving road adhesion and suspension mods that allow for a better handling and braking vehicle. with the right setup, it may very well be a night and day difference. shoot, I just replaced the original 16" tire/wheel combo on my '04 Suburban with a junkyard find of 17" tire/custom wheels with same sidewall profile. I can tell the difference in the ride quality going over the same rippled asphalt where city buses drive in my daily commute. and the Burb is nothing special with 200k miles.
 

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4. Upgrade Gauge Lights and Reflectivity
Parts you'll need:
- Sylvania Type 2825 lights
- White modeling paint
What it does:
Something people complain about regularly about 5th Gen El Caminos, is the gauge lights. Over the past 30+ years, they've gotten dim and the lighting is so poor that many El Camino owners have trouble reading their entire gauges at night, even with the dimmer switch up as high as it will go. The the 8 factory Type 168 lamps are rated at just 3 candlepower, where as the Sylvania 2825 lamps are rated at 5 candlepower. Multiply those figures by 8, and the Sylvania lamps can provide a 60% increase in available illumination over the stock Type 168 laps. The improvement can be further increased by painting the faded light blue surface on the back of the gauge faceplate white to increase it's reflection coefficient. These two simple modifications combined will make your gauges clear as day again, helping driver confidence in night time situations.
How-to information:
"Instructions to Improve SS Dash Gauge Cluster Lighting " by Paul Carreiro on June 2nd, 2004
http://www.montecarloss.com/Dash_Lights.html
Got around to doing this upgrade this past weekend and spent a lot of time on it, but I was very happy with the results. It is every bit a 60% increase in the amount of increased light on the gauges. Besides painting the inside of the gauge faceplate, I also painted white the area where the bulbs are as this area was also a light blue color. Also, put 2825 bulbs in the turn signal sockets and they are nice and bright, too.
 

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Rear brakes

Just got these from Rock Auto for my 83 SS and my 85 Cutlass! Woo Hoo!
 

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Got a question for the :


Upgrade Gauge Lights and Reflectivity

- Sylvania Type 2825 lights


I picked up a box of 10 of the EIKO 2825 bulbs at Oreillys for $9.49 for the dash, I thought that was cheap considering a 2 pk is like $5-6. So I'm going to get 2 more boxes to replace the other standard #168's. Like in the area of:


both front and rear sidemarkers x 4
both sides of the taillights x 4
gonna leave the front yellow for now
and other interior dash #168's


Are all of these area's a good idea to change out? Is the extra candle power in those areas a good idea? and especially where the taillight and sidemarker Lens are ... is the extra candle power going to melt/disfigure the plastic because of the more heat it produces? With the change out of the dash lights..hows that going for everybody that has had them installed for 2, 3 4 plus years? any melting on the surrounding plastic gauge area?


Thanks
 

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Brakes

So, I originally posted that I didn't notice anything wrong with my El Camino brakes and was questioning why to upgrade.

Well, after just going to new wheels and tires all the way around, I definitely see why an upgrade is needed. I've owned the car for 25 years but always ran close to stock size tires and wheels until now. I went to 16X8 with 225/55R-16 on the front and 255/50R-16 on the rear. These Goodrich G-Force tires are also are a fairly sticky rubber.

My upgrade so far was a new set of Wilwood 2.75" metric calipers, a pair of S10 7/8" wheels cylinders in the back and a new 1" non-step bore type master cylinder. I just did this and haven't broken in the front pads yet so I can't report if I'm totally satisfied yet.
 

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Blazer spindles

I may consider doing the popular 2WD Blazer front brake upgrade on my El Camino.
Just wondered what a fair price is to pay for used bare spindles? I see some on eBay but the price seems kind of high to me.
I was thinking on contacting local wrecking yards too but it would be nice to know what is a fair price before trying that.

Also, anyone know of members here that may collect and sell them?
 
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