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I am in the process of obtaining a 68 GTO that is what could be called "umolested". Numbers matching engine, verified relatively low mileage, all original body, etc. The drum brakes, including power booster, master cylinder, and maybe drum brake components need attention as the car is unsafe to drive with the current condition of the braking system. So, here's the question. Go ahead and simply replace/upgrade the parts that need repair or rebuild the original parts in an effort to keep original parts as much as possible. If the car had previously been altered there would be no question, but seeing as how it hasn't been, what is your opinion as to how to proceed? Maybe go ahead and replace/upgrade but keep the original parts and store them away is an option? I don't want to make a decision now that will prove to be a mistake some years down the road. Are brake components even really an important part of keeping a car somewhat original? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!!
 

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ah yes..............
hello fellow 68 owner ...

this is just my opinion ...
IF it were mine .....and that original ... new tires ... new brakes ... and AAA is the way

it sounds like a time capsule ... so .... what is the brake issue ? mushy pedal ? low fluid in rear reservoir ? its ALWAYS time for a brake inspection after every set of tires
and even when you first get a vehicle just for a piece of mind and safety

leave it stock ... have your original master cylinder rebuilt by https://whitepost.com/#hometop
if it still has bleeder valves and its the original ... love to see that at shows
also send them your wheel cylinders if they are still delco morraine originals ..
the power booster is probably alll right if you dont see alot of brake fluid in the cup there....
we had a booster rebuilt a few years back and we requested NOT to refinish the out side so it looked old n original
turned out pretty good not bright n flashy under t he hood of a 69 40,000 mile camaro

turn the drums ,,, your not going to be driving it hard Im sure... power drums in proper working shape
stop great.... good decent medium shoes ... keeping all the hardware together for each corner and not mixing up
the adjusters from side to side like the car in my shop now with a stuck brake issue left front

soak the fittings lightly with pb blaster always having a towel around for splashing and drips ..
using a quality tubing wrench as not to round any corners..

all 3 new brake hoses for sure also ... but I still have originals on a couple of my cars with no issues...
but my 88 GMC motorhome w 33,000 original just jacked a caliper hose last summer at the gas station
right b4 taking off for week camping/fishing trip ....so go figure

gotta have good brakes ,,, b4 anything else ..

keep it stock .... oh post up some pics tooo we like original cars ... I like seeing
original wiring and hoses and patina .....

Scott
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply...makes perfect sense to me. Initially, I fully intended to put disc brakes on the front, replacing the current drums, but after talking to others who have the drums and are satisfied with their performance I have decided to go with the existing set up....just getting components "rejuvenated".
 

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You can get rebuild kits for the wheel cylinders and master cylinder. Not hard to do. Or, bag the original stuff and buy new stuff from Rock Auto and bolt it on and go. Replace all the rubber hoses (one at each front wheel and the third in the rear at the axle housing) and bleed the system and good to go. Been driving my drum brake '65 GTO since 1982 and my drum brake '67 since 1983 and they stop just fine. My cars are street driven regularly, and are not track cars.
 

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I've never seen anything conclusive, that disc brakes are far superior to drum brakes. Sure, if you do alot of high speed driving, travel on the interstates alot and maybe much stop and go traffic, disc might be better because they don't fade like drum brakes do. Short of that, I wouldn't change a thing. My '62 SS has power drum brakes and it stops just fine. I changed the front drums on my '56 straight axle gasser and on my blown '57, to disc. No real regrets, but I wouldn't do it again. My '64 SS came with the front disc already changed. Guess it all comes down to how and where you drive your car. It's been rumored, that the drum to disc changes were made because it was a cheaper way to go. Not sure about that, Nicholas.
 

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I am doing a rebuild on my front brakes (68 Convertible) and plan to keep the drum brakes. They are simple to rebuild just make sure to take pictures from different angles or have a good exploded digram. If the milage is low you should be able to have the drums turned, mine are high milage so I will have to replace them. good luck with your build.
 

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I am doing a rebuild on my front brakes (68 Convertible) and plan to keep the drum brakes. They are simple to rebuild just make sure to take pictures from different angles or have a good exploded digram. If the milage is low you should be able to have the drums turned, mine are high milage so I will have to replace them. good luck with your build.
That picture taking is a good point, resource. What I do also, is take both drums off but only disassemble one side at a time. I use the intact side as a guide in case I forget how something goes. Getting older, Nicholas.
 

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Just finished restoring the drum brakes on my 68 during a frame off restoration. I was able to use the original drums. Just a minor cleanup to make sure they were still round and they were good to go. I took a lot of photos, maybe they can assist.

Buy new hoses. Your originals are 51 years old. I've ordered a few sets from this vendor and the quality is very good.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAKE-HOSE-SET-Pontiac-GTO-1968/390581386269?hash=item5af076fc1d:g:ZX4AAOSwED5Z2Tcu

Pay attention to the hold down pins. They have a number on the head and are front and rear specific. IIRC the longer ones go to the rear.
Raybestos or Delco hardware kits are available from RockAuto as are Delco shoes. If you want ceramic shoes Muscle Car Brakes can help.
Muscle Car Brakes

Don't mix up the self adjusters, they are specific from side to side. If they are original they'll have either two u shape or V shaped grooves depending if they are left or right. .
Its an easy job, just pay attention to the details.
 

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Rebuild. I’ve had rotten luck with currently available wheel cylinders, even name brands! Mis-located bleeder screws that are inaccessible. Metric bleeder screws on my ‘Murican car (9mm!!!). And of course leaks.

Rebuilding wheel cylinders isn’t really that tough if they’re not totally rusted inside. Hone them using brake fluid and pop a kit in. Make sure you get all the pits out where the piston cups seal.
 

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Just had to throw this in based on the comments about fading .... Not all drum brakes fade. My 64 was built with sintered metal brake linings and I was told they wouldn't fade. Yes, they were original. We bought it in '65 from a Pontiac exec when it had only 8,000 miles on it. They didn't grab very well when cold but were really good once they got warm. I took it to a parking lot late one night and made 20 panic stops from 50 MPH with no cool-down in between to prove that they would eventually fade - they never faded. However, when I took it out the next morning the brake pedal went slowly to the floor. I got it home and when I took it apart all the brake springs on all 4 wheels could easily be stretched out straight by hand; there was no temper left in them at all. The dust boots didn't crack - they fell to dust when I touched them. So I proved (A) not all drum brakes fade and (B) young kids can do really stupid things with cars and sometimes they even survive.
 
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