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1995 V4P Fleetwood
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I believe it's time for some new brakes on the Caddy. I need to bleed the system as the fluid is sickly dark and I am getting some slight shudder, which makes me think the cheapo rotors from O'Reilly I put on 20K miles or so ago are starting to go. The pads themselves have plenty of meat on them. I figure now is a good time to tackle everything. Drum brakes looked fine to me last time I had them apart (20k ago, but they were perfectly intact).

I'm looking to upgrade the brakes a bit from OEM. I've read around about stealth bolt mod (still not sure what it is, or if possible on the Caddy), bigger pads from the Impala SS and possibly larger rotors. I'm running OEM rims on the Cadillac, so the parts must fit those.

Not really looking to drop $1k on a brake system, but I am looking for some easy/cheap bang for the buck upgrades. @Marky Dissod has been kind enough to mention steel brake lines to me. Those would just be short replacements for the lines right at each axle, correct? Can you all point me in a direction or give me some guidance with regards to some changes?

Thank you!

~Caddyshack
 

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Don't think there is a point to doing either the Stealth Bolt Proportioning Mod or the Stealth Bolt Metering Mod unless you have rear disc brakes. If I am wrong, hopefully someone will make the necessary correction.
If you upgrade to rear disc brakes, your Caddy could then make use of the Proportioning and Metering Mods.

Most people think I am wacky for mentioning that you can have the rear drums drilled by CH Topping.
I regret never getting around to doing this for my departed wagon …

Since you are not looking to drop $1k, it would seem that the Fleetwood V4U-J55 front rotor upgrade does not make much sense for you (at least for now?), since it requires that you use limo-specific outer tie rods, lower control arms, steering knuckles, front calipers, front pads, AND front rotors which are very slightly larger in diameter but quite a bit thicker. This would also sacrifice ABS unless you somehow managed to keep the ABS sensor harnesses AND install the ABS tone rings onto the J55 rotors.

Although I am foggy on the details, you can also use J55 calipers in conjuction with 2WD 5-bolt Astrafari minivan front rotors, which have are similar in size to our rotors yet also have superior venting. There is more machining to do, but the fewer parts that need to be bought are competitively priced or better.

J55 Brake Caliper / D614 Pad / Astrafari Rotor Upgrade.
All thanks and credit to sherlock9c1.
 

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I'd track down the shudder first, then worry about upgrades/changes, because brake upgrades won't solve some shudder causes.

Regarding the brake shudder:
1. Jack up front in a quiet place and rotate wheels. If there's disk thickness variation on a rotor, you'll hear the pads scrape each revolution. Here's a good explanation of how a brake job can lead to this problem on cars with rotors that slip onto the brake hub Stop brake rotors from warping — Ricks Free Auto Repair Advice
His points about lugnut torque apply to our cars as well.

2. While the wheels are up, wobble them back and forth, and up and down, to check for loose/worn front wheel bearings. This is a likely source of shudder. Your new rotors 20k miles ago were the unified rotor and hub "hat" style, so did they get new bearings, seals, grease, and proper torque on the big nut?

3. Are the front caliper guide pins/bushings/O-rings lubricated and allow the caliper to move freely?

4. Jack up the rear and try to wobble the rear wheels back and forth, and up and down. Any movement means worn axles and bearings. This is a likely source of rear shudder when braking, and may hint that bearings in the differential are worn out, too.

Re upgrades:
1. Brake pads: Lots of stuff in the archive to search and study about brake pad preferences. Any high-quality semi-metallic should be fine. IIRC, my car has Wagner semi-metallic severe duty fleet use pads right now and they work well for me, including towing and hills, considering the limits of the brake system--smallish rotors with not great venting.
2. Hoses/master cylinder. If your hydraulic stuff is original, replacing the old rubber hoses will give much better brake feeling, and safety. The master cylinder, too--the piston, seals and springs in the original one have been at work for 25 years. You can go the braided stainless flex hose route if you want for improved feel, but beware that some are not DOT approved.
3. If the front calipers and rear wheel cylinders are original then their pistons and seals are getting pretty ancient.
 

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1995 V4P Fleetwood
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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for the info! I remember you mentioning the J55 brakes to me before. The Astra mod seems interesting but it will require my car to be apart for some time... Unless I can get everything machined and taken care of.

I won't have time to investigate it all now, but I have read and will digest and come back around again. Just wanted to acknowledge the post and your information!

I saw a post about using Kore 3 brakes, and that looks like it might be plug and play. That would be quite a cost, however.... If a kit is more or less plug and play, I would be interested in it (depending on cost).


Link above is for different B/D upgrades on calipers and rotors.

@MWP
1. I've seen a video from ChrisFix on Youtube describing this exact thing. I am familiar with it but haven't tackled it yet. I will investigate and see what I can find out.

2. Same about the Chrisfix video above. They are the unified rotors, I do believe. I removed the bearings and cleaned and repacked with fresh grease (by hand). What are you referring to with seals? They are the same bearings with fresh grease. Proper torque on the big nut - at the time I didn't have a torque wrench so it was the "good and tight" method by hand.

3. Likely starting to go and need new guide pins along with O rings. I doubt everything is sliding nice and easily.

4. Haven't done this, but will do it soon enough as above.

Upgrades:
1. Current pads are the "top of the line" Autozone pads. Ceramic mixture or some such.
2. Everything is original. Old rubber hoses are the ones that terminate at the axle and run to the caliper? Like this link? KORE3 Industries LLC: On and Off-Road Performance Automotive Components
3. Calipers and rear wheel cylinders are all originals. I would like to replace the calipers which is why I am after an upgrade or something better. Might as well be done at the same time. Shoes and pads looked fine when the drums were apart last time.


@Marky Dissod I am interested in having drums drilled... Seems like a good thing to investigate.

Can anyone speak to the Kore 3 kits and the ease of installation and/or another upgrade that is cheaper/better?

Sorry for the rambling :)
 

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get quality stock rotors and some decent pads, I am a big fan of Hawk. Also consider replacing calipers and master cylinder depending on age/mileage. after that I would look at doing the rear disc brake upgrade & stealth bolt mods. if this isn't enough then think about upgrading to kore3, navylifer/bill harper has put together specific kits for the b-body.
 

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If you really want to improve the braking for cheap, Get the hydroboost from a 2007 Tahoe, and a flat mounting plate from an early Astrovan (you can buy the plate on ebay for $25) and the lines from a mid 80s diesel Olds from Rock Auto. You also need a special socket to swap the mounting plate, and weld the original eye from the vacuum assist unit to the hydroboost unit at 6 3/8 inches O/C from the surface of the mounting plate. You can use your original master cylinder. Mount the lines to the PS pump, and steering box with a return "Y"ed into the return. It can be done in less than one day. JY hydroboost $30, plate $25, special socket $40, Hydraulic lines $75, bolts $5, welding $25, misc $10. Total about $200.
 
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Hello all,

I believe it's time for some new brakes on the Caddy. I need to bleed the system as the fluid is sickly dark and I am getting some slight shudder, which makes me think the cheapo rotors from O'Reilly I put on 20K miles or so ago are starting to go. The pads themselves have plenty of meat on them. I figure now is a good time to tackle everything. Drum brakes looked fine to me last time I had them apart (20k ago, but they were perfectly intact).

I'm looking to upgrade the brakes a bit from OEM. I've read around about stealth bolt mod (still not sure what it is, or if possible on the Caddy), bigger pads from the Impala SS and possibly larger rotors. I'm running OEM rims on the Cadillac, so the parts must fit those.

Not really looking to drop $1k on a brake system, but I am looking for some easy/cheap bang for the buck upgrades. @Marky Dissod has been kind enough to mention steel brake lines to me. Those would just be short replacements for the lines right at each axle, correct? Can you all point me in a direction or give me some guidance with regards to some changes?

Thank you!

~Caddyshack
I'm retired from the old Delco Moraine which engineered and/or built those brakes. A restored stock system may suit your needs. The original composition pads are no longer available and are replaced with the standard stuff that fits even trucks. With the higher end pads you should get the braking it was designed for. You are on track about those rotors but you can check for the ABS causing it by pulling the ABS fuse and braking hard. If it is still there then rotors are most likely the gremlin. Junk ones abound. Flush the fluid by pushing new fluid through the system if it is nasty. Happy braking without spending a fortune.
 

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1995 V4P Fleetwood
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks to both of you for the replies! I am still up in the air on what I want to do. I think a new master cylinder wouldn't be a horrible idea. How difficult is it to replace? Any gotchas in the process? I did see that a line wrench should be used. I don't have any and I'll have to check the service manual to see what size is required. Any ideas?

I definitely need new brake fluid, and that will happen for sure. New rear cylinders wouldn't be a bad idea, either.

That said, @Fred Kiehl I have seen some people just using Impala SS rotors and pads for the Fleetwood.... Will this work as an OEM fix?

Has anyone done the Kore3 upgrade? I am interested but it seems like it might be a bit of work (and expense).


What are quality rotors? It seems it's just junk out there. It seems the braking in these cars was severely limited and I'd like to either go all out (Kore3), if I can get my head around all the changes (and difficulties) I need or just new quality OEM rotors and pads. The OE route would definitely be the easiest and most foolproof. The suggestions above about replacing the brake line would just be the lines that go from the crossmember (axle?) to the caliper?

Something like this:


Thank you.
 

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If you go with SS rear brakes, you will lose the TC and ABS.

If you want to pay the price, there is a company that cryo treats brake rotors. They are more expensive, but should never get high spots on them.

Unless the metal lines from the axle to the caliper are rusty, make sure they are clear, and use them. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

A new master cylinder requires that you bench bleed it before installing it. There are some tricks that make it easier.
 

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1995 V4P Fleetwood
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the info. I think a full rear drum brake install is in the works. I'll need a full parts kit and I am looking to get the drums drilled from CH Topping at $50/drum. This upgrade seems like it really does wonders with brake fade and is recommended by a fellow member.

The job shouldn't be too expensive for new rear everything. Was going to get most parts (except maybe drums) from Rockauto... They seem have a great selection of stuff.

Are there any gotchas with the drums on these cars?

Then I'll work on the fronts. New lines would probably be a good idea (braided steel). I definitely need to flush the old fluid.
 
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