As most are aware, pre ’94 Mustangs had front disc, rear drum brakes in 4-lug. Some of the things that attracted me to this conversion are probably the same things that have made this one of the most popular modifications for Fox Body Mustangs.
- Sealed Hubs (no more packing wheel bearings!)
- Larger diameter rotors
- Large selection of calipers
- Use any OEM 5-lug wheel from 94-2004 Mustangs
There are MANY ways to accomplish 5-lug and/or disc brakes but I’m just going to cover my preferred method/parts. It’s my opinion that, given the opportunity, each modification done to a Mustang should improve performance to a measurable degree. That’s to say – I would never go the route of installing 5-lug ranger parts, just to get 5-lug but basically still have the remaining pitfalls of the fox braking design. This setup seems to be the most popular and for good reason – you’ll have the largest selection of calipers and wheels out of any of the other conversion options out there. There are a few sites with instructions and parts lists for doing this and the other conversions – check out http://www.sn95brakes.com/5lug.php for information. Like I said, I’m going to focus on the one that I consider the best. Most guys can swing a wrench but the questions that I usually see are in regards to which kit to use and why.
Here’s what you start with:
Obviously, do this at your own risk. You can probably swing a wrench, so I’m not going to go through every nut and bolt here. I’m going to hit the basic points and mention a few tips that I’ve learned (and mistakes that I’ve made) to help you out. If you aren’t familiar with working on your own car and/or you don’t know when and where to use floor jacks and safety equipment, you should not attempt this or any of the modifications on this site.
Let’s take the old stuff off. Remove the caliper and line (disconnect flexible brake line at the hardline, not the caliper). Here’s your first tip – You might be tempted to avoid a greasy mess and try to remove the spindle and rotor as an assembly – don’t do it! I tried this and the lower control arm gets hung up on the inside edge of the rotor, requiring you to remove the rotor anyway. Take the rotor off (remove cotter pin assembly, nut, washer and bearing – slide it off.). Remove the tie-rod end. Loosen the strut to spindle bolts.
You need to be careful with the next part. Breaking the spindle lose from the lower ball joint can be difficult. I like to use the pressure of the spring to help out. What I mean is, loosen the ball joint nut, a turn or two – make sure it’s still threaded onto the ball joint enough that it’s not going to come off. Put a floor jack under the lower control arm – make it close, but don’t support the weight yet. Use a pickle fork and hammer to break it free. Support the control arm with the jack and remove the nut. I like to CHAIN the spring into the K-member because it CAN come flying out and kill you. If you are also changing the springs, remove the swaybar link and lower the control arm down until the spring falls out. Be careful. If you aren’t changing the springs, you can put the SN95 spindle in place. You’re going to need a .300″ spacer under the spindle nut – or a couple large hardened washers that are approximately the same thickness.
Thankfully, most of the 94+ (SN95) front brake parts will swap right over. The main thing you need to find is 94-95 spindles from a GT, Cobra or V6. I obtained mine from a local salvage yard – they had the sealed hubs included and were in good shape. I’m a little ashamed of not blasting these to make them a little nicer looking prior to these pictures.
To be continued…