Manual brakes on street car

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering, Brake & Wheel Topics' started by biker, May 16, 2021.

  1. biker

    biker Veteran Member

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    I have factory power brakes on my 81, and they work great. But in keeping with the simplicity theme I like with mechanical things, does anyone have a user friendly non-power setup on a daily driver? It occurred to me while I was looking at options for vacuum sources since my new carb only has one 3/8 port and the port on my RPM manifold is covered by my carb.
    I would certainly upgrade the master cyl and calipers, but I want to keep the rear drums.
    My only experience with manual brakes is all my old pickups over the years, but I've never driven a 2nd gen camaro with manual brakes.
    I have my current setup working just fine now, but I like the idea of no booster under the hood.
     
  2. Zstar

    Zstar Veteran Member

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    IMHO, keep what you have. It is a known commodity.
     
  3. biker

    biker Veteran Member

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    Yessir. Works well, no reason to change it, just wondering about opinions from those who have manual. Definitely a "want" and not a need, and I do have other areas to focus on first.
     
  4. Zstar

    Zstar Veteran Member

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    Biker, finding someone with a manual brake car and driving it would at least give you an idea what they are like. I have
    driven one. Since you lift weights, your leg will get a workout. LOL!
     
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  5. BillyDean7173

    BillyDean7173 Psychopathy Red

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    Back in the late 90s, I drove my 71 with manual brakes and manual steering as a daily driver. Powerglide, too. About a 16 mile round trip to and from downtown Austin during the week. All my stuff was factory except a Grant steering wheel. Disc on the front, drums on the back. Never any mechanical issues. Scraped a few trim rings in the parking garage, though. Certainly would have been more difficult with a manual transmission, which the car originally had. You get used to it quickly and learn the limitations. For example, it was a lot easier to run a red light than to stop for it. Besides, what can be more muscle, lol? That was one of the reasons I fell in love with the car when I found it. I thought the shift kit was cool, too (at the time).

    Not sure what you mean by user friendly, but factory is probably as simple, dependable, and trouble free as you can get. Drove the car for about six years like that and that's how she sits today. I'm too old for all that now, so it will all be coming out during the resto. The traffic is just too crazy nowadays to drive a car with that setup. That's something to think about. You can trust yourself and your car, but do you trust the other drivers out there? No way.
     
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  6. biker

    biker Veteran Member

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    HA! Getting older, so I try to stick to scheduled workouts only. Again too, wife and kids drive it sometimes, so needs to be somewhat user friendly.
     
  7. biker

    biker Veteran Member

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    All very good points. My original 76 pickup was like that, but also had 3 speed manual on the tree. Never noticed any issues, drove it daily everywhere. But, jumping into a work truck or my dad's car was a huge difference. Had to be very careful with power brakes.
    I was hoping there were some upgraded manual components that would give a solid pedal with minimal stroke and moderately more effort. Anyways, thanks for the thoughts guys.
     
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  8. 1320feet

    1320feet Veteran Member

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    I removed the booster on my big block 70 Nova do to the 260° camshaft. The brakes had a better feel and I was able to lock them up at any speed. That car ran 112 MPH in the quarter and I could lock them up no problem. This Nova had the same single piston caliper as the 2nd gen camaro.
     
  9. biker

    biker Veteran Member

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    Ok good. Thanks man. I figured it cant be horrible.
     
  10. DesmoEd

    DesmoEd Veteran Member

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    When I redid my 69 vette I kept the manual brakes for simplicity and weight.

    I run stock 4 piston calipers (sleeved) along with an alum 7/8 in bore Wilwood tandem manual m/c. Car stops perfectly fine and I have no issue driving it quickly in traffic but it's also a heck of a lot lighter with a much shorter wheelbase.

    In the right application a good manual brakes system can be made to work just fine but I don't think a 2nd gen fits the bill. I'd go hydro boost instead of manual if vacuum is an issue - it totally transformed my Camaro.
     
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