From Drum to Disc Brakes
One of the most basic and effective ways to improve your car's
stopping power is to add disc brakes. Disc, compared to drum, gives more stopping power,
along with better control over the car while braking at high speeds. This swap was first
used to upgrade Mustang braking power. Since, for the most part, a 1964-1966 Mustang is a
Falcon (suspension and drivetrain-wise), this swap is the same on a Falcon as it is on a
My original idea for this section was to include pictures with these
instructions. I might still do this in time, but for right now I don't see a need.
However, if you still are lost with my instructions, please visit sites for
this swap on Mustangs. Their pictures, along with their respective
instructions, are the parts that directly relate to this swap on our
What do I need off the donor car?
To do this swap, you need to take the spindles and everything attached to them, the
soft brake hose, and the outer tie rod ends. Try to get the hardline/softline connection
bracket while you are there. It's much easier to use the donor car's than to modify the
stock Falcon's. Also, adapters will be needed to reduce the soft line
connector size to mate with Falcon brake lines. Rubber brake lines
from a 76-80 Pinto (NAPA # 36743) remove the need for adapters.
1.) Replacing the Falcon's spindle and drum brake with the donor car's spindle and disc
The Biggest of the Million little things.......
1.) The Lincoln Versailles (Lincoln's Granada) uses the same parts as the Granada EXCEPT for the spindle. A Versailles spindle has larger holes for the ball joints, and won't work in this swap!!
2.) Others who have done this swap have warned that when the Granada outer tie rod ends are used to replace the stock units, they can't be threaded into the steering linkage enough to attain the correct front end alignment. From my experience, it can be done, but you also need to adjust the inner tie rod end as well.
3.) Remember to get your car to an alignment shop or check the alignment yourself shortly after the swap! Bad alignment can cause excessive wear and dangerous driving conditions.
4.) If you are using Granada parts, always look for a 1976-1979 V8 car.You want a V8 because these cars came with the 11" rotors, compared to the 10" rotors of their inline 6 counterparts. You want to stay within the confines of these years. By 1981 Granadas were built on the Fairmont platform, and they had a strut suspension, along with four lug wheels. The Granada rotors you want have five lugs.
5.)You need to have a V8 or V8 suspension and steering linkage in your car for this swap to work! Inline 6 powered cars have different, weaker parts in their suspension and steering. You will find that you can fit the new spindles, but the new tie rod ends won't thread into the inline 6 steering linkage.
6.) This swap can be done to any Falcon EXCEPT 1960-1962 cars! The reason is these early Falcons have different control arms and ball joints. To see if your car has a suspension that is incompatible with this swap, look at your upper ball joint. If three bolts hold it to the upper control arm, you can't perform this swap. If you have four bolts holding the upper ball joint, you're good to go. To do this swap on these three bolted numbers, you need to replace your upper and lower control arms with later model parts.
7.) Go to your local machine/brake shop and ask what the tolerances are on cutting the rotors you are going to get. With this info, you can bring a micrometer or a simple ruler to measure your junkyard rotors. This little step can save you from buying those new rotors!
8.) Certain tire rims will not fit this new setup. The Granada front discs have a larger "nose" on the rotor, so the stock Falcon rims WILL NOT WORK WITH THE NEW BRAKES!! I've seen that Maverick rims are a popular replacement part. As to questions of "will these rims fit?", 15" rims almost always seem to fit. Aftermarket 14" rims usually work, and 13" rims never work.
9.) If you have power steering on your car, you will find that you can use a Granada
outer tie rod on the passenger's side, but not the driver's side. The power steering on a
Falcon has a driver's side outer tie rod end that's unique to this setup. I managed to get
the Falcon power steering tie rod to work in the Granada spindle. When I tightened the tie
rod, it did not bottom out.
10.) I used the Geo Metro master/booster combo on my installation, but this is not your
only master cylinder choice by far. Ford Master cylinders can also be used. From the
original "fruit jar" master to the four wheel disc masters, Ford uses the same
"footprint" on all of their masters, so any Ford master, without the booster,
will mate to the firewall the same as original equipment, and can be used in this swap. I
suggest that if you do this swap, you should at LEAST change your original "fruit
jar" single master with a dual master off of a disc brake equipped car. This not only
adds safety, but it will have a larger reservoir for your new front disc brakes. There
have also been reports of single "fruit jar" master cylinders having problems or
failures running a Granada or donor car disc brake setup.
Compare the Granada's spindle (left) to the Falcon's (right). The two are not perfectly lined up, but I did stand the two back-to-back and measured the 3/16" difference.
So What Did I Do?
1.) I went to the junkyard and found a 1976-1979 Ford Granada V8. Bought the spindles and everything attached, the soft hoses with the hardline connection attached, and skipped on the outer tie rod ends (figured I'd buy new).
2.) I Took my parts home, disassembled the brakes (they were still on the spindles), and checked the parts for wear. I decided to replace the calipers, hoses, outer tie rod ends, and seals.
3.) Took the rotors to my machine shop and had them cut and cleaned, along with the spindles, caliper bracket, dust shield, dust shield retainer ring, and the small bolts.
4.) I prepped the parts for installation. I primed and painted the spindle, dust
shield, shield retaining ring, hard/softline connection black, painted the caliper and
caliper mounting bracket gold, and put a coat of hi temp clearcoat on the "hat"
of the rotor.