Anything that makes your car accelerate faster, turn sharper, or brake harder is a wise investment in your own driving pleasure. Baer Brakes has been focusing on that last one for years, developing and manufacturing performance braking solutions in the USA. When it comes to your classic toys, like the 1969 Mustang featured in this video, a brake upgrade may be a long-overdue update to bring your car into the 21st century.
Shorter stopping distances, better pedal feel and modulation, and stop after stop repeatability are marks of a quality system and can lend a feeling of security unlike 50year-old technology.
Dutch and Nick from Baer walk us step-by-step through the installation of an SS4 front and rear brake kit. The recipient vehicle is a Barrett-Jackson-bought, 1969 fastback owned by Brett of Ridetech. The car came equipped with an existing aftermarket system with small rotors, and a parking brake system integrated into the caliper.
The plan was to replace the rear parking brake with a more efficient drum and hat system and fit 12-inch rotors. In the front, a whopping 14-inch rotor will provide more area and leverage for the SS4 four-piston calipers to grab. Feeding volume and line pressure for a solid pedal feel, a Baer master cylinder will sit behind the pedals.
The first step is to remove the existing caliper, rotor and any supporting bracketry. With the bare axle accessible, Dutch can remove it and the underlying caliper bracket. Using the same four bolts that previously held the old bracket, the new Baer drum and hat unit can be located on the axle housing. Nick brings up a valuable observation, how do you determine which side is which with brake parts? Dutch points out that the part number engraved in the bracket can be referenced to determine left and right.
With the parking brake assembly installed the drilled and slotted rotor hat can be slid onto the axle studs and secured with a few lug nuts. Next, Dutch talks about the importance of centering the caliper on the rotor.
“We’re looking for equal distance between the pad and rotor [on both sides],” Dutch indicated. A feeler gauge can be used to measure the spacing, and shims used to adjust any necessary centering.
To button up the rear it’s just a matter of using new copper crush washers under the banjo fittings and tightening up the lines.
Moving to the front of the car, Dutch starts out applying a little grease to the inner race of the wheel bearings. Tightening down the spindle castle nut, the hub plate is secured to the spindle. Before grabbing the rotor and blocking our view, Dutch bolts up the aluminum caliper mounting bracket to the spindle. Making sure the slots are pointing forward at the top, just bolt the rotor to the hub like the rear, followed by the caliper.
The last piece to install is the master cylinder. The Baer master cylinder is about 1/4-inch short than an OEM unit, making fitment easier under a cramped hood. A final bleed of the brakes to ensure all the air is out of the lines seals the system. Time for a test drive!