Chris Sutton's
Speedster Project
Chriskate : Home : Separation : Shortening : Front Beam : Pan Powdercoating : Brakes : Transmission : Engine : Photos : Electric Photos
June 2003

Brakes were actually an very long project, not that it was hard, more like there were lots of other things that needed to be done before the brakes could be considered complete.

Actually, right off the bat, I decided I needed to shit can the drum brakes and go with disks all around. I purchased a disk brake kit from CB Performance, and decided to get the ones with the blank rotors, so I could figure out later what type of bolt pattern I would need for my wheels. I actually had the complete disk brake kit before I shortened the pan.

I got the blank rotors so I could have some flexibility in my wheel choices, but in the back of my mind I pretty much knew I wanted to go with Fuch wheels, which meant using the 5 bolt Porsche pattern. So all I needed to do was find a machine shop that could do this for me. This turned out to be a little harder than I thought. But eventually I was referred to Walrus Machine down on Leary way between Fremont and Ballard.

Walrus Machine was a one man machine shop and a really fun place to go. There was "stuff" everywhere, and only a few "paths" to walk through in the shop. Welders everywhere, different types of metal working machines, parts, whole cars, etc. Years and years of history.

Shortly after my daugher was born I started working 4/10's and took one day to take care of Arla. Usually this meant that we went around to various places in town to collect parts and things for the speedster project. So of course it was on my Arla day that we first paid a visit to Walrus Machine. I dropped off the 4 disks and told the owner what I wanted. He said it would be no problem. I said I was in no big hurry. This turned out to be not the best thing to say. Every week Arla and I would go back to visit, and find out the disks were not done yet. Actually right off the bat he was a little concered about the front disk brakes not having enough meet on them to do what I wanted. So I took the two front brakes back and returned them to CB in exchange for ones that were already setup for the 5 bolt porsche pattern. I got the replacement CB disks back and took one back to Walrus that he could used a a guide. Eventually we started going back every 2 weeks. Still didn't have them done yet. To his credit, his mother was sick and in a nursing home so he had a lot going on. Eventually he hired some help and started making progress on things, but not my disks. Each time I came back Arla was getting bigger and the joke became he would get them done before Arla started walking.

Eventually they did get done though and it was on to another part of the brakes that needed to be done.

With the 5 bolt disks, there was really no way to use the existing 4 bolt wheels I had to hold up the pan. For a short period I used the drums which I had cut apart with a cutting torch to only include the bearing races and 4 bolt holes. Eventually I got to the point where I really needed to have the disks on the pan, so what I did was to fabricate a temporary piece of 1/8 inch sheet metal that had the 5 bolt porsche pattern on it in the shape of a big donut, then cut out the center sections of the 4 bolt rims and then welded the sheet metal into the center of the rims. It was rather crappy looking but it worked and I could roll and pan around the garage. No way would you ever be able to use these wheels to go down the road, they where off center, and would break apart for sure when you went around the first corner.

So, with the disks on the pan, the next step was to take apart everything so I could send things down to Sean for powdercoating. Once everything (including the pedals) was back in nice shinny red, it was just a matter of putting it all back together again. The rear brakes where actually really hard to get together again and for a while I started to think it was not worth it to powdercoat them, and I might not be able to get them back together. Eventually with some patience I did, and with even more patience I was able to get them bleed to a good starting point so that when I pushed on the brake pedal the pan would stop moving. I got the emercency brake hooked up after finding a cable shortening kit from JC Whitney. At this point the pan was starting to look quite a bit more finished.

Around the same time I was also working on the Transmission.