Affordable C5 Brake Upgrade
by The Vette Nut's

The factory braking system on the C5 Corvette is extremely competent and satisfactory for almost every situation, The problem is that Corvette gear heads are never content with something that is labeled competent or satisfactory. The rotors on the C5 perform great but are no match when compared to the slotted and cross drilled rotors that are standard equipment on the ZO6. Drilled and slotted rotors will impart the final boy racer look to your Vette. The only problem is that a quality after market set of rotors can cost an arm and a leg.

So how do you get the great looks of quality cross drilled and slotted rotors while at the same time keeping the cost within reason? The answer may surprise you, our friends at AC/Delco will come to the rescue. The rescue comes in the form of OEM cross drilled and slotted rotors. These are the same rotors that were standard equipment on the C5 ZO6. The front rotors are 12.6' in diameter and can be order under AC/Delco PN#'S 18A1079, 18A1080. The rears are 11.8" in diameter and can be ordered under AC/Delco PN#'S 18A1081, 18A1082.

As previously mentioned these OEM units will let you have your cake and eat it too. They offer extremely high quality at an affordable price. After some browsing the internet for a good price we stumbled on an Ebay store, ThePartsLadi, located in Destin Florida, that offered a brand new factory package for $399. Wait it gets better, they threw in a complete set of AC/Delco Durastop ceramic pads (AC/Delco PN#'S 17D731CH, 17D732CH) for free. These pads usually retail for about $180 a set. Add to that a low shipping charge and you have a good deal. The rotors and pads were delivered within three days of the order placement. When placing the order we did not mention who we were, this excellent service is just how the company conducts business.

This project can be successfully completed by any novice gear head with a minimum of hassle. The following equipment is needed fro the installation:
A low profile hydraulic race jack. A lift will make life much easier. Unlike the other mags we try to do all of our projects without the use of a lift as very few of our reader have access to one.
Safety stands
A good set of tools that include a 1" drive breaker bar and 19mm socket.
A large C clamp
A tube of Locktite
A wire clothes hanger
A can of spray brake parts cleanser
A can of new brake fluid
Your wife's turkey baster

Begin the project by inspecting your new rotors, make sure they are free from any manufacturing defects such as casting cracks of obvious warpage. Spray each rotor with brake cleaner and wipe off all shipping oil and gunk.

Jack up the car, make sure you place safety stands under the chassis. Remove the wheel. You can start at the front or rear. If you start the project in the front make sure you complete the front before you move to the rear.

Open the cap on the master cylinder. Using your wife's turkey baster suck some brake fluid out of the reservoir. This is to prevent the fluid from overflowing when the caliper pistons are compressed. Don't let the fluid drip on anything as it is extremely caustic.

Place a large screwdriver between the inner brake pad and the caliper and force the pad back. This will retract the caliper piston to allow the removal of the caliper assembly from the old rotor.

Using a breaker bar and a 19mm socket remove the upper caliper retaining bolt. Loop a wire clothes hanger through the caliper bolt retaining hole and secure the caliper to a suspension member. This will protect the rubber brake line from damage if you accidentally drop the caliper.
Remove the lower retaining bolt. You can let the caliper hang from the wire hanger.

Remove the rotor by hitting it from behind with a hammer. Place the new rotor on the hub, using an old lug nut secure it to the hub.

Prepare the new brake pads by applying a thin layer of PTFE silicone on the backside of the pad. The silicone is supplied as part of th brake package. It minimizes the chance of pad squealing.

Place a large C clamp on the inner brake pad and force the pad back into the caliper. Remove the old pads from the caliper and insert the new pads into the caliper assembly. Put a drop of locktite on both caliper bolts.

Position the caliper on the new rotor starting from the bottom. Insert and tighten the bottom bolt and then the top bolt.

Slap the wheel back on and move to the other side of the car. The rest of the rotor replacements will go a lot smoother now that you got the hang of it. After you finish refill the master cylinder with some fresh fluid and replace the cap.

Pump the brakes and make sure you have a hard pedal. Drive your car around the block a few times stopping the car every fifty feet. This will bed the new pads into the rotors. Take it easy for the next few miles to finish the pad bedding process.

Park your Vette and admire the new look.