As a budget-friendly economy car the Chevette was never outfitted with high dollar parts from the factory in order to keep the price tag low. This includes the brakes, as the factory Chevette brakes are laughable at best. A solid brake disc combined with a brake caliper smaller than my fist would be more suited to a go kart, as we found out when we raced the JDMVette.
Once we discovered the inherent limitations of the factory brakes, we sought to upgrade them. Our solution retains the stock master cylinder, upgrades the front rotors to 11″ vented rotors with the stock 4×100 bolt pattern, and fits on the stock spindle.
Here is the basic parts list to complete this swap:
– Stock Chevette Brake Rotors
– 1990 VW Corrado G60 Front Brake Rotors
– Wilwood Forged Dynalite Brake Calipers (Part no. 120-6806)
– Wilwood BP-10 Brake Pads (Part no. 150-8850K)
– Brake hose with a 180* fitting on the caliper side (I didn’t order the ones on our car so I don’t know the part number)
– Brake line adapter fittings for hose to caliper
– 6″L x 2″T x ?”W piece of steel bar stock (? explained later on)
– New wheels to clear the brakes (We used 15×8 Bassett wheels with wheel spacers)
The first step in the brake upgrade is to provide a mounting solution for the new rotor. We had a local machine shop cut off the rotor part of the stock hub. Be sure to bring the Corrado rotors with you when this is done as the outer diameter of the cut hub will need to be able to fit within the inner diameter of the brake rotor hat.
Once the rotor fits on the new hub, the brake caliper bracket can be addressed. Measurement for this bracket is critical. Our best solution for measurement was remove a spindle from the car and put it in a vise. After that, you attach the rotor to the hub and secure it with 4 lug nuts. The brake pads are then installed in the caliper and the caliper is set on the rotor. In order to allow for a small amount of radial play on the rotor, two small (1/8″ or so) washers are placed between the rotor and the two silver fluid bridges of the caliper. Ensure the brake pad will sweep the rotor face at this time too. Once the caliper is in place, measure the distance between the caliper brackets on the spindle and the brake caliper. As this mount is rigid, accurate measurement for the bracket is critical to ensure normal and even brake pad wear.
Use this measurement to purchase the steel flat stock for the bracket. Our finished product ended up like this.
Once the bracket is complete, the rest of the upgrade is fairly straightforward. Bolt on the caliper, attach the brake hose, bleed the brakes, check wheel/caliper clearance and then bed the brake pads.
A few final notes on this upgrade.
I’m not entirely sure what brake hose was used on our car. The hose we did use has a straight fitting and one adapter to attach to the Wilwood caliper and it clears from lock to lock. If you guys find a better solution, mention it in the comments and I’ll update the article.
I choose the Wilwood Forged Dynalite caliper because it almost exactly matches the piston area of the stock Chevette caliper. I believe it was 2.94 square inches versus the Wilwood at 3.0 square inches. That meant, as far as the stock master cylinder was concerned, almost no change was made. Brake pads are also very cheap and lots of compounds choices exist.
Our wheel choice of the 15×7″ Bassett wheel in the 3.5″ offset isn’t ideal. Our main concern was cost as we were buying 8 wheels for racing when we purchased them. We also bought them prior to the brake upgrade and we had to clearance the fenders quite a bit. They’re not ideal as they’re very heavy at 19 pounds and requiring a sizable wheel spacer to clear the caliper is another negative. I’m sure they’re are better wheels than what we have so don’t take what we have as the final say. We adapted what we already had to fit this brake upgrade. They have been race proven for triple digit speeds for multiple hours, so they’re not an awful way to go either.