Front Brake Upgrade for 97 astro RWD

Front Brake Upgrade for 97 astro RWD

Postby krewchief [OP] » September 27th 2013, 2:33am

Hello fellow M-body owners! I'm new to this site, but I'm an ASE master certified auto tech, so hopefully I can help some of y'all out! I have a 97 astro with a whole load of miles on it, but I'm resurrecting it for my growing DJ business! I really want to get away from the one-piece front hub and rotor design, in favor of a separate hub and rotor design, as I drive my Astro like I stole it, and have to do brakes frequently (not that big of a deal for a mechanic!) I just spent $1000 on some killer Centerline wheels, and have plans to upgrade my old 4.3 to a later model 6.0L vortech motor with a turbo - but I digress.... First, does anyone know if this even exists - a hub with flange that would simply bolt in place of the one piece rotor I have now, which would accommodate a conventional rotor (only, no hub)? I kind of doubt that exists, but maybe it does. I am also considering having such a component fabricated by a machine shop. What about a knuckle off of another vehicle which would still bolt to the existing upper and lower control arms which would allow a conventional late-model style hub which would then accommodate a rotor-only style setup? Of course, it would have to maintain the 5x5 bolt pattern, or my new wheels would be junk. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated from the group! I thank you all for taking a minute or two to read this post, and hopefully somebody may have a suggestion or two!

Have a great night!

KrewChief
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Re: Front Brake Upgrade for 97 astro RWD

Postby 97cargocrawler » September 27th 2013, 5:00am

I think we just recently discovered that the later RWD years, 2003+ may have had an AWD spindle with a hub and rotor with holes instead of studs. You can probably research that easier than any of us.

I also recently came upon a website for the Caprice that has a Wilwood brake upgrade with several size rotors, up to 16" (!!!!!!! requires a 20" wheel) that use a hub like the AWD as well. Check here (copy and paste since links no longer work here):

streettrendsinc.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=BBODY&Category_Code=BCON

If you do the later RWD upgrade put some 3500 series calipers on like I did. Super braking power. Stops my 35" tires reeeeeaaaaaallllll quick.
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Re: Front Brake Upgrade for 97 astro RWD

Postby Corsemoto » September 27th 2013, 5:46am

I don't see why you couldn't swap spindles and hubs (and full brake setup) to '03-'05 rwd. The ball joints and tie-rods are the same for all years so they'd mate up, not sure how well the wheel speed equipment would interface. The later model are 6-bolt hubs and brakes are larger so probably have to use 16" wheels anyway. Wheel offset is also quite a bit different between the two.

CC, not sure which calipers you're using but the late model calipers are larger and were used on some 3500's so maybe the same caliper anyway. Oh, master cylinder is also '03-'05 specific but that probably has more to do with rear disc setup so might be fine for the front caliper upgrade.
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Re: Front Brake Upgrade for 97 astro RWD

Postby 97cargocrawler » September 27th 2013, 5:58am

Corsemoto wrote:
CC, not sure which calipers you're using but the late model calipers are larger and were used on some 3500's so maybe the same caliper anyway.


I believe the AWD vans use a 1500 series caliper. The piston bore is slightly smaller than 3500.

I have not had any issues with the master cylinder not providing enough volume to the larger calipers, nor the larger bore wheel cylinders I installed with my 11" drums in the rear.
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Re: Front Brake Upgrade for 97 astro RWD

Postby sfeaver » December 2nd 2013, 10:02pm

Do you have any part numbers handy for the front calipers, and rear backing plates?
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