For several years, the cornerstone for most Baer brake systems intended for vintage Fords has been the PBR twin-piston caliper that was original equipment on ’94-’04 Mustang Cobras. While it was and still is a good caliper that’s light years ahead of any drum brake, there was, as they always say, room for improvement.
Here, the result of that is a six-piston mono-block aluminum caliper that Baer Brake Systems now manufacturers. Long ago, Baer brake packages for disc brake conversions really only included calipers from other sources including PBR and Alcon. Now though, Baer is also a full-fledged volume manufacturer of its own calipers just like those aforementioned companies.
And for those interested in cars like classic Fords as we all are, that’s a big advantage, because not only are Baer products easily as good as the many exotic overseas caliper manufacturers out there, the company also has a special understanding of these older cars that’s needed to be able to retrofit its top-notch components to something such as the ’66 Mustang subject car shown here.
This brings us to the topic at hand. An existing Baer system on a classic Ford can be easily upgraded from the two-piston PBR caliper to the six-piston Baer caliper. We stopped in at Marlo’s Frame and Alignment one afternoon and saw the procedure completed – along with swapping in a set of larger rear rotors – in about two hours.
If you are thinking of going to a Baer system from stock, your best bet is to go right to the six-piston calipers. Or as we did here, you can also make the upgrade if your car already has Baer brakes now. Let’s take a look
Retaining the same 13-inch front rotor on our ’66 Mustang subject car as was used with the PBR calipers, the new six-piston Baer calipers are also a perfect fit. Keep in mind that with the fairly large 13-inch rotors, you’ll like need at least a 17-inch wheel such as shown here to allow the rotors to fit. Doublecheck all fitments with a wheel template (can be downloaded from www.baer.com). Baer’s excellent tech department can help with its numerous applications that are available for vintage Fords including new systems for ’66-’69 Fairlanes.
The six-piston mono-block calipers come fully assembled and ready to install.
Changing from the PBR to the Baer caliper is very simple R&R procedure. Begin by unbolting the brake line from the caliper as is being done here. Of course, since the brake lines are being disconnected, the car’s brakes will have to be bled once everything is all back together.
The PBR caliper’s two mounting bolts are removed including the lower one being done here.
The PBR caliper’s mounting bracket is also removed from the car’s spindle to make way for the supplied Baer caliper-mounting-bracket.
Be sure to use thread locker on the caliper-bracket mounting bolts.
The caliper bracket fits right into place on the stock Ford spindle.
Securely tighten the caliper-brackets to the spindle.
A light hit with an impact gun is ok to do on the top bolt that attaches to the top half of the spindle, but don’t lean on it too hard. It would also be a good idea to torque the bolts to spec according to the instructions or the Baer tech department’s recommendations.
With the bracket in place, the caliper can now be installed. It drops right into place and is secured with the supplied hardware.
Securely tighten the Allen-head cap bolts with the proper-sized Allen-head socket and ratchet. These should be fairly tight, but not overly so. Maybe around 40 lb-ft or according to the Baer tech department specs.
Complete the front caliper installation by reattaching the brake line to the caliper and bleeding the air out the system.
Rear Rotor Upgrade
Since this car has 17-inch wheels, it was decided to also upgrade the rear 11-inch rotors to 13-inch ones to match the front rotors. The existing Baer-supplied rear calipers were retained. We began by simply removing the rear caliper from the car. Note the brake line doesn’t need to be removed from the caliper, since it will be reinstalled on the car right over the new rotor.
With the caliper off, the old rotor slips right off the rear axle.
Clearly, the 13-inch rotor on the left will provide more leverage than the 11.25-inch one at right. When it comes to brakes, diameter equals leverage, leverage equals torque and torque equals braking force, which all means that larger rotors will provide more braking power – always a good thing.
The larger rotors require new mounting brackets to relocate the caliper. To remove the old bracket, it needs to be unbolted from the axle as shown here.
Once the four bolts are removed, the axle is pulled out a few inches to allow removal of the old bracket. The axle doesn’t need to be completely removed from the rearend housing. It only needs to be pulled out far enough to remove the old brackets and install the new ones.
Next, the new brackets for relocating the caliper further away from the center of the axle are installed.
Using the same hardware, secure the primary bracket to the axle housing.
The secondary bracket is next to be installed into place.
The new rotor is then slipped into place over the wheel mounting studs…
…and the caliper is reinstalled using its existing hardware.
Complete the installation by reinstalling the caliper and securely tightening its existing hardware.
The 17-inch rear wheels look much better with the larger rotor in place and more stopping power is also part of the picture. All in all, it’s a major upgrade at all four corners of this car for only about one to two hours of effort.
Baer Brake Systems
Marlo’s Frame and Alignment
Published Dec 31st, 1969