Mod: Rear disc brake conversion on stock 28-spline Ranger rear-end
If you are wanting to upgrade to rear disc brakes but don’t want to swap to an explorer axle setup, this is the mod for you.
Installing 94-04 Mustang rear disc brakes onto your stock 28-spline Ranger rear end is nearly a bolt on affair and very easy to preform.
Okay, this mod is only for the 28spline axles. Meaning it WONT fit if you have:
- 2002 FX4 Off Road
- 2003~2007 FX4 Level II (but NOT FX4 Off Road)
- 2008~2009 FX4 Off Road (only when equipped with the "XR8" option - Torsen diff/31-spline/4.10 ratio).
Meaning, if you ARE NOT in the list above or have NOT swapped its corresponding rear axle under your truck, you can do this swap.
Upgrading to Mustang brakes give you nearly endless possibilities in pad and rotor choices compared to Explorer rear ends. Additionally, with mustang brakes, the parking brake is over 9000 times easier to hook up than with an expo rear end. You also get the benefit to keeping your rear end if you have already invested in gears, lockers, or any maintenance (all of which you throw out with an expo swap). You also don’t have to weld on spring perches.
Within the Mustang rear disc brake conversion are two options. You can use GT/V6 or Cobra brakes. The GT/V6s are 10.5inch solid rotors, whereas the Cobras are 11.625inch vented rotors. Also note that you may have clearance problems if using 15inch wheels and the larger Cobra brakes.
To start off with, you need to obtain all of the rear brake parts off of a 94-04 Mustang.
The parts you need to get are:
- Calipers (either GT or Cobra)
- Rotors (model specific)
- Pads (model specific)
- Caliper brackets (model specific)
- Anti-moan brackets (optional, some don't use it)(model specific)
- Dust shield (optional, most don't run them )(model specific)
- Brake lines soft/hard(covered in detail below)
Here is a picture of the Calipers (shown is a cobra caliper):
Here is a picture of the caliper bracket (the one you have to modify to bolt onto your axle):
Here is a picture of the anti-moan bracket (shown is a cobra, they are taller to match the larger bracket):
Here is a picture of the rotors:
(vented Cobra rotors):
Here is a picture of the dust shields:
The next step is to remove your stock rear drum brakes. This means you need to put the truck up on jack-stands, remove the wheels and the drum. Then you'll need to either cut off the backing plate, or pull the axles to unbolt the backing plate. To do this, take off your diff cover, rotate until you see the small bolt holding the center pin in. Remove this and pull the center pin. Then push in the axles till they stop, and you'll see the c-clips to remove. Remove these then pull the axles out. Now unbolt the backing plate. Please note, you'll need an oil pan beneath the diff cover when you remove it, and you'll need to replace the oil once you reinstall everything.
Now with the axles back in, you will need to modify the caliper bracket in order to bolt it to the inside of the axle flange.
Here are pictures in order to show where you need to cut to bolt the caliper bracket to the inside of the axle flange:
After you have modified the caliper bracket, you simply bolt it onto the axle flanges. However, after modifying you will need to bolt the Left bracket onto the right side, and the Right bracket onto the left side.
You can now slide on your rotor, attach the anti-moan bracket, and bolt the caliper up.
You maybe have to shim the caliper to get it perfectly centered on the rotor. Use grade 8 hardened washers to do this:
Now you need to run a soft line up to the caliper from the hardline on your axle. I went with stainless steel braided lines and bent and flared new hard lines It seems a 16-20inch universal line works great. The Ranger’s hard lines have a 3/16 tube inverted flare fittings so I have to get adapters to go to an AN-3 (the size on my SS braided lines). Then at the caliper end, it went to a 10mm banjo bolt.
This drawing helps show what you need to do:
You can also use stock mustang softlines and bend your stock hardline out of the way for a cheaper alternative.
This kit from Currie bolts on and works great. Thanks to mikerider for finding it and using it
Currie Enterprises Racing Rear End Categories
And here is the kit above installed. This is how it'll look with basically any other softline installed.
Photos by mikerider:
I also replaced the frame-to-axle soft line with a stainless steel braided. This is totally optional and not necessary, but i decided to do it while i was under there (this way i don't have any rubber softlines on my truck):
Now you need to hook up the parking brakes. This step is cake. Simply insert the cable through the hole in the caliper, and attach the ball end on the spring of the caliper. Now, slide back the protective cable outside and measure the distance to the caliper. Now cut some 1/2inch copper pipe to make up the difference. See the picture for clarity…you’ll see how it works.
Now you need to bleed the brakes and bed them in and you’re done!
Here are my finished product:
Using GT calipers on Cobra rotors
If you find a deal on gt calipers, but want to use cobra rotors, you may find clearence issues. The cobra rotors are slightly wider (due to the venting), and sometimes hit the inside of the caliper.
To fix this problem, simple grind away the extra material show in the pictures.
If you're not sure if you have GT of Cobra calipers, see this picture:
***In this write up, I installed the 12inch Cobra brakes onto my truck. It works great and i love it!
***This write up only works for the 28spline 8.8/7.5. If you have a 31spline FX4 axle or explorer axle, you can use this caliper bracket from Currie:
Currie Enterprises Racing Rear End Categories