One of the most important upgrades that you can do to your lowrider is a brake system upgrade. Not only does it make the whole driving experience much more pleasurable, but, more importantly, it helps protect your investment and all of its occupants by giving the driver more control over the vehicle.
This month we decided to visit our friends at ABS Power Brake Inc. to see what they have to offer the Lowrider community. ABS has been around for many years, constantly developing different types of steering and braking upgrades for any and all vehicles. They can also rebuild original equipment to even better than factory specs if that’s the direction you are going with your build. ABS Power Brake Inc. offers the standard vacuum booster setups, and they also have hydraulic power assist master cylinder systems that are plumbed into your power steering pump system. Both of these systems provide ample stopping power, but for this particular install we decided to utilize their electric hydraulic power assist system.
Each of the power assist systems that ABS offers has their own subset of positive characteristics. We opted for their electric hydraulic system because it allowed us to mount the electric pump anywhere on the car that we desired. All we had to do is make sure that the reservoir could gravity feed the pump and also the master cylinder. If we so desired we could have even mounted the pump in the trunk of the car with its own reservoir and just plumbed the 3/16-inch hardline back up front to the rear-most port on the master cylinder. So versatility is a key feature with this system, along with the fact that there are less hydraulic lines in the engine compartment than with the standard hydraulic power assist systems that run off the power steering pump. With the electric hydraulic system you have the advantage of high-pressure output from your master cylinder but with a softer brake pedal feel than the standard hydraulic power assist.
The bolt-on disc brake systems that ABS Power Brake Inc. offers definitely makes it easy for any do-it-yourselfer to perform this upgrade in a weekend. The master cylinder and bracket assembly ABS engineered took the place of the factory original power brake Treadle Vac system very easily. Another feature they have engineered into this bolt-on upgrade is changing the stock 1:1 pedal ratio to the correct ratio to allow for more leverage with a cantilever arm. More leverage equals more stopping power.
1. Stock drums about to be removed for a major upgrade.
2. We removed the dust cap and spindle nut so the drum could come off and reveal the mounting hardware for the backing plate.
3. Just four bolts and the whole backing plate comes off without having to disassemble all the springs and retainers for the brake shoes.
4. With the stock drum brakes out of the way, we can start installing the brackets and spacers for the ABS power brake disc kit with the supplied hardware.
5. Now that the caliper brackets are fully installed, it’s time to turn our attention to installing the brake rotor. A supplied spacer with a machined taper needs to be installed with the taper toward the spindle so it can sit flat over the chamfer.
6. The brackets and spacers that ABS engineered will place the brake rotor and caliper in perfect alignment now and look great to boot!
7. We finally installed the rotors and calipers with the supplied hardware to wrap up this install. A noteworthy step during this install is that we did have to retain the stock reverse-threaded castle nut on the driver side since some cars have reverse spindle threads.
8. The supplied flexhoses were run through the factory tabs mounted on the frame. This ABS power brake kit really DOES come with everything!
9. Our car came with factory power brakes, which was good enough for the time, but ABS Power Brake Inc. has taken the upgrade game to a whole new level. We pulled back the carpet to reveal the mounting plate that we need to remove to access the stock Bendix Treadle Vac booster and master cylinder.
10. The smaller edge bolts were removed from the panel along with the four bigger inner bolts that attach to the booster itself.
11. With all of the bolts removed, we can now take the floor panel out and access the booster and master cylinder. Once the vacuum hoses and brake line were disconnected, the whole setup can come straight out.
12. This electric hydraulic assist master cylinder is such a great looking and compact unit. ABS Power Brake Inc. really knocked it out of the park with this one. You can mount the brake fluid reservoir anywhere you really want as long as it’s higher than the master cylinder so it can gravity feed it. As you can see it has three threaded high-pressure ports on the side, the rearmost one is to be plumbed to the electric pump. The two upper barbed fittings are the feed lines that run to the reservoir.
13. ABS designed these brackets for any vehicle with floorboard-mounted master cylinder setups. This cantilever arm is one of the key features for achieving the proper pedal ratio for maximum leverage on the master cylinder instead of the factory original 1:1 ratio.
14. And there it is all mounted up and in place like it was meant to be there! This ABS power brake master cylinder really is a tight package that allows more clearance for running exhaust around it in confined areas.
15. As you can see the electric hydraulic assist pump is small enough that it really can be mounted anywhere you want. If it’s mounted within close proximity of the master cylinder it can be plumbed into the same brake fluid reservoir as long as it is gravity fed as well. Once a location is determined you just need a 10-gauge constant power wire and a smaller keyed ignition wire to give it power and a 3/16-inch hardline plumbed to the master cylinder and you’re done! Now you’re ready to stop your lowrider on a dime with the best braking system you can buy, courtesy of ABS Power Brake Inc.
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ABS Power Brake Inc.