Right now, my car has disc brakes in the front, and drum brakes in the rear. And a significant portion of the brake system is starting to wear out, mostly the master cylinder and the drum brake assemblies. The former is why I keep a bottle of brake fluid in the car (as $1.50 lasts me several months, and replacing the master cylinder is around $100 at a car shop) and the latter is why I haven't bothered to replace the rear brake pads, as well as why I lightened the load on my rear wheels as much as I could to move all the weight to the front wheels, so the rear wheel braking power isn't as important.
I found a good web site article going into what's involved in upgrading the brake system to four-wheel disc brakes, and it's mostly bolt-on work if I can find the parts from an 86-89 Acura Integra. So, this LJ post is mostly to duplicate the forum post describing the process in case the forum goes away or the post does, and a list of prices from on-line web sites to just buy the parts either new or near-new.
What you'll need is the brake system from an '86-'89 Integra. An '86-'89 Integra is mechanically the same as an '84-'87 civic and most parts will bolt right on.(note, this swap will only work on ‘84-’87 Civics and CRX’s, it will not work on ‘88-’91 Civic/CRX). You can even get cross drilled rotors for this system if you want, but for a street car, stock rotors will work best (more surface area).
The parts needed from '86-'89 Integra:
Since you will be putting a lot of effort into swapping these parts, I would recommend rebuilding them or at the very least, have your rotors turned.
Tools and other parts needed:
Here's what you'll need to do:
Starting with the master cylinder.
You will need to do a little modification to the mounting flange in order to get it to fit. The round cylinder (barrel) on the back of the master cylinder mounting flange is about 1/4" too large in diameter to fit into the booster, so you will need to grind down the "barrel" a little (not difficult). You can then seal the master to the booster using RTV. Another option that I have heard of, is using the master cylinder from an '87 Prelude. Apparently this master will fit on the Civic booster without modification (I have not tried this yet, so I can't tell you if this really works or not, but as long as the Prelude booster has a 7/8" bore, in theory it should work).
Replace the Civic brake proportioning valve with the Integra unit.
Next, Jack up the entire body of the car SECURELY!!!!! Support the rear axle and remove the wheels.
The front brakes are really easy, just replace the Civic parts with the Integra parts.
The rear brakes are a little more involved, especially the passenger side (assuming you are in the U.S.). Before you get started removing parts, remove the bolts that hold the bottom of the rear struts in place, this way the torsion on the rear axle will not be fighting against you.
The rear drivers side:
Remove the old drum, hub, brake mounting plate, E-brake cable and brake hose from the Civic. What you will be left with is a spindle and four bolts. You will need to remove these bolts and replace them with the same bolts from the Integra. The reason for this is because the Integra caliper mounting bracket is much thicker than the Civic brake shoe plate.
Next dismantle the driver side brake set up from the Integra. Remove the caliper, rotor, hub, dust shield and caliper mounting bracket until all that you are left with is a spindle. Toss the Integra spindle and trailing arm in the trash pile since you will not be able to use them (the Integra trailing arms are shorter than the Civic arms).
Install the four bolts (mentioned earlier) from the Integra axle into the Civic axle, then install the, caliper mounting bracket, dust shield, hub, rotor, and caliper.
The rear passenger side:
Remove all parts from the Civic the same as the drivers side. The only difficult part is dismantling the Integra parts. To do this you will need to break apart the Integra carrier bearing. This is because the caliper mounting plate is mounted behind the bearing on the Integra (not so with the Civic).
Back to the Civic.
Remove the four bolts around the spindle. You will need to rotate the spindle in order to get them out, as you remove them you will bend the dust flange a little but don't worry about it just bend it back into shape with a flat screwdriver after you have installed the Integra bolts.
Next, install the Integra bolts, straighten the dust flange and assemble this side the same as the drivers side.
Torque down the spindle nuts and stake them.
Install the Integra rear brake hoses:
They are a little longer than the Civic hoses were So you will need to be a little creative when installing them. Mine ended up in sort of an "S" shape.
Install the Integra E-brake cables:
You will need to use the Civic mounting tabs, so carefully cut the rubber tabs off of the integra cables. These cables are also a little longer than the Civic cables, but you can still route them the same way. The only difference is that I ended up crossing them over underneath the car and installing the left cable to the right side of the E-brake handle and the right cable to the left side, just to take up a little excess length.
Next look around the car and make sure that everything is installed, tightened and bolted down (like the rear strut bolts and hub nut dust covers etc.).
Bleed the brakes.
Adjust the E-brake
Then install the wheels and take it for a test drive!
It is very important that you DO NOT mix the Civic and Integra brake parts. For example, don't swap the rear disc brakes onto your Civic but leave the stock Civic calipers on the front. Or, DO NOT swap all the disc brakes on to your Civic without swapping the Master cylinder and proportioning valve. This is because the amount of pressure needed to operate the Integra 4 wheel disc brake system is FAR MORE than the amount of pressure required to operate the stock Civic drum system. The Integra brake system was designed and balanced at the factory for safe operation, so don't mess with it unless you have a thorough understanding of fluid dynamics!
Two more notes from the author (lxndr):
You will need to use 14" or larger wheels in order to clear the discs, and you will need to disconnect the passenger side trailing arm so that you can rotate the spindle.
This swap took me one weekend to complete. This is because I had no guidance at all (other than rumors on the internet), and it turned out that I needed a couple more parts from the junk yard so I had to go back the next day and pull them. Don't worry, if you get all of the parts on my list you'll have everything you need!
Estimated prices for the parts needed is approximately $500-$600, not counting new rims and tires, but it's tempted on numerous levels, especially since it would actually reduce my insurance rates, so I'd recoup the money spent in 3-5 years just from that alone, not even counting how much cheaper disc-brake pads are compared to drum-brake pads. =^.^=Leave a comment