Brake upgrade using GM parts bin...

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crooney1189

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1. Is the JB6 brake setup the largest (factory style/era) brake package you can go while staying 5 lug? What about mixing JB7 front calipers and JB6 rear drums? Obviously sizing the master cylinder correctly would need to be taken into account with the final plan.

2. Staying in the GM parts bin, has anyone successfully used NBS 99-07 2wd spindles on a square body? (I know this would require a switch to 6 lug as well as likely ball joint modification) I find bits of discussion on it but no straight answer one way or another. Using these spindles would unlock a relatively easy upgrade to the 2019+ 4 piston calipers and large rotors.

My truck is an '86 C10 shortbed, staying 2wd and getting lowered (looking at drop spindles in the front) as it gets a 5.3/4l60e. Braking setup is currently factory disc/drum. The plan is to use it as an occasional daily/weekend driver, as well as do road trips like Power Tour. It would potentially see occasional towing, nothing too frequent.

The truck has been off the road for 10+ years, so there is a bunch of general upgrades coming besides the LS swap. Need brakes regardless so I might as well explore upgrades, rearend needs work and it need 4 tires so if I'm going to switch wheels now is the time to do it, that kind of stuff.

The brake upgrades versus just a replacement are more just to make the truck safer, factory brakes worked well when everything stopped similarly back in the day, but now that everything on the road stops quicker than you it changes things. I already get cut off multiple times a week it feels like, and I'd like others to feel confident and enjoy driving the truck as well, including my wife. I don't want to have to constantly remind other drivers that this doesn't stop like like a new car, give yourself extra space.

I like the idea of using factory based parts because if I have an issue out on a road trip I like the option of being able to hit any local parts store and get what I need to fix it. That's why I tend to lean away from aftermarket kits.

The NBS parts are of special interest to me because I have a running and driving 2000 2wd Sierra that is looking more and more likely to be donating it's drivetrain (and potentially more) to the C10's cause as the DMV is giving me a hard time getting it re-titled after getting totaled (based on a cosmetic repair estimate) and me buying it back. If I stole the spindles off and could make them work on the C10 arms, I would also grab the good rearend which has a better gears, disc brakes, and a posi. Switch everything to 6 lug at one time.
 

Keith Seymore

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Squarebody JB6 is eight lug; so the JB5 is the biggest you can go and stay 5 lug.

I would recommend you stay with the factory designed JB5 system. It is a nice setup and should be totally adequate for what you have in mind.

This little red '87 is a JB5 system and was a daily driver and light towing for 30 years and 200,000 miles with no issues.

K
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bluex

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If you like the nbs stuff look at the Detroit speed kit. It uses an aluminum knuckle, the sealed unit bearings in your choice of 5x5 or 6x5.5 patterns. Then the rotors, calipers an pads from a 07+ truck. It's a nice looking kit that I've been eyeing for mine.
 

HotWheelsBurban

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Squarebody JB6 is eight lug; so the JB5 is the biggest you can go and stay 5 lug.

I would recommend you stay with the factory designed JB5 system. It is a nice setup and should be totally adequate for what you have in mind.

This little red '87 is a JB5 system and was a daily driver and light towing for 30 years and 200,000 miles with no issues.

K
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Interesting that in the square body era, JB 6 is the 2500/3500 8 lug trucks. Cause on the GMT 400/OBS it's the big 5 lug or 6 lug brakes, 11 5/32" drums, #473 shoes. That's what Suburbans came with, and some Tahoes and Yukons got if they were ordered that way. Then the 3500s like my crew cab, are JD 8, 13" shoes and hydro boost.
Don't have any SPID sheets on the square pickups to look at, but it sounds like the Big 10s and Heavy Half's should have gotten the JB 5 brakes...if that is the 11 5/32" drums. That's what our '78 had, on either side of a truck 12 bolt. The '81 had a truck 10 bolt, and IIRC it had the #449 11"x2" shoes. '84 Burb had a 10 bolt, but had the bigger brakes.
 

bucket

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I wouldn't call the '00 6-lug rear disc brakes an upgrade. Honestly, they tend to suck for reliability. Even if you could fit the new style knuckles to the control arms, I thing steering geometry would be a real concern. Plus, unit bearings absolutely SUCK for reliability compared to good old tapered bearings.

For the weight of a C10, the stock brakes perform very well when in proper working condition. Just as well as the modern brakes on the newer and heavier trucks.

If you still want to upgrade over stock (which is understandable, no such thing as brakes that are too good) then I think an aftermarket big brake kit that's already designed for the truck is a far better option. Imho, parts availability on the road is a non-issue. The parts will all be new, right? Brake hoses don't just suddenly fail without notice... if they burst, they had years of dry rot to warn you they needed replaced. If they collapse, they don't do it suddenly and you have thousands of miles of warning signs. Tapered bearings don't suddenly fail either, that takes thousands and thousands of miles of neglect to cause a problem, and if you maintain the truck, they will probably outlive you. Pads don't suddenly wear out either. Again, thousands and thousands of miles of notice as long as you regularly maintain the truck. Same with calipers and rotors, you see the issues coming long before replacement is needed.

Now if you use the newer factory brakes, yeah, you'll want parts availability. Unit bearings DO fail without any warning at all. You could end up grinding a rotor because a caliper slider decided to randomly start sticking and wear down one pad without you being aware. You could end up cooking a rear axle seal or bearing because the cheezy bonded parking brake shoe came apart and started riding hard against the rotor hat. Stuff like that. Those are all issues that I have seen many many times.
 

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