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Want to save some money putting rear disc brakes on your old Ford small bearing 8" or 9" rear end?  Yes you do that's why you are here.

This is not the Explorer Disc brake swap.  That is for the "large" bearing axles found in1974 on up cars and trucks.

1964-1973 SMALL BEARING HOUSING, SMALL DIAMETER HUBS - read carefully please.

If you have a Mustang, Cougar, Falcon, Fairlane, Comet, or Ranchero with

  • a small diameter wheel bearing (2.835")
  • a rectangular flange bolt pattern of 2.00" by 3.33"
  • 65 to 73 axles with a hub of 2.42" 
  • Or 1974+ axles with a hub of 2.78"
  • a 5 on 4.5" wheel pattern


This is the setup you are looking for. Now, go back and read this again, these are VERY important dimensions that you need to confirm on your 8" or 9" inch housing and axle.  Just because you have one of the listed cars from the listed year does NOT mean you have a small bearing housing.  It is easy to swap a large housing into these vehicles.  So check BEFORE you start spending money.

What are you looking for in the salvage yard?

1992 to 1995 or 1996 to 2002  -   Crown Victoria,

1992 to 1995 or 1996 to 2002  -  Grand Marquis'

1991 to 1995 or to 1996 - 2002  -  Lincoln Town Car

Note there are 2 different sets of years.  The early (91,95) years are a little less expensive when it comes to replacement parts.  The later (96,02) use a different caliper with slightly different mounting points.  So you can not mix the sets. 

Note no dust shields in 1991.    92-95 shield is removable.     96-02' shield is not-removable. 

ALSO NOTE !!!  For 64 to 66 cars the axle housing is slightly shorter then 67 newer housings.  So you are better off using the 91 to 95 parts because of some clearance issues with the springs.  The caliper mounting bolts on 91 to 95 cars are shorter giving just enough clearance.

You will need from the donor car

  • Caliper backing plates/mounts
  • brake calipers (easy and cheap to rebuild or for a core charge)
  • mounting bolts
  • flexible rubber brake lines (keeps the fluid in the calipers probably replace with new parts)
  • wheel lug studs (or new ones if they wont let you take them from the axle)
  • e-brake cables (I'm still working on this one)

The rotors and pads I wouldn't worry with.  They are cheap to replace and most likely worn out unless you are lucky to have found a wreck with good service.  My local yards did not have many of these cars available.  The only one I could find was a complete rear for $200.  There are several sellers on ebay offering good deals for the parts.  They will save you time in the yard.  Some will offer to send new rotors and pads for a few extra $.

Because of differences in the old and new parts, spacers are needed in certain places to keep parts from moving around when installing the  brakes. You will also need to modify your axle housing flanges so that the backing plates bolt up properly.

A bearing spacer must also be installed on your axles. If you cannot do this yourself, plan on having new axle bearings installed, along with the spacers by a professional shop.  You probably need new bearings anyway.  Do NOT  I repeat do NOT attempt to press off your old bearings and then re-use them.  The bearing is what holds the axle in the housing.  They stretch when pressed on and will be loose if you press them on  a second time.  This could result in the axle sliding out of the housing.  New bearings are cheap compared the the hours and $ spent on your ride!!  

Wheel clearance issues.  You have dramatically changed your rear end.  Check ALL your clearances BEFORE you go for a ride.  You should be able to fit Ford 14" 1968+ stock steel rims on this setup by using a 5mm or 3/16" wheel spacer. Without it, the rim will rub on the caliper when new pads are installed. Always make clearance checks with new pads installed!!!!  The 15" rims made for disc brakes and most 15" aftermarket rims should fit with no clearance issues.  Since there are so many wheel options out there you must do the final checking.

If all else fails you can simply bolt the Drum brakes back on.  You will make no modification that prevents this.

Here are some basic Pics of parts and modifications. 

parts lotparts lot 2

Here are a few pics of some of the parts.  My rear had the parking brake cables cut.  So I will have to get new ones or aftermarket.  New ones run about $30 a side last time I checked. 

Look at the second pic.  Note the use of a star drive to remove the caliper bolts !!!  So get one before you head out to the yard..   :)

 Rear end modification Here is a pic of a modified axle housing flange.  I did mine with a cut off wheel and grinder.
end bearing
This is a pic of the axle slid into the housing without the backing plate.  Note the bearing sticks out of the housing?  That's NORMAL !!!  This is important to note because the bearing sticks out the same distance as the thickness of the backing plate.  The NEW disc backing plates are THICKER then the drum plates.  The bearing retainer to the left of the pencil keeps the bearing in the housing.  Since the new plates are thicker it leaves a gap between the bearing and the bearing retainer.  This gap can not be seen once it is all assembled but it IS there.  This gap would allow the axle to slide in and out of the housing just a bit.  That is BAD since axles are not supposed to do that.  It will shorten the life of the bearing and possible cause a bearing failure letting your axle slide out of the housing..

There is a spacer ring that MUST be installed BETWEEN the bearing and the bearing retainer..  This is why you need to press off the bearings and press on "NEW"  bearings.... 

The OD of the spacer should be the same as the OD of the bearing 2.835.  The ID of the spacer should be larger than the axle diameter 1.8" so it does not contact the spinning axle or the inner bearing race.  The thickness should be 0.135" or about 1/8 inch is close enough.   You should check these measurements on your specific parts.  If you dont have access to a lathe a machine shop can make these cheap.  They are also available online in some of the forums and ebay. 

 Hub Spacer Here is the rotor mounted on the axle.  NOTE the gap between the axle hub and rotor.  This is where the HUB spacer goes.  This is needed to center your rotor.  Without it the rotor could run out of balance causing vibration 

The spacer ring has and ID of  2.42"  and an OD of 2.78"  and a thickness of 0.25"

1974 and newer AXLES do not need a spacer ring.  The axle hub is the correct size for the rotor.
  Parking brake routing.  Still working on this one.
Pic of the spacer parts needed.  This is from an Ebay auction. 


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