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Pirate4x4.Com - Product Review Toyota P/U & 4runner Rear Disk Brake Brackets
Toyota P/U & 4runner Rear Disk Brake Brackets
By David Moore (DRM)
 

 

Converting to rear disk brakes is nothing new for Toyota axles.  People have been using custom brackets and expensive kits for years to add better stopping power for the road and trail.  Sky-Manufacturing has recently decided to enter the market with an affordable set of brackets that fit Toyota trucks and 4Runers from 1979 to 1995.  These custom one-piece laser cut brackets are designed as a pure bolt on application - unlike some others that require cutting or welding.

Check it out as we here at Pirate4x4.com run briefly through the installation of a set of Sky-Manufacturing disk brake brackets.

Here are the brackets as they arrived - no paint, clean cut surfaces, and ready for business.

Before you can put anything together, you have to take things apart!  Start by supporting the rear axle on jack stands, removing the tires and wheels, then begin to disassemble stock brakes.

Once the drum is off, you will need to remove all of the brake hardware, the emergency brake cable, and disconnect the brake line.  Remove the 4 studs and nuts hold the axle shaft and retainer to the housing, and remove the shaft.  We then used a plasma torch to cut the backing plate off of the bearing retainer.

Here's a little tip: You can use some vice grips on the rear brake line to stop, or at least reduce the amount of brake fluid that ends up on the floor.  It also makes the final brake bleeding a much easier task.

The disks we used were from a 1990 Chevy 4x4 1/2 ton IFS truck.  The Chevy rotors require some work to the I.D. to fit on to the stock Toyota axle shafts.  The centering lip on 86+ rear Toyota axles require that the rotor I.D. be machined to 4.19".  Sky-Manufacturing can get you a set of pre-machined rotors to go with your brackets or you can have them machined locally.  We went another route - creating a jig and using a plasma torch to open up the center.  Just a little clean-up with a grinder and they were a perfect fit.

The hard part is out of the way!  Here you can see the machined rotor in place, using the Sky-Manufacturing bracket.  We chose to use a non-E-brake type caliper from the front of a 1982 Chevy Monte Carlo with the corresponding brake pads and brake pins.
Here is another shot of the brackets, rotors, and calipers in place... almost there!
We made a small bracket to mount the hard line to the axle housing.  For our application, we cut the stock hard line and used SAE brake line end fittings from the parts store and reflared the Toyota line.  With no built in E-brake, we use a line lock for brake locking function.

Sky-Manufacturing offers custom conversion brake lines to adapter the stock Toyota line to the Chevy caliper.  We had an old set of stock 1998 Chevy Z71 front rubber brake lines in the part bin, so we decided to use them.  We had to slightly clearance the corners of the banjo block, and bend the hard portion to fit like we wanted - but the result was a brake line that was neatly tucked up above the axle housing and out of the way of trail obstacles.

Now is the time to check everything over one more time.  These brackets are built to tight tolerances, and with different caliper castings you may need to clearance the calipers or brackets slightly to make sure to allow the floating calipers to function properly.  This is important - if the calipers will not float properly on the pins, your rear brakes may not work.  Re-check your brake line connections, then add fluid and bleed the brakes as normal.  Bolt on your wheels and tires, check those brakes, and take it for a test drive!

For our application - on an 1984 Toyota truck with stock front brakes - we found that the later model 1" bore master cylinder and stock proportioning valve arm tied up under the bed let this rear disk brake setup work great! On both road and trail, pedal effort is similar to before, with increased holding power on both the road and trail.  Probably one of the biggest advantages of any rear disk brake setup is elimination of the problematic stock rear drums in wet, dirty, or muddy conditions.  The rotors stay clean and continue to work on the worst trail conditions.

All trucks are different, and you may find that your rear disk brake setup needs some additional items.  If the brakes are just not as good as you want them, you may need to upgrade to a larger master cylinder, add a residual valve, or possibly adjust (or remove entirely) the rear brake proportioning system.  Be sure to also keep your local codes in mind and add a proper mechanical operating emergency brake as required by laws in your area.

We got one of the early sets of brackets, but to help you along all brackets are now being shipped out with a full set of instructions and parts list to make rounding up the parts from your local parts store a breeze.

Our overall impression of these brackets is great!  Sky-Manufacturing is offering a rear disk brake option that can be assembled with their brackets and new parts-store pieces for as low as $250, or they offer all the parts in kit form on their web site to save you the time and hassle of rounding up the parts on your own.  I appreciate the flexibility this gives us as consumers, and couldn't be happier with the product, or the increased braking power!

Contact Information:

Sky-Manufacturing
4057 Camellia St.
Springfield, OR 97478
(541) 736-3743
E-mail: skymfg1@aol.com

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