Tech Tips: Grand Am Rear Brakes...
by Paul Vargyas
After reading several discussions on the Internet about using front Grand Am brakes on the rear of a 84-87 Fiero, I decided to try this Brake "upgrade" since I was ready to replace the pads. With the help of Jamie Hart (NIFE member), I installed a set of 85-89 front Grand Am calipers and vented rotors on the rear of my 87 GT which is a heavy daily driver ("on loan" to my grad student daughter). I went to Pep Boys and to Trak Auto, and at Trak, the prices were:
Grand Am Caliper front (rebuilt) $14.96 exchange ea.
Grand Am Vented front (new) rotors $18.99 ea. no exchange needed.
New semi-metallic pads $18.99 (both wheels-set)
Slider pin grease $1.98
Total cost (exchange) was about $96.00 with sales tax. (BTW, Pep boys was 24.00 and 19.99 respectively) These complete sets are a straight bolt on, and we had them on in about 1½ hours. Merely remove the calipers and rotors from the rear of the 84-87 Fiero, and literally bolt on the Grand Am Rotors/calipers. Obviously you must remove the brake hose from the caliper, and you will need to remove the small clamp that holds the brake hose against the strut member in order for the existing brake hose to match up to the Grand Am caliper due to a slightly lower mounting point on the Grand Am caliper.
Once you re-connect the brake hoses to the calipers, be sure to properly bleed the system. Keep in mind that you loose your emergency brake because the Grand Ams don't have any provision for emergency brake cables. This was an Automatic Transmission GT anyway, and both cables needed replacing, so I decided that the emergency brake system was expendable. The result is a definite, noticeable increase in braking power. My daughter asked me what I did to the brakes because she can tell the difference! She drives this car 300-400 miles per week, so I feel that the improvement is worthwhile. Again keep in mind that the removal of the parking brake function may be illegal in some states.
The Auto parts store said I had to return the same application calipers for the core credit, but a dirty, grimy caliper in a core return box gets the core credit without any questions asked. Just thought I would share this little project with those that have read about it or heard about it, but never got around to doing it.