Chevy Nova Rear Big-Brake and Shocks Upgrade - Heavy Machinery, Part II
Nova Rear Big-Brake Kit & Adjustable Shock Upgrades From CPP
From the September, 2010 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Sean Haggai
Photography by Sean Haggai
What We Did
Finished up the rear of our Nova with QA1 adjustable shocks and swapped out the drums for 12-inch discs
Adjustability is the key to creating an all-out street-warrior
$1,500 (front/rear), $700 (rear only)
Installing CPP's rear components...
Installing CPP's rear components was a cinch. Since the setup on the Nova included drum brakes, the rear axles had to be pulled first to release the brake assemblies from the housing. Chaffers removed the differential cover with a 9/16-inch socket on an impact gun. This gains us access to the rearend gears and C-clips.
When we left off in the July issue, our budget street Nova was slowly but surely morphing from a grandma-glider to a grand-slam corner-burner.
Unfortunately, we only had enough space to showcase the front-end install of Classic Performance Products' tubular upper and lower A-arms, coilover QA1 shocks, 2-inch drop spindles, and 13-inch front disc brake package. That just goes to show that CPP has got enough components to turn any bland Nova into a mean street-sleeper.
So we're back to illustrate CPP's rear big-brake upgrade kit along with an upgraded shock system by way of single-adjustable QA1s. After all, our goal for the Nova is complete control over adjustability so we can fine-tune the suspension for any application. Whether we open-track, autocross, or drag race the Nova, the tunability is there and that's most important. We can now not only correct and fine-tune ride height but even driveability by either stiffening or softening the shocks. Banking on CPP's unquestionable ability to produce high-quality components for Novas we went ahead and installed the rest of the front/rear brake kit, which included rear disc brakes to match the front's already huge 13-inch brakes. Our components included 12-inch vented and slotted discs, powdercoated calipers, and rear caliper shims for different rearend offsets to adjust for endplay in the rotors. CPP thought of everything you'd possibly need when it came to completing their upgrade. A new differential cover gasket is even included with the package to prevent a midnight run to the parts store.
Our front man, Craig Chaffers, was back to show us exactly how to complete an install of this magnitude yourself. The best part is he made it look simple-which it was. We even added a new set of single-way adjustable QA1 shocks to replace the Bilsteins. Look for a complete test of the new suspension in an upcoming issue. For now, see how we continued to transform this Nova into a real performer.
With the rearend gears exposed,...
With the rearend gears exposed, Chaffers removed the set screw using a 3/8-inch wrench and released the center pin. Once the pin was set to the side, we could remove the C-clips.
Chaffers then removed the...
Chaffers then removed the drum cover and, with the C-clips removed, pulled the axle out. For good measure, we checked the condition of our axle bearings-ours were fine, but now is the time to replace them if need be.
CPP Rear Big-Break Kit
We purchased our big-brake kit complete, front to rear, but you can get the rear kit alone. At any rate, the rear system uses a 12-inch cross-drilled, gas-slotted, zinc-washed rotor that mounts to the factory axles. Longer wheels studs are even included and it mates up to a Lincoln Continental emergency brake-style caliper mounted to the rear axlehousing with CPP custom caliper mounting brackets. CPP kits include the rotors, calipers, brake lines, brackets, cables, hoses, clips, instructions, and necessary hardware to ensure a hassle-free installation. Complete front and rear kits also include a four-wheel-disc manual/power brake master cylinder and proportioning valve kit. Note: This kit requires larger-diameter disc brake-type 15-inch wheels. An easy-to-use wheel template is available. Upgraded red powdercoated calipers are available at extra cost.
We loosened and removed the...
We loosened and removed the four bolts fastening the drum brake assembly to the axle tube. Once gone, we pulled the drums off. No need to save the hardware here, CPP provides all new bolts, washers, and nuts.
What sets CPP's brake kit...
What sets CPP's brake kit above the rest? CPP provides these custom rear caliper brackets, exclusive for this kit. The brackets allow for the use of CPP's specially designed shims to adjust for rotor/axle endplay. Chaffers installed the four T-bolts, which help prevent the bolts from ever loosening.
He installed the washers and...
He installed the washers and tightened each bolt up with a 9/16-inch socket and 3/8-inch wrench.
Next, Chaffers slid the axles...
Next, Chaffers slid the axles back into the housing. He then locked them in with the C-clips, pin, and fastened it down with the set screw.
In what seemed like no time...
In what seemed like no time at all, we were ready to install the 12-inch rotors. Each disc is slotted and drilled to release the gases and heat that builds up between the pad and rotor under braking. This means we shouldn't have any issues with brake fade or overheating the brakes under repeated use.
Our calipers were next. They...
Our calipers were next. They are a two-piston, full floating design and come loaded with the brake pads already fitted in the caliper, cutting down on install time. The best part is they install with two bolts onto the CPP brackets.
Buttoning up the differential...
Buttoning up the differential cover was next. Included in the rear brake kit is a brand-new differential cover gasket-CPP thought of everything. Craig cleaned the area, applied some silicone, laid the new gasket, and reinstalled the cover. We tightened the cover down with a 9/16-inch socket. Note: don't forget to reinstall the brake line bracket.
We removed the Bilstein shocks...
We removed the Bilstein shocks in favor of a single-adjustable QA1 shocks. With a single-adjustable shock, we have 18 positions of compression and rebound available. This way, we can either stiffen or soften the ride, depending on preference and quality we're after. We bolted in the new shocks and fastened it all down with a 1/2-inch socket.
Following the same steps on...
Following the same steps on the driver's side finished up the install. We made sure to perform a full bleed of the entire brake system to remove any air bubbles. Also, it's important to know the break-in procedure for new brakes. Remember, the entire brake system is brand new. We began with some low-speed, very light braking, then progressively increased the speed with heavier braking. This will bed the brake pads with the new rotors.
The last bit of the build included a small and simple modification to the brake distribution block. For illustration purposes, we opened up a distribution block on the workbench. Here, we removed the spring and plunger. This allows a signal to be sent to the rear calipers. This modification is only done during the install of rear disc brakes, though, since an increase in brake line pressure is needed to apply the clamping force necessary to stop.
|QA1 Stocker Star Single Adjustable Stock Mount Rear Shocks (2)
|CPP Rear Big Brake Kit
While we haven't fully tested the complete suspension and brake systems from CPP we can assure you it's a completely different car! Its supple ride is quick and nimble and reacts to nearly any twist of the steering wheel. Look for a complete braking, slalom, and skidpad test in a future issue. For now, we've got the autocross to check out how the new gear performs.