Swapping Disc Brakes From A 1970-1973 Imperial Into A 1967-1969 Imperial

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Question from Elijah:

Can anyone please tell me if a set of brake rotors from a '67 Chrysler Newport would work on a '67 Imperial? I don't have access to an interchange manual, and would really appreciate this information.


From Tim:

Wrong wheel bolt pattern. Imperial is 5 lug on a 5 inch circle, all other Mopar besides the Dart/Valiant (A-body) had a 5 lug on 4-1/2 inch circle.

From Karl:

From what I've read in my 1968 Imperial Workshop Manual the Budd brake system is all unto its own. No interchange...but a guy in Ohio told me that the brakes of a 1971 Imperial would bolt on.  Does anyone know what others (any car) have that same brake system??? i.e. ROTORS ???

Question from Elijah:

Will the rotors from a '69 Imperial work on a '67 Imperial? Perhaps someone could just list for me what years WILL interchange for '67. I thank everyone for their help!

I'll just be frank here -- I know nothing about brakes (other than the basic principles), although my best friend and I had a fabulous little adventure a couple of years ago removing a set of rotors from a '73 Imperial in a junkyard. Man, anyone with a video camera would certainly have won some serious money for some footage of that event!


From Don:

No, they are not at all alike. The 67-68 is of Budd Mfg. Co. manufacture, and the 69 system was made by Kelsey-Hayes.

The only way to make them fit is to change a lot of parts - if you had a 1969 Imperial parts car, it wouldn't be too bad of a job. I cross-referenced the parts between my 1968 and a 1972 in my parts books and found these parts to be different:

The rotors
The spindle-steering knuckle assy.
The sheetmetal shields behind the rotors the calipers and brake pads
The steering knuckle arm [the part the outer tie rod end fastens to]
The outer tie rods themselves-center link between the steering gear and the idler arm is the same.
And probably the brake hoses and bolts, etc.

Early on in my ownership of my '68, I called Imperial Motors in South Carolina to ask if they had any rotors for my car. They said no, but they could sell me all the stuff to "convert" mine for about $400.00.  I'm assuming they were going to sell me the above listed parts to install on my '68.

BTW, Mitchell Motor Parts advertises in Hemmings that they have 67-68 Budd system rotors for Imperials. Rotor only, no hub or bearings, for $179.50 ea. Hub and rotor assembly is $289.50.

I had the local NAPA jobber order a new rotor for a 69 on a long shot it may be the same -- it was not-- the front brakes seem to be the same from 69 to at least 72.

From Chris:

Okay, now I'm getting curious. It was my understanding (and I'll have to check my service manual when I get home tonight) that the 67 front brakes used twin-piston calipers. Well, mine are clearly single-piston and seem to be from an early-70s Chrysler (one of my car's few incorrect secrets, but I'll never have it in the kind of show where my wheels are asked to disrobe!).

Now I'm even more curious what car my brakes are from and for that matter where my original calipers (and perhaps the rotors as well) went. If I can identify my current hardware, I'll be able to introduce a possible interchange, 'cause they work just great!

And, yes, I have the correct 67 wheels on the car. (And apologies to all for putting out a message that offers no help whatsoever to anyone!)

From Tony:

The brakes on my 1969 are Budd, as are the ones on several junkyard '69s that I got parts from. Late in 1969, they began using the single-piston type calipers.  I always found it amusing that the brake calipers on my car were made by a company famous for railroad cars.

From Jim:

The WAGNER books show that 1969 was split and used either type depending (I guess) if the car was built early or late.

From Nancy:

1967 through 1969 had the same Budd four piston caliper brakes. Someone may have retrofitted a 1969 with later brakes as it has been hard to obtain parts for the Budd system for some time.

Question from Spence (1967):

The inevitable failure of my Budd-style front calipers on my '67 sedan has occurred. I was mentally prepared, but not ready parts-wise. As I've learned from numerous postings, '71-'73 setups can be retrofitted by swapping spindles, calipers, hoses, etc. Is it that difficult to rebuild the stock Budd calipers, or are they of an undesirable design?

I know from just starting to look for a rebuild kit that they are either scarce or nonexistent. My dilemma is should I:

1) Rebuild the original parts? (I have lots of time on my hands)

2) Convert to the later style? (I can't seem to find a donor car locally)

3) Find a suitable anchor to toss out of this land yacht to slow it down in lieu of brakes? (tough when it's raining)

If anyone out there knows where I can buy a rebuild kit for these style brakes, please let me know. On the other hand, if anyone knows of a donor car for a complete change-over, I'd like to hear about that too.


From Ron:

For long term reliability and parts availability, the conversion is the way to go.

National Parts Companies (not a chain store name) should have the kits available or know where to get them. I recently priced out the kits for my '68 and also the rebuilt calipers.

Recon calipers varied from $125.00 to $260.00 ea.

Rebuild kits ran from $60.00 to $80.00 (Kits do not include Stainless sleeves for the piston area). I never found the original brakes to be that good, and I was able to find the '71-'73 change-over in my local yard for $100.00 complete.

I used everything but the calipers, those I turned in as cores for recons @ $60.00ea.

The entire conversion cost me less than $250.00 and the car never stopped better.

I'm sure I could locate the ones you need, but the cost to ship to Florida, I think would be cost prohibitive.

From Joe:

Should you rebuild your system I would Highly recommend that you rebuild the calipers by resleeving with stainless steel. Stainless will outwear brass and is an excellent way to solve the problem. I would recommend you consider sending the wheel or master cylinder to:

Rich Suhr
Imperial Machine (A good name for us proud Imperial owners)
Stainless Steel brake sleeving
621 South 112th Street
Lincoln, NE 68520.

Rich does all the work himself and he is proud of his work. Turn around time is also excellent. 

From Paul:

I am in total agreement with Ron's comments on the '68 brake conversion.

I have a '67 that I have converted to '73 brakes. The front suspension is essentially the same from '67 through '73 which means that the parts from a '71-'73 Imperials, (not Chryslers), and maybe '70 will bolt up to your car and you will have a much better and easier to maintain brake system. You will keep your upper and lower control arms but replace the parts in in between, i.e. the spindle and rotor, the caliper support, the steering arm (which connects to the tie rod ends), the caliper itself and the brake hose. This is a good time for new ball joints and bushings if needed. Contact me if you need more details.

From David:

The best way to fix the '67 to '69 Budd system is to change it over to a '70 model single piston caliper system. You can pick parts up at your local parts house. It takes about an hour to install and is cheaper and more efficient. You can then drive 50,000 miles, replace the pads and keep on driving.

Follow-up from Spence:

I have located a '74 Imp in a yard just south of here that is supposedly complete. Does anyone know if the front end and brake stuff would be suitable for swapping with the disc setup on my '67? The guy at the yard said I could have all the parts I want out of the front end for $100. Also, if the parts are compatible and since I'll be down there anyway, does anybody need anything off that car I can snag for them? He said every thing can go but the 440 & 727.

Reply from David:

This will not work. For one thing the wheel size is different, plus other things.

Question from Karl:

Do I have to go find a 1971 -73 Imperial and pull the hub/rotor and caliper? OR does just the caliper just bolt on I'm unclear on this, but since I have two 1968's and I've now spent 189.00 x 3 caliper's and I've got one or two incontinent corner's again - I really need to know. 


From Ron:

The front suspension is basically the same from '67 to '73. That means that parts from a '71 to '73 Imperial, (NOT CHRYSLERS), will bolt up to your '68'sfront suspension.

You keep your upper and lower control arms and change everything in between.

Most salvage yards will sell the complete package for around a $100. The package should include: Spindle, Caliper, Rotor, Caliper support, steering arm and brake hose.

After I purchased my set from the yard, I used the calipers as cores and purchased Recon units/ with stainless sleeves, had the rotors machined, (the salvage yard gaur. they were good or bring them back for exchange), bought a new set of hoses and replaced the Master Cylinder with the newer/larger version. The entire change over was under $400.00 and it works perfectly.

What caused me to search was the very expensive cost for original recon calipers, and the fact that after all that work of using the original brake parts, you still had only marginal stopping power.

From Paul:

Again I second all of Ron's comments about the conversion of '67-'69 Imperial brakes. I converted my '67 about 5 years ago and it has been totally trouble free.

For anyone who may have a '66-'69 full size Chrysler, Dodge or Plymouth with the Budd Discs, the same conversion will work by using '70-'73 full size Chrysler, Dodge or Plymouth parts. The Calipers are shared with Imperial, but the suspension parts are different since the Imperial is heavier and the Imperial has a larger bolt pattern for the wheels.

I suggest using silicone brake fluid to minimize corrosion over the long term. I rebuilt the brakes on my '66 Chrysler Newport convertible eleven years ago and used silicone fluid. A couple of inspections over the years have shown no corrosion in the cylinders.

As has been mentioned before, the power window motors used the the 1980's 5th Avenues, Diplomats, Gran Furys are bolt up fit and look identical.

The gear is improved over that used in the late '60s. You may have to switch the wires in the connector to get the correct direction. These '80s motors will also work in the '65 and up full size Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth. (I don't think that they will work in any Imperials earlier than the '67 model.)

I recommend the conversion to electronic ignition and solid state voltage regulation too. The wiring harnesses of the '72 and '73 full size Chryler, Dodge and Plymouth are a good source for parts. (note that the distributor has a longer shaft in the 413, 426, 440 cid engines as compared to the 361, 383, 400 engines).

This page was last updated November 23, 2002. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club