You're at the weekend car show looking over the hot rods. You find yourself looking over a sweet customized 65 Chevy half-ton. Nice interior, great paint, good chrome. The hood's open and you check out the motor. Big block, hmm! Chrome everywhere. Headers, big four barrel, aluminum heads, hot ignition- yep, you know this thing would move.

But there's something amiss. There, next to all that power, sits a single pot master cylinder connected to drum brakes! That's just not right! Yes, you've just encountered the dreaded "more-go-than-whoa" syndrome.

Well, we don't want that affliction, so we set about converting to power disc brakes. There are several kits available that would have saved us time, but we decided to gather parts ourselves. We rebuilt all the front suspension components while we were at it. We lost track of how many return trips to the parts store we made, but here's what we ended up using:

Abbreviated Parts list:

  • '72 spindles
  • '72 5 lug rotors
  • '72 calipers
  • '72 inner tie rod ends
  • '65 inner tie rod ends
  • One pair "Custom Tie Rod Adjusting Sleeves", CPP
  • '72 proportioning valve
  • Dual pot master cylinder
  • Brake booster, 86 S10 Blazer
  • New hard line and hoses
  • various brake line and vacuum fittings
  • Upper and lower ball joints
  • Upper and lower control arm shafts
  • control arm u-bolts

In retrospect, a pre-made kit would have been much easier. Again, there were countless return trips to the parts store to search numbers down or exchange parts. And if we hadn't have had access to a REAL parts man, I doubt this would ever have worked for us. Here's a summary of what we found and what we did about it:

We knew that the '65 outer tie rod ends would not fit the '72 spindles, so we planned on using '72 outer tie rod ends and 65 inners. Then we discovered that the '72 stuff is larger in diameter. No problem, we'll use '72 inners AND outers, right? WRONG, the '72 inners won't fit the drag link.

We here at Project sixty5short have always wondered why the mismatched diameter and thread direction problem is not mentioned more often, as this is a popular modification on these trucks. We chalk it up to these things:

  • Whereas we already had power steering, a lot of folks are adding it on using later model stuff, which may fit the drag link.
  • Many people just drill the drag link out.
A '72 drag link won't fit the pitman arm nor the original 65 power steering. (For about two seconds, we considered drilling the drag link out. The problem would be that if you drill the holes out, it would not match the rounded contour of the power steering/pitman arm. The original hole is not just straight through. Same goes for drilling the hole where the tie rod ends mount.) We decided that wasn't a good idea.

As it turns out, a special adapter sleeve is available to solve the problem of diameter difference-big hole on one end, smaller hole on the other.

After this special sleeve arrived, we noticed the final problem with the '65 inner/'72 outer arrangement...the thread direction of the tie rod ends was the same! This meant that the tie rod ends would screw into only one end of the sleeve. To solve this problem, we ended up using '72 inner tie rod ends AS OUTER tie rod ends, with '65 inners.

After all the fun with the tie rod ends was finished, we turned our attention to other details, namely the booster/master cylinder situation. We wanted to avoid the cumbersome bracket commonly found on power brake models, and finding a booster that did not require this bracket proved to be challenging. In the end, we conned our parts man into letting us look through his shelves. We opened boxes and measured bolt patterns of various different boosters. We ended up with a booster from a late 80's S10 Blazer. It lined up with two original holes on the firewall, and we created two additional holes in order to mount the booster flush with the firewall. The dual pot master cylinder was attached, and new hard lines were run to separate front brakes from rear brakes. For our finale, a new connection between booster and brake pedal was fabricated.

The test drive was more than successful, as Project Sixty5short will put you through the windshield in a hurry! That means we're now heavy on the WHOA, and light on the GO. Stay tuned to Project Sixty5short, we'll be correcting that situation!