Table of contents- Tools/Supplies needed
- Part 1: Assembling Rotors (optional)
- Part 2: Stock Brake Removal
- Part 3: Wilwood Install
- Part 4: Brake lines and fluid
- Socket wrench and metric Sockets
- Metric Flair Nut Wrenches (normal wrenches may be used if FlairNut wrenches aren't available)
- Flathead screwdriver
- Torque wrench
- Hex/Allen wrenches or bits
- Floor jack and 2 jackstands
|Parts you will need:||
- Wilwood C5 6-Piston Front Brake Calipers from
- Optional: New front rotors available from
- Possibility: Wheel spacers and new wheel studs (if the wilwood calipers will not clear your wheels)
- Possibility: Steel wire (if you purchased unassembled 2 piece rotors)
- 16oz of brake fluid Recommended: MOTUL fluid or Ford HD Fluid # C6AZ-19542-AA
- High strength thread locker
- 1 Can of spray brake cleaner
- 3/8" Rubber cap to cap off brake lines while disconnected
The C5 Corvette has some of the best braking capabilities out of all the sports cars out there.
The stock front calipers are a 2 piston design, with 2 pistons being one one side of the
caliper. It uses a floating caliper design to keep the caliper centered on the rotor and distribute pressure to
both sides of the rotor's surface.
There are several ways to increase braking power on a car, such as to increase rotor diameter, use a more aggressive pad, or add more clamping force...the later of which is where the wilwood setup shines.
The wilwood caliper has 6 pistons total, with 3 on each side of the caliper. Rather than have the caliper floating and self centering over the rotor by sliding around, the wilwood caliper will stay motionless and hydraulic pressure inside the rotor will balance out and the 6 pistons (3 on each side) will squeeze the rotor uniformly. The end result is that you should have more clamping force.
LG Motorsports is where we obtained our Wilwood 6 piston caliper kit from, and it has been engineered to work with OEM sized rotors by using a C5 specific mounting bracket. This means you will have a few options when ordering the kit. You can keep your stock rotors, you can use LGM DBA rotors, you can buy 2 piece Wilwood rotors, or you can buy any other rotors that are compatible with stock brakes.
|Wilwood Front Brake kit, with optional Wilwood Rotors||DBA rotors (optional). If you want to upgrade your rotors at the same time as upgrading the calipers, the DBA rotors are a cheaper alternative to the 2 piece Wilwood rotors. These rotors are not necessary as the LGM Wilwood setup will work with stock rotors.|
Slightly longer studs with threads all the way to the end may
be needed if you end up needing a wheel spacer for the calipers to clear the wheels.
||The possibly needed custom wheel spacers|
This step will only be necessary if you purchased 2 piece rotors that arrive unassembled. If you are using pre-assembled 2 piece, or even one piece rotors (IE, the stock rotors) then you can skip on to Part 2.
Lets begin on the teardown. The first thing we must do is to break the front lugnuts loose while the car
is still on the ground. Once they are broken loose, get the front wheels up in the air. If you have
a lowered car, you'll probably need to run it up on rhino ramps before you can fit a jack under the front of the car.
To lift the car, I usually jack the car by the front crossmember, and I place 2 jack stands under the
crossmember on each side of the jack for support.
Once in the air, finish removing the lug nuts and remove the front 2 wheels.
The following instructions will be for one side of the car. I recommend you do one side to completion first, then start the other side. The side you do first does not matter.
|Once the wheel is off, we can get started. In the wheel well behind the brake caliper and rotor you'll see a black rubber brake line. Since the LGM/Wilwood kit comes with new brake lines, we need to disconnect the stock lines. On the inner fender wall you'll see where the rubber line connects into a steel hardline. Right at this connection, there is an aluminum retaining clip. Wedge a flathead screwdriver into it and work the clip off, as shown. With some firm prying, it will eventually pop right off.|
Pull the brake line down through the hole so you can get a couple of wrenches on the connection.
Using a 13mm flair nut wrench on the top brake fitting and a 16mm flair nut
wrench on the bottom brake fitting, turn the top fitting counterclockwise until it breaks free.
If you have a 3/8" rubber vacuum cap, get it ready, and finish unscrewing the brake line by hand. It should easily unscrew with your fingers at this point. Once removed, cap off the hardline using your rubber vacuum cap to keep fluid from dripping out everywhere.
With the line removed, we can now remove the whole brake setup very easily. On the backside of the
brakes, there will be two 21mm bolts holding the brake caliper bracket to the spindle arm.
Using a large (24") breaker bar, break both of these bolts free and remove them carefully, making sure to
hold the brake caliper/bracket up when removing the last bolt.
Once the bolts are removed, you can pull the caliper, caliper bracket, and brake line assembly off the rotor sideways. Just slide the rotor out from between the pads and set the assembly aside. Once that is removed, the rotor should come right off as its just sitting there on the 5 wheel studs.
Note: There may be small thin aluminum disks threaded onto the studs that keep the rotor from coming off, and if there are, use a wire cutter to cut them off or unscrew them by hand.
This is what you should be looking at now, just the hub with 5 studs sticking out of it. A fresh canvas for
the new wilwood calipers.
Before we move on, we're at the point where you can replace your wheel studs. You will need studs with threads that go all the way to the end only if you end up needing a wheel spacer. You'll need to test fit a caliper on and bolt a wheel up to see if it clears. If it does not, use large washers with 1/2" hole in them to space the wheel out more and more until it clears, then measure the thickness of the washers used and order a spacer.
- OEM Z06 wheels clear wilwoods just fine
- "Y2K" style 5 spoke rims will require a 5/16" wheel spacer.
- 9.5"x18" Z06 reproduction rims will clear with a wheel spacer.
- 8.5"x17" Z06 Repro's will not clear wilwood calipers without major wheel spacing
Now we can put the LGM wilwood brackets on. These bolt up differently than the stock bracket, so
make sure you have them oriented as shown in the picture on the left (studs pointing towards
the back of the car, bracket mounted behind the spindle arm, and bulk of the bracket bending
towards the outside of the car). Apply locktite to the 21mm
bolts, and bolt them in and torque them to 100lb/ft.
There should be 2 shims on these studs, and a smaller washer. Leave these on for now.
|We're almost ready to bolt up the caliper, but we first need to install brake pads. The wilwoods use a retaining pin to keep the pads in place. Unscrew the nut on the end of the pin, and pull the pin out. Once removed, the pads simply slide in, and the pin can be re-installed and tightened (may want to use a dab of locktite on the end of the pin). All the pads are identical.|
Remove the nuts off the caliper bracket studs, as well as the small washers, but leave the 2 large diameter shims
on the studs for now. The shims control the exact positioning of the pad contact on the rotors.
Now, place your new rotor back onto the hub and hold it into place. Give it a good spray down with some brake cleaner to get any oil and dirt off the rotor.
Now grab your wilwood caliper with pads installed and slide it onto the 2 studs sticking out of the mounting bracket. The wilwood logo should be facing the outside of the car, if it is not, you grabbed the wrong caliper (they are unique from side to side). When sliding the caliper on the studs, you'll need to make sure the rotor goes in between the two pads. Push the caliper all the way onto the studs, and check to make sure the pads don't go off the edge of the rotor. If they do, remove the caliper, remove the shims from the studs, reinstall the caliper, and recheck it. Once all is well, apply a dab of locktite to the studs and install the 2 11mm nuts onto the studs. Torque them to 30 lb/ft.
Congrats! One side is now about 80% done. Mount a wheel up and make 100% sure it fits and spins freely. You should have
at least 0.050" clearance between the wheel and the caliper at the closest point.
Now repeat the above process on the other side of the car
|Once both calipers and rotors are installed, we can install the lines. I've laid the lines and all the fittings out here to show you how everything will end up fitting together. It really can only go together one way, so it'll be hard for you to mess this up.|
|First install the fitting that goes into the back of the brake caliper using a 7/16" wrench. You won't need to use any sealant on this, just get it nice and snug.|
Assemble the rest of the line, and connect it to the hardline you disconnected the stock lines
from earlier. You'll want to get this as tight as you can without rounding off the fittings. A flair nut
wrench will allow you more grip on the fittings than a normal open ended wrench would allow.
Once the fittings are tight, push them back up into the mounting hole and install the thin aluminum retainer clip you popped off earlier. The clip sits ontop of the little metal ledge that is mounted to the car, as you can see in the picture.
Finally, connect the end of the line to the brake caliper fitting you installed earlier. Try to keep
the line oriented nicely so it isn't twisted oddly. Once you torque the fitting down, it will not
rotate freely anymore so you'll need to orient the line before you tighten it down.
Now repeat the above steps and install the line on the other side of the car.
|Now that both lines are installed and all fittings are nice and snug, we can get some brake fluid running through the system. Pop the hood and remove/loosen the brake fluid resevoir cap. You may want to leave the cap sitting loose on the opening to the resevoir to keep fluid from spilling out during the bleeding process.|
Finally, the most important step of the whole install...bleeding the system. The wilwood brakes bleed
just like any other car, except that they have 2 bleeders. You will want to bleed the passengers side
first to completion, then bleed the drivers side.
Brake Bleeding Proceedure1) Place a wrench on the bleeder valve (you turn the smaller part), and install a clear plastic or rubber hose onto the tip. Run the end of the hose into a bottle you can throw away.
2) Open the bleeder valve by turning it counterclockwise 45 to 90 degrees.
3) Have somebody press and hold the brake pedal to the floor.
4) After a few moments the brake fluid will stop coming out through the hose and you can then close the bleeder valve.
5) Release the brake pedal.
6) Check fluid resevoir to make sure it has plenty of fluid in it. You only need to do this every 4-5 bleeds. DO NOT LET IT EMPTY.
7) Go back to step 2.
Repeat the bleeding procedure several (5-20) times through the outside bleeder, several (5-20) times through the inside bleeder, then once again bleed through the outside bleeder 2-3 more times, and finally once more on the inside bleeder. You should have nice clean fluid running through your hose now with no air bubbles.
Once both sides are done, reinstall the fluid resevoir cap, and pump the brake pedal a few times to make sure it gets nice and firm. Check all the lines and fittings for leaks, there should be absolutly no fluid coming out from anywhere at this point.
Now you can reinstall your wheels, give them a final spin to verify proper clearance and make sure
the lines are not touching the wheel or any suspension components. If all is well, lower the car back down
onto the ground.
Torque your wheel lug nuts to 100lb/ft and fire the car up. Before you drive anywhere, try the brakes out at a very low speed to make sure they are working fine and there are no strange noises. If everything seems fine, its time to go out on a test drive to test and season in the components.
Brake seasoning proceedureThe basic break in proceedure for the rotors themselves is to do some mid-speed hard stops. After each stop, go a little faster next time and keep working the brake rotors to a hotter and hotter temperature. After 5-10 of these, get up to 60-70mph and hard brake down to 20mph but don't stop, and repeat this 2-3 times. Finally, go for a nice leisurely drive to let everything cool back off. You want to get the brakes back to ambient temperature. Parking the car overnight is an option at this point. Now your rotors are "seasoned". This proceedure needs to be repeated after the rotors have cooled to bed the pads in (establish a wear pattern between the pad and rotor).
If you would like more detailed and specific seasoning and bedding proceedures, they are also included in the kit. If the car will be used for track use, I suggest you follow those instructions. For street cars, the basics above will be just fine.