How I Improved My Stock Delco Morraine GM Brakes

I have stock Delco Morraine GM Brakes and wanted a cheap way of making them “better.” Although switching to the LS1 brakes do provide better stopping power, in my country, it’s an expensive conversion, so I had to make the best of what came from the factory.

I was reading the book Brake Systems by Mike Mavrigian and Larry Carley and it gave me a few ideas on improving the stock brakes such as:

-Making sure that the stock rubber lines do not flex

-Pad choice

-Rotor choice


The Solution:

The first thing I did was buy slotted rotors. These don’t crack like rotors that are cross drilled. Brake rotors used to be crossed drilled to allow the brake pads to outgas. This was back in the 50’s-70’s. As pad technology has gotten better, brake pads no longer outgas steel bite pro and holes in the rotor just cause the rotor to crack.

The next thing I did was buy a good set of pads. I use HAWK HPS pads. If you’re racing, their “Blue” pads are the SSCA show room stock racing pads. However, for a street car, the HPS pads are pretty good and I use them for autocrossing too. Some people don’t know, but the “blue” pads are not the same as the HPS pads-even though they both come in blue boxes. Contact HAWK brakes for more details. One thing to note, if you’re actually taking your car out to a track day, HAWK makes an HP+ pad designed for autocross and track. They do wear out faster, but if you look at the pad surface, there is a slotted groove in the pad of the HP+, vs. no groove on the normal street HPS pads. That slotted groove is used to provide more bite to your brakes. It’s another leading edge to bite into the brake rotor.

To improve brake feel, I use Teflon coated braided stainless steel brake lines. I also made sure that there was a protective coating/sleave over the brake lines to protect the braid from dirt entering the lines through the centre of the braid. The rubber lines can flex under hard braking over time. These stainless steel teflon coated brake lines should not.

The biggest downside to the stock delco-morraine brakes is that they are built using cast iron. Cast iron does not dissipate heat as well as modern aluminum brakes. However, back in the 1980’s when the third gen camaro came out, they were “adequate” although not ideal. I decided to use a little bit of color theory to help this out.

I painted the outer brake calipers black. My engineering friend told me that you paint cast iron blocks black because it helps pull out heat. I don’t know how much truth there is to this, but I do know that lighter colors reflect light and darker colors absorb light. I taped off the outer caliper after the black paint dried and painted the inner caliper yellow to help reflect heat. Most of the heat in the caliper will come from the inside of the caliper as that is where the pistons push the brake pads together. You don’t want the calipers to over heat as it brakes down the brake fluid and the rubber piston seals.

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