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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, first post here... I picked up a non-running but excellent-condition 1972 Dodge D200 Camper Special with factory front drums.  They were pretty wasted (had to go through the whole brake system pretty much) so I went ahead and started doing a front disc conversion.  I couldn't find a D200 at my local junkyard but I read that the spindles were the same between 1/2-ton and 3/4-ton 2wd trucks (with the 3200-lb front axle rating) so I grabbed spindles, calipers and caliper brackets/adapters off of a late-1980s D150.  However I didn't realize the brake rotor diameters were different between 5- and 8-lug and now it's obvious I need different caliper brackets.

I went today back to the same yard and the only old Dodge truck I found was a 1981 W250; pulled the caliper brackets off and those don't fit either :mad:

I guess I've narrowed it down by now but it's looking like the only caliper brackets which will fit for my truck will be off a 1979-later 3/4-ton pickup or B-van with 8-lug wheels, is this correct?
 

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yeah , the knuckle is also different between the 5 and 8 lug , so its not "just" the caliper mount bracket,  also be sure you have the lighter D44 and not the D60 axle in the camper special as I believe either could have been factory in that model , some had a set "back" rear axle for camper ... so even the body side panels are different ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
dodge82273 said:
yeah , the knuckle is also different between the 5 and 8 lug , so its not "just" the caliper mount bracket, also be sure you have the lighter D44 and not the D60 axle in the camper special as I believe either could have been factory in that model , some had a set "back" rear axle for camper ... so even the body side panels are different ...
Oh shoot, how so? Does that mean these D150 knuckles/spindles are useless? I can still return them to the salvage yard if so.

I'm pretty sure it has the D60 rear axle just based on the size, also the door tag says 5500 lbs rear GAWR? Guess I should double-check...
 

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whoops !  your right , ! I missed the D part sorry . 
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
lol no worries, had me confused there a for a bit though, "why would a 3/4-ton have a D44 in the back?"  I kind of wish it was a 4x4 there seems to be more of those that show up in the junkyard around here.  I wanted a 2WD though for the better on-road manners, I plan to use this truck as a tow/haul rig and occasional cruiser.

So does anyone know if the spindles/knuckles are different between 1980s Dodge 1/2-ton and 3/4-ton 2WD trucks?  The spindle itself is the same I proved that by installing one of my new 8-lug front brake rotors on a 1988 D150 spindle and it fit perfectly but is the bolt hole spacing for the caliper adapter different?
 

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It looks like Dodge did the 2wd's, like the 4wd's in that the difference is not the brake adapter, but rather the knuckle(Spindle) itself. The brake adapter (caliper bracket) is different between the 2wd, and 4wd, but looks to be the same for 1/2 3/4 and 1 ton 2wds (except for 1 tons with the 4000lb axle).


So you need to look for a knuckle from a pickup with the 3300 lb axle, or a 1 ton van with the 3600 lb axle. With vans, only the 1 tons have 8 lugs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
SuperBurban said:
It looks like Dodge did the 2wd's, like the 4wd's in that the difference is not the brake adapter, but rather the knuckle(Spindle) itself. The brake adapter (caliper bracket) is different between the 2wd, and 4wd, but looks to be the same for 1/2 3/4 and 1 ton 2wds (except for 1 tons with the 4000lb axle).

So you need to look for a knuckle from a pickup with the 3300 lb axle, or a 1 ton van with the 3600 lb axle. With vans, only the 1 tons have 8 lugs.
Excellent thank you that's just what I needed! So I guess I'll take these D150 knuckles back to the junkyard and keep an eye out for an 8-lug 2wd truck or van, probably return the 4x4 caliper adapters too those aren't going to be much use to me.
 

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I'm not sure how that compares to other years,  Also on Vans, make sure its not the 4000 lb axle. in general, the 3600 lb has a 8 lug 9&1/4 semi floating, and the 4000 lb's have the D60 full floating rears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
SuperBurban said:
I'm not sure how that compares to other years, Also on Vans, make sure its not the 4000 lb axle. in general, the 3600 lb has a 8 lug 9&1/4 semi floating, and the 4000 lb's have the D60 full floating rears.
Got it, I'll keep that in mind I have a feeling it's more likely I'll find a van vs. a 2wd pickup.

I did try to fit up both caliper brackets with the 8-lug rotor installed on the D150 spindle and they were both way off, they do seem to have the same dimensions but the W250 caliper adapters use slightly larger bolts and have a touch less offset just eyeballing them side-by-side. I might as well keep both pairs they were only $13 a set. Spindles/knuckles are worth returning though they were around $70 for both.
 

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It never made sense to me, Dodge does it the same way with the D44's. they use the same adapter, but have different knuckles. You would think it would be cheaper to have the same knuckles, and different adapters.    ???
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
SuperBurban said:
It never made sense to me, Dodge does it the same way with the D44's. they use the same adapter, but have different knuckles. You would think it would be cheaper to have the same knuckles, and different adapters. ???
Exactly that's what I assumed from working on old Mopar cars, the later (1973-) front discs have 2 different diameter rotors and just use different adapters to locate the caliper, spindles are the same.

BTW I'm just over the mountains in Fort Collins
 

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I thought the cars were different, but thats going back a number of years.

Yea, we have a handful of members down by the springs, a few by in the Denver metro area but not many that migrate over the mountains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Alright well I returned those D150 spindles, took a look around the yard and no potential donors to be found.  Even the "prep area" where they get the cars ready for the pull & pay yard had one old Dodge van but it was a B250.  So I did some searching and found a big salvage yard in southern CO (Penrose Auto Salvage) that ships parts nationwide and they had a 1994 B350 so I ordered the front spindles from them, should arrive early next week.  Definitely more expensive than getting them from a yard myself but still not bad and there's no telling how long I'd have to wait for a donor truck/van to show up locally.  I'm dying to get this truck on the road lol I've owned it over a month now and it's still sitting in my garage with the front end apart  :'(

Once I get the spindles I'll report back how they fit, man I can't wait lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So I got the B350 spindles installed over the weekend, they fit perfectly on the truck and the D250 rotors and calipers fit perfectly on them.  However after swapping the master cylinder (and power booster) to one I grabbed from a 1981 W250 I see the brake lines coming from the M/C are reversed.  I checked my Chilton's manual to see what the deal is and apparently the primary and secondary lines could be one way or the other depending on the truck; I also found out I'll either need to salvage a brake distribution block from a disc-brake truck or add an adjustable proportioning valve since apparently the drum-brake blocks don't have a proportioning valve in them?  I like the idea of the adjustable (I think it would be nice for towing/hauling) but wouldn't I still have to swap lines and fittings around to work with the W250 M/C?  And/or get a master cylinder from a 2WD truck?

What do you guys think is the best way to go about this?
 

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Its called a combination valve. The 1/2 tons had a proportioning/hold off/warning valve. The 3/4 and 1 tons both got just a hold off/ warning valve. Drive it before you decide you may need a proportioning valve.

Check the bore diameter of the various master cyls, most likely they are the same, if so no reason to switch. Crossing the lines, is ok,  just make sure they are not touching each other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
SuperBurban said:
Its called a combination valve. The 1/2 tons had a proportioning/hold off/warning valve. The 3/4 and 1 tons both got just a hold off/ warning valve. Drive it before you decide you may need a proportioning valve.

Check the bore diameter of the various master cyls, most likely they are the same, if so no reason to switch. Crossing the lines, is ok, just make sure they are not touching each other.
Awesome, you're a life saver (ambulance avatar notwithstanding LOL)! Combination valve that's right, I remember that now from my 1970 Plymouth Factory Service Manual. I'll just go ahead and cross the lines, hook them up and see how it goes.

I guess it makes sense the bigger trucks didn't need a prop valve, 13" diameter front disc brakes are pretty big for a vehicle with a ~3800 lb curb weight. I'm a newb in the world of trucks and heavier "work" vehicles though so IDK, my only experiences modifying and building vehicles so far has been with old Mopar cars for going fast and Jeeps for offroading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just wanted to give an update, I've had the truck running and driving for about 5 weeks now and the brakes work great!  Still need to adjust the rears a bit (are they not supposed to engage under normal light stopping??) and I'm still in the process of getting it registered so it hasn't gone much over 50 mph on a back road near my home but no real issues so far, pedal feels great and it stops nice and quick.

Adapting 1980-up disc brakes on a pre-1980 truck works!  Even if they're off a 1994 B350 van lol.
 

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because disc calipers have no "return" springs the pads ride very close to the rotors , stepping on the brake pedal only a small amount of fluid is needed before the pads contact rotor and begin stopping , while the rear wheel cylinders have "return springs " the shoes are farther from the drum , the cylinder must travel out to begin the braking , more fluid is required if the adjustment is not right at its sweet spot .
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Gotcha, I can tell the rear drums need to be adjusted up more by how loose the e-brake pedal is.  I've messed with the rear drums on my 1970 Duster a lot and know how to get those working right but wasn't sure if the trucks worked any differently.
 
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