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Wilwood Brakes D52 Caliper Install - A Quick And Easy Wilwood Caliper Bolt-On

We Love Those Driveway How-Tos That Only Take A Couple Of Hours, So Here's Our Version Of . . .

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In the world of functional components, there are a few classic designs that seem to take forever to outlive their usefulness. In April 1952, Boeing first flew the Stratofortress that would soon be best known by its service designation-the B-52. Now nearly six decades later, the bomber is still in service and flown by USAF pilots who are younger than the planes themselves, the last of which rolled off the assembly line in 1962.

In the world that revolves around GM, there is a similar-sounding disc brake system used from 1968 well into the '90s called the D52, which is the FMSI designation for its brake pad style. The caliper's large, single-piston, floating design qualifies it as perhaps the single most commonly used front brake caliper in GM history.

The D52 universal use also makes it a popular choice for early GM muscle car cultists as an inexpensive disc brake swap, since the parts can probably be found in Nigeria if necessary. But it is also this caliper's popularity that forces many car crafters to choose something a little different. That's why Wilwood designed the new aluminum D52 aluminum caliper. Intended as a simple bolt-on upgrade, the Wilwood caliper differs from the original design by packaging two, smaller, stainless steel pistons that generate the same overall piston area as the single piston. The advantage is that the pair of pistons offers a wider apply surface to the back of the pad (4.240 inches versus 2.850 inches), creating a more stable load on the pads. The new Wilwood caliper operates in a similar fashion as the original design by floating the caliper on two pins that pull the outside pad into the rotor with a near-similar load as the inboard pad. The load applied to both pads is improved with the superior rigidity of the forged (not cast) aluminum body. While all this should improve the overall feel and performance of this caliper conversion, it doesn't hurt that these calipers also look cool. We decided to try a set of red-powdercoated D52 calipers on our 455-powered '64 Olds F-85 that had previously been treated to an Original Parts Group, factory-style, '70 Chevelle disc brake conversion. Check out how this all went down.

The B-52's nickname is the BUFF: Big-Ugly Fat Fellow. There's a more colorful variation for the last F, but hey, there are children present.

The Bolt-On
The installation on our street-driven Olds F-85 couldn't have been easier. A couple of years ago, we bolted on an OPG disc brake conversion kit to which we had converted to a set of Performance Friction pads that definitely improved pedal feel and stopping distance as well. Bolting on these new Wilwood calipers is pretty simple.

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