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Falcon Brakes XL to XP

 Other on our regular enquires for brake upgrades are the early Falcon series, XL to XP. Whilst only sold in Australia as 6 cylinder the Falcon Sprint cars sold in USA were offered with 260 and 289 V8 engines. The engine bay takes the Windsor engine with ease but decent brakes are not so easy.

 Ford did offer small solid discs on the XP series, in 4 stud pattern with 13 inch wheels and 5 stud with 14 inch. They were rare even then. Regular sedans and wagons came with drum brakes and 4 stud 13 inch wheels, where as commercials were 5 stud.

All retained the single “Jam Jar” master cylinder with remote VH40 boosters on the disc cars.


Front Brakes

Most V8 conversions dictate 5 stud wheels in 4.5 PCD as used on all bigger Fords. They never did change the tapers of the ball joints on Falcons from XL to XF, but Ford regularly increased the tie rod end tapers over the years.

 That means that you can bolt a full stub axle with matching brakes from any Falcon XW to XF but as the tie rod end adjuster thread was smaller the later tie rods would not fit. To make the later steering arm fit the early tie rod a tapered sleeve is needed.

 Another consideration when bolting in later Falcon stubs is a slightly longer stub axle height and the different position of the steering arm. This has the effect of raising the car, but more importantly the steering change will give a degree of bump steer. To correct for this it is recommended an inner tie rod relocation kit be fitted. This resets the inner tie rods to the correct spot but does reduce the turns lock to lock, making the steering more direct (good) but heavier (not so good).

 Ford made a change in stub axle diameters mid way through XB series, at this time the bearings went from 1.25”inner/.75”outer  to 1.375”/.875” respectively. Centre hole went from 2.5” to 2.75” at that time so early wheels don’t fit later hubs and later wheels have a loose fit instead of being tightly spigoted.

 Lastly the later Falcons have longer wheelbases, and Wagons, vans, utes, and  Fairlanes/LTD can be even longer again. Ford apparently did vary the bend in the steering arm to give correct Ackerman angle according to wheelbase, ie stubs are different between sedan and wagon and so on.

Use a sedan stub if possible as this will be closest to correct.

 Should you want bigger and newer brakes and have at least 15 inch wheels then our 300 by 28 twin piston big brake upgrade will have the toughest of early Falcons stopping brilliantly. For something totally outrageous there’s our 330 kit but that needs at least 17 inch wheels. (An overkill for street but really impressive for show)  Either way you need to fit an XW to XF stub and go from there.


Master cylinders

The firewall of an early Falcon was never intended to have a tandem master cylinder and combined “master vac” booster, the room is simply not there, and the tower brace can interfere. However fitting a V8 or even a bigger 6 will have the Engineers insisting on some sort of 1 inch Tandem master, remote booster and a brake fail switch/light.

 There are a few tandem masters that meet this need, the favorites being HQ, XB, XT and similar. One way or another you will be drilling some holes, fiddling with pushrod lengths, and fitting a stop to avoid the brake pedal lifting too high. Make sure it’s all strong and see our story on selecting master cylinders for ideas on correctly setting them up.

 Any disc system will need a remote booster, ie VH40, and a separate brake fail switch is needed for the HQ and XT type masters. (XB has it combined)

Going to four wheel discs adds a new problem, another booster for the rear, all a bit expensive, but that’s the price of progress.


Rear Brakes

A popular conversion over the years is the 5 stud Centura diff, basically a Borg Warner diff in Falcon pattern, correct width, cut off the coil spring mounts and weld on the leaf mounts. It’s much the same inside as an XB to XF diff and quite up to mild V8 use. However if retaining original drums you will need to fit 1 inch Valiant wheel cylinders to get sufficient braking, seeing how you will probably not run them boosted.

Narrowed 9 inch or Falcon Borg Warner diffs are another way to go, once again watch those rear wheel cylinder sizes if not boosted.




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