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Thread: Disk Brake Conversion for a 1954 CJ3B

  1. #1
    Junior Member AJ-MJ's Avatar
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    Disk Brake Conversion for a 1954 CJ3B

    My jeep has been sitting for 15-20 years, therefore I will diffidently need to be rebuilding the brake system. I have been considering while rebuilding the brakes maybe I could upgrade to disk brakes. I have done some preliminary research but I don't see much of information on a conversion. KW has the conversion kits but those don't look cost effective. I know some members have upgraded their brakes but I cannot find 3B specific information. I would appreciate any input on the subject or lessons learned. One of my dilemmas is: is it worth it or should I just keep the jeep original? This may become more clear after I tear down the brakes and inspect the condition of all the brake parts. Second, question is has any one upgraded to a dual reservoir master cylinder? An additional question if these are original steel lines should I replace them. Any brake system thought or suggestions?! BRAKES ARE KINDA IMPORTANT!

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    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Hey AJ-MJ, yes, upgrade to the dual reservoir for fluid push capacity and safety. At least I did on a 64 pickup, which is larger. The single reservoir goes bad, gets plugged, and where does that leave you, was my thinking. This upgrade was a rabbit hole inside of a beaver dam... Keep us posted!

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    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    AJ, Az has a nice setup in his truck. There are a few places offering up conversions for your Jeep and, it is usually not cheap. You really only need the discs on the front in a CJ. They will pop your eyes out with just front disc brakes and original rear drums. Whether or not to keep it stock is really up to you. I can tell you that if you are going to drive it around a lot, definitely put some disc's up front. They just don't stop real well in a panic with the factory brakes. Definitely a dual reservoir master.

    I would be prepared to replace all the lines. Pre-bent lines are out there and they are real good. You can even get stainless lines pre-bent. I think I have posted sources on the lines somewhere. If you search the forum we have a few threads on brake lines.
    Last edited by bmorgil; 02-18-2021 at 05:21 PM.

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    Junior Member AJ-MJ's Avatar
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    THANKS: I may have found your post bmorgil. Is the vender https://www.inlinetube.com/products/jpb5401, InLineTube? People were saying they wished they had painted their lines. What is up with that? Lastly, while reaching their site they also have disc brake conversion kits for a little cheaper price.

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    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Yes that's it. Great place. Brake line steel is usually fairly soft and easy to bend. It is usually a mild steel. Consequently they will and do rust. In areas where they salt the roads, in a few decades they will rot away completely. If you have a nice looking show rig and it bugs you to watch the brake lines slowly turn brown, you can paint them. The paint has to be protected wherever it touches something or when it scrapes off, that is where it will rust. So now if that really bothers you, you shell out the cash for stainless lines. Just keep in mind stainless lines are a bit more ridged and expensive.

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    Junior Member AJ-MJ's Avatar
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    Thanks again... I think the OE steel lines will suit me just fine... I am sure they will last longer than I will. I have a spread sheet of stuff I need and the total is already causing me to swallow hard. JEEP = Just Empty Every Pocket...One more ice storm is passing through our area tonight, then I hope we have a few days of decent weather.

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    Junior Member AJ-MJ's Avatar
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    This some related information for dis brake conversion:https://cj3b.info/Tech/DiskBrakes.html

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    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    I wish I had painted my brake and fuel lines, the new spring sets as well.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    It all depends on what you plan to do with your Jeep. I like the amount of sanity depravation that the old drum/manual brakes has to offer. I keep them around for certain times when I need a good butt kicking to keep myself humble. They are not that
    bad, but they do have a nasty habit of being obstinate. With that being said, in my opinion, convert to at least front wheel disks. KW offers a dual pot master cylinder that looks pretty good, and is on my list of upgrades for our little Heep. One thing to keep in mind though, if you are running stock steel wheels and you do decide to upgrade to disk brakes, you'll run into interference with the caliper hitting the inside of the wheel and will need to go with a more modern wheel. Mid '80s Dodge 1/2 ton 4X4 pickups wheels will clear, and are a direct replacement, along with International Scout II wheels.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ankK2MH1cI8

    The photo is of the process of adjusting the original drum brakes after the top adjusters decided to loosened up.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by gmwillys; 02-19-2021 at 07:19 AM.

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    Junior Member AJ-MJ's Avatar
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    THANKS gmwillys! During my research I found several YouTube videos. I think the best one is the install of the KW conversion kit because it has a couple of good suggestions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MsmJetnN2M. I went back and read the product information on the KW conversion kit and it states to replace rims. However, I also have a concern about the different pressures needed for disc vs drum.

    Please let me do some thinking out loud and some body that knows more than I do straighten me out. Let me profess: I am not an automobile mechanic and have very limited automotive skills and knowledge. However, about 20 years ago, I bought a Comanche (MJ) that needed a lot of work. (Hence my user ID). Anyway, I installed a 5 inch lift kit and “big” tires therefore, I really needed better brakes. So I upgraded the brakes. As I remember it, I put a modified booster from a newer model Cherokee (XJ) and larger rotors on the front. I think I changed the original proportion value to an adjustable proportioning valve in the brake line going to the rear brakes. I can remember adjusting it. It was kinda like adjusting your brakes by feel and skid marks. I needed to properly balance the brakes because the fronts do more of the braking and you do not want the rears locking before the fronts. My thinking here is that the required pressure for disc brakes in the front and drums in the back you would have to be different pressures both while braking and when your foot is off the brake. So should you put disc brakes only the front or front and back. Anyone familiar with the proportion value requirements? The more I think out loud the more I am talking myself into sticking with the original brake system… DANG, I hate it when I do that! As long as I drive like “I’m Driving Miss Daisy” and the brakes don’t pull to the side, I think I will be fine. Can anyone comment on this?
    Last edited by AJ-MJ; 02-19-2021 at 08:36 AM.

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