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Go Back > Reviews > Axles > Brakes > VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit

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VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit Reviews, Ratings, Specs & Prices
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VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit

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Product Information

MSRP: $750.00
Average Price: $777.18
Manufacturer: VANCO Power Brake Systems
Yes: 16 / No: 0

This is a bolt in larger front disk kit for the following Jeep Models-1990-2006 Wrangler, all Comanches, all Cherokees 90-2000 and all Grand Chrerokees up through 98.

The kit includes modified knuckles, dual piston calipers, new pads and rotors. We've built this system to fit most 15 inch rims that have 4.5 inches or less of backspacing when run with an ideal tire size of 37s or smaller. In a lot of cases the unit bearing flange may have to be ground down slightly to fit inside the rotor hat, the rest of the kit is bolt on and requires no other modifications to the rig. It can be used with most after market steering kit that bolt brackets to the knuckle, call for details on any particular steering kit you plan on installing or have installed.

The kit was designed to do away with inherent weaknesses in these Jeep front brake systems while reinforcing the knuckle to be able to handle the pressure of a Hydroboost.. The cast iron sliders that hold the brake pads tend to flex under heavy braking loads. The ears on the pad backing plates rubbing against these cast iron sliders tend to cause divots. Those divots will catch the pad and only allow part of the pad to be used. If you've applied your brakes in a hard stop situation and felt the pedal going down and the vehicle wouldn't come to a faster stop like normal vehicles you've probably experience one or both of the problems mentioned above.

Due to one side flexing more then the other, or divots on either side there can be lesser braking on one side of the vehicle. One of the symptoms of this is the vehicle pulling to one side or the other when you stop. There's no guarantee that is why your Jeep is pulling but this kit has solved the problem on over 50% of the vehicles using it at this time.

We incorporate dual piston caliper to evenly distribute the clamping forces over the swept area of the pad. The current single piston calipers have a tendency to lock one end of the pad in the divot and then bow the pad inwards in a uneven manner. Rotor size has been maximized to allow fitment into most 15" rims. The caliper bracket mounting area on the steering knuckle has been strengthened and reinforced to endure the higher forces generated by the larger brakes.


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Registered User
McNasty35's Reviews
03-07-2014, 11:31 PM
Price: $925.00
Pros: Lock up my rig with 35" tires, full steel armor, full size spare, wife, kid, dog, and gear, with ease. Fairly easy install.
Cons: It's a bit pricey, bu worth it for what you get.
Recommended? Yes

Comments: Great product, and with the Black Magic brakes this system can't be beat.

Registered User
Bullfrog80's Reviews
08-07-2013, 11:34 PM
Price: $750.00
Pros: Amazing stopping power and easy install.
Cons: Expensive but well worth it.
Recommended? Yes

Comments: Reviewing Van's hydroboost system. The improvement over the stock manual brakes is day and night. Van is great to deal with and I'm so glad I saved up the money to go with his system over scavenging junk yards. This is the best upgrade I've done to my CJ to date.


Registered User
chopperkid2000's Reviews
06-10-2012, 10:06 AM
Price: $875.00
Pros: Works well
Cons: alot of $$
Recommended? Yes

Comments: They work like normal when you drive around like normal. When you need alot of brake they work great.
I have the 15" BBK not the whole power system and they did come with black magic pads.

Registered User
irocz3489's Reviews
10-05-2011, 09:04 AM
Price: $800.00
Pros: Amazing difference over the stock calipers, even with EBC yellow stuff. Install was not difficult either.
Cons: Shaving the circumference of the unit bearing hub seemed kind of ghetto.
Recommended? Yes

Comments: Purchase through Savvy! Gerald is a great guy and he gave me a good deal. I had one question during my install and Blaine was there to answer. The braking power is awesome compared to the my previous setup (stock calipers, centric rotors, EBC yellow with 20k miles).

Registered User
Weelz's Reviews
02-16-2011, 05:32 PM
Price: $750.00
Pros: Better braking.
Cons: Doesn't come cheap. Took several weeks before they were shipped.
Recommended? Yes

Comments: Pretty good install instructions were provided, with clear pictures. I'm no mechanic, but with mostly basic tools and the detailed instructions, these babies went on without a hitch.


More Money than Brains
SuperWade2's Reviews
04-16-2010, 02:29 PM
Price: $750.00
Pros: They Work
Cons: None
Recommended? Yes

Comments: Great Product!

Registered User
MyBrokenJeep's Reviews
10-04-2009, 06:54 PM
Price: $699.00
Pros: Stop on a dime!
Cons: Not as easy to install as you would think...
Recommended? Yes

Comments: The guys from Vanco are great! They know their stuff!

I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with them... them explaining to me exactly what I was experiencing from a braking perspective... I didn't have to tell them anything!

Even if you don't buy from these guys... Give'em a call. You will learn something about brakes and brake technologies.


Savvy's Reviews

03-19-2009, 10:55 AM
VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit
Pros: Les pedal pressure and teh ability to stop the 35s from turning (locks them up at will.)
Cons: NONE!
Recommended? Yes

Comments: Vanco Brake Kit. Just WOW! I just installed the kit on our 2006 Unlimited which I thought had decent brakes. No comparison. I now know when my wheels are going to stop turning as I have control of them.

PM and I'll let you drive the LJ with the VAnco kit installed you will be convinced that your brakes are inferior.

Thanks Van and Blaine!


Registered User
Red_'s Reviews

09-14-2008, 04:59 PM
VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit
Price: $750.00
Recommended? Yes

Comments: This thing is the ****. The end all of all brake upgrades for the D30 until Blaine comes up with something new. Lets you actually stop your tank

Jerry Bransford

Jerry Bransford's Reviews

05-03-2007, 02:44 PM
VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit
Price: $750.00
Pros: This review addition is evolutionary and in addition to the original review
Cons: None.
Recommended? Yes

Comments: Mrblaine, the co-developer of the VANCO Big Brake kit, invited me up to his place two weeks ago to try a new brake pad out and give him my impression after driving it for a few weeks.

If you have big tires, like 35" or bigger, you already know just how bad your braking is unless you've installed that VANCO Big Brake kit.

We originally installed the tried-and-true Performance Friction carbon metallic brake pads when mrblaine and I installed the VANCO kit. Braking with that kit finally restored my TJ's degraded braking performance lost over first 33" then 35" tires. I could finally lock up my brakes again!

Not one to assume the Big Brake kit could not be somehow improved upon even more, mrblaine and VANCO found that a new ceramic brake pad made a noticeable improvement and mrblaine asked me to try a set and give him my impressions after a few weeks. The braking improvement was noticeable. My brake pedal feel was "softer" in that it didn't take as much pressure for braking, and braking performance was better in that it took less pressure to lock the brakes up, even better than before. I was very pleased with the improved braking performance, an improvement over what was already a dramatic improvement over the OE brakes.

Now for sure, ceramic brake pads don't have all that great of a reputation for braking performance. The ceramic brake pad's claim to fame is minimal braking dust, not braking performance. So, it was surprising to learn from mrblaine that the pads he installed for me to try were a new ceramic pad design. They did not produce a dramatic night and day improvement, what they did do was add a noticeable level of improvement which was hard to do on the original Big Brake kit's already stellar braking performance.

This is an evolutionary process, that is for sure. In speaking with mrblaine, he and VANCO are in the process of testing 12 different brake pads and the ceramic pads I got was the eighth set to be tested, with four more to go.

I was also very surprised to learn that brake pad selection can be a regional thing. VANCO and mrblaine discovered that brake pads that work well where it's warm don't always work as well where it is cold. The Performance Friction pads that can lock the brakes up here in Southern California with 35" tires don't necessarily work as well in cold climates like up in the mountains of Colorado. That is why the test to find a brake pad that works better in cold climates resulted in uncovering the new ceramic pads. Traditional ceramics don't brake all that well but the new ceramics they found sure do. I don't know the exact model of ceramic pad that was installed onto my TJ and it likely won't be announced until the rest of the pads are tested.

Anyway, I'm real happy with my brakes and their new increased level performance. This is certainly an evolutionary process.


Registered User
GrimJeeper91's Reviews

11-27-2006, 09:38 AM
VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit
Pros: Easy Installation, Big Braking Improvement
Cons: None!
Recommended? Yes

Comments: After moving to 33" tires the YJ just didn't stop like it used to. This is my daily driver and knowing that the brakes were marginal I always kept a larger than usual following distance. Even with the extra distance there were quite a few situations where I almost didn't get stopped in time. After the last near miss, in which a classic car pulled out right in front of me and then slammed on his brakes, I decided that something had to be done. I don't have the time (or patience) to rummage through junk yards for questionable bolt-on's. After researching my options I decided that a couple products from Vanco would be my best bet. I decided to address a known problem first with the Jeep Disk Brake Upgrade. The cast iron sliders on my knuckles were in pretty bad shape. One issue discribed on Vanco's web site was divots that tend to wear on the sliders. Mine had them. Really big divots. I've seen smaller divots on golf courses. Although my brakes pads were still wearing evenly, the damaged knuckles were going to need to be dealt with eventually. Replacing them with factory knuckles for $400 wasn't a good long term solution. Jerry's write-up is very complete so I'm not going to go crazy. The kit it totally bolt-on with the exception of needing to grind about 1/32" off the journal bearing (which took about ten minutes). Here are some pictures of the install:

Getting ready to get busy:

Vanco's Jeep Disk Brake Upgrade:

The old brakes, power slots with stock calipers:

Stock caliper next to the dual piston caliper:

The reinforced knuckle installed:

Finished product:

The new brakes up front solved known problems (weak and damaged knuckles) and increased braking performance. But now it was time to deliver more power to these bad boys. Since I don't have any plans on going larger than 33's I opted for the Vanco Vaccum Kit. This kit replaces the stock single diaphragm booster with a dual diaphragm booster and the stock 1" bore master cylinder with a quad port 1 1/8" master cylinder. The new mastercylinder/booster assembly is a bit longer than the stock unit. This required a slight mod to the air box (air vent tube in for ground relocated). Due to space limitations the drivers side port was used for the forward brake reservoir. This required some care reshaping of one of the the brake lines.

New master cylinder & booster installed:

With the brake modifications complete it was time to take it for a drive. The improvement was very noticable and the brake peddle had a great feel. The large master cylinder raised the peddle quite a bit. On the street my braking distance has been reduced greatly. Offroad the difference was very evident. I could hold it on a hill and in low range the auto didn't overcome the brake system as it had in the past. I will definitely feel more comfortable on those steep slick rock domes on my next trip to Moab (still no Lion's Back for me!). Those of you with bigger tires and stock brakes should give the products from Vanco a serious look.

Registered User
CartsXJ's Reviews
11-17-2006, 08:04 AM
VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit
Recommended? Yes

Comments: So this kit works with Hub kits? I have the milemarker kit and it uses cast rotors already. Are they a different cast rotor or the same 87-90 cast rotor that the kits use?


Registered User
JolleyRoger's Reviews

10-22-2006, 11:23 AM
VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit
Price: $750.00
Pros: Bolt-on Outstanding brake performance improvement
Cons: None
Recommended? Yes

Comments: This bolt on performance brake kit from Vancopbs was an awesome upgrade and well worth the money for my 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I could make no higher a recommendation for this kit and for Van's outstanding customer service. The performance is awesome and MUCH better than stock in my opinion and my exwifes opinion. This kit was also a breeze to install much easier than expected, of course I also installed a new Currie steering set up, a Warn Locking Hub Kit and new Warn front axle shafts along with new ball joints and axle seals. This is a super upgrade for ZJ's.


Registered User
Kiwi's Reviews

09-21-2006, 12:15 PM
VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit
Pros: Easy install, Huge increase in braking ability with 35" tires
Cons: None
Recommended? Yes

Comments: Excellent product and customer service from Van and Blaine. The braking performance increase is amazing on 35" tires. I can't remember what stock braking was like so I can't compare to that. The pedal feel is hard and high, not a whole lot different to the hydroboost on my towrig. Should be a must do upgrade for any D30 equiped jeep with larger tires.

Registered User
55willystruck's Reviews

08-25-2006, 08:34 PM
VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit
Pros: Excellent Brake Performance Increase!
Cons: None!
Recommended? Yes

Comments: This kit is outstanding-Van and Blaine have done an Excellent job putting this together. Van's customer service is second to none, he was an outstanding help during the install both on the phone and via email.

The performance gain of the kit is unbelievable-buckle up that's for sure, as the Jeep's nose now dives so hard in panic stops, it feels like the back end is coming off the ground!

Great Job Guys-Finally a brake upgrade that really works! Definitely recommend this kit to anyone looking for better stopping ability out of their TJ/LJ.

Best of Luck,


Jerry Bransford

Jerry Bransford's Reviews

08-09-2006, 11:36 PM
VANCO Power Brake Systems Wrangler/Commanche/Grand Cherokee/Cherokee front brake upgrade kit
Price: $750.00
Pros: Outstanding brake performance improvement, totally bolt-on, no brake system mods needed anywhere
Cons: None
Recommended? Yes

Comments: If you have braking problems and/or want to dramatically improve how well your brakes stop your Jeep, check out the new bolt-on brake upgrade kit developed in a collaboration between mrblaine and VANCO Power Brake Supply.

Assuming you have installed larger tires on your Jeep as many of us have done here on Jeep Forum, you've undoubtedly noticed that your braking has degraded, often in a very noticeable and dramatic amount. This is due to two primary reasons: 1) The bigger tire weighs more and 2) the tire's longer radius gives it substantially more leverage against the brakes. In other words, the OE brakes don't have enough power to overcome a bigger tire's weight and substantially increased leverage against the brakes.

In my case, I noticed my brakes weren't all that great once I installed 33" tires. And once I installed 35" tires, my brakes became downright marginal. The bottom line was that my Wrangler's brakes were no longer able to stop me quickly enough to make me feel safe driving on the highway. My marginal braking was downright scary at times.

Every brake upgrade I found that could actually return my braking back to what I would consider good or even acceptable involved more work and modifications than I was willing to undertake.

FINALLY, there is a BOLT-ON brake upgrade kit from VANCO Power Brake Supply ( that requires only the most minor of modifications limited to minor trimming of the dust shield and a bit of grinding on the unit bearing housing, if present. Developed in collaboration with mrblaine who is very well known in Jeeping circles, this is a 100% bolt-on kit that was designed around the factory brake booster, factory master cylinder, factory brake proportioning valve, and factory brake lines.

Here are the upgrade kit's main components:

This complete kit can be installed in an afternoon by anyone with a set of socket wrenches and just a moderate amount of mechanical savvy.

Included in the kit are new all-cast ventilated rotors, newly machined strengthened & stiffened OE outer knuckles, newly remanufactured to Centric's high standards DUAL-piston Ford calipers, 105 series Centric Ceramic PosiQuiet brake pads, steel knuckle stiffeners, and all required hardware. And if you are running manual hubs, the rotors are machined to accept them.

Here is the new outer knuckle and what it started life as:

This kit improves braking by 1) eliminating caliper and knuckle flex which allows the brake pad to flex so not all of its surface area is utilized and 2) upgrading the factory single piston caliper to a dual-piston caliper.

The factory knuckles and calipers flex enough under pressure that only part of the brake pad is pressed against the rotor. On top of that, the factory single piston only presses against the center of the brake pad. This upgrade kit changes all that by strengthening and stiffening the brake and caliper assembly so it doesn't flex, together with upgrading from a single to a a dual piston caliper to push on the entire the brake pad rather than just the center of the pad as happens with the factory brake assembly.

All I can say is that after installing this kit, I was absolutely grinning from ear-to-ear and stunned on how dramatically my Wrangler's braking performance had improved. I can now actually lock up my front brakes with 35" Goodyear MT/R tires, something I couldn't have even come CLOSE to before. I didn't measure braking distances before and after but based on what my brakes couldn't do before and now can do easily, the braking improvement is dramatic. Anytime you can lock up your brakes with 35" tires with only moderate brake pedal pressure, you've found the Holy Grail of Jeep braking. And yes, the front brakes lock up before the rears do as they should for good controllability.

In summary, here are some very convincing benefits to VANCO's Jeep brake upgrade kit:

* Totally bolt-on
* No special tools needed
* Uses the factory power brake booster, brake lines, master brake cylinder, and proportioning valve
* Fits inside most 15" wheels with common backspace dimensions
* Easily found standard off-the-shelf Ford brake components
* Cost effective
* Can be installed in just a few hours
* Outstanding stop-on-a-dime braking performance with good front-to-rear braking balance

Here's a telling photo here that shows the original single-piston caliper assembly:

Compare it to what's in VANCO's kit. The OE single piston brake caliper looks downright puny compared to VANCO's dual piston caliper and is another reason why the Wrangler's OE brakes don't perform adequately with big tires.

Note the below photo showing how the pads can be easily replaced without removing the entire caliper assembly like you must do with the OE brakes. Also notice the newly formed layer of rust (it only took five minutes to start forming) on the cast rotors. That rust is proof you got the rotors perfectly clean using a detergent like Simple Green. Using the usual brake cleaner leaves a residue that doesn't help braking in the least. No rust on the rotors after you cleaned them means you didn't get them clean enough or you used brake cleaner that leaves the undesirable residue. That rust that formed if you got the rotors clean enough goes away as soon as you start using the brakes.

Here it is all put together:

This kit is available for 1990-2006 Wranglers, all Comanches, Cherokees 1990-2000, and Grand Cherokee 1995-1998

At under $800 for this kit that is easily installed by any competent shadetree mechanic without special tools, this kit rates FIVE out of FIVE thumbsup in my personal opinion.

If you can't already tell, I am grinning big time after installing this kit!

VANCO's website is at

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