1979 Jeep CJ5 brake upgrade - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-08-2019, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
kcarlsonjeep
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1979 Jeep CJ5 brake upgrade

I was wondering what is the best way to upgrade the braking on a CJ. I've been reading that a dual diaphragm vacuum booster with a slightly larger master cylinder is the best way to go. Then there was the thought of rear disc, but I can't seem to find a kit for the Dana 44. It was out of a 1973 Jeep CJ. Any advice would be appreciated.

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post #2 of 15 Old 12-08-2019, 06:05 PM
John Strenk
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Look up Van's brakes on the internet.

He use to put together some really good hydro boost stuff for the CJ.
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-08-2019, 06:49 PM
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I had disk/drum manual brakes on my ‘78. I converted to power and while it’s much easier on my leg I’d say that the manual setup probably worked better.

You didn’t mention whether you currently have power or manual brakes.
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-10-2019, 08:32 PM
GPER
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I used a 90 yj master and brake booster to covert my manual brakes on my 79 and love it. They work great even with a trailer.
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-10-2019, 10:01 PM
TerryHowe
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I think the later CJs use a 1" bore and yours may use a 3/4" bore. You'd need a bit more volume for disks up front.. I would junkyard parts from a newer CJ like the caliper bracket, calipers (for cores), booster and MC. I don't think there is a difference between the hubs, bearing, spindle or knuckle and if you get parts off an 80s CJ, you'll want to keep your 6 bolt hubs. I'm not sure how compatible the '73 swing arm, but most likely it will work.

Hydroboost is great until it doesn't work. I was up Minnie Gulch once in my Powersmoke (which has hydroboost) and cut a hose and lost power brakes and steering. I managed to turn around and get out of there in low range, but it wasn't a good time. The nearest town is Silverton which has nothing, so I got a hose clamp to slow the leaking and some ATF to fill the PS pump and I managed to limp home.

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post #6 of 15 Old 12-11-2019, 08:28 AM
schardein
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My Jeep has a D44 front from a J10 and a 1986 factory CJ D44 rear. Front is converted to use the Chevy truck brake calipers. Rear is factory 10" brakes.

Initially I had the factory CJ power brake booster. It worked but I wanted better brakes.

Swapped in a dual diaphragm unit from a 1995 YJ. The 1995 YJ is a one year only part, and only with the 6 cylinder. It made an improvement but I still wasn't happy. I had made the move to 35s at this point and could barely lock up the brakes.

When I swapped to a 5.3 LS motor, I also did the hydroboost conversion. I'm finally happy with my brakes. I lock the brakes with moderate foot pressure and they are very controllable. I'm not sure the swap is worth it for smaller tires, but in my case I consider my brake system done.

Pic of engine compartment with hydroboost.
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1983 CJ7, 5.3, NV3550, D300 4:1, Fr D44 Detroit, Rr D44 OX, 4.56, 35" Falken A/T3W on beadlocks
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-11-2019, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcarlsonjeep View Post
Then there was the thought of rear disc, but I can't seem to find a kit for the Dana 44. It was out of a 1973 Jeep CJ. Any advice would be appreciated.
I've also looked for a rear disc conversion kit for a D44. I've seen some but either don't like the price or don't like the design.

I also want an effective parking brake, and some disc conversions the parking brake is less than ideal. A rear drum setup is actually an effective parking brake if it is working right.

Since the front does most of the work, you might look at putting larger calipers on, like the Chevy conversion, along with upgrading your booster.

1983 CJ7, 5.3, NV3550, D300 4:1, Fr D44 Detroit, Rr D44 OX, 4.56, 35" Falken A/T3W on beadlocks
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-11-2019, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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I do have power brakes on my Jeep. It is the stock booster and master cylinder. I've read where both of the conversions were worth doing. It is just hard to tell if the booster upgrade is better than the rear disc conversion. Also the kit I would of like to buy for my rear axle is no longer made. SSBC either went out of business or no longer produces the kit. I currently run 33's and am unable to lock up the brakes on pavement.

Oh yeah the picture of the LS in the CJ is awesome!
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-11-2019, 08:26 PM
schardein
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcarlsonjeep View Post
I do have power brakes on my Jeep. It is the stock booster and master cylinder. I've read where both of the conversions were worth doing. It is just hard to tell if the booster upgrade is better than the rear disc conversion. Also the kit I would of like to buy for my rear axle is no longer made. SSBC either went out of business or no longer produces the kit. I currently run 33's and am unable to lock up the brakes on pavement.

Oh yeah the picture of the LS in the CJ is awesome!
Thanks!

In my opinion, rear disc conversions are more about getting a brake system that is more resistant to damage from deep water and mud, and generally easier to service. As opposed to simply better braking. While it will brake better, you will likely need an adjustable proportioning valve to get it dialed in to where the fronts lock up just before the rear. If the rear locks up first, in an emergency stop, the rear end will slide around on you which isn't good. I would make sure the whole system is sound, then upgrade booster. If you stay with a vacuum booster, it might be best to go to an aftermarket setup, as the 95 YJ boosters can be hard to find. Also, to make it easy, I swapped on a YJ brake pedal. When I went to the HB, I put my CJ pedal back on. There are minor differences. An aftermarket setup would (hopefully) be set to bolt up using the factory CJ pedal. The YJ booster also requires a YJ master cylinder, which uses different brake fittings, so the CJ brake lines from the MC to the combination valve would need modded or replaced. Interestingly, the Hydroboost and master cylinder (from an Astro van) bolted right up to the stock brake lines in my 83 CJ7. With the hydroboost, you need a different firewall mount, and of course custom power steering high pressure lines from the pump to the booster, and from the booster to the steering gear.

1983 CJ7, 5.3, NV3550, D300 4:1, Fr D44 Detroit, Rr D44 OX, 4.56, 35" Falken A/T3W on beadlocks
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-11-2019, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcarlsonjeep View Post
I do have power brakes on my Jeep. It is the stock booster and master cylinder. I've read where both of the conversions were worth doing. It is just hard to tell if the booster upgrade is better than the rear disc conversion. Also the kit I would of like to buy for my rear axle is no longer made. SSBC either went out of business or no longer produces the kit. I currently run 33's and am unable to lock up the brakes on pavement.

Oh yeah the picture of the LS in the CJ is awesome!
You have a 360 with 33" tyres so a good rig but you should be able to lock the brakes.

The rear discs will not help much, under heavy braking 75% is on the front. It is here that you are failing to stop.

You can increase the amount of force leverage by changing the master cylinder to a larger bore and increasing booster to a dual. This will allow you to put more force on the caliper pistons.

But it may be as simple as the discs and pads not being able to create enough friction/adhesion to slow the wheel down. If you are satisfied your calipers and rotors are in good shape I would suggest you look at pad material. The larger booster is also a great idea but ut may not let you lock them up

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post #11 of 15 Old 12-12-2019, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schardein View Post
My Jeep has ...
Pic of engine compartment with hydroboost.
I'm not a big fan of hydroboost, but great looking engine compartment! That looks like the same hydroboost from my Powersmoke. It does work great when it works.

One the topic of bore size on master cylinder, I don't think necessarily big bore will result in better braking, I think you want the bore just big enough. You do need more volume for disks since the calipers are so large compared to drum cylinders.

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'49 Willys CJ-3A
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post #12 of 15 Old 12-13-2019, 08:58 AM
schardein
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcarlsonjeep View Post
the Dana 44. It was out of a 1973 Jeep CJ.
Another thought, the 72-75 CJ-5 Dana 44s had 11" drum brakes. Later CJs mostly had 10" drum brakes. For a long time, the 11" drum brakes were considered big upgrades for older model Jeeps that had 9" or 10" drums, and older models were not self adjusting, requiring periodic adjustment. Those 11" are self adjusting.

I would take a look at those rear brakes, and make sure they are serviceable. Replace any leaking wheel seals or wheel cylinders, make sure the self adjuster isn't seized up, make sure the primary and secondary shoes are in the proper location and have good lining, and check the drums to make sure they are within spec.

Replacing all the wear components on the old drum brake setups is inexpensive (check out Rockauto), except perhaps for the drums.

1983 CJ7, 5.3, NV3550, D300 4:1, Fr D44 Detroit, Rr D44 OX, 4.56, 35" Falken A/T3W on beadlocks
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post #13 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 09:50 AM
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I once saw a post here about front brake upgrade that entailed using 1985 Chevy 1/2 ton pickup calipers, combined with 1-1/8 inch, 1978 Jeep CJ7/Scout II rotors. I wrote down Bendix part # PRT 1155. If I recall, I think you have to use longer/shorter (?) hose than stock. Haven't tried this, but it seemed like it was essentially just bolt on, and if you combined it with bigger booster/reservoir, it would be substantially better braking.
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post #14 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 02:41 PM
Sparkybob
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Originally Posted by John Strenk View Post
Look up Van's brakes on the internet.

He use to put together some really good hydro boost stuff for the CJ.
Second this opinion. Actually Vanco Power Brakes... I used one of their hydro boost systems for my '78 CJ5 and the brakes are amazing. Had no power brakes, stock Dana 30 discs front and rear discs on a Ford 9inch rear (came that way from PO). Installation was pretty painless, had to shim the bracket from the firewall about 1/4", and reroute the brake lines to the master cylinder, but other than that not too difficult. It will throw you out onto the hood now....
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Too bad stupidity isn't painful.
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post #15 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
kcarlsonjeep
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The rear drums are in good condition, I pull the drums off fairly regularly since the jeep does see some off-roading. So wheel cylinder leaks or possible lining damage would be spotted. I am still curious about the dual diaphragm booster vs single diaphragm if it is even worth it. The aftermarket has them for around $200 which seem pretty reasonable for a brake upgrade. Includes master cylinder with 1" bore. I'm just no to keen on the hydro boost system for the my Jeep, just don't want to run anymore hydraulic hoses than I have too.
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