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Brakes - Part 1

Brakes - Part 1
Brakes - Part 2
Brakes - Part 3
Brake Lines 101 

4-Lug to 5-Lug Conversion

[BP] The front can be changed by simply replacing the front rotors with Lincoln Continental rotors, from a 1982 model. Or, you could buy the FMS kit, Mustang 5-Lug, 11" Front Brake Rotor Conversion Kit (M-1102-C)

FMS Description: "-1987-93 Mustang GT/5.0L LX Allows 5-hole, 4.5" diameter bolt circle wheels to be installed on the above vehicles. The kit comes complete with 2 rotors, 2 grease seals and 2 cotter pins. NOTE: Can be used on 1979-86 if spindle, struts, and brake hardware are changed to 1987-93 Mustang GT/5.0L LX."

 For the rear, you could buy the Ford Motorsports 5-lug conversion that keeps the drum brakes, 5-lug Rear Brake Drum/Axle Shaft Kit (M-1126-A)

FMS Description: "Permits owners of 1979-93 Mustang/Capri vehicles with 9" rear brakes and 8.8" rear axle with 28T differential to fit 5-hole, 4.5" diameter bolt circle wheels to them. Kit includes one pair of 9" x 1-3/4" brake drums with 5 mounting holes on a 4.5" diameter circle…and one pair of 28T axle shafts 5-lug bolt pattern."

Or, you could use two drivers side rear axles from a 1989 Ford Ranger pick-up truck.  You can find those in a junk yard.

If you want rear disk brakes, you could buy the Ford Motorsports read disc conversion kit, "5-lug Rear Disk Brake Kit LATE FORD 9" and 8.8" Truck Axle Housing (M-2300-G*)"

[GL] "For the front discs get some 82 Lincoln Continental front rotors. Use the Mustang wheel bearings in them. For the rear, get the Motorsport 5 lug axel and drum change over kit. I use the Baer Racing rear disc kit. It is by far the best rear kit I've used. I sell a master cylinder and prop valve set up for the brakes if you are interested."


[EE] OK, last time out at Gainesville some of you remember that I had a problem slowing down with the stock front disc rear drum setup.
Speeds of 90+ mph are achievable at this track and the need for good brakes are a must. Last time out my stock brakes overheated, rotors cracked, fluid boiled over and I lost brakes on lap 2 of a 5 lap run. Things did not look good for the stock brake setup.

Well, I immediately went on this forum looking for advice to improve the stock brakes for high speed track events such as this. I have to admit, most of the advice on this forum was wrong. The need to throw large amounts of money into the brake system is not needed! Larger rotors, rear disc, etc. Bah humbug, save your money!

I went to Gainesville this weekend to prove a point. That point being, You CAN run with the big boys on stock brakes!

Here is what the outcome was. Matched up against a Z06 (race prepped, "R" compound tires) BIG brakes and rotors! This car ran a best lap of 99.? seconds. Against a SPF with independent rear and "R" compound tires, best lap time of 100.? seconds.

My car: live axle, Sumitomo HTRZ street tires, STOCK brakes.
I had best lap times of 101.32 and 101.43 sec, averaging 102~103 seconds. Did I mention street tires? I was the third fastest car on the track with stock front calipers and rotors, stock rear drum pads and street tires
For those of you who know my car, it is basically stock. I am using an 84 master cylinder and no brake proportioning valve.


All I changed were the front pads, installed front SS braided flex lines and changed fluid to a "Exceeds DOT 3 and DOT 4 specs. No synthetic fluid! I kept the rear flex line stock rubber as recommended by a few folks and installed stainless steel caliper sleeve bushings on the front rotors.
Total cost was $187.00. The pads were Hawk High Performance Plus.

I do not recommend these pads for the street as they need to be hot to work properly. I change over to the stock pads for daily driving.


Brake Problems and Trouble Shooting

Question: [TG] "What do you do if you have a leak at a fitting when bleeding? Do I have to completely drain the system, and then fix it? Or do I just try to do it real quick while the fluid leaks out? I'm trying not to make too much of a mess?"

Answers: [RR] "Take the cap off the master cylinder and put saran plastic wrap over the opening. put the cap back on and go to work on the lines. It's supposed to work like when you put your finger over the end of a straw that has liquid in it; it doesn't run out the bottom."

[JB] "Although teflon tape may have worked it is the completely wrong application of this stuff and could be a disaster waiting to happen. Teflon tape is a pipe thread sealant. The thread of a pipe joint do the sealing work and therefore sometimes need a little assistance to insure the mating surfaces are smooth. Brake lines do not seal on the thread surfaces, they seal on the flare and mating surface. If fluid is leaking around the threads, the sealing surfaces are not doing the job. This is a bad thing. Tape on the thread will not be effective in the long run or when you need it most (that would be under high brake pressure while you are trying avoid a large object). Your life (and the life of others is in you hands. Get it right now before you go and drive."

[Mort] "no Teflon tape on brake lines, if you have seepage you have a leak at the flare, if you seal the threads you still have a leak at the flare. Properly done flares will not leak, as others have mentioned, sometimes they need to be tightened real good, like, way more than you thought. The seal comes from effectively crushing the line flare to its seat, usually a softer material like brass/copper. Good job on having only one problem area, take the time to fix it correctly, you will sleep well and drive with confidence."

Making Choices:

[JS] Question: "Here's my dilemma. Narrowed 8.8 or IRS? 8.8 gives me looks (wider wheels with deeper dish) IRS gives better ride and handling? If I go IRS, brake questions. Baer Racing tells me that I will need Tilton pedal and dual masters to run their front brakes with T-Bird rears. FFR says that is not true. HELP!! What have you all found? I'm leaning toward the IRS, but the brakes are a stumbling block."

Answers and Opinions:

[Dior55] "You should keep everything in perspective. As far as brakes go, remember your only going to have a 2200 - 2300 lb. when all is said and done. Unless the car will be doing heavy track events, ultra braking components are unnecessary and a big waste of $$.

If you really need to spend that extra $$, as far as narrowed live axle vs. IRS, I'd probably opt for $$ going toward the IRS. The narrowed 8.8 isn't going to give you that much more of a "deep dish" look that you want over the stock 8.8 with 4 lug drums. I went with totally stock 8.8 with the 10" Halibrands FFR sells. They fit (even w/ quad shocks) and are plenty deep for me. Also, the car looks like a "steam roller" from the rear. I have no intention of racing the car, and the stock Mustang brakes stop my BB just fine.

The IRS, on the other hand, will give you real results in better ride and handling. Dollar for dollar the extra $$ on IRS is a better value than extra $$ on a narrowed live axle that probably only you will notice will give you an extra 1" of dish."

[IL] "I can't really help with your dilemma but I agree with FFR you can use the master cylinder setup with just about anything you put in the car. I just recently put the IRS in my car and am currently running the stock T-bird rear brakes. Previously, with the solid axle, I was running Wilwood racing brakes on all four corners with a very good peddle from the stock MC setup. My plans were to mount the rear Wilwoods on the rear with a fabricated bracket. Unfortunately with the rotor offset that's on the Wilwood rears I can’t get them to mount so, I went to the T-bird brakes on the rear but kept the Wilwood fronts. Still I have no troubles. Well with the exception that they don't stop as well.

My plans are to mount the Wilwoods on the rear this winter. I'll have to change the hat on the rotor which controls the rotor offset but that's easy to do with that setup. If you’re curious about my brakes check out my web site. I haven't got any pictures of the new IRS up there yet.

The FFR IRS is about 1/2" narrower than the 87-93 stock Mustang. I had a tire rub problem with the solid axle but the IRS fixed it."

[RO] "Go IRS and order the pin drive control arms without the pin drive wheels and then get the right offset wheels for the deeeeep dish you want. I have Lincoln fronts and T-bird rears with the IRS and the car stops great. The Mark VII weighed 4500# and the bird 3800# or close so at 2235# (Roadster full of fuel) I don't see the need for still more brakes."

[TB] "You can get deeeeep dish with live axle as well. About a $500 job ($250 labor and $250 for the Moser axles) Do this on a SN95 rear and you'll have the 5 lug that you'll need for the GT40 wheels (plus the bonus of discs)"

Brake Lines

[Olli] "To all those that have 4 wheel discs Earl's has a very nice 5 piece braided stainless steel brake hose kit.

I wanted braided lines that were DOT legal and could only find 3 piece kits. I contacted Russell and Earl's. Russell doesn't make a 5 piece kit but Earl's does.

The part # is 28B020. I ordered it through Summit. The price, only $89.99, compare that to the 3 piece Russell kit at $74.95 ( also Summit)

Most kits are 3 piece, front calipers (2) and the short rear hose that goes to the block which connects the hard lines to the drums (1), total 3

The 5 piece kit does all of the above but also replaces the stock rubber hoses that go from the hard lines to the rear calipers. (sn95)

The only way to truly benefit from braided stainless brake hose is to replace ALL the rubber hose not just some of them. Why Russell only sells a 3 piece kit for the sn95 is beyond me."

[JB] "You should note that the once 5 piece kit is now only four pieces. The t-block is no longer included. I know because I ordered it expecting five pieces and got four. Naturally I thought Summit F'd up, so I called them...Nope only four, call Earl's if you want to check with them. Called Earl's, nope only four. It is still a good deal, since it costs less then the stock lines if you are running IRS."

[Olli] "I have the Roadster R M-2300 K brake kit and the kit from Earl's worked great. Sorry to hear that they made it only a 4 piece kit now."

[TAZ] "I just got off the line with Earl's Performance Products Tech Support and here's what I've found out about these two kits.

LF 15.5" Straight in Banjo
RF 15.5" Straight in Banjo
Rears 12" 10deg Banjo

LF 14.5" 10deg Banjo
RF 14.5" 10deg Banjo
Rears 12" 10deg Banjo

Pretty close to being the same exact kits, with the exception of slightly short lines and the fronts have a slight angle on them.

Master Cylinder:

Question: [EG] "I ordered my 15/16 4wheel disc 1994 Roadster master cyl.

Advance auto had NEW ones for $85.00 except, they dont have any. 

Advance auto has rebuilt ones for $63.00 and they had some. SO, i ordered one.

It came in with NO RESERVOIRS. Any one know where you can get reservoirs that will work on this unit.

QUESTION 2: what screws into that tiny little hole in the bottom?



[RO] "Jeep mc no plastic needed, comes with the rod, bolts up with one adaptor"

[MM] "Jeep MC also cost $24 work magnificently!"

[Bi] "I've also followed this thread, and I really appreciate you all's hard work and help. What it the deal with the Jeep M/C? Does it really work OK? What are the specifics year/model, etc?

Note: the FFR manual says to use the standard Mustang mc rather than the one from conversion kits for rear discs...page 13 item 15. Has anyone done this?"

[EG] "If Richard Oben says it works, I truly believe it works. That 84 jeep MC has a very long stroke plus the magical 15/16 single bore. So, its even logical to me that it can work. I just feel better using a MC that started out life being designed for a 4wd system because the two systems are more nearly matched. And every 4wd MC I have seen have very nearly matched front and rear systems.

I cant help believe that there is not a cheap 4wd MC off some Lincoln or T-bird that we can be using for a whole lot less $ than a 94 Roadster. Have not perused that myself. Someone with good access to parts house info should be able to help.

The other question, is this the one that suggests gutting the proportioning valve? Personally I was never able to experiment with the original mustang MC that came with my donor because i trashed it because it showed signs of leaking out the rear seal. I would not gut my stock proportioning valve and use it.

Btw, I have ordered an aftermarket Wilwood Rotory style proportioning valve from Jegs to put into my system when i get all the pieces. Part number 950-260-2220 for $39.99.

If I have way to much rear brakes when I get done, I'm gonna put the bigger front calipers on my car from the Lincoln. This will even help with pedal pressure.

did not completely answer your question. thats a 84 cherokee mc. manual brakes. Its huge.


[MM] "Use the '84 7/8" MC for $30 and cut your brake pedal 3/4" instead of 1.5" - drill a new set of holes in the pedal box mid way in between the manual and assisted pairs of holes. This converts a 7/8" MC to a 15/16"."

[1225] "73mm front calipers on an FFR suck. I put them on a couple weeks ago and the fronts lock up like never before, stock pads. Richard Oben will be here this Friday for a week of sailing. I will let him drive it before taking them off. The guys I know using an adjustable prop valve run them wide open so why use one? It depends on what you are doing with the car and I think trying more aggressive pads front and rear may be the answer."

[al] "Much has been said about 4-5 lug conversions in past posts. But the cheapest seems to be front rotors from an 86-87 Lincoln mark VII and 2 rear driver side axles from a Ford Ranger. Chances are you could do front and back for $150(used)."

[al] "Just spent two of the most gruelling days I can imagine modifying the brake pedal length and remounting same. The perfect person for this job requires three elbows and extra joints in all fingers as well as two thumbs on each hand.

If you are starting a build or have not progressed past the point where you can easily access the pedal box my advise is to DO THE MOD NOW! Before the body is on this will be a 15 minute job after it is on it is a two day job do able only by the most determined individual.

Can't wait to get out on the street this spring after three years of living with the HEAVY pedal effort I am looking forward to a somewhat lighter pedal."

[pm] It took me a few hours to do mine ....to improve access I removed the door, seat and steering wheel I think the worst part is getting it out before you cut it....I had no problem stopping the car before but wanted to get this done before I got it painted just in case I convert to rear disk brakes in the future.....you will be happy you did yours.....it does make a difference."

[lc] "And while you're at it, weld in the bolts for the M/C. It is a lot easier for future R and R."

[tnt] "Just did the same. Needed to shorten/move and add the AC pedals. I believe a 10mm with a short extension on the door side and a 13mm wrench holding the nut on the other end. The wrench will fit in the channel closest to the firewall. I can take the pedal out in ten minutes...took me hours to figure it out."

Jeep Master Cylinder

[ML] "I'm using the '84 Jeep master cylinder and I can't find an adapter to fit the rear port. I believe it's a 1/4-24 port. Anybody have a part number/size? I've already brought it to NAPA, Autozone, Big-A, and a few local shops with no luck."

[MM] "I don't remember the size, but the NAPA I bought my MC from had both the adaptors for the front and rear to 3/16" in their "brake fittings".
BTW, I went from two FFR MC spacers with the donor MC to just one with the Jeep. This remains the best $25 I've ever spent on my car." 

[Le] "I had the same problem with my Jeep MC until I just sat myself down in front of Napa's Wall-O-fittings, and rather than read any labels, just started trying stuff until I had the parts to work. Unfortunately, I've no idea the part numbers, but NAPA has the adapters." 

[BL] "What model do I ask for for this master cyl? I see 84 Jeep, but is that all I need? They usually ask for model, number of cylinders, etc. Does anyone have a Napa or other part store number - that might even be easier!" 

[ML] "I got mine from a local parts place, it's a rebuild from Cardone part # 10-1896. Did the parts rack search at 3 stores and no luck, the bins were all pretty well worked over, nothing where it should be. Need the number or a definite thread size so I can order one." 

[EG] "What problem was it you solved with the spacers?? I know we've talked before. What problem did you solve with your Jeep MC? Do you have 4wd or 2wd on your roadster? And, what type of Proportioning valve if any are you running? 

[Lee] "I don't understand the threads and sizes system! You might try going to Lowes or Home Depot, as they have lots of fittings also." 

[MM] "The spacer I deleted was one of the FFR supplied MC spacers that change the pedal height.
I have 4wheel disc - Turbocoupe rears, a wilwood 2psi residual pressure valve, with Porterfield R4 pads and Stock Fronts with Performance Friction Z rated. With the stock MC I ended up totally removing the prop. valve, and went to the Porterfield R4 pads on the rear to try and get more braking out of the rears. Now with the new MC, the pedal feels GREAT and for the first time ever, the rears locked first!!! I've reinstalled the Wilwood adjustable prop. valve and with street tires, the balance is somewhere in the middle of the valve's adjustment. Once I get the slicks on I'm confident I'll be able to get enough off the rears to balance it. When I replace the rear pads I may go to an R4S which is less aggressive than the R4. My master cylinder still doesn't know that the rear brakes are discs."

[EG] "I know what the spacers are for, I just wondered what it was you gained by doing that. The only way your Rear brakes know what master cyl you have is if it supplies enough volume of brake fluid under pressure to work the rear brakes. It certainly appears from all the success stories that the Jeep MC does supply enough volume to work the rear brakes. (And apparently work them well) Im still convinced that my 82 mustang MC did not supply enough volume to successfully operated the rear brakes. Others have had similar problems. BTW, the stroke of your jeep cyl is about 25% longer than the 82 mustang, so lots more volume is certainly available. Someone needs to get a part number for that fitting. must really be a rare one."

[jl] "was there a noticeable difference in pedal travel or effort, going from your donor MC to the Jeep MC? I have the same situation as you had before your conversion, and would like to optimize my rear braking. I've switched to a more aggressive rear brake pad (Carbotech Panthers) and they're working lots more now, but still cannot lock them with my adjustable prop valve wide open to the rear, using my stock '91 donor MC. Thanks for any info! BTW: are the brake line fittings on the passenger side of the Jeep MC?"

[MM] "by deleting one spacer I just regained my previous pedal height, as the Jeep MC piston to mounting surface geometry is a little different. There was a BIG improvement, paradoxically, in both travel and pedal effort with the 15/16" MC. As I said, this is the best $25 I've spent on my car, and I've spent plenty of $25!! Yes, the brake line fittings are ready and waiting on the passenger side. Good luck. Mark 

[MLB] "problem solved, it's a normal 1/4" to 3/16" adapter. The problem was a bad port on the master cylinder. I take back any negative comments I made about parts counter personnel, until the next time I need a part."

[Bp] "Based on you all's recommendation, I also bought the Jeep M/C, $20.99 at Advance Auto. 
One question I haven't seen answered...did you all cut your brake pedal and mount it in the 4cyl hole? Or did you leave it in the upper hole?"

[IL] "YES CUT YOUR PEDAL!!!!!!! That is the single most important thing you can do. If you don't you will have substantially less moment arm on your pedal, meaning you won't build much pressure in your system - meaning you won't stop! SO - CUT YOUR PEDAL!"

[ga] "OK are all 84 jeep MC alike or is it from a wrangler, Cherokee or Grand Wagoner ?
A guy wants to buy my power booster and MC from my donor. Do I need to save anything from this assembly ? Like the pin between the booster and the MC ?"

[MLB ] "'84 Jeep Cherokee, Manual brakes, 15/16" bore, with pushrod. Most places that have it use a variation of part number 101896, like 10-1896 or 1 01896, etc. It's my understanding this is the best MC for 4 wheel disc setups but not for disc/drum setups. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong on that."

4-Lug Disks in the Rear

[pr] "It may sound expensive but for my life on the line the set up from Stainless Steel Brakes, for the mustang sound like a real bargain. It will run you around 5-6 hundred but it is an engineered setup with matching master cylinder. Its all so what FFR recommends for the Spec Racer."

[DS] "used the SSB kit and it was pretty good. I am converting to a five lug set up, so I will have two four lug rotors (with about 2 miles on them) available if you want to buy them. I will be keeping the calipers and mounting brackets."

[LL] "the SSB master cylinder assumes you have power brakes and require to much pedal pressure without a booster. SSB was useless in resolving. if you go this route see if the will delete the m/c buy an 84 manual m/c no need for proportioning valve and loose all the mustang valving. works great once you get through all this."

[nl] "The Roadster R kit is a bit overkill for a 2200lb car. It also limits you to 17" wheels. The SSB kit or the ranger axle / lincoln parts setup is more economical."

[TN] "I have a stock '93 Roadster 4 lug rear disk brake set-up. Pedal pressure took some getting use to, but I can get the wheels to lock with a good stomp."

[RO] "Don't spend any extra money yet. We are working on a set up to convert the 4 lug FFR to discs without getting ripped off by SSB. I called them and they treated me (and others) like dirt. So we developed the conversion. Keep an eye here for updates.
Cheers Richard. www.northRoadsters.com"

Brakes - Part 2: click here
Brake Lines: click here


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