Questions regarding upgrading to a new dual master cylinder

Truck56

Sharpest Tool
All-Star
Mar 13, 2018
312
Lenexa, KS
First Name
Bob
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1956
The master cylinder on my '56 truck has started leaking. Now seems to be the perfect time to upgrade the entire system and for safety reasons change to a dual master cylinder. My truck came to me without a parking brake so I've been a little concerned about what might happen if I blew a hose, etc. A PO swapped out many components. The truck has disc/drum brakes from a '76 Suburban. So do I buy a $400 master cylinder/proportioning valve kit from a Willys vendor, or just buy those parts from O'Reilly for a '76 Sub for about $130?

Also do I buy a set of brake lines for my truck from a Willys vendor, then just modify/add to it from a local brake shop? Does anyone make a set of brake lines designed to go with a dual master cylinder?
 

Derrick

Sharpest Tool
Nov 16, 2016
206
Watertown, NY
First Name
Derrick
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
I can't help with the master cylinder but for the brake lines, it should be pretty simple and cheap. I'd go to autozone to buy a coil of brake line and the required fittings to go on the ends of the line. If you don't own a brake line bender and a flaring tool, they also have free loan a tool.
 
Last edited:

richardhufford

Bigger Hammer
Apr 7, 2018
195
San Jose, AZ
First Name
Richard
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1959
I don't want to seem too knowledgeable, but I think that if you still have the original pedals, which go through the floor, you wouldn't want the master cylinder for the '76 Suburban. The parts made for the Willys might mount more easily.
 

david0225

Sharpest Tool
Aug 4, 2013
476
Pittsburgh, PA
First Name
David
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1955
Herm’s kit comes with a bracket made to hold a dual master. If you’re a good fabrication person, you can make one. If not, give Herm’s a call.
David
 

pav1

Sharpest Tool
Sep 5, 2017
465
Georgetown Ontario
First Name
Jason
Willys Model
  1. Jeepster
Willys Year:
  1. 1948
I don't want to seem too knowledgeable, but I think that if you still have the original pedals, which go through the floor, you wouldn't want the master cylinder for the '76 Suburban. The parts made for the Willys might mount more easily.
What master cylinder is in it now?
 

Truck56

Sharpest Tool
All-Star
Mar 13, 2018
312
Lenexa, KS
First Name
Bob
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1956
Thanks to all for the good advice. I’m virtually certain it has the original master cylinder. I’m out of town for a few days or I’d post a picture. Good advice to buy the kit so it’s easier to mount.
 

dad's wagon

Bigger Hammer
Nov 16, 2018
105
port henry
First Name
dale
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1953
I went through this years ago with my 2A...if you aren't going with a resto, and I see you aren't, I went with the hanging pedals off the firewall (and braced it to the dash). The PO had gone to a juice clutch so I upgraded both and am glad I did!

You can get them at Speedway Motors - street rod, I started with Ansen type pedals back in the '70's w/ 11" drums and now am using Wilwood type w/masters in the '10's w/ disc's front and rear. Neither of them were power and with the right amount of homework they prove to work very well! It's a little iffy when I tow my trailer but if I see a problem I will install trailer brakes.

On my new venture, '53 wagon, I will be going power and discs front/drum rear.

Dale
 

54 wagon ken

Precision Fit
All-Star
Aug 8, 2017
900
Gilroy ,Ca
First Name
Ken
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1954
Thinking about going the same route on my truck build Bob . Looking forward to what you come up with .
 

chrlsful

Bigger Hammer
May 21, 2020
35
S. Amherst, MA, USA
First Name
Chad
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1965
so many options. Cont ur research & U will finds what wrks 4 U.
I hate kits (the typical W's vendors assemble prts available to us all and add on their price + S/H) but that wrks for thousands (ease of process). You may find the strict adhearence to oem is what U want? "All wildwood"?, so many choices. It's great to have the variety available 4 us. ME? a rest0moder w/a nod toward performance (MPGs, pep) easy of availability (NAPA, big box stores, OEM) low cost & safety - all ways...
 

Truck56

Sharpest Tool
All-Star
Mar 13, 2018
312
Lenexa, KS
First Name
Bob
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1956
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. So far this has mostly been a 'head game'. I started my Willys journey 3 years ago buying a truck that a PO (but not the PO I bought it from) had dropped in a 350 SBC and a TH 350 auto tranny. They also changed out the axles, transfer case and hubs/brakes. I sort of wonder if they either lost interest or got too much $$ in it to come out ahead because the steering and front suspension are a mess. There were also some simple fixes they left undone (no speedo cable, etc).

The reason I said it has been a head game is because I had all these ideas of how to make this truck perfect and easy to drive, with visions of 500+ mile trips too. Power brakes, power steering, new interior, A/C and on and on were in the plans. For awhile I went back and forth with theses notions. I have since realized what I really like is just driving it around town a few times a week. So the goal lately is to get it safer and slightly easier to drive while incurring as little down time as possible (I'm not getting any younger!)

That being said, my plan is to get a dual master cylinder and place it in the same location as the current one. I'm fine with the pedals so they will stay the same. The existing brake lines, although not leaking, look like they came out of a junk yard and were coupled together as needed. So I will replace them as well as wheel cylinders, etc. I have a feeling the truck will stop fine once the rear drums get adjusted, drums turned if necessary, and the front pads and calipers are checked out. I've been driving it 3 years and haven't done anything to the brakes yet, so I'm confident I can improve the stopping.

I started this thread as I left town for 5 days. That probably wasn't the best idea because I can't post any photos or check anything. Consequently I will wait until I get home before I order any parts.

I am curious as to how easy it is to make my own brake lines. I had not planned on making my own but it does seem pretty simple. Any comments on brake line construction?
 

Derrick

Sharpest Tool
Nov 16, 2016
206
Watertown, NY
First Name
Derrick
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
I’ve Replaced brake lines on multiple vehicles, it’s not too difficult to do. I’d suggest trying to make a couple practice flares before you cut the lines to size. I remember the very first time I did brake lines it took me a couple tries to get the double flare good enough to meet my satisfaction. When I do them l, I’d usually flare the first end and then tape the end to keep and junk out of it, loosely install the fitting and then fish it through any hard to reach places and keep uncoiling it and bending to fit until I get to where I’m going. I do it this way so there’s no guessing/measuring and the brake line doesn’t end up too short to perfectly contour to the frame. If your only doing slight bends you can get away with bending by hand but a bender will still be required for some of the bends. I’ve only ever worked with steel lines but I’ve heard good things about copper nickel(?) lines.
 

Truck56

Sharpest Tool
All-Star
Mar 13, 2018
312
Lenexa, KS
First Name
Bob
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1956
I’ve Replaced brake lines on multiple vehicles, it’s not too difficult to do. I’d suggest trying to make a couple practice flares before you cut the lines to size. I remember the very first time I did brake lines it took me a couple tries to get the double flare good enough to meet my satisfaction. When I do them l, I’d usually flare the first end and then tape the end to keep and junk out of it, loosely install the fitting and then fish it through any hard to reach places and keep uncoiling it and bending to fit until I get to where I’m going. I do it this way so there’s no guessing/measuring and the brake line doesn’t end up too short to perfectly contour to the frame. If your only doing slight bends you can get away with bending by hand but a bender will still be required for some of the bends. I’ve only ever worked with steel lines but I’ve heard good things about copper nickel(?) lines.
Great tips. Thanks
 

dad's wagon

Bigger Hammer
Nov 16, 2018
105
port henry
First Name
dale
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1953
chrisful, don't mean to be critical...but could you please write in English??? Us older folk have hard time 'sy-fer-n what you are trying to say!

I know that if you put the master under the floor there may be problems with bleeding and such??? that's why I put masters on the firewall. I also feel you can't expect cheap parts to deliver the best performance...I will feel better with good parts installed and adjusted properly...after all I don't want the guy ahead of my to stop my vehicle too!!! Raises hell with the bumper.

Dale
 

Truck56

Sharpest Tool
All-Star
Mar 13, 2018
312
Lenexa, KS
First Name
Bob
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1956
I know that if you put the master under the floor there may be problems with bleeding and such??? that's why I put masters on the firewall. I also feel you can't expect cheap parts to deliver the best performance...I will feel better with good parts installed and adjusted properly...after all I don't want the guy ahead of my to stop my vehicle too!!! Raises hell with the bumper.

Dale
I failed to mention the battery is mounted against the fire wall above the master cylinder. With a SBC there's not a lot of 'undeveloped real estate' under the hood. I'm not crazy about having the MC mounted down low but it has worked like that for a long time. I agree on the quality parts but I get a little confused as to what is 'quality'. It used to be the more expensive parts were better but I'm not convinced that's always the case anymore. Right now I'm planning to use one of the vendors that cater to the Willys crowd.
 

Lookout Ranch

Well Oiled
All-Star
May 9, 2015
5,518
Sierra Foothills
First Name
Kurt
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
I find the oem brakes work fine when all the components are working and adjusted. I did add a remote reservoir, which provides peace of mind by checking the fluid level at a glance. I only really wish for a dual reservoir when in steep rough country, where I worry about some road hazard damaging a line. Still, it’s a worthwhile upgrade and one I will likely do at some point.
 

Truck56

Sharpest Tool
All-Star
Mar 13, 2018
312
Lenexa, KS
First Name
Bob
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1956
78D2D2A9-1BD1-460F-B2FC-3812FFBFD8BC.jpegIt took a couple of weeks to decide on which parts to buy and which vendors to use but I have finally assembled most of what I need to at least start on the dual zone brake system. I’ve decided to use the existing brake lines since there’s no leaks and they seem to be in decent shape. I was considering adding a remote fill reservoir but I’ve read of some issues with the MC lid leaking with that arrangement. Between work being crazy busy and the fact that I’m not the greatest mechanic I’m taking it to an old, small auto shop that occasionally works on our work pickups.
 

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Truck56

Sharpest Tool
All-Star
Mar 13, 2018
312
Lenexa, KS
First Name
Bob
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1956
74D17339-C07E-44ED-8912-33FE2F6C7A9A.jpegThe rear shoes look like they have plenty of pad so we’re going to leave them alone. The drums looked good too so we will turn them (and the rotors) and replace if necessary.85B180DD-2C34-406A-9DF3-D8C97C641E90.jpeg
 

cwdtmmrs

Well Oiled
Jul 19, 2012
2,992
First Name
Tim
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1952
Bob, I don't know why you think that just by adding a dual master is an "upgrade". You haven't done anything to improve the existing system. I guarantee you that even with the dual system, you will not be able to stop before hitting something in the event that either the front or rear system fails. The only safeguard is a very good mechanical hand brake and the reaction time to employ it if neccessary.
 
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