Monday, September 13, 2010

It all started with a brake upgrade.

To continue with the story, I knew that I had to repair the brakes.  Obviously, the pedal's not supposed to go to the floor.  Interestingly, since the pedals go through the floor on these old Willys, the master cylinder is accessible via the removal of an access panel on the floorboard.  I pulled off the plate, and opened up the cylinder.  I found it completely dry inside.  I poured some DOT3 into it, and after about fifty pumps of the pedal with no level change, I realized that I was going to have to do more than the "basics" to get this project rolling.

Master Cylinder Location

I started doing research on the Early CJ5 Forums.  It turns out that this brake system suffers from what would be considered design flaws today, but were just par for the course back when this Jeep was new.  The early CJs weren't really intended to be driven on today's highways.  They were intended to be working vehicles on farms, or operated off-road at lower speeds than we are used to today.  As a result, 9" drums and a single reservoir master cylinder proved more than adequate.  Since this isn't an historic restoration, and safety and convenience are two of my goals, I decided to modify the stock system to a very popular upgrade.  This consists of a replacement dual-reservoir master cylinder, so that a loss of pressure in the system doesn't mean complete brake system failure, and an upgrade to 11" drums all around.  There is a gentleman named Herm The Overdrive guy on the InterWeb who sells kits to make the upgrade relatively simple, and to keep junkyard shopping trips to a minimum.

So, I called Herm up and ordered the 11" upgrade kit and dual-reservoir master cylinder conversion kits from him.  When they arrived, I was pleased to note the quality of the parts, but I was also a wee bit distraught after seeing what the installation was going to consist of.  I am referring, of course, to the difficulty in accessing the stock master cylinder in its current location.  I do want to keep the pedals through the floor, not for any other reason than I think it's cool, so relocation of the master cylinder to the firewall wasn't an option for me. 

Access from below wasn't any better.

It quickly became obvious that I was going to have to dig deeper than I originally anticipated.  It was time to start pulling off major chunks.  Since these vehicles were intended to be serviced in the field, I knew that it wouldn't be that hard.  With encouragement over the phone from my Uncle Terry, I dug in.

(to be continued...)


At 8/24/2011 9:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how did you get the master cylinder out? just unloosen the bolt from the top and pull it out? I am just replacing mine and have the new stock cylinder in hand.

At 8/24/2011 9:24 AM , Blogger JFab said...

There were there bolts holding mine in place. As you see from the other posts, I ended up removing the whole body in order to facilitate other restoration that I was doing.


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