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Biscuit’s New Disc Brakes

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features

The driver’s side new disc brake.

Before I get to the brakes, this past Friday Ann’s mother Rosemary decided to buy a motorhome. Well, not that she’d decided on Friday, but rather earlier in the week she caught the motorhome bug. After plowing through websites, stats and prices over a period of several days, she learned there was a local motorhome show happening. On Friday she and Ann went down to the show and found a 28′ Sunseeker. On Saturday, we brought it home.


I bring this story up because I’d already been planning to head to Seattle for a few days to taken advantage of the nice weather and work on Biscuit. On Saturday I left with the understanding that Ann, her mother, and Ann’s aunt Kathy  planned leave on Saturday as well. They were going to drive the motorhome (Apparently nicknamed ‘Abby’ at this point) to Spokane, then head to Seattle to drop off Ann with me. Next, Rosemary would head south to Vancouver, before turning back toward Pasco.

They spent the night Saturday night in Spokane, but instead of going to Seattle, I got word on Sunday that Rosemary hijacked the plans and decided to head to Montana (with Ann and the wheel). Over the next few days they camped in several spots (Walmarts on two occasions — which offers free camping) in Montana and Wyoming.  After staying Thursday night in Yellowstone, they finally arrived late Thursday night back home in good spirits.


Apparently the navigation in the motorhome doesn’t work well. They ended up traveling on this gravel road through western Montana on this gravel road at night.


This World Market was right across the parking lot from the Walmart where they stayed in Billings. Not exactly my idea of camping, but they were having fun.


Nice bit of art at the Little Big Horn Battlefield.


This was a parking lot at the Cody, Wyoming, Walmart. I’ve seen worse campsites!


Ann managed to take this photo on her phone from the camper. They were between Cody and Yellowstone NP.


Zollie (short for Zoloft) doesn’t seem to be a fan of Yellowstone.


Ann spotted this truck in Gardner, Montana.

So, now we have a vehicle that will allow us to stay for longer times at remote locations (camping and computer/website work much less compatible for long periods) that can also tow a jeep. Even better, we can more easily bring along Ann’s PTSD companion dog Zollie. So, we are excited about this development. Perhaps the only downside is that it appears I will be handling the waste disposal. But, in this case, I’ll take the good with the bad.

Now on to Biscuit:

Drivetrain Installation: I’d hoped to install the drivetrain and replace the old junkyard springs with new ones. However, both plans were foiled due to a lack of parts. In regards to the drive train, I had everything but the pilot bushing to mount the T-18 to the Buick V6. I thought this would be a standard bushing available at any automotive market, but I was wrong. Fortunately, John at R&P 4WD knew what I needed, so I’ll be getting one in the mail. So, the drive train installation was delayed.

Rear Spring Replacement: Next on my list was the rear springs replacement. Part of my build strategy to save money was to use some cheap ‘pick-n-pull’ junkyard springs from a standard vehicle so that down-the-line if I liked what I’d built I could easily update with better equipment. I chose the rear springs from a 1990 Cherokee and beefed them up a bit with an extra leaf.

My strategy seemed successful, as it was easy to procure a set of new springs (Old Man Emu) from ARB, thanks to Mitch. What I didn’t anticipate was how difficult it was to find the bushings. Without retracing all the phone calls I made, let’s just say I had no success finding them in the Seattle area. I had to order some from the internet and am still waiting for them to be delivered.

Front Disc Brakes: With no bushing in hand, I turned to my back up, back up plan: the new front brake installation. While visiting R&P 4WD this past May, John Vahey offered a set of front disc brakes for installation on Biscuit. I jumped at the chance.

R&P has made the process of swapping discs pretty easy. For me, the most difficult part of the process was hunting down my hub nut wrench (took a couple hours of hunting — not that it was absolutely needed, but I just had to KNOW where it had gone). Total installation was a couple hours for both and that included stopping to take photos.

brakes-5 brakes-6 brakes-7 brakes-8

After installing the new bolts onto the hub, I installed the new caliper plate, the disc, and the caliper. Below you can learn from my mistake. I installed the wrong caliper on the passenger side. Ooops. See the next photo for the correct installation.

brakes-9 brakes-10

The only issue I encountered was inability of the inner balancing weights of my 15″ rims to pass by the caliper. I asked John about this and he said that a variety of Jeepers use an alternative weighting system. After some research, I learned what he meant.  BBs, airsoft balls, and even golf balls have been used in tires to ‘balance’ or reduce the impact of an unbalance jeep wheel and tire. There’s some debate on the science of how and why this works. And, in some cases (all anecdotal) it works better in some tires (taller thinner) than others (flatter, wider). There’s much more to this topic that I’ll cover in a later post (I haven’t decided how I’ll solve the problem). brakes-11


This photo shows the completed passenger brake system.


This is the completed driver’s side system.


Hard to see, but this shows the new brake lines that I installed.

After I finished the brakes, I turned to the engine. I removed parts from the old one and installed them on the new one. There are lots of good signs that the ‘new’ motor was rebuilt by someone who knew what they were doing. Allen bolts are used, the gaskets are neatly installed, the new oil filter was greased and more. It sat for a while, but looks like it will be a winner. I guess we’ll find out!

In July I return to Seattle. I should have all I need to get quite a bit installed.





13 Comments on “Biscuit’s New Disc Brakes

  1. Bill

    Nice motor home – built on a Ford.

    I have wondered about disc brakes on a Jeep, wouldn’t mud foul them a lot easier then drums?

  2. SE Pennsylvania Steve

    Nice work, Dave.
    And if you want to avoid gravel roads with cattle wandering around on them, go east.
    We don’t have that around here.

  3. tom in philly


    and the beat goes on. i would think this would be 100% better than a tent. have some fun with the new camper. by the way, how did biscuit get it’s name?
    ps – like the willys pick up truck. love the artwork

  4. Joe in Mesa

    SE PA Steve,
    About cattle back East, I was on the Amtrak Metroliner from NJ to DC when we hit a STEER! That’s what they announced over the loud speaker after we all felt something bad happen; lights in the cars/cabins flickered and went out; and we had to change trains after sitting there for a good half hour. True, it wasn’t a gravel road, but who’d of thought a steer in rural Delaware or Maryland could stop an Amtrak? And don’t be kidding Dave: if you’re in Lancaster or Bucks county, it’s plenty rural there too… even in 2014. 🙂

  5. Ed Lee

    Dave, check with your local tire shop. Wheel weight clearance can be obtained by going away from a tape on weight and go to a clip weight that clips onto the out side of the wheel. Or move the tape weight further out on the outside of the wheel. Almost all tire shops have them and will know what you are talking about when you explain the problem you are having. Congrats on the new traveling arrangements. Next year when you make it to Jeep Beach here in Daytona, I’ll buy the first round.

  6. mmdeilers Post author

    Bill: The people I’ve spoken with say they really like them. I haven’t heard anyone complain about the brakes and mud.

    Steve: I usually take cows in the middle of the road as a good sign. It usually means you are in the middle of nowhere, which is a great place to be if you know where you are. The ladies were effectively lost, using navigation that didn’t work and driving in a vehicle they knew little about. Not a good plan!

    Tom: In many cases better than a tent, but a real gas hog!

    Joe: We traveled through some of those areas in 2013. I was pleasantly surprised at how rural and remote some areas felt. In many cases we wouldn’t have taken some of those backroads at all hadn’t readers reached out and said ‘come visit’.

    Ed: Sounds like a deal! We are hoping to do the southeast trip sometime in the future. We have already been offered a place to stay in Key West, so we have a goal destination. Thanks for the tips on the weighting. I think it’s a good subject for a post.

  7. Mom

    I always marvel you can build a vehicle. Kudos to all that attempt and are successful even if you arent successful. It is more than mom would attempt.

  8. John Hartman

    Hi guys, Dave this modification is sort of time sensitive because of posts at the Forward Forum last week. It would be cool for me, for trivial reasons, if you could say the diameter and number of pistons in the caliper, and the diameter of the master cylinder piston. And eventually, all other details like a proportioning valve if needed.
    I don’t know everything about this stuff, but the shoe type looks like self energizing, certainly not original to Biscuit?
    I’m saying this just for the sake of saying it. About a year and a half ago a semi flatbed came to our shop to deliver a new pickup truck fitted with special railroad equipment. Also on the trailer was a new, HUGE Oshkosh military 6×6 as I recall. It was air, but it was drum brakes.

  9. mmdeilers Post author

    Well, I’m not in Seattle near my jeep, but here’s what I can tell you.

    The Calipers are Cardone model #s 18-4128, and 18-4129
    The current master cylinder was taken from a 1990ish Jeep Cherokee (limited edition?). I’m sure the stock bore can be located. However, I may change that due to the lack of available space for my clutch master cylinder.

    I used the stock proportioning valve from the Cherokee. I may or may not use it depending on if I upgrade the master cylinder (I saw a couple package deals I found appealing).

    When you say the shoe type, do you mean the disc brake pads? Those are for Chev S-10s. The ‘old’ brakes that I removed were the stock setup for a 1973 CJ-5, which is the base chassis and running gear I used.

    Does that answer your question?

  10. MacWilly

    I put this exact same setup on my 2A a few years back. Still use the original master cylinder. I even unhooked the rear brakes when I put a Warn full-floater in it. It will set your head through the windshield if you apply the brake pedal in the same manner as you would with the 9″ drums!!!!! It is positively one of the best upgrades for a flattie. (no, I don’t do a whole lot of road driving with just one axle/brake setup, mostly on the farm and trails if your concerned or wandering about safety.)

  11. frank udo seerig

    Good morning, you know where I can find a
    front disc brake conversion kits for willys mb 1942 and quato cost? waiting greetings udo

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