How To Install Power Front Disc Brakes
Upgrading to power disc brakes is a major improvement in performance and safety.
From the May, 2009 issue of Mustang Monthly
Installing front disc brakes ranks among the most popular upgrades for vintage Mustangs. We've covered the subject several times over the years and with
good reason. From a pure safety standpoint, converting to front disc brakes is just about the single best improvement option.
This time we're looking in on a Master Power system as it's installed on a '67 Mustang. However, we're going beyond the installation of front disc brakes;
we're detailing the conversion to power brakes as well. By adding Master Power's booster system, which includes the brake booster, a dual-reservoir master
cylinder, and a power-brake pedal, we'll have better braking as well as a better feel.
While doing the whole setup at once is a great way to go, keep in mind that there are several options. If your '67-'73 Mustang already has manual front-disc
brakes, you can convert to power brakes. Conversely, if you have manual drum brakes and want to do the power-brake conversion first, that's also possible.
However, we recommend doing the disc brakes first and the power brakes later should you need to budget out the project over time. The power booster will
work equally well with drum brakes or front discs. Master Power also offers complete power-disc kits for '65-'66s that came with manual drum, power drum,
or manual disc.
We turned to our friends at Mustang Country International who supplied the installation know-how as well as the '67 Mustang subject car.
1 At first we were just going to install a power booster, but after speaking with Master Power, we decided to upgrade to both a front disc-brake package and
the power-brake conversion. The brakes are relatively easy to install, and while the booster does take more effort, the results are worth it.
2 The Master Power front disc-brake package is an ideal choice for a regularly-driven early Mustang. The main bits include four-piston calipers, rotors, caliper-
mounting brackets, brake lines, and wheel bearings. All related installation hardware is also included. The '65-'73 Mustang kits are similar to the '67 version
with slight variations depending on the year of the car.
3 The only good thing about crusty, old drum brakes is how easy they are to remove. Each side only takes about 10 minutes. Begin by removing the dust
cover, cotter pin, washer, and wheel bearing to allow removal of the brake drum.
4 Once the brake drum is off, remove the backing plate by taking out the four nuts that hold it in place on the spindle. Access the nuts by reaching around to
the backside of the plate. The plate, brake shoes, and all other related bits come off together. There's no need to disassemble the drum brakes prior to
5 Next, unbolt the brake line from the drum-brake hose using a line wrench to ensure the nut on the line isn't rounded off. The line and the nut stay with the
car and are reused with the new rubber hoses included with the Master Power brakes
6 Remove the clip that holds the drum-brake hose in place
7 ... to allow removal of the drum-brake backing plate. Then say goodbye to crummy drum brakes forever
8 Clean the old wheel-bearing grease from the spindle so that it looks like this. Then install the caliper-mounting bracket onto the spindle as shown. The two
threaded holes should be mounted inward toward the front of the car.
9 After the caliper-mounting bracket is installed, thoroughly coat the spindle with wheel-bearing grease. Next, grease the bearings, and install them into the
brake rotors. Then install the brake rotors onto the spindles, and secure them in place with the new inner-wheel bearing along with the washer, castle nut,
and cotter pin from the drum brake.
10 Install the new brake lines onto the calipers before installing the calipers on the car. Be sure to use a supplied washer between the line and the caliper to
ensure there are no brake-fluid leaks.
11 Install the caliper by placing it over the rotor
12 Using the supplied hardware, bolt the caliper into place by thoroughly tightening the bolts. Be sure to use the supplied lock washers along with the bolts.
13 We had to unbolt this brake-line bracket and slide the line forward slightly to allow it to reach the new brake line. This was a minor issue that took only a
14 To complete the disc-brake installation, connect the new brake-line hose to the car's existing steel line. Then tighten it with a line wrench and reinstall the
retaining clip as shown.
15 With the Master Power brake-booster package, the assembled master cylinder and booster are ready to install, and the vacuum-hose kit and power-brake
pedal are also included. This package is considerably more difficult to install than the disc-brake setup, but power brakes are a worthwhile upgrade on any
16 Remove the driver-side strut brace to access the master-cylinder area. This piece needs to come out so the new master and booster can be installed. It
will also give you working room. Consider removing the hood as well to gain even more access to the firewall area. Remove the driver seat also, which will
make it more comfortable to access the area underneath the instrument panel
17 Unbolt the brake lines from the factory junction block, which will also be removed to make way for the block included with the new brake booster. Use line
wrenches to be sure you don't damage the line nuts on the car's factory brake lines, which will be reused.
18 This cotter pin, located behind the instrument panel, secures the brake pushrod to the brake pedal. Remove it to take out the master cylinder. There isn't
enough room underneath a car's dash for a tool, hand, and camera at the same time to show exactly what's happening, but a pair of needle-nose pliers is
necessary to remove the pin, which will also release the brake-light switch
19 Back under the hood, the old master cylinder is easily removed by taking out the two bolts that hold it in place.
20 Carefully pull it away from the firewall while at the same time threading the pushrod out. Note also the stock junction block and brake lines coming out
with the non-power master cylinder.
21 Back under the dash, there's another cotter pin that needs to be removed. This one holds the brake pedal in place, and once it's out, the brake pedal can
be removed. On manual transmission cars, the clutch pedal also has to be removed to separate it from the brake pedal.
22 Once the cotter pin is removed, the pedal shaft and brake pedal will come out as shown.
23 When upgrading to power brakes, replace the brake pedal with the supplied power-brake pedal. Due to the power-assist supplied by the booster, the
power-brake pedal on the left is considerably longer and mounts to the pedal support higher up to provide less leverage. If a car has a manual transmission,
the power-brake pedal installs the same way, and the clutch pedal ends up installing to the pedal support separate from the brake pedal.
24 Here are both manual- and power-brake pedal attachments to illustrate how they install differently. While the power-brake pedal mounts higher onto the
pedal support, it hangs down from the support the same distance to the car's floor due to its longer length
25 In a supplied diagram, Master Power's instructions say to remove three of the four clinch nuts attached to the pedal support. This requires removal of the
pedal support so the clinch nuts can be drilled out, which is shown here. The threaded clinch nuts must be removed so that separate nuts can be fitted to the
studs attached to the new power-brake booster. These studs pass through the firewall and pedal support. To gain enough access to remove the pedal support,
the steering column must be removed. To do this, we removed the four nuts on the firewall and the two nuts that hold it to the dashboard and unplugged the
wiring harness. With the steering box's one-piece shaft still in place (later cars don't have a shaft in the way because the collapsible column and shaft come
out together), undo the four bolts that hold the pedal support, and remove it past the steering shaft.
26 With the pedal support in a vice, the Mustang Country techs grind the clinch nuts down in preparation to knock them out.
27 Once the nuts are partially ground down, they are easily knocked out of the pedal support with a few good hits of a hammer and a punch
28 Turning our attention to the firewall, several modifications are needed. First, drill this hole in the firewall directly below the large hole where the pushrod
passes through. There is a dimple in the firewall indicating hole placement. The dimple was supplied for cars with original power brakes, but with manual
brakes, the hole wasn't necessary.
29 Open up the large hole at the top to allow the power booster to fit. Mustang Country used an air-powered tool with a small hacksaw-blade attachment. A
hand hacksaw might also work since the appearance doesn't matter; the opening will be hidden by the brake booster. The directions and a supplied gasket or
template illustrate how much material to remove. The directions also say to enlarge the two smaller holes on either side of the large hole to allow the brake
booster to fit. By test fitting the booster/master, we discovered that we didn't have to do this on our car, but this will vary from car to car.
30 Now the new brake pedal and modified pedal support can be installed along with the steering column and steering wheel. Note the large holes in the pedal
support where the clinch nuts used to reside. Those two holes are visible to the right of the brake pedal.
31 Before installing the brake booster and master, install the supplied junction block to the car's existing brake lines according to the Master Power
instructions. The two front brake lines are joined at the rear of the block and the single rear line at the front. The master cylinder is then joined to the junction
block with the two lines installed on the right side of the block as shown.
32 Next, the master cylinder/brake booster is installed and secured to the firewall using the supplied nuts. These are installed from inside the car underneath
the instrument panel where the pedal support is located.
33 The brake booster requires a vacuum source from the engine. Master Power supplies a vacuum hose that can be cut to fit, and it's simple to run the hose
from the booster to a fitting on the intake manifold. If no fitting is in place, Master Power supplies one for installation on the manifold.
34 Complete the installation by connecting the vacuum hose to the brake booster.
35 Here's the completed brake-booster/master-cylinder installation. The setup looks great, works perfect, and has a cool OE-look to it. Bleed the car's entire
brake system, and enjoy the huge upgrade of going from manual drum to power front disc brakes.