Project Pepto: Brakes

Making a car move is usually what comes to mind when one purchases a dead car. Making it stop however is probably a little more important!

Matt’s 1965 Mustang coupe arrived with no brakes. It has 9 inch manual drum brakes at each corner along with a single bowl master cylinder. We chose to rebuild the factory brakes and to upgrade the master cylinder to a dual bowl just so we could still drive the car around safely. Future plans include ditching the drums in favor of disc brakes, but that’s for another article.

For now, the 9 inch drums will do as this car isn’t going to see much track time anytime soon. When we pulled off the front drums, were pleasantly surprised to find that the shoes and hardware was brand new. It was however missing the cable for the self adjusters and the wheel cylinder was toast. This meant that we were going to rip apart the brakes anyways. For the record, I despise doing brake jobs on drum brakes because of all these springs, they’re not fun!




All four wheel cylinders were replaced, there was lots of evidence of leaking on all of them. This also explains why there wasn’t a drop of brake fluid in the whole system! New soft lines were also installed throughout the car.


Once reassembled, we adjusted the shoes so that they would barely touch the drum itself. Notice the new self adjuster cable and our shiny wheel cylinder!



The rear drum brakes go together just like the fronts with the exception of the parking brake cable. It is clipped into one of the brake shoes.



The single bowl master cylinder was last to go. We ordered a dual bowl master cylinder conversion kit from CJ pony parts. It comes with the new master cylinder along with a couple preformed hard lines and fittings to make the conversion easy.



After bleeding the system and readjusting the shoes a few times, we have brakes! Stay tuned for the next article when we take our little 1965 Mustang for its first drive in over 20 years!