How Hydraulic Brake Conversion Works

Hydraulic Brake Conversion Kits


­I­f you're looking to balance better braking with the desire to keep their car as original as possible, try to find a no-modification kit. Such kits mean you won't have to damage your sweet antique. They use existing holes on the frame, and no cutting, drilling or welding is required. These kits will also often use your original handbrake handle to the rear cable. But for such nice features, be prepared to pay. Your car might stay the same, but your wallet won't -- expect to shell out somewhere between several hundred and several thousand dollars for such a kit. In some cases, you can purchase a complete braking system or just portions of a kit, depending on your specific needs.

A sample do-it-yourself hydraulic brake conversion kit includes:

  • Hydraulic brake assemblies
  • Hydraulic hub drums
  • Hydraulic override coupling
  • Four-hole coupling plate
  • Hydraulic brake flange kit
  • Hydraulic brake fitting kit
  • Motor coil bundy tube
  • Assembly instructions

­[source: Marshall Engineering

Because classic car kits are so specific, your best bet for finding one that fits your make and model is probably the Internet. If you can't find one to order online through a simple search engine, try looking at specific forums of classic car clubs for your vehicle. Members have often had similar questions and can direct you to a web site or phone number for a particular garage that specializes in the kit you need.

Since you know front-wheel brakes won't flip your car end-over-end, feel free to start that hydraulic brake conversion anytime! But be prepared -- that even your simple no-mod kit might not keep you from getting dirty or hauling out some tools.

­Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Early V8 Garage. "Specializing in 1932-1938 Ford Hydraulic Brake Conversion Kits." (Accessed 11/19/08)­
  • Endy, Tom. "Hydraulic­ Brakes." Orange County Model A Ford Club. (Accessed 11/26/08)'s%20Special%20Topics/Hydraulic%20Brakes.pdf
  • ­Joseph, Matt. "Collector Car Restoration Bible." Krause Publications. 2005.
  • Marshall Engineering. "D.I.Y. Brake Conversion Kits." (Accessed 11/19/08)
  • Weller, Dave. "Hydraulic Brake Conversion - Brake pedal." Austin Seven Owners Club. (Accessed 11/26/08)