disc brake conv which is best?

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Feb 11, 2006
Hi all,

I am going to put disc brakes on my 75 cruiser. I know this has been talked about alot at length but I am looking for a definitive answer. what is the best convesion to do to a 75? Just switch the outers fom a late 75 up? go with the mini truck swap? I priced just the outers at a landcruiser wrecking yard and they wanted 650 for the parts. That seemed crazy to me. What do you think? My 75 is all original and I am doing a complete resto frame up. Brakes are important and I would like the best setup. I know many on this board have tried them all and I need your knowlegde to make the best desicion. I will also be doing a rear disc conversion but I have the downlow on that issue. Thanks for your help in advance.
Simplest is to swap in a later FJ40/FJ55 axle ('76-'78 had the same 4.11 diff ratio, but '79 through '83 had the larger knuckle stud pattern). That or a knuckle out swap of Cruiser stuff is preferable to a mini knuckle swap. IMHO. The rotors are vented (unlike the solid rotors on the minis) and you don't have to deal with different TRE tapers.

Best is to incorporate a set of later model mini calipers (larger pistons and pads for more braking force) with the Cruiser setup.

Best? Hummmmm. That's like asking what the best food is. All depends on your tastes, ability, budget, intended use/purpose, availablity of parts, etc. There is no definitive answer. Every so often you will find the major parts to convert for several hundred dollars. I too found a local Toyota-only bone yard that wanted $650/side!! Morons.

Since you are new I won't tell you to use the search. Some get their undies in a real twist when told to do the obvious. Plus it appears as though you may have done some of this already.

Here are a few relevant links I have saved over time. This question comes up frequently so here goes....


Read and enjoy! Remember, only YOU can decide which is best for you b/c my best is going to be different than yours. Then this ends up in the big argue-on-the-internet thing.
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Hit the F A Q there is ample reading in there on these topics.

Good luck!

I have read much of what there is to read. I am looking for input from vetrans that have tried the options. I think that I have deduced that 76 and up knuckles with v6 4runner calipers is the best way. I wheel my truck alot and love it. I like to go places not just drive through mud. my ultimate cruiser is either 4" lift or spring over no more. I run 33's and I don't see ever going bigger than 35 (don't think I would even go there). I only want to change a few things from stock. Power steering, disc brakes. That is about it. I have an unmolested 75 with low milage and I would like to retain the value. The red 4" lifted ccot cruiser is the truck I would like mine to be like. :bounce2: Since I am changing the front brakes from original I would like to make the best choice the first time. With the 33"s and the original 2f it should not be that difficult. poser thank for the reply I will be looking to get your rear disc brackets and the t-case saver. I will wait till you have both so I can save on shipping.
dgangle do you have a pic of your rig? would like to see it.:eek: I did seach and read all that there is to read but I was looking for insight from a master. Isn't that why we come here?
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Mark, so I gather what you are saying is 76-78 knuckles and axels on my 75 diff. and then late model calipers for better performance.
Yep. '79+ FJ40/55 knuckle would be even better since you gain the longer knuckle stud pattern and keep the Cruiser TREs.

But for what you describe your goals as I wouldn't spend any extra time/money looking for the later knuckles. The '76-78 will be everything you need.

FJ60s have the same knuckles, but use a different TRE taper. Late model FJ60/FJ62 use a much beefier knuckle arm, but again have a different taper.

Mark, Thank you for the info. That is excatly what I was lokking for. It seems every question has been asked before, but always a little different. What advantage is there to the longer knuckle stud pattern. I am not looking for the cheapest option but the best all around. leaning toward the best "change from stock but still original as much as possible". That is why I don't really think the mini truck option is the right one for me. The larger gear from the later 60's is interesting though because it is still cruiser gear just stronger later model. As far as the TRE tapers can you give me a little insight. I have seen this refered to many times but It must refer to a toyota birfeild type thing. All my previous expereince is with scout 44's. Thank you for the help. BTW I checked today the 75 Fj40 that I am restoring has 80,000 original miles on it so it is in very good condition. I just got a bunch of parts back from powder coating today so I am stoked to keep going. I restored a scout 2 years ago and now I have this cruiser. It seems the cruisers have a little bigger following.
The larger pattern (and *slightly* larger studs) of the later knuckle/knuckle arm connection make it stronger. If you are building a large tired rockcrawler that will get pushed to the limits, this incremental increase can make a difference in duribility. Not an issue for the type of rig you refer to wanting to attain.

The TRE taper refers to the taper of the "stud" of the TRE where it fits into the knuckle arm.

I went the "high $$$ - no sweat - high bling" option, bought front and rear conversion kits from Man-A-Fre. They are bolt on.
just looked up the man a fre kit. those are beautiful. You say high bling but from what I had read 750 is about what you can expect to spend even on a backyard special. I like those brakes. Are they as good as advertised? I think that is the way.
Hi All:

"Blackscout," I don't know hwere you live, but the cost of a Land Cruiser disc brake frontend (from a 40 or 55 Series) really varies.

I bought the disc brake frontend (sans third member) of a '78 BJ40 in 1998 for US$350 from a guy in Vancouver, B.C. Three years ago I sold a disc brake frontend from a '77 FJ55 for $250 here in Seattle!

I'd hunt high and low for a disc brake Land Cruiser front axle assembly. Man-A-Fre and Spector Off-Raod prices are "retail." If you spend some time hunting around you could probably find find one for $400 or so.

Good luck!

Got a hell of a deal on 77 outers and put em on my 72. Didn't know they were differrent from later ones. I wish I had later ones now because there is tons more after market support in the form of high steer arms and improved birfs and such. But if you plan on a staying stock with small tires and mild wheeling, any of them will do.
I will lookout for a stock setup. If I can't find one for a reasonable price I will go with the MAF wildwood kit. It is beautiful.
I know there are a lot of options out there for front disc brakes. Prices on everything really does vary. The main reason our kit is $750 is because everything is brand new, and bolt on. Buying a used knuckle assembly is a great way to get cheap disc brakes, but I dont know anyone that puts it on without buying extra parts to make it work right.
Steve-O, Your kit is king. My only problem is so many things to do, so little money. Same old story. I live in B.C. So I have to deal with all the cross boarder crap to! that always sucks. makes the 750.00 MAF kit quite a bit more for me. Anyway I am a patient guy and your kit is the nicest I've seen. I don't mind straying from stock when it is something that well built.
Please read my post (#16) in this thread.


I am in no way claiming to be the absolute authority on this but have done this conversion several ways. Your excitement over what many consider to be weaker/inferior arrangement beacons me to help you save you from yourself.

My current FDB setup is 79-85 mini truck knuckles/arms/spindles/hubs, '94 V6 4 runner calipers and 76-78 FJ40 vented rotors. You get the strongest arms/knuckles/hubs/birfs (plus will interchange with what virtually everyone else uses on the trail and all aftermarket), bigger calipers and vented rotors. What more could one ask for using anything other than 3/4 or 1-ton Dana axles??

You are certainly entitled to your opinion and I respect that. But if you think the MAF kit is the the best solution it tells me you really haven't talked to the right people or done enough research.

Edit: I learned this the hard way by costing me a buch of money. I tend to remember things learned this way much better. :)
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I'm running the Willwoods on the front and I love em!I got em here on the Parts for sale from Big Sur and the work perfectly.It actually stops...and straight too!Got the Dics /Rotors/Warn Comp.Hubs and the birfs for $350.00.plus $100.00 for the shipping.I got a good deal and you can too.Look around and good luck.
COuld you not get a 62 front axle and swap out the parts? I thought these were pretty cheap to come buy. I came across a good deal one time but the shipping killed me. 250 for the axle with the third. I could have sold the third for 150 and recouped my shipping.

I've been told all you have to do is swap out the long axle of the 62 with yours everything else will bolt on your housing. You get bigger knuckles bigger birfs (you have to grind out your inner knuckle) Disk brakes and better hubs.

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