Two of the Jeeps berthed in our "project" stable recently received upgraded suspensions: one, a 2.5-inch lift, and the other, a 4-inch system. Both of these '76 models, a CJ-7 and a J-10 pickup, sport drum brakes at the four corners. When we ordered each of these kits, we requested extended brake lines. In both cases, the new brake lines we received were for use only on front disc brake applications. Of course, if you've ever installed a lift kit on a Jeep with OE drums, you know that extended brake lines for drum applications aren't an option.
Well, that just doesn't sit quite right with us. This is America, right? We Americans want options and lots of them. Sure, we could swap our front drums for a set of discs--and we will--but there's a principle involved here. Lacking a double-throwdown high-performance extended brake line option, we checked with area parts stores for the possibility of purchasing a set of longer front lines--not a longer OE replacement, mind you, but perhaps something from another application that would accommodate our enhanced suspension travel? No luck. We won't tell you that a whiz-bang counter dude, who can spit out obscure parts numbers with half his brain cells tied behind his back, can't cook up something, but lacking such a friend, that route netted us nothing but frustration.
Eventually we got a tip from Jeep guru Moses Ludel. Ludel recommended giving Goodridge USA a ring. We did and found a company that can put the custom cure on any of your Jeep plumbing problems. Goodridge USA's specialty is manufacturing performance brake lines for motorsport applications--primarily, those vehicles that run in circles. Though the company's part-numbered replacement/upgrade kits are for import sedans, coupes, and 4x4s, any brake line you need, in whatever length you desire, can be custom-made. To wit: We needed longer front lines to mate to our Dana 44's wheel cylinders. We wanted braided lines and double the length of the original 1.5-foot rubber hoses, and Goodridge told us it would oblige.
Marketed under the G-Stop moniker, all Goodridge USA lines are derivatives of its custom racing hardware, which have been successfully used on CART, IRL, Formula One, Winston Cup, and Rally vehicles. All of the company's racing and street-performance brake lines as well as the custom jobs conform to Federal FMVSS106 requirements and as such are DOT-certified. The Teflon hoses, pressure-tested to 3,000 psi, are wrapped in stainless steel braid to effectively eliminate volumetric expansion and a mushy brake pedal feel.
We sent Goodridge an original front hose with a request for the company to duplicate all the fittings but to double the line length. A week later, we received our new stainless steel braided lines with the correct hard line/bracket fitting and an almost-correct line-to-wheel cylinder fitting. This fitting, though of the proper diameter, was slightly off on its thread pitch--enough so that it wouldn't screw into the wheel cylinder. It took us an hour of pouring through a brake component catalog at the local NAPA store before finding two brass couplers that would mate the Goodridge fit to the wheel cylinder.
Aside from this minor frustration, we were exceptionally pleased with the final product and its performance. One thing's for sure, ordering a set of custom brake lines is definitely a more cost-effective alternative to swapping in a set of disc brakes if you're building your Jeep on a budget. The best part is that Goodridge not only can provide you with extended brake lines for your drum brake application, the company can make drum or disc brake lines to any length you desire. That's good news for those who plan to build the ultimate axle-twister suspension. Simply send in the old hardware you want matched up, provide Goodridge with the desired length, and the job is as good as done.