Monthly Archives: January 2018

D&D disk brake conversion and master cylinder upgrade kits – My experience with them.

This post is about my personal experience with fitting the D&D brake and master cylinder conversion kits on an early ford Econoline, it is not a guide and I take no responsibility for anything you learn here. I fitted this with a mate and couldn’t have done it alone.

Overall I am very pleased with the kits, my van now stops straight and perfectly everytime I feel so much safer driving it however the instructions are somewhat lacking and miss a few key points.

General Notes:

I chose to powder coat my brackets, they are well made items but unpainted and personally I don’t want mine rusting away under the van.

DO NOT USE A PRESS for any of the installation, it isn’t needed and will do more damage than good.

Disk conversion kit:

1. If you press the studs out of the drums you risk destroying the hubs, so remove the drums you will need to cut the “Swage” from around the studs, to do this I used a bench drill with a 5/8″ hole cutter and the pilot drill removed, I ran the stud inside the hole saw and it cut the studs out perfectly. But make sure you don’t go too far as you will either damage the hubs or shatter the hole saw.

Once these are drilled out tap the hub from the drum with a hammer.

2. It is imperative that the holes in the Jeep disks are 5/8″ unfortunately due to manufacturing tollerances this cannot be assumed so ream or drill out these holes to 5/8″ (16mm) mine were close but not all uniformed. The kit would not assemble correctly without drilling these out.

3. Do not press the new studs in, tap them in with a hammer, in fact you don’t need a press for this kit at all! If you press them in you risk damaging the hubs and shattering the new disks.

I would suggest laying a wheel on the bench, assembling the components (studs, disks and hubs) tapping the studs through and tightening them up with wheel nuts, this will make sure that the whole lot goes together true.

4. While you have your van in the air and in pieces clean your suspension components and grease your kingpins, it will significantly improve the ride.

5. The recommended brake hoses do not fit they are too short, we simply relocated the the brackets to the chassis and welded them in however I am told that the 4WD S10 Blazer flexi’s are longer and may work.

The completed disk conversion with relocated flexi hose bracket:

Master cylinder kit:

1. With the supplied cylinder the larger port goes to the rear brakes this at the rear of the vehicle when fitted and the smaller to the front (the one at the pushrod end).
D&D supply a short adapter hose for the rear brakes which we put a proportioning valve on and ran straight to the rears but in theory you don’t need this and could just use a straight coupler.

If I were to do this again though I’d use a T-piece sending one line to the rears and one to a brake pressure switch binning the mechanical switch supplied.

The front outlet comes with an adapter to make it work with a standard inverted flare 3/8 fitting which I ran to a T-piece sending one line left and one right.

2. The aluminium turned caps just need pushing into the master cylinder gently until you feel resistance, they don’t need to be pushed all the way in as it’s a low pressure feed, try to source angled hose barbs for these. I cut down straight ones.

3. I fitted my resorvoir in the cab, I drilled a couple of holes in the cab floor and ran the hoses up to a resorvoir behind the front panel.

You need brake feeder pipe between the reservoir and the master cylinder, do not use fuel hose or anything else it will perish. I bought aircooled vw beetle hoses as they are readily available but summit do sell it.

Make sure there are no kinks or tight bends in the hose so the fluid can fall down to the master cylinder.

4. My pedal free play was massive, I understand there should be around 1mm free play at the master cylinder but even with the eccentric nut this was too much giving a very floppy pedal, We added 5mm to the pushrod by welding a section of M8 bolt shaft in which solved it. Obviously you may not have this issue and if you do you’d need to calculate the correct length yourself.

5. Bleeding, bleeding bloody bleeding! when fitting these kits I replaced everything front and back, shoes, pipes, cylinders, flexi’s the lot which meant lots of air and bleeding was an absolute ass, we ended up backfeeding fluid with a syring into the front lines to get it to start bleeding so I’d suggest following the advice and bench bleeding the MC beforehand.

Completed master cylinder kit:

I hope this post helps someone as this is a great way to add some stopping power to your 1961-67 Econoline.

Raspberry Pi 3 (stretch) and Wirelessthings sensors

After successfully running for 18 months my SD card failed probably due to the amount of mysql data read/writes. Luckily it failed read only so I didn’t loose too much data however I decided to start fresh using rasbian stretch and an external mysql table on a traditional drive (Not an SD Card) so here is a little guide of what I did again it assumes you have no mouse, keyboard or monitor attached and is correct as of December 2017


Prepare the Pi:

1. Download the latest Raspbean Stretch Image and Using your favourite method, prepare your SD card using the downloaded image for the Pi (I used Etcher on my laptop).

2. Add an empty file to the boot folder called “SSH”

3. Plug an ethernet cable into the Pi and connect to a router serving DHCP and Boot your Pi using the newly prepared SD card.

4. Using a network scanner (or login to your router) to determine the IP address of your Pi, I use fing on my smartphone.

5. Log into the pi using SSH in OSX type

SSH pi@IP Address

and use the password “raspberry”

6. type

sudo raspi-config

Change User Password – Follow Prompts to set a new password

Localisation Options – set your timezone and wifi country

Interfacing options > Serial – Turn OFF serial prompt but turn ON Serial Hardware

Interfacing options > VNC – Disable VNC Server as using tightVNC

Exit raspi-config and reboot when prompted.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade -y

Configure VNC:

1. to Install VNC Viewer type

sudo apt-get install tightvncserver

2. If you want to change the VNC port type

sudo nano /usr/bin/vncserver

find the line

$vncPort = 5900 + $displayNumber;

and change 5900 to the port you want to use, I use 59000 which equated to 59001 in real life. Press Ctrl>X, Y, Enter to save and exit nano

3. To make VNC run from boot you need to create a script, type

sudo nano

paste the following into it;

vncserver :1 -geometry 1920x1080 -depth 24 -dpi 96

save and exit nano, type

sudo chmod 755

then type


and you will be prompted to enter a VNC password.


sudo nano /etc/rc.local

add these lines after the commented section

# Auto run VNC
sudo /home/pi/./ &

save and exit nano, reboot and VNC should now run from startup!

4. You can now connect to your Pi using VNC! so VNC into your Pi and set a static IP using the network settings GUI in the top right of the screen and reboot, the next few steps can be done through SSH or terminal in VNC its up to you.

Configure Webserver and PhpMyadmin:

As I am initially only using the RPi to collect sensor data and write it to an external mysql table and web server I have skipped this step but left its heading in.

I used my Synology NAS and installed MariaDB and web station (Apache)

Setup Shares:

1. we are going to setup samba shares to make moving scripts etc easier, so install samba

sudo apt-get install samba samba-common-bin -y

2. once installed type

sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

scroll down and make sure you have the correct workgroup (I just use WORKGROUP) and that Wins Support is enabled.

3. to be safe you should only add your pi user so type

smbpasswd -a

and enter your desired password, if you do want to add the root user type

sudo smbpasswd -a

4. to add shared folders type

sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

and at the bottom add the code:

comment=www Share
only guest=no
create mask=0777
directory mask=0777

comment=Root Folder Share
only guest=no
create mask=0777
directory mask=0777

5. You should now be able to connect to these shares using standard UNC paths from your windows or macintosh computers

Setup the “Slice of Radio” (Wireless message bridge)

Because of a change to the way the Pi 3 uses Uart, we need a workaround to get the Slice of radio working.

1. type

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

and add

# Change device tree to enable slice of radio

to the end of the file then reboot

sudo reboot

If you haven’t installed your slice of radio yet, shut down your Pi and fit it

sudo shutdown 0 otherwise reboot the Pi sudo reboot

3. next we need to setup your radios, If you’ve already done this skip to step 5 otherwise dowload launchpad from github and copy it to your pi, this is a collection of gui python scripts used to configure your wireless sensors. I have put mine in home/pi/launchpad using vnc in terminal run

gksudo python

to fire it up. (using gksudo rather than sudo fixes display 0.0 errors caused by running X programs on VNC, you may not need this if using a monitor.)

4. In LaunchPad, Click on message bridge and hit start wait a minute, then click on Configuration wizard (If this is a rebuild rather than fresh install you can skip configuration and just install minicom to check the sensors are responding) then select “serial” in the next window you can configure your sensors, press the configure button on a sensor for one second, wait for it to communicate with wireless bridge and follow the on screen setup, repeat for each sensor. Once you are finished exit LaunchPad

5. next we install minicom to test communication with your sensors is working correctly so type

sudo apt-get install minicom -y

once installed we need to run

minicom -b 9600 -o -D /dev/ttyAMA0

This will open minicom and if all is well you will see your sensors responding, remember they will only report as often as you have told them to so you may need to be patient! Exit minicom when you are happy that the sensors are responding.

Ctrl A, X

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 19.53.13

BACKUP your SD Card:

At this point I’d recommend backing up your SD card image and archiving it, also I would suggest a Cron job to backup any scripts you write to an external destination.


That is kind of it for configuration, you now have a Pi 3 running the latest Raspbian, you have sensors attached and reporting,.

Originally I followed this project to get me going but I have since ditched it in place of my own version.


Tutorial – Install PhpMyAdmin on your Raspberry Pi