So how well do the brakes work now Dave ??? Unless I'm missing something,this looks like a fairly easy modification,and cheap too.I have previously upgraded my front brakes very similar to what you have done,although I used the USBrakes oversize metric calipers,Hawk HPS pads,slotted & crossdrilled rotors and Russell braided SS hoses,and the Ford 9 inch has rear drums much bigger than stock.The brakes work much better than stock but the vacuum runs out after a couple of pumps.I bought an electric vacuum pump,but I am reluctant to clutter up the engine compartment with it,and yours sure looks pretty clean without the booster.So tell us a bit more on how your dads brakes work,and how big a job it was too change over to manual.
The car stops OK with the 32 year old 24mm bore master cylinder it has on it now, but I cannot get the brakes to lock up. There is some sponginess in the pedal that I suspect is either a bad 32 year old master cylinder or I have air in the rear brake lines somewhere. I am waiting for my brand new 1978 Malibu 7/8" bore manual brake master cylinder in the mail to change over from the 24mm bore strait bore.
Hardest part of the install is bolting it to the firewall. You will need a someone else to help align everything up and bolt it down to the firewall. The pin (stud) will also need to be pressed into the brake pedal using a press. If using a plate without a retention cup, it bolts directly to the firewall with no modifications to the firewall. With a plate with the retention cup, the firewall will have to be trimmed a little to clear the retention cup.
It is really not a hard job to install a manual brake system. The hardest part is getting it to work correctly.
There are usually 3 main reasons why manual brake setups on g-body cars, s-10 trucks, and 3rd generation Camaros/Firebirds do not function well.
1. Low drag calipers
2. The small piston diameter in the low drag caliper
3. The master cylinder
You and I have numbers 1 and 2 covered above which takes out most of the variables. I am working on number 3 by testing out master cylinders and narrowing down which ones work best with my setup.