i would certainly recommend upgrading. it should be very strait forward to do so but does yours have drums or discs on the front? i do not remember if that was even an option on the 1980. so far, every one i have had has been power disc . even the latest 81 on the lot. we do have a 71 in the shop right now with manual but i dont know the truck too well yet.
Question is: Is it possible/easy to upgrade my manual brakes to power brakes?
It's certainly possible, and it should be easy. I assume calipers and drum brakes were the same between manual and power brake trucks, but we'd need an expert like Gary to confirm. The vacuum booster should be a direct bolt on along with the correct master cylinder.
You can even swap in the later 1987-1996 style master cylinder. I did this with two Bullnose trucks.
1952 Mercury M-1 Pickup '96 5.0/4R70W swap project...
1984 F150 4X2 Flareside. Mild 302 w/ 5spd. Sold.
1980 F150 4X4 Flareside. 300i6 w/ 5spd. Sold in 2021.
1980 F100 4X2 Flareside. 351w/2bbl w/NP435. Sold in 1995
I think I'm going to stay with the Manual brakes to keep costs down. Will the master cylinder for one with power brakes work on it? I have found 1 for manual brakes on RockAuto but it is nearly double the price.
1980 F100 Custom. Inline 6. Power steering. 3 on the Column.
The thing is you got to dig pretty deep to see if the parts you have on your truck will work with the power booster & master.
First let me say I have done this to my 81 F100 that had non-power disc / drum brakes using parts from my 81 F100 parts truck with power disc / drum.
The digging deep I found the calipers have the same size pistons but different part numbers because of how they bolt up to the spindles.
The rear wheel cyl think were the same part numbers even that the drum brakes were different sizes.
I cant remember if the bore was the same on the 2 masters as I used the power master with the booster.
Now it is not as easy as just bolting the booster / master to the firewall.
Where the master rod hooks to the pedal arm is in a different place from the pivot between the 2 systems so you will need to get the power pedal or measure to install a pin in the power location. You will also need the rod as it is different also for power.
This is true for the 3 different systems I have swapped between power & non-power the others were AMC cars.
I had the pedal assy so I did a swap of the full pedal assy.
Now I got to say when I first did this I used the used booster & master and on a test drive think I found why the PO of parts truck rolled it, both were bad! Felt good in the garage but not on the road.
I bought a booster & master from AZ, dont remember if reman or not?
I had a hard time getting a good pedal and when done it was not great but did stop.
A year later I replaced Ebrake cables that were wrong and the pedal went to the floor and would not come up even with power bleeding. I replaced the master with a new one, bench bleed and then power bleed and the pedal has been great since.
So right now all 4 wheels are running non-power factory hardware but the master / booster & pedal assy. is the factory power set up.
I also want to point out that on the F100 trucks between power & non-power I have found they have different wheel bolt patterns, and the front beams on out to the wheels are different.
You can swap the full front suspension between the 2 but not parts between the 2 system.
Kingpins are different sizes so the beams & spindles are different, calipers & pads different and wheel bolt patterns.
Yep been there done that or is it could not do that?
The only reason I did power brakes is I had the parts other wise it would be non-power.
I also dont have any issues with 4 wheel drum brakes as i have a v8 car that has non-power drums and will lock them up if you want to.