Split screen vans as you may know come with drums all round, and if they are looked after they are more than adequate for the job however there are things you can improve.
Firstly make sure that all your brakes / shoes etc are serviceable. and adjusted correctly. As a matter of safety and something all splitty owners should consider is replacing the single circuit master cylinder, with a dual circuit one. It insures if you loose one half of your brakes you can still stop. as it splits the front and rear brake circuits. We were fortunate enough to have standard dual circuit brakes on the Junkyard as it is a late bus, that was that was until it started crumbling in our hands literally. So having to rob the CSP dual circuit kit already fitted to the Firetruck to get us back on the road it was time to get another one, but rather than forking out for all singing and dancing CSP kit again I sourced the parts individually which saves a little bit of cash. So what do you need.
1 x 20mm Spacer (alternatively cut down the brake rod)
1 x Dual Master Cylinder (652VG0130)
2 x 12mm/22mm servo grommets
2 x M8 50mm nuts bolts and washers.
4 x M8 washers
2 x M8 nylock nuts.
1 x Brake fluid reservoir (VWHeritage sell this, unless you can source an alternative (have been told fiat panda, early golf, volvo B20 / 140 should fit.)
Changing your rubber brake pipes to braided one’s will help increase the pressure slightly and as a side note by accident after having to change all the old metal brake lines on the Junkyard with new copper pipe it has appeared to increase the brake pressure a little, the only thing we could put it down to is that maybe the copper is slightly smaller in diameter either that or it is really just a coincidence. Anyway the drum brakes on the Junkyard are now the best they have ever been and no disc brakes in site.
Now if you really want to improve braking performance upgrading to a servo should be on your list. It is not something I have needed to do as of yet but I have heard nothing but good things about them. This is how modern car braking systems generally work and it uses induction vacuum to increase brake pressure.
Disc brake kits will arguably give you a modern more maintenance free braking system but do not believe all the hype they will not make your brakes work any better, not without fitting a brake servo. The most popular is the CSP brake kit, there are a number of other alternatives out there but none of them are particularly cheap. If you are looking for the cheapest option then using pre 86 Porsche 944 hubs and calipers onto your bus spindles and an adapter kit is the way to go.