My 1998 Jeep Wrangler's rear brakes are in need of replacement. I was thinking of just upgrading to disc brakes while I am doing this. Is this a safe and good idea? Any negatives? Has it been done? Will the ebrake still work?
You will have a shorter braking distance with the upgrade. On older cars, before electronic brake distribution, 70% of the braking is in the front while 30% of the work done is in the back. So not too much of a difference, but an upgrade is an upgrade.
The conversion is a do-able DIY project. The easiest method is a donor vehicle or purchasing a kit. Most of the off road on-line suppliers offer kits. You will need to read some user reviews to determine which kit best fits your needs. The price range is from $300 to $700. Some kits are more complete than others. The Parking brake will work in the same manner as the Jeeps with factory rear discs. A small set of brake shoes fit under the disc rotor and use the hub flange of the rotor as a brake drum. Only you can decide it is worth the cost and effort. If this is a vehicle that you plan to keep for a long time and possibly do some power modifications the discs may be worth it.
Take your car to the shop and have'm replace the brake shoes, adjusted them, check the parking brake. Done. Much better than conversion.