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Thread: power drums ?

  1. #1
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    power drums ?

    Was there ever an option of vacuum assited four wheel drums?

    We dont drive our car a whole lot, and I wondered if it would be a decent upgrade without going to front disc brakes.

    Thanks for any input

    Matt

    EDIT we dont want to go to discs because we really nice wheels and new whitewalls that we would hate to loose by upgrading to larger wheels..
    We do have currently just the single circuit MC on the firewall.
    Last edited by '61LarkVIII; 11-30-2018 at 11:33 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hi, Matt,

    If we're correctly interpreting your question, yes all Studebakers with drum brakes, a vacuum booster and single master cylinder were "power" on all four wheels.

    Should you change over, the brake pedal was usually matched to the vacuum booster, so it's possible to just add the booster, but the pedal should also be changed.

    Yes, it's a worthwhile addition. Some here will report they had problems with their Hydrovac booster and some will suggest it's dangerous to drive with a single master cylinder. Just know the majority of all Studes ever built spent their operating years in those conditions with few problems. Flushing the brake fluid every few years is good science, whatever the system used.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  3. #3
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    I should have been more detailed, we have drums all around with no booster, and the single circuit master cylinder. Im just trying to find a way to make it easier for my wife to drive. Our car stops fine, but we have both had to panic stop due to people on their phones or whatnot, and it left some to be desired.

    Ill read up on it more and figure out specific questions.

    Thank you
    Matt
    Quote Originally Posted by PackardV8 View Post
    Hi, Matt,

    If we're correctly interpreting your question, yes all Studebakers with drum brakes, a vacuum booster and single master cylinder were "power" on all four wheels.

    Should you change over, the brake pedal was usually matched to the vacuum booster, so it's possible to just add the booster, but the pedal should also be changed.

    Yes, it's a worthwhile addition. Some here will report they had problems with their Hydrovac booster and some will suggest it's dangerous to drive with a single master cylinder. Just know the majority of all Studes ever built spent their operating years in those conditions with few problems. Flushing the brake fluid every few years is good science, whatever the system used.

    jack vines

  4. #4
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    So yes, adding a Hydrovac booster and the power brake pedal will make a big difference.

    What brake linings are on your car is the great unknown. Since asbestos was taken out of linings and since the few remaining drum brakes are now on the rear of disc brake cars, most linings available to us are not as grippy as the good old stuff.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  5. #5
    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by '61LarkVIII View Post
    I should have been more detailed, we have drums all around with no booster, and the single circuit master cylinder. I'm just trying to find a way to make it easier for my wife to drive. Our car stops fine, but we have both had to panic stop due to people on their phones or whatnot, and it left some to be desired.

    I'll read up on it more and figure out specific questions. Thank you. Matt
    The answer to your question is YES, Matt; all 1961 Larks (in fact, all Studebaker larks) were available with power brakes as a factory-installed option.

    If you have a LHC (Left Hand Control; i.e., as in the United States) 1961 Lark V-8, the easiest way to add Power Brakes to your car would be to shop for an AC-3112 Power Brake Kit. That will include all the major parts, plus all the bits and pieces and instructions, for you to add Power Brakes to your car. BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

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    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

  6. #6
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    A ‘61 Lark would be the first use of a Bendix MasterVac brake booster, connected directly to the brake pedal by linkage that incorporates the proper stroke. The above discussion about changing the pedal assembly relates to a HydroVac system, which is a more complicated install. I would recommend looking for a late ‘62 system rather than a ‘61 - early ‘62 system that requires an auxiliary vacuum tank.
    I have personally changed several ‘61 and later Lark types from standard to power brakes. If you have all of the required parts on hand you can make the changeover in an hour or so.

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    Hydrovac--- dangerous----unreliable---expensive----ineffective---hard to bleed....Why?????

  8. #8
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    Lockheed makes an in-line power booster which requires only that you splice it into the single line from the master cylinder and connect it to vacuum at the intake manifold. It can be mounted anywhere that's convenient. IIRC, they've less than $200.. I have put them on two cars which did not have power brakes, and they worked just fine.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffry Cassel View Post
    Hydrovac--- dangerous----unreliable---expensive----ineffective---hard to bleed....Why?????
    That's one man's experience and opinion. Hydrovacs were the most common of the first generation of vacuum boosters and were used on millions of cars and trucks in the 1950s and early '60s. Some of us have used them successfully for fifty years. This is not to say there haven't been better power brake systems come along. Name a mechanical part on any Stude which hasn't been improved upon? Bottom line, does one want a car as original as possible or as modern as possible or somewhere along that continuum?

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  10. #10
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    Jack: I have 50 years experience with Hydrvacs and have had several cars that have had Hydrovac boosters. Avanti smacked into the rear end of a AMC station wagon. $5k to Avanti--but don't worry--not a scratch on the AMC. Packard failed backing out of garage. Fortunately nothing was in the way $500 to rebuild the Hydrovac. My 61 Hawk was originally equipped with ps and pb. I found the parts to convert it and it now stops far better than it ever did with any of the 3 different Hydrovacs it had had on it (including a brand new on). So, in 50 years I have never --never--- experienced a working, functioning "Hydrovac".

  11. #11
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    Not trying to throw a wrench in the situation, but as I remember from the days of a daily driver 65 Cruiser, A Pontiac ( I know the horrors) Grand Am Power Brake booster was a bolt in set up. All you would have to do is route the plumbing for the booster. I think you can still get new units. Not sure of the year that works as it has been 20 years since I sold the car. It was a good car and I regret selling it to a friend that turned around and sold it three months later.

    Bob Miles
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  12. #12
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    Jeffrey, are you blaming the damage to your Avanti on a Hydrovac? I may be misunderstanding your response, but an Avanti never had a Hydrovac. I'm not sure, and could be wrong, but all my Larks that used power brakes assist on a manual braking system.

    I have had the same, untouched Hydrovac on my 1955 Speedster since I first time I had anything to do with the car, and that was 1960. I think that after 63 years I might have to bite the bullet and get it rebuilt. I have a number of cars, and I wish that any of their braking systems had been as reliable as that Hydrovac equipped 55. Actually big trucks used these units from the early 40's. I think that if they had been unreliable they wouldn't have been in constant use for more than half a century on those behemoths!

  13. #13
    Silver Hawk Member bezhawk's Avatar
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    Avanti used Master-vac, and Packard used Treadle-vac. Never the hydrovac. (unless 57-or 58). I have rebuilt several Hydrovacs, and as long as the parts aren't pitted, they work good. It is when people try to rebuild questionable parts where the trouble starts. You cant have rough surfaces against rubber or leather seals on any part of a braking system ever anywhere, anytime.
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  14. #14
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    My old 59 Buick required a very light touch on the brake; very little pressure on the brake peddle would send your face into the steering wheel. Very effective power brakes- perhaps too much so. As I stated, I would never trust my life to a Bendix booster. There simply must be something better out there. And, once again, my 61 now requires far less pedal pressure to stop it than it ever did with a Hydrovac on it. And it is one less thing to go wrong.

  15. #15
    Silver Hawk Member bezhawk's Avatar
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    You could always use a hydro-boost setup that uses hydraulic pressure rather than vacuum to boos the brakes. Like I did on a custom build.IMG_20160221_142259175.jpg
    Bez Auto Alchemy
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