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Thread: 1940 President NO BRAKES!!!!

  1. #1
    Speedster Member Okiejoe86's Avatar
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    1940 President NO BRAKES!!!!

    So a few weeks ago I posted about my search for a disc brake conversion... Last weekend I had something new happen. During a long cruise around town with a friend my brake pedal went to the floor while coming up to a red light. Talk about a butt hole puckering OH **** moment!! I panicked and pulled into a parking lot that was thankfully close by. No brakes, Parking brake didn't work, rolled in a circle motion until I stopped. Got out, no leaks, was able to "pump up" the brake pedal until I had a pedal again. Carefully and slowly drove it back home. Happened one other time on the way home. But again, I was able to "pump the pedal" after the pedal went to the floor.

    With no leaks, that only thing I can think of is maybe a seal inside the master cylinder is leaking by ???? Has anyone ever encountered this?? The car is still drum brakes all the way around

    -Joe

    "Spilling a beer is the adult equivalent of a kid letting go of a Balloon."

  2. #2
    Golden Hawk Member mbstude's Avatar
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    You’ve got a master cylinder, 4 wheel cylinders, and 3 rubber hoses. Pull the drums and the MC, time to rebuild all of the hydraulics.

  3. #3
    Golden Hawk Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbstude View Post
    You’ve got a master cylinder, 4 wheel cylinders, and 3 rubber hoses. Pull the drums and the MC, time to rebuild all of the hydraulics.
    I agree with Matt.
    I believe that the immediate problem is a master cylinder that is leaking internally or not completely releasing.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

  4. #4
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    Before you go completely wild replacing components, check the tiny vent hole in your master cylinder reservoir cap. If that little hole is blocked with corrosion it could cause loss of braking. Not knowing how long you have had the car and how it was maintained before you got it...a complete system check is required. And...get the emergency/parking brake repaired before venturing out again! Without the hand brake...as you discovered...you have no backup.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC
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    SDC member since 1975

  5. #5
    President Member
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    Hi unless you have a history on the brake system in that car , I recommend you rebuild or replace the entire system including the metal tubing , rubber hoses and the brake switch. The metal tubing rust from the outside in and inside out , The rubber hoses swell up and it constricts fluid travel and they just rot. I could go on and on about the rest of the brake system But I hope you get my drift, But its not worth it to skimp on this system of the car , Ed

  6. #6
    President Member nvonada's Avatar
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    My 41 Champion stops OK (can lock up all 4) but it takes constant attention. The brakes get adjusted once or twice a year and I replace the brake fluid every two years. It is an open system and
    the brake fluid absorbs water very quickly. I am also on my third master cylinder rebuild since 2003 and I pull the drums every few years to look for problems. And my hand brake works...

    Nathan

  7. #7
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    If you decide to replace everything, then you may want to consider changing to a dual master cylinder. That will give use of half the brakes if some new thing goes wrong.

  8. #8
    Speedster Member Okiejoe86's Avatar
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    I have already overhauled the master cylinders and drums and replaced the brake switch. The only thing that I have not changed is the lines and master cylinder. I plan on pulling the brakes apart tonight and inspecting everything. I am in Tulsa, Ok.. Any idea where I can over night a rebuild kit for the master cylinder? I have a big car show this weekend.

    As for the history of the car, it went through restoration in the late 70s and 80s. Not much driving afterwards and alot of sitting.

    Thank you all for the reply's!!

    "Spilling a beer is the adult equivalent of a kid letting go of a Balloon."

  9. #9
    President Member nvonada's Avatar
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    Your local NAPA may have the rebuild kit. Mine did!

  10. #10
    President Member
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    My 2R5 spends a lot of time sitting as well..... I had a similar problem some years back due to "leakage" from a set of sleeved wheel cyl.
    Did you know that brake fluid on the rear drums makes the hand brake inop? I found out the hard way.

    All of it was new anyway, so it wasnt much problem to go back and replace the wheel cyls, however since I have gone from the old DOT-3 fluid to DOT-5 (Properly, which is a complete flush and replace the rubber components). I no longer have the problem of sticking or leakage, even after sitting.

    2 recommendations, if it's over 20 years old, replace it (ALL OF IT), plus go silicone. I also recommend the dual piston MC upgrade and please make sure that OH CR4P brake works.

  11. #11
    President Member bensherb's Avatar
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    Since you were able to "pump it" and regain your brakes, I'm betting there are flakes of loose rust floating in the master cylinder. If one of them blocked the bypass port (the tiny tiny hole in the floor of the master) it would not let the master "reset" so it could push fluid to opperate the brakes. Pumping, temporarily unblocked it. As the others mention, clean the system. My master cylinder suddenly began to leak (while parked) on it's own with no provocation, it was new three years ago . My NAPA store can't supply a "rebuild kit" but does have the needed 1" cylinder cup for $2; it solves the problem. They do have a rebuilt master available, to order, for well over $100.

  12. #12
    Speedster Member Okiejoe86's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for the information!!! Winter is not over... Time to overhaul the entire system!

    - - - Updated - - -

    I wont get started on it for another week or two.. But when I do, I will document the entire process and post the pictures here

    "Spilling a beer is the adult equivalent of a kid letting go of a Balloon."

  13. #13
    President Member
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    Smart move , Ed

  14. #14
    President Member thunderations's Avatar
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    Extremely smart move. I replaced/rebuilt everything on my 66 Daytona and replaced all steel and flex lines. It was a disc brake car with a single chamber MC. The only modification I made was replacing the single MC with a dual chamber. What a difference in the brakes when done. The brakes were good before, and excellent after.
    If I were to be in your place, I would research replacing your old MC with a dual chamber unit for safety. If I wanted to go further the next item would be to replace the front drum brakes with a disc brake system.
    Disc brakes may be an overkill with the old power plant, but those new fangled vehicles can stop really quick in front of you at any speed.
    Whatever you do is going to be a lot better when finished.
    1966 Daytona (The First One)
    1950 Champion Convertible
    1950 Champion 4Dr
    1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
    1957 Thunderbird

  15. #15
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    I agree with go through the entire brake system and replace any bad parts or real old rubber hoses, then be sure to use the DOT 5 silicone brake fluid. I do this with all my old cars, and so far never have brake problems, other than a NAPA brake switch on my 1950 Champion, which failed just days short of the 2 year warranty, so it was replaced free of charge.

  16. #16
    President Member
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    +1 on above.

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