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Um, is this a problem? Driving story.

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  • Um, is this a problem? Driving story.

    I took my '40 to a car show today. Everything up to the show (and the show itself) went great. It's when we decided to leave that the gremlins in my car started messing with the brakes! As I went to stop and a stop sign (thankfully, there was no other traffic there) my brake pedal went right to the floor! This was odd because when I left, the master cylinder was full. I was only a mile and a half from home, so we just limped it back down a back country road. When I got it in the garage, I took the cap off the master cylinder to find that it still had a little under half full of break fluid. At first, I thought I had blown a break line, but I actually didn't. When I pumped the pedal and looked under it, I saw fluid shooting from the back of the master cylinder. Somebody at one time put an electronic brake light switch on it and it cracked under pressure! So I replaced it with a brass plug. What was really scary is that I didn't have brakes, and my emergency brake dosen't work! The point of this story, EVERYBODY CHECK YOUR BRAKES!! But I still can't believe an electric switch/plug would crack like that (It wasn't being used anyway, I have a mechanical brake switch off the pedal). (The brakes work now)
    Last edited by Chris_Dresbach; 08-07-2010, 11:04 PM.
    Chris Dresbach

  • #2
    Chris this is why you take your time and buy all new breaks. I replaced my wheel cylinders and the Ebreak asap before I drove the car more than a block or two. It was a must it's not just you but others that can get hurt. Think about it be safe and have fun. Oh yeah I bought a new switch as well when I did the rest it was a no brainer.
    I have a 1950 4 door Commander a 51 land cruiser And a 52 Champion
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    I'll Tattoo you anytime!
    And you can find me at....

    New Shop Name Same tattoo shop
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    Shakopee Mn.
    952-445-3281
    27 years in the tattooing biz

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    • #3
      And the complete failure of the brake system because of a line leak is a big reason that all manufacturers went to 'dual chamber' master cylinders for the brake system.
      That way you only lose half your brakes, even if the pressure brake switch or a brake line fails, because the brake switch is only mounted on one of the brake circuits.
      If you invest in a Turner Brake dual master cylinder conversion kit, this type of brake failure won't happen.

      But I agree wholeheartedly that checking your brakes is the first thing that should be done on all Studebaker's.
      Good post!
      Jeff
      HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

      Jeff


      Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



      Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

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      • #4
        One other thing (if I may chime in)...why no hand brake? Especially on a single master cylinder system. Being as young as you are, you should know by now that you have dozens and dozens of us, including your real father, that are going to jump in and add "fatherly" advice." Your next project above all your planned tasks...get a working hand brake on that car! It is better to have one that won't run than one that won't stop! The hand brake on these early cars was built with a stout lever and fulcrum design in order to give you enough leverage to mechanically lock up and drag the rear wheels. When they are properly maintained and adjusted, they will do just that. Once you have them in "ship-shape," you should physically practice grabbing them and stopping the car a few times to better prepare yourself in the event your should have to do it in an emergency. I often mentally and physically practice the motions of reaching for the hand brake on my Studebakers because the locations are different on the different models. Glad you were able to make it back home safely.
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975

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        • #5
          Very scary! Glad this one had a happy ending!
          ~Matt Connor
          Jefferson City, MO
          ~Matt Connor
          '59 Lark 2-door

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          • #6
            Chris,

            Glad you got home safely .... You said you removed the cracked pressure switch and replaced it with a plug. How are your brake / tail lights working did you rig up a mechanical switch to the brake pedal itself? Even after you fix your brakes (that means the E-brake too !!!) you want to make sure that when you hit the brakes the fellow behind you will see your brake lights and know to stop as well.

            OK .... I chimed in on this and I'm done, remember in our youth none of us on this forum didn't anything foolish or unsafe .... LOL
            sigpic
            John
            63R-2386
            Resto-Mod by Michael Myer

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            • #7
              One other brake safety note, which was brought to my attention by my brake guy. He told me once that one in 10 old cars that come to him have NO COTTER PIN in the clevis that holds the brake pedal to the master cylinder actuating rod! If that pin were to fall out, the pedal would be immediately disconnected from the braking system. He advised me that the first brake system check anyone should do on a vintage car is to verify the presence of this link.

              'Nuff said!

              Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

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              • #8
                Brakes are the cheapest and most important thing to replace on your car, and should be done on every restoration project! This is a "No Brainer" even for the CASCO's among us.
                Good Roads
                Brian
                Brian Woods
                woodysrods@shaw.ca
                1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by okc63avanti View Post
                  Chris,

                  Glad you got home safely .... You said you removed the cracked pressure switch and replaced it with a plug. How are your brake / tail lights working did you rig up a mechanical switch to the brake pedal itself? Even after you fix your brakes (that means the E-brake too !!!) you want to make sure that when you hit the brakes the fellow behind you will see your brake lights and know to stop as well.

                  OK .... I chimed in on this and I'm done, remember in our youth none of us on this forum didn't anything foolish or unsafe .... LOL
                  The pressure switch was always totally useless and was as good as just a plug. There were never any wires going to it. Somebody put a mechanical switch off the brake pedal and the lights always worked (and still do) off of that. The car hasn't been on the road since this problem, but I have plans to look at the emergency brake tomorrow. The lever and cables for it are still all there and the lever is free. The only reason it dosen't work is because it's only hooked up to one rear wheel leaving too much slack in the cable to pull the lever to stop the wheel. Once I figure out how to pull the cable hard enough to hook it up, it will be fine. It's a pretty simple set up. I'm also thinking of ways to possibly hook up dual master cylinders should one break.
                  Chris Dresbach

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                  • #10
                    That's not one of those NAPA oil pressure light type of switches is it? I ask that because I had a similar case where the brake lights quit working on the Lark, a few years ago. Now before anyone starts condemning the fluid, this switch had been on the vehicle since I bought it, so in this case age of the switch had wiped it out more than anything. Anyway, I bought a pressure switch out of NAPA that worked in a similar fashion, it threaded into the same diameter bore, it caused an electrical circuit to come on when it was pressurized, except it was there to cause an oil light or something electrical to come on if the line got pressurized. I had it in the car for a couple of weeks before the diaphragm breached and causing fluid to start dripping out the bottom of the master cylinder, or just plain making a mess. I replaced it with another switch we had lying around from purchasing it from a show a year or two earlier(which took some searching), and of course the problems stopped. I also stockpiled a bunch of them in a drawer in the event it happened again.
                    1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
                    1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
                    1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
                    1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PlainBrownR2 View Post
                      That's not one of those NAPA oil pressure light type of switches is it? I ask that because I had a similar case where the brake lights quit working on the Lark, a few years ago. Now before anyone starts condemning the fluid, this switch had been on the vehicle since I bought it, so in this case age of the switch had wiped it out more than anything. Anyway, I bought a pressure switch out of NAPA that worked in a similar fashion, it threaded into the same diameter bore, it caused an electrical circuit to come on when it was pressurized, except it was there to cause an oil light or something electrical to come on if the line got pressurized. I had it in the car for a couple of weeks before the diaphragm breached and causing fluid to start dripping out the bottom of the master cylinder, or just plain making a mess. I replaced it with another switch we had lying around from purchasing it from a show a year or two earlier(which took some searching), and of course the problems stopped. I also stockpiled a bunch of them in a drawer in the event it happened again.
                      I have no idea what kind of switch this was. It was on it when I got it, but was never used.
                      Chris Dresbach

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