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  • Brakes: Brake lights stay on

    I have a '58 Packard Hawk and am just getting it prepared to go off to the body shop; it is one of the rare models that has a manual transmission with overdrive. I notice that when I pump up the brakes, the brake lights stay on. I thought I might have a defective brake light switch, so I loosed it and discovered that the system was holding brake fluid pressure even after the brake pedal has been released. Once I relieve the pressure, the lights go out, so I assume the switch is OK? After some research in the shop manual, I see that my car may have a hill holder. Can anyone confirm this? I suspect that the hill holder might somehow be related to the fact that the pressure does not drop off when the pedal is released. I am afraid to drive the car because I assume that the shoes are being held against the shoes. Is there anything else that may be causing this condition?
    Dan Marrin
    My Packards; '40 120 sed, '41 Rollson sed, '48 Victoria conv, '48 Super 8 limo, '58 Hawk
    I live summers in Breezy Point, MN and winters in Sistersville, WV

  • #2
    I wonder if the piston in the master cylinder if coming all the way back to uncover the ports to return the fluid to the reservoir?

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    • #3
      The first thing to check is to see that the brake pedal free play is correct. If it isn't, adjust it.

      If the car has a hill-holder, it will be readily apparent in back of the master cylinder. There should be a picture in the shop manual to show you what it looks like.

      Why not drive the car just a little and see if the brakes are dragging? You'd be able to feel it if they were. BP
      We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

      Ayn Rand:
      "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.

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      • #4
        What happens when you pump them up, and then push the clutch down??

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        • #5
          Thanks for your suggestions. I will try to get over today to get a closer look at the master cylinder, and to verify whether or not I do, in fact, have a hill holder.
          Dan Marrin
          My Packards; '40 120 sed, '41 Rollson sed, '48 Victoria conv, '48 Super 8 limo, '58 Hawk
          I live summers in Breezy Point, MN and winters in Sistersville, WV

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          • #6
            I think Tom and Bob are on the right track. Make sure there is some free travel in the rod going to the MC. There cannot be any preload. It will cause issues.

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            • #7
              Had a 1941 Plymouth that did the same thing. As you drove it, pressure would build until the car would drag itself to a stop.
              Upon taking the master cylinder apart , it was so full of crud it wouldn't let the piston come back far enough to expose the return port.
              A good cleaning and new cups, problem solved.
              sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

              "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
              Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
              "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

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              • #8
                Have the brake hoses ever been replaced? If not I would do that first as it almost matches your symptoms perfectly...

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                • #9
                  with worn brake pedal & linkages.... the preferred method of adjusting the pedal travel "tight" prevails and can become a drag.....(sorry-just had to..)

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