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  • Soft brake pedal

    I'm working on a 60 Lark Station Wagon. I have rebuilt the master cylinder, all four wheel cylinders, put in new rubber lines, and new cooper washers. After all of this and bleeding the brakes about half a dozen times the pedal is still soft. If I pump the brakes a few times the pedal eventually comes up. Could this be a problem with the residual check valve.

    Thanks,
    Nick

  • #2
    You need to re-adjust the shoes... they are backing away too far from the drums. You should tighten each adjuster until you CANNOT rotate the drum/wheel/tire BACKWARDS at all. Then back off 12 "clicks" as a start. Have someone pump the brakes after you back each wheel off 12 clicks.

    Do ALL 4 wheels. Then adjust the emergency brake cable.

    Pump the brakes... and go back and turn he drums one last time to check for dragging. if they drag 360 degrees- back off a few more clicks (18 total max). If they only scuff occasionally- do nothing until you can drive the car 5-10 miles. Take your brake spoon and a piece of cardboard with you... in case you need to do more adjusting.

    How can you tell?
    Well, drive until you have traveled 5 miles (at 40mph or more)- or start feeling a vibration (whichever comes first).
    Stop and check the drums for excessive heat. If they are too hot to touch- that adjuster needs to be released a few more clicks.

    You also could have drums that have been cut too much- and are now too oversize for the shoes.


    Specializing in Studebaker Restoration
    Ray

    www.raylinrestoration.com
    Specializing in Studebaker Restoration

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    • #3
      Thanks Studeman, I've got tomorrow off so I'll give it a try and let you know how it went.

      Nick

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      • #4
        Is the pedal going way down, like, to the floor and that is what you are calling "soft" or is the pedal staying up and feels soft and you have to push hard to get it to brake? If it is going to the floor and you have to pump it to get a pedal, then the shoes need adjustment. If the brake pedal is full and feels soft, then there is air in the line... did you bleed the master cylinder?? Often air gets caught in the master cylinder and has to compress before it transfers the pressure to the lines..... I am old school and the way we adjusted brakes when I was a kid working at the service station was that we would tighten up the adjuster with the brake spoon until we just locked the wheel from turning. Then we would back off the adjuster until the wheel would spin one to one and a half revolutions with a spin of the wheel. The argument to that is obvious as in "how hard do you spin it?" The point being that you want the brake shoe in close proximity of the drum and the closer the better...if it is dragging a little it will probably be okay...stop and feel the wheel... there is gonna be some heat on that wheel but it should not be excessive...stop after a couple miles, feel it... then go a few more miles, stop and feel it again... if its not any hotter than the first time... it is probably okay. The other point when adjusting the brakes is that you want them all to have the same amount of free play, front, back side to side. Hope this helps

        1955 President one owner
        Moncks Corner, SC

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        • #5
          Rockfoot,

          The pedal goes way down to the floor but comes up when I pump it. I'm feeling confident that adjusting will fix the problem as that's the feedback I'm getting.

          Thanks,
          Nick

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          • #6
            I dont know where the master cylinder is on a 60 but the under floor master cylinder on my 53 hardtop (actually a dual cylnder one) is mounted at one end and the pedal can cause a slight deflection of the cylinder which gives the soft feel. The delfection moves it as much as a couple of turns on the adjuster. I am currently planning to fabricate a bracket to hold both ends to eliminate any movement.
            This may not be the case for you but thought the info might be of value to those reading this thread

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            • #7
              I finally got out to work on the car last night. I readjusted the shoes how you gentlemen described it. After chasing my tail for 3 weeks I finally have brakes.

              Thank you,
              Nick H

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              • #8
                That's good news Nick. Now you have to take it out for a couple hot laps. Any pic of your wagon? I'd like to see it.

                Gordon

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