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My 65 Wagonaire needs to be converted to power brakes

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  • My 65 Wagonaire needs to be converted to power brakes

    Hi everybody, my 65 wagonaire has standard hydraulic brakes and it scares the hell out me having to stand on the brake pedal to stop the car. I am hoping someone here has done the conversion to power brakes. I do not have the money to convert to disc since what I have found will cost around $1200.00. I did read about using a mid 60's full size chevy brake booster but am not sure what all it would involve.
    Thanks for any help you can offer. Tim

  • #2
    I do not understand the need to stand on the brakes. You need to check the wheel cyl, brake shoes and check to see if the drums are too worn. I have only 1 Stude with factory power disk brakes out of 9 cars including a 62 GT w/o PBs and have NEVER had to stand on them. I never saw Grandpa having to do that either and he stopped driving the GT at age 89. Thoroughly check ALL components of you brakes. I will look at a friends '65 tomorrow and tell you what chebby he got his power brake system from. Seems like it was about a '68 or '69

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    • #3
      Remember this brake system 45 years old and God only knows what has been done to them during that time. The FIRST thing I check when I get ANY car home is the brake system. Failure in any other place is usually just inconvient, brakes are life and death.

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      • #4
        I agree, you should not have to stand on them to make them work, something is wrong. I would check wheel cylinders and flexible lines. How's the fluid level? On my hawk one of my hoses deteriorated from the inside not allowing fluid to pass by. Check to see if the adjusters are working too and manually set them up. Take the drums off and look to see how they would tighten up against the drums, then tighten them up and back them off a bit. There is no point in spending money where it is not needed only to have to spend more money on the real problem.

        Best of luck.
        1964 GT Hawk
        PSMCDR 2014
        Best time: 14.473 sec. 96.57 MPH quarter mile
        PSMCDR 2013
        Best time: 14.654 sec. 94.53 MPH quarter

        Victoria, Canada

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        • #5
          X4 - something or several things in your old brake system is/are not functioning as it/they should. Guaranteed, if every component is new and adjusted properly, your Stude will stop straight and strong. For a lot less than #$1200 you can replace all the hoses, rebuild the master and wheel cylinders, install new shoes and turn the drums.

          FWIW, I've installed several disc conversions for others and they go away singing the praises of their $1200-$2500 new disc brake system and telling everyone it is the only way to go. When I look at the worn out and/or maladjusted pile of parts removed, no wonder they thought the Stude brakes were no good. Most owners had never looked inside any part of their braking system and had never done any maintenance since they bought the car. Brakes are wear parts. Every part of the system requires regular maintenance, adjustment and eventual replacement. Brake fluid should be changed every two years.

          jack vines
          PackardV8

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          • #6
            Tim,
            Check your Notifications box (private messages) about a different item for your car from me.

            EDIT: Sorry, maybe it was a private email. Anyway, get in touch with me.
            KURTRUK
            (read it backwards)




            Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

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            • #7
              Having owned a '63 Wagonaire with finned 11 in. front and 10 in. Rear brakes and a dual Master Cyl. just like Tim's '65 I have to say that those Dual Masters with the poorer leverage overhead pedals and the combination of those two PLUS the heaviest Studebaker made, makes for a very hard to stop vehicle, so I understand his problem. Of course the above advice is good and MAY be needed, but it will never stop like a Hawk with the through the floor pedal, not going to happen!

              I put a '61-'62 and low level '63 Lark Single Master on mine, and removed the automatic adjusters on all 4 wheels and it helped some, but it could well have used Power Brakes.
              StudeRich
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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              • #8
                Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I will definitely have a closer look at all components of the brake system before doing anything else. This is my first stude and also my first car with non power brakes. thanks again for all the great help. Tim

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by WagonTim View Post
                  Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I will definitely have a closer look at all components of the brake system before doing anything else. This is my first stude and also my first car with non power brakes. thanks again for all the great help. Tim
                  Let us know what you find and how you corrected the problem.
                  1964 GT Hawk
                  PSMCDR 2014
                  Best time: 14.473 sec. 96.57 MPH quarter mile
                  PSMCDR 2013
                  Best time: 14.654 sec. 94.53 MPH quarter

                  Victoria, Canada

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yes, the later overhead pedals and dual master cylinder were an example of an improvement being vastly inferior to the system it replaced.

                    No, the Wagonaire system is not inherently unsafe, but fifty years of deterioration of literally every component is cumulative.

                    Maybe, check the local area for a truck and industrial clutch and brake shop. Up until last month, we had Pacific Diesel Brake, an old-school clutch and brake shop here in Spokane who could have given me properly arc'd brake shoes with softer iinings. No more miles than our Studes get these days, the softer linings would stop a Wagonaire with less pedal pressure and wear at least 20,000 miles. However, last month, PDB had a going-out-of-business auction and I currently don't have a clue as to where to take orphan clutch and brake work.

                    jack vines
                    PackardV8

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                    • #11
                      I recently acquired a '64 259 J8 with manual drum brakes and although the brakes will stop the car, the pressure required on the "whoa" pedal is substantial and not what I consider acceptable for todays driving conditions. I'm converting the car to power disc brakes with the Turner system and probably the 11" drum for disc system on the rear, as I have those parts. I can understand what Tim is experiencing.

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                      • #12
                        Tim try a 1970 chevy Nova power brake unit that is what is in my buddy's car....get MC and booster assembly about $130 from Rockauto.com....still check EVERY component carefully

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                        • #13
                          I am no shade tree, I have been ASE certified since the late 1970's. Trained by JohnDeere....

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                          • #14
                            Jim, thanks for your expertise! I will update you with my progress. Tim

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