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  • Brakes: I guess I am a Scaredy Cat

    Well I finally have my 57 Silver hawk to the point where I am ready to take it to the muffler shop an get the dual burned out Smitty's replaced with regular mufflers (Too noisy for me). My problem is I am afraid to drive it out of my driveway. I do not trust the brakes and I live in an area of rolling hills.

    I have replaced everything in the brake system except for the backing plates. The front drums are 10 inch and no power steering. I have only driven it in my driveway (100 feet long) and the brakes just do not feel right. I have a full pedal (one inch from the top). It just seems like I have to push too hard and it is slow to respond. I have bled two quarts of brake fluid through the system and it does not change.

    I have not driven a car without power brakes since the 1950s. Is it possible I have just forgotten and this is the way it will always feel? I plan to install a Turner system someday but would like to be able to drive it as it is for awhile. Can anyone tell me approximately how much force it should take on the brake pedal to get a rapid slow down and stop. Thanks

  • #2
    I'm not an expert here but those old bakes were/are not that great. I understand your position because I have the same problem. You need to get out there and take it slow and cautious to develop a trust in your car. I have the added problem of a non-sychro mesh tranny. I have no problem upshifting by double clutching but down shifting is another story... What I have done is what my father taught me. Take car to an open lot like a school parking lot on the weekend accelerate and stomp on the brakes. Do this several times and you will develop more confidence...
    1948 M15A-20 Flatbed Truck Rescue
    See rescue progress here on this blog:
    http://studem15a-20.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      AAA? If the car is unsafe to drive they will tow it to a repair shop.

      Ernier

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      • #4
        Do you know if your car had a hydrovac originally? If it did, the brake pedal may be different from what was put in a non-hydrovac car - different leverage. Could be a possibillity, check your parts manual.
        Paul
        Winston-Salem, NC
        Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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        • #5
          It has been my experience the fresh brakes need to be bedded or broken in. I followed steps similar to those in the link below and it made a huge difference before and after. I suggest you give it a try.

          http://www.ehow.com/how_7571495_prop...um-brakes.html

          Pat
          Pat Dilling
          Olivehurst, CA
          Custom '53 Starlight aka STU COOL


          LS1 Engine Swap Journal: http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...ournalid=33611

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          • #6
            10 inch drums in the front were for 6cyl. cars. Maybe with a v8 its to much weight for that setup. Perhaps others with more knowledge can put there experince to work here.

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            • #7
              When the brakes were improved in 1955 for v8s, the published stopping distance for my 1955 Commander V8 coupe was the same as my long-since sold 1989 Lincoln Continental with 4 wheel disk brakes.

              10 inch drums ARE 6 cylinder - but as long as you haven't converted to a V8, I also felt my 1955 Champion stopped well.

              Are the linings touching the full length of the brake drum, or is the drum excessively worn? Also check to ensure all wheel cylinders are working.

              The brakes should be very good...

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the info. The car was originally a six cylinder with stick shift. It is now a V8 with automatic transmission. I guess I should just drive it carefully and see if they improve. I am still curious as to how much force on the brake is needed to lock them up. Maybe I will drive for awhile then adjust them again. I will also give Turner brakes a call and see about converting the front brakes. Thanks again.

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                • #9
                  I do have some nice used finned drums and backing plates from a V-8 Cruiser (65). You would have to ask some of the experts here, but I'm pretty sure they will interchange.
                  Jamie McLeod
                  Hope Mills, NC

                  1963 Lark "Ugly Betty"
                  1958 Commander "Christine"
                  1964 Wagonaire "Louise"
                  1955 Commander Sedan
                  1964 Champ
                  1960 Lark

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                  • #10
                    Starliner62,
                    Thanks, I would be interested but I understand my backing plates have 5 bolts and yours have six. Does anyone know if they would fit?

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                    • #11
                      I was also surprised (as was my wife) regarding the pedal force necessary for braking on my 58 Hawk. It takes a little while to get used to it: the more
                      often I drove it, the better it felt, and I also think the brakes get "broken in" (mine were all new also); I was also toying with
                      the idea of Turner discs, but am now happy with the stock brakes. Mind you, if I had to drive in traffic everyday, or on the itnerstate, I
                      would do the switch to discs.

                      Joe D.

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                      • #12
                        OK, I jacked up the front end and found my brake adjustment has changed from where I adjusted them to. I was told to adjust them to where the tire would spin 1 1/2 to 2 turns after a good spin. I found the right would turn about 1 1/2 turns but the left would turn probably 3 turns. I now have them tightened so i only get one turn on each side after a good spin. They feel much better. I plan on driving it a few miles to the muffler shop tomorrow. When I get it home I will check the adjustment again. Is there any possibility I have them too tight and they might overheat while driving 30 mph for a few miles? Thanks

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                        • #13
                          We've had several threads recently about the feeling excessive braking force is required after a drum brake rebuild.

                          I spoke with one of the largest brake rebuilders in the northwest and he said:

                          Yes, the force will most likely have gone up. The brake linings they use today are completely different than when our Studes were new. Of course, the best brake material, asbestos, is gone. The materials used are much harder than the good old stuff.

                          The assumption today is all systems have power front disc brakes, so the lining materials are for rear drums don't get much thought. Rear drums on a front disc system are mostly to provide a parking brake. They provide less than 20% of the stopping power and a hard lining is used to reduce any tendency to rear lockup.

                          He said, there isn't much they can do as there isn't much of a choice of lining materials for drum brakes any more. His suggestion was to add a power brake vacuum booster, which is exactly what Studebaker did ;>)

                          jack vines
                          Last edited by PackardV8; 05-09-2011, 01:53 PM.
                          PackardV8

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                          • #14
                            Two thoughts.....

                            Adjust each wheel so it won't turn by hand then back it off 7 (or 8) clicks. This is a more accurate way than the spin-it-2-1/2-turns method.

                            My '55 Land Cruiser came with Hydrovac. I rebuilt it with all new parts, left the 'vac off. I haven't tried to lock it up, but I have successfully made a couple of real panic stops with no problem. You just gotta really push on the pedal.

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                            • #15
                              I adjusted mine pretty tight; a couple of clicks too loose made a big difference. After the intiial adjustment,
                              I took mine for a good spin, using the brakes a lot, and then felt the wheels to see if there was excessive heat.
                              They were fine.

                              Joe D.

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