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Old 11-16-2018, 10:09 AM   #1
Ned1
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Default Brake Adjustment

I believe that Ford changed the brake adjustment procedure for the A in the early 1930's. Does anyone have a link or copy of this?
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Old 11-16-2018, 10:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

Check the service bulletins, should be in there.
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Old 11-16-2018, 11:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

The last (and only) service bulletin during the Model A years for adjusting brakes was January of 1928 (service bulletin page #202).

There MAY have been one after Model A production that applied to the Model A when Ford figured out that having the rear brakes come on first was a big mistake.

If you install one of Flathead Ted's full floater kits, he gives instructions on how to adjust the brake rods so that the majority of the braking gets done by the fronts like "modern" cars. The combination of having full floating brakes AND front brakes coming on first transforms the braking of a Model A.
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Old 11-20-2018, 05:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

When I redid my brakes earlier this year, I used the "Brake Buddy" and a modified Les Andrews procedure so both front and rear brakes are applied the same
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Old 11-21-2018, 01:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

Confusion about brake rod length caused by the service bulletins and the Les Andrews book is what causes a lot of model A's to have poor brakes . The length of the brake levers on the backing plates is what controls when the brakes , back to front activate . Model A brakes are a simple common sense setup . If slack is allowed to remain in the brake rods because of incorrect adjustment , the brakes can never work at optimum level . In other words, it doesn't much matter how many parts are replaced or how much money is spent , if the brake rods and cross shaft are setup incorrectly the brakes will be less effective than original .
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Old 11-21-2018, 02:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

I've seen the longer rear brake levers put on the front for more braking on the front wheels. To my mind, there is some sound reasoning in that. The car I saw with that done has been like that for years but I have not spoken to the owner to ask what they are like. I figure that if the idea was a dud, he would have taken them off.
I know many on this site will not approve any alteration to what Henry did but Henry didn't drive on roads choked with so many idiots as we have today.
What is the reasoned opinion of others?
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

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Originally Posted by Synchro909 View Post
What is the reasoned opinion of others?
Does it HAVE to be reasoned?

I believe that Henry just didn't know when the Model A was being designed that the front brakes should be doing 75% of the vehicle's stopping force. 4 wheel brakes were a pretty new thing in 1928. A few years after the A, however, the industry got it figured out and put bigger brakes and proportioned the braking force to the front. It has been that way ever since.

Lots of info on front vs rear braking on the net. Here's one...

http://knowhow.napaonline.com/front-...he-difference/

You can set up your brakes as Henry did and if you have never driven an A set up with a front brake bias instead of the stock rear bias, you'll be happy.
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

This string is the 1st I've seen that says to adjust so front brakes lock up before back. Am confused - wouldn't this method be dangerous in gravel/dirt/pea gravel?




In the day unless you lived in town/city most driving was not on paved roads.
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Old 11-21-2018, 04:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

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This string is the 1st I've seen that says to adjust so front brakes lock up before back. Am confused - wouldn't this method be dangerous in gravel/dirt/pea gravel?

In the day unless you lived in town/city most driving was not on paved roads.
Your concerns were a hot topic for debate back when front brakes were the coming thing. The concern was the loss of steering when the front wheels are locked. That is still a valid concern today (the laws of physics haven't changed!) but we spend most of our time these days on sealed roads so the front brakes can take way more braking before they lock. I will be adjusting the brakes so the front and back come on at the same time.
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Old 11-21-2018, 04:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

People can make whatever mods that they like and I have no problem . My mention of longer brake levers was that model A's have longer rear brake levers . The leverage of the longer levers cause the rear brakes to activate quicker and should have more power . The rear brake bias is built in because of the longer brake levers .
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Old 11-21-2018, 06:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

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Originally Posted by Purdy Swoft View Post
People can make whatever mods that they like and I have no problem . My mention of longer brake levers was that model A's have longer rear brake levers . The leverage of the longer levers cause the rear brakes to activate quicker and should have more power . The rear brake bias is built in because of the longer brake levers .
Precisely. My reasoning is that by putting the longer levers on the front also, we would bring the front and back to at least equal braking. Even with 50/50 braking the rear wheels will lock way before the front because the weight of the car gives the front ones more traction. I also have the floating pin in the actruating wedge kit installed in the front and woven linings so I expect more than 50% braking on the front and greatly improved stopping.
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

I also use the floating lower pin in the front lower brake wedges . This setup helps center the lower front brake shoes .
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:35 PM   #13
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

I usually adjust them for equal or maybe slightly less lock on the fronts from a full lock on the rears. Yes you want to be able to steer the car as well. The stock levers on front and rear properly adjusted brake with the emphasis on the rear more but with increased pedal pressure they can all lock when adjusted to do so.
The key as Purdy said is to have the cross shaft 12 and 6 oclock on the levers and slack taken out on the rear rods and levers for proper adjustment. I do mine on jackstands and adjust all wheels following proper wedge adjustment and drag while the pedal is at progressively more pedal pressure intervals. At an inch and a half or so down on the pedal they should lock and stop the car well. The car should track straight on a hard stop no veering left or right. If it does you need to check your tire pressures first and brake adjustments to ensure a straight track outcome.

I can lock them up and have actually smokes the tires to a stop on my tudor. Key is proper rebuilding and restoration of the entire system, using good soft molded lining these days with a good cast iron brake drum. You will be amazed how well they can stop.

I've done many brake jobs and haven't had any complaints yet. I typically use Randy Gross's brake drums and have had excellent success.
I will be putting on a brake seminar at the MARC meet in Dearborn 2019. Looking forward to seeing and meeting many of you.
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

The upside of having the rear brakes lock first in gravel is that you will be able to steer. The downsides are that it will take a lot longer to stop and the rear of the car will likely pass you during the attempted stop.

How often will we experience a panic stop in gravel vs on pavement?

All cars since the mid 1930's have the braking proportioned so that the fronts do 75% of the braking and will lock first in a panic stop. Was Henry right with the Model A and everyone since wrong? Was Henry right with the 2 wheel brakes on the Model T?
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

Dick,
I do know one thing, restored properly and well the original system along with cast iron brake drums and new soft molded lining can and will stop the car on a panic stop and screech them to the stop. The key is proper restoration and adjustment. A while back I serviced a 29K mile car with original brakes and steel drums. I did some adjustment but was amazed how well it too stopped.
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

The Model T only had emergency brakes on rear wheels. The regular braking was the band stopping the transmission...which i guess would only effect rear wheels.
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:22 PM   #17
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

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Originally Posted by Dick Steinkamp View Post
The upside of having the rear brakes lock first in gravel is that you will be able to steer. The downsides are that it will take a lot longer to stop and the rear of the car will likely pass you during the attempted stop.

How often will we experience a panic stop in gravel vs on pavement?

All cars since the mid 1930's have the braking proportioned so that the fronts do 75% of the braking and will lock first in a panic stop. Was Henry right with the Model A and everyone since wrong? Was Henry right with the 2 wheel brakes on the Model T?





Just for the sake of discussion, most cars today have anti-lock brakes, full lockup of brakes is not possible, allowing for safety/steering under max stopping. I still remember driving a rear wheel drive truck on wet and/or snowy conditions. Had to shift down on the automatic trans to stop/slow down quickly, especially if turning - otherwise front locked up and rear right would still be driving. Ex-wife refused to drive the truck in the winter.
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

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Originally Posted by Purdy Swoft View Post
I also use the floating lower pin in the front lower brake wedges . This setup helps center the lower front brake shoes .
Ditto and I will continue to use them with the longer levers.
I think I will be needing the seat belt to stop my face hitting the windscreen when I press the brake pedal!!
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:37 PM   #19
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

Is there a name or specification for the “new soft moulded linings”. I have bonded linings from quite a few years ago, along with cast iron drums, but doubt they are soft.
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Old 11-22-2018, 12:17 AM   #20
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Default Re: Brake Adjustment

Went for a drive in the rain this AM and since it is the first rain in eight months or so the streets are slick as can be. Car stops real well on dry roads but the back end wanted to get to the intersection first today. Let up a bit and stopped five feet past the line instead of five feet before it. I might just put the 32 drums and brakes back on the front. They give a little more shoe contact than the 31's. 12 inch verses 11 inch. If I had a lathe I'd make some discs for the front and be done with it. Too old to start now.
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