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Old 03-26-2023, 01:18 AM   #1
1928 Sport Coupe
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Default Brake improvement for Model A's

I have been reading the threads on brake improvement for Model A Ford's. I have not seen much about the Floater kits available from the vendors.
Are the floater kits of any help? If so are they worth the cost?
I saw on the thread about brake drums and Hydraulic conversion where nkaminar had talked about using the rear levers on the front. I thought about trying that. But still was thinking about the floaters. Does anyone have instructions on installing the floaters? I just do not understand how they work.
Is the floaters for just the front or are they for all four brakes?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-26-2023, 05:06 AM   #2
Bruce of MN
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

Have you looked here: http://flatheadted.com/
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Old 03-26-2023, 06:19 AM   #3
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

the biggest improvement you can make is cast iron drums
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Old 03-26-2023, 09:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

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the biggest improvement you can make is cast iron drums

correct! i got my Margarethe from the Netherlands (no hills) and where i live we do have some hills, not the Alps but nethertheless. I threw out the old tine drums and swapped them against cast iron drums with new brake shoes, just the front, with brake equalizers. Totally different car. Now i can brake a second and third time going downhill whereas before the second trial always resulted in additional braking with the emergency brake.


Next winter i will also swap the rear drum brakes, but that's not a high priority. I don't need more capability in the brakes...
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Old 03-26-2023, 09:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

Wow! Just came to the Barn to ask the same question! I look forward to the responses. I ordered some floater for the front brakes from Mikes last night because they were really affordable. But one thing a person should not skimp on is stopping power especially in todays traffic. I’ve been eyeing the flat head Teds.
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Old 03-26-2023, 11:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

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I am of the impression that you will find both good and bad reviews on Flat Head Ted's. I installed them on our Town Sedan several years back when re-doing the braking system, and I struggle now with the brakes locking up when I go to back up after having applied the brakes (I always have to go forward slightly in order to release them). I have a friend who has commented that he had had the same experiences, and removed that set-up and returned to the original linkages. I am considering doing the same on this car as well. By the way, just as an FYI when considering whether other factors might be involved, when we did the brakes on my car, I replaced all bushings, rollers, shafts, cast iron brake drums, etc. I have not been able to determine any significant difference between that car and our other Model A's that do not have the Flat Head Ted's set-ups. Good luck whatever direction you decide to go.
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Old 03-26-2023, 11:27 AM   #7
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

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Originally Posted by Bruce of MN View Post
Have you looked here: http://flatheadted.com/
I will take a look at the web site. Thanks
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Old 03-26-2023, 02:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

The FHT floaters are worth it. Better stopping with less pedal pressure. But they have to be installed correctly and the brakes have to be in A1 shape to begin with.
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Old 03-26-2023, 04:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

IMO, the main problem with the brakes on the Model A is the strong bias towards the rear. To bring that nearer the correct (by today's standards) 60/40 towards the front, I have left things as they are at the back but put cast drums with riveted woven linings on the front along with that floating pin conversion. That improved things out of sight but in a moment's inspiration, I looked at the length of the front and rear actuating levers and immediately saw why there is the bias. My answer was to graft a pair of rear actuating levers onto the front. It took a bit of machining and fiddling but now, my brakes are about as good as is possible with such narrow tyres.
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Old 03-26-2023, 05:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

My A has original everything except drums. Stops very well, and all wheels lock up at about the same time. Not sure how that can be improved? Yes, every few years it needs a little adjustment, not a big job. My other old cars are hydraulic, its a constant struggle to get them working after sitting the winter. Maybe in a dry, temporate environment it'd be different but NOT here. As to the original posters questions, I'd say go with the new drums, fix your brakes to new specs, and drive it.
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Old 03-26-2023, 07:26 PM   #11
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

Maybe Eagle has his brakes adjusted to put more braking on the front. Backing off the rears one or two notches may do the trick.

Eagle: in your juice brakes, what fluid are you using. I understand DOT 5 does not pick up moisture, or is it synthetic brake fluid?

I put the longer levers on the front of my car after Synchro let his secrete out.
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A is for apple, green as the sky.
Step on the gas, for tomorrow I die.
Forget the brakes, they really don't work.
The clutch always sticks, and starts with a jerk.
My car grows red hair, and flies through the air.
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Old 03-26-2023, 08:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

Wouldn't adjusting the brakes with more bias towards the front be another alternative, or adjusting the brakes so they all have the same amount of drag? The Ford shop bulletin and Les Andrews' approach is to start the rear brakes engaging first. Ideally, you don't want the fronts to lock up so that you maintain steering in the case of a panic stop.

My town sedan has cast iron drums and stops great. My roadster still has steel drums and stops okay given that I know their limitations, but I plan to install cast iron drums all the way around on it in the next couple of weeks. I know some people only install cast iron drums on the front, but it doesn't make much sense to me.
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Old 03-26-2023, 09:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

The bias is created by the linkage geometry,not adjustment.You can get to the more braking on the front by adjusting,but you are really just under-adjusting the rears.I've seen two instances where the Teds floaters were a problem,and one turned out to be worn adjuster housings.I didn't find the problem,another mechanic friend did.The other time I did find the problem.I adjusted the brakes as they were supposed to be done,and the problem went away.The owner had been using that board,and it is just too much of an arbitrary tool that makes no allowances for uneven wear.
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Old 03-26-2023, 11:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

I looked at Flathead Ted's website and tried to read about the different kits. I am still thinking on it.
Another question I have. Which lining is better the molded or the woven? I do not tour with the car, i just drive it for pleasure. Probably no more than 40 miles from home.
I think I will rebuild the brakes back to new stock condition plus the new cast drums. Of course that means new bushings, brake rods (mine have been bent to adjust in the past), and anything that is worn or broken and beyond repair. I may also try the rear levers on the front.
I want to have the best brakes I can without changing the mechanical brakes to Hydraulic. I want the car to look stock.
Thanks again.
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Old 03-27-2023, 12:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1928 Sport Coupe View Post
I looked at Flathead Ted's website and tried to read about the different kits. I am still thinking on it.
Another question I have. Which lining is better the molded or the woven? I do not tour with the car, i just drive it for pleasure. Probably no more than 40 miles from home.
I think I will rebuild the brakes back to new stock condition plus the new cast drums. Of course that means new bushings, brake rods (mine have been bent to adjust in the past), and anything that is worn or broken and beyond repair. I may also try the rear levers on the front.
I want to have the best brakes I can without changing the mechanical brakes to Hydraulic. I want the car to look stock.
Thanks again.
Woven!
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Old 03-27-2023, 05:37 AM   #16
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

https://youtu.be/lcJ5LUbmro0

https://youtu.be/2EjRe411l3M

You'll need to watch both.

You can get shoes from Randy that are matched to the drum.
I was told in my youth, linings needs to be soft. Use hard at your own peril.
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Old 03-27-2023, 06:57 AM   #17
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

The real brake upgrade is the 1932 and up brakes. I swapped my fronts to the 32 brakes and the difference is hands down amazing.

The floaters do help either these or the stocks for sure... Also ditch stamped steel drums indefinitely.
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Old 03-27-2023, 07:04 AM   #18
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

Few pics of the upgrade...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg COUPE 115.jpg (121.3 KB, 144 views)
File Type: jpg COUPE 46.jpg (49.2 KB, 149 views)
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Old 04-03-2023, 08:37 PM   #19
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1928 Sport Coupe View Post
I looked at Flathead Ted's website and tried to read about the different kits. I am still thinking on it.
Another question I have. Which lining is better the molded or the woven? I do not tour with the car, i just drive it for pleasure. Probably no more than 40 miles from home.
I think I will rebuild the brakes back to new stock condition plus the new cast drums. Of course that means new bushings, brake rods (mine have been bent to adjust in the past), and anything that is worn or broken and beyond repair. I may also try the rear levers on the front.
I want to have the best brakes I can without changing the mechanical brakes to Hydraulic. I want the car to look stock.
Thanks again.
I have all three types of lining, The original style woven, the soft Molded and the soft Woven that I got from Berts.

The original work great but are too "grabby" and noisy. The soft molded work quite well. But in my experience the soft Woven work the best, even though I have them on the heaviest car.
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Old 04-04-2023, 10:38 AM   #20
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Default Re: Brake improvement for Model A's

I'm with Big Kev, I put 35 brakes on front of my coupe this winter...What a difference !
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