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Old 07-24-2019, 09:21 PM   #1
DannL
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Default Brake feel . . .

The day before buying the Model A it had no brakes whatsoever. The owner and I took her out several times on previous days, and the fact it had no brakes was of minor concern . . . to him. . After agreeing to buythe car, but before driving that 25 miles home, we adjusted the brakes. I am very curious what properly adjusted braking should feel like. Currently she won't stop on a dime or a dollar, nor will she lock up if I tried. I would call it a 50 ft. stop distance from 20-25 mph. What really should I be looking for? Thanks in advance. Dann in OKC
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Old 07-24-2019, 09:40 PM   #2
jm29henry
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

you should be able to lock up all 4 wheels
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Old 07-24-2019, 10:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

Randy runs it now...you can't go wrong. Mine work very well. Give him a call.

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=266646
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Old 07-24-2019, 10:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

Its important for your safety to fully understand the mechanical brake system.Condition and adjustment are critical,gain both and you'll wonder why folks speak badly of them.
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Old 07-24-2019, 10:27 PM   #5
Dick Steinkamp
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

If a car won't go it's inconvenient. If it won't stop, it's deadly.
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Old 07-25-2019, 12:11 AM   #6
TerryH
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

Getting the brakes to work properly and well normally involves a lot more than adjusting them. That’s a good place to start, but after that you need to systematically inspect the entire system and repair, replace, or adjust as necessary. Worn tracks, linings, and drums may need to be replaced, but also all the brake rods and associated parts need to be checked for wear and proper fit. After everything else is done the shoes then need to be accurately centered to the drums. Properly restored mechanical brakes work really well, but all components need to be working correctly.
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Old 07-25-2019, 01:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by DannL View Post
The day before buying the Model A it had no brakes whatsoever. The owner and I took her out several times on previous days, and the fact it had no brakes was of minor concern . . . to him. . After agreeing to buythe car, but before driving that 25 miles home, we adjusted the brakes. I am very curious what properly adjusted braking should feel like. Currently she won't stop on a dime or a dollar, nor will she lock up if I tried. I would call it a 50 ft. stop distance from 20-25 mph. What really should I be looking for? Thanks in advance. Dann in OKC
At 20-25 mph even on dry bitumen, you should be able to lock the wheels. The rear ones will lock very easily. I have fiddled things a bit to get more braking on the front wheels. I was able to stop from 20 mph in 19 feet. Our club had a brakes workshop day and we tested every car there.
Now, all that said, if you have to make a sudden stop, you will jump on the brakes. While they are cold, they will work better. If you tested them by applying them, then increasing the pedal pressure, they won't work as well. As with all drum brakes, they fade quickly as they get hot. There's a reason all cars these days have disc brakes!
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Old 07-25-2019, 06:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

Dan
Glad to hear you bought a Model A but not on your brakes. Unless the rest of the car is top notch know that brakes on them to be done right and well can be expensive.
I’m giving the brake seminar at Marc national meet in Dearborn, you should come to the meet!

There are many things that can cause the issue from poor adjustment to a worn out system needing restoration . Brakes are about a $3500 bill so not something to overlook when purchasing, but needing to take into consideration. Unfortunately 80 percent of he model A’s out there have sub par brakes.
As was said they can screech to A stop when done well.
I would see if there is someone in your area who’s model a brake schooled or look me up in the National magazines to chat if you desire.

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Old 07-25-2019, 08:42 AM   #9
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

I use my A as a base comparison for other old car brakes, mine work easy, a regular stop is little more than the weight of leg and foot on the pedal, and there are many cars that I wouldn't want behind me ---even some into the 70s
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Old 07-25-2019, 09:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

When done correctly, the car will stop very quickly. My Dad and I completely redid the brakes on his coupe (as per the instuctions in the "Restorer" don't remember the issue number) and that car stops on a dime. There is a LOT to mechanical brakes that effects stopping distance. To name just a few, bushing wear in the cross shaft, bushing wear in the operation rod levers in the backing plates. Clevis eye hole wear in the brake rods and brake rod clevis pin wear. Bushing wear on the brake/clutch pedal shaft and wear on the brake/clutch pedal shaft. Brake roller and roller track wear. Operating wedge and rod wear. Brake shoe and drum wear. As you can see, this is very involved. Ford also set the car up originally to have about 60% of the brake power on the back wheels. The back wheels should lock before the fronts do when testing. When adjusting at the backing plates there should be a light drag on the wheel when adjusted correctly.
Please note that this is not instuctions on how to do your brakes jsut an overview of how complicated the system is. If you are going to do the brakes, please make sure you get professional instruction. Good luck!
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Old 07-25-2019, 09:50 AM   #11
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

First thing you need to do is pull all 4 drums and inspect the drums and linings.
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Old 07-25-2019, 11:46 AM   #12
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

if your parts are good. you will need to adjust. try running the adjusters in till you cant spin it and come back 2 or 3 clicks. you will need to make a brake board or play around till it doesnt pull and look up methods to get the bias right. if you cant adjust them to tight then you will need parts.
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Old 07-25-2019, 11:10 PM   #13
DannL
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

You folks are awesome. Thank you for the advice. Being monetarily challenged, I'll be doing most of my own work. Which means . . . please maintain 500' clearance should you see me coming down the road.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:34 AM   #14
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

Dann L:

Welcome to the forum. Many of us fully understand the challenges of affording a Model A.

Of all the things that have been written and discussed on this and other forums, brakes is at the top of the list of frequent topics. You can use the search function to find things that have been posted. Unlike topics on what kind of oil to use or whether or not to use antifreeze, there is actually a lot of agreement on brakes! (usually)

The properly functioning Model A brakes should be able to handle an emergency stop and you should not feel any hesitation to use them. They will lock up if you brake heavily, but the stock Model A is designed to lock the rear brakes before fronts.

As a new owner of a Model A, you should get the Les Andrews red Mechanics Handbook.

If the original steel brake drums have never been replaced you should seriously consider spending the money on cast iron brake drums that you can get from Randy Gross. If, on the other hand, your drums are in good shape, the cost of relining brake shoes is considerably less, but there are several other points of wear to consider in mechanical brakes. Like has been said, you need to pop the drums off and see what's going on inside before you can do a game plan.

Of all the things you work on, the brakes take a very high position in the list of priorities. If you have ever seen old pictures from the 1930's of Model A's in traffic accidents, you will see that they don't do well in collisions and neither do their occupants. It is well worth the money.
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Old 07-26-2019, 05:42 AM   #15
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

You could put up a sign.
http://goulburn.ulyssesclub.org/Port...-w670-h600.jpg
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:06 AM   #16
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

Monetarily challenged? some dont have money,some do,but all model a owners are monetarily challenged..its called CAMO,cheap ass model a owner,a rampant disease in the hobby.

Mechanical brakes is not rocket science,but like everything else on the car it requires attention to detail and the desire to do the job correctly.
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Old 07-26-2019, 10:35 AM   #17
Jim Brierley
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

If needed, you can pull the emergency brake on, they are a seperate set of shoes.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:51 PM   #18
Magicbox51
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

If the brakes are shot, the e-brake is likely to be shot too.
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Old 07-26-2019, 04:27 PM   #19
john in illinois
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

Les Andrews book -post 14-is very important to understand your brakes. There are others,but that is a good start on a model A library.

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Old 07-27-2019, 01:17 PM   #20
Brentwood Bob
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Default Re: Brake feel . . .

Caution with the emergency brake. It is for setting the brake on a parked car. If it is applied while the car is moving it can be ruined.
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