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Old 03-19-2019, 03:53 PM   #1
Cave
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Default Brake adjustment - Frustration

Brake adjustment – frustration is your name! I have checked here in the Barn, tune-up manuals, and YouTube… looks simple enough. The rods are adjusted right and the 15 degree front bias is fine. I have the pedal board set for my pedal to seat distance and have the car on jack stands all around. I work through the board notches as suggested. By the time I’m at notch 3 the rears are locked and the fronts bind some… just perfect.

Then, when I pull the board and release the pedal two of the wheels remain locked. I rock forward and back and they just barely release. So…. I back them off enough to turn freely and, you guessed it, there is no grab if I place the board back at notch 3. I’ve been through this all afternoon, and the results remain the same.

What am I doing wrong!?
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Old 03-19-2019, 04:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

No harm meant but what do you mean , the rods are adjusted right ? How did you adjust the brake rods ?
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Old 03-19-2019, 04:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

Forgive lack of proper terms, I'm just jotting this out, don't have the manual handy for terminology. But, to answer, the rear rods are set with the arms vertical and the front rods are set with the arms 15 degrees forward. Does that make sense?
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Old 03-19-2019, 04:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

Remove the rods from the actuating levers. Spin each wheel and slowly pull the lever toward the center. See where it grabs. Then set the rods to that lenght.
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

Have you pulled the drums to see what is going on inside. Something may be binding up. I would disconnect the rod and actuate the lever by hand while watching what is moving and what doesn't move back.
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:19 PM   #6
Purdy Swoft
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

I've never tried the board adjustment method . Here is how I do mine . I first disconnect all of the brake rods at the adjustable end . Disconnect the pedal rod at the pedal . This frees up the the service brake cross shaft for adjustment . You will need a gap of 1/16 between the plunger on the end of the pedal shaft and the inside rear of the center crossmember . This is where the plunger on the pedal shaft meets the brake light switch . This adjustment allows the levers on the cross shaft to be in correct position for brake rod connections . Adjust the clevis on the pedal rod so it will just connect to the brake pedal with the pedal at the top of its travel and prop the pedal up firmly to hold the adjustments that we have made until the brake rods are connected . Time to connect the brake rods . Pull back the slack on the front brake levers and adjust the brake rod clevises so that the brake rod pins will just enter . Repeat the same procedure on the rear brake rods . Being as the brakes were adjusted with the car on stands , there is a good possibility that the rear brakes will be too tight when the car is taken off the stands . I adjust the rear brakes with the wheels on the ground or the shop floor . I do this to allow for possible wear in the rear hub races and wear on the axle housing bearing races . Without going into proper bearing race specs , I just adjust the rear brakes so that I can judge any drag that is too much by pushing the car slightly . This setup will have the pedal ready to activate the brakes when applied . I always test mine on dirt so that I can observe skid markes and make final adjustments if needed
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Old 03-19-2019, 06:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

First,throw the board away.Adjust the brakes like Purdy explains.The wheels really need to be on the ground unless you have absolutely zero play in the rear wheel bearings,but that would be hard to believe.You need to be adjusting the brakes according to what your car needs,not dictated by some stick of wood.I've made a lot of money off those boards,from people that thought they are the magic wand for adjusting brakes.Of course,if you have wear on the tracks,pins,rollers,and the shoes are are not centered and arced,then all bets are off anyway.If you try to adjust the brakes using the board with worn parts,you will be in for a real treat.
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Old 03-19-2019, 06:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

It depends upon where you have the jack stands.

NOT under the frame rails...under the front and rear axles.

Also, I'm a firm believer in adjusting the brakes so that the front come on first like all cars built since the mid 1930's. The car stops much better and will not change ends in a panic stop like it will with the rears coming on first.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

All good advice. It's a new vehicle to me, mechanically the engine, tranny, radiator, U-joint, etc. are all freshly rebuilt or replaced however the seller told me he intended to do the brakes next but didn't get to them. I'll pull the drums and do a thorough check, replace anything questionable, and then adjust them to the suggestions by Purdy and Keith. And, YES, the stands are under the axles. THANKS y'all. After I dig in I'll post an update.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

Here’s how Ford did it:

From the Ford service bulletins:

"......pull the brake pedal all the way back until it is against its stop - then adjust the rod until there is about 1/16” clearance between end of rod and rear flange of center cross member (leaving a little clearance between end of rod and cross member prevents any possibility of the end of the rod rubbing against the cross member and causing a squeak).

"After adjusting the brake pedal to cross rod, assemble side pull rods to brake operating and cross shaft end levers. When assembling the side pull rods, pull the brake operating levers on the front axle back and the brake operating levers on the rear axle forward (taking up all idle movement). Then with the levers in this position adjust the side pull rods so they can be assembled to brake operating and cross shaft end levers.

Next adjust brakes by turning up the adjusting wedges as described on page 202 of the January, 1928, Bulletin. After the brake rods have been correctly adjusted car owners should be notified that this adjustment must not be altered. Service brake adjustments must be made only by means of the adjusting wedge at each brake."

From page 202:

"Make all adjustments with brakes cold. Jack up all four wheels. Release hand brake lever. See that wheels revolve freely. Turn the adjusting wedge at each brake (not the pull rod) until the brake drags, then back off the wedge 2 or 3 notches or just enough to allow the wheels to revolve without drag. On new cars brakes will sometimes drag slightly for ¼ or ½ revolution, due to slight high spots. Some judgment must be used in setting such brakes, for if the adjusting wedge is backed off sufficiently to allow the wheel to revolve freely, the brake pedal will go all the way to the floor board when the brakes are hot. A slight drag in one or two spots will do no harm, as the brake will soon free up when the car is driven a short distance and the brake drum slightly expands due to the heat generated. For this reason, brakes should not be adjusted with the drums hot, as when the drum contracts upon cooling it would cause the brakes to drag. To insure correct equalization have one man only check the brake pressure by rotating the wheel. If the above adjustments are correctly made the brakes should operate as follows:

1. Rear brakes should just start to hold when brake pedal is depressed approximately 1 inch.
2. Depressing pedal about 1/2 inch farther should tighten but not lock rear brakes and cause front brakes to just start to hold.
3. Depressing pedal approximately another l/2 inch should lock rear wheels and hold the fronts very tightly. With properly adjusted brakes this should not exceed one-half of the total possible pedal movement.
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:51 AM   #11
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

Don't worry, Cave.... You can spend a whole day adjusting brakes and find they're just the same as when you started! Great fun, it's what As are about.
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:53 AM   #12
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

I realize this thread is about "Adjusting the Brakes". Yet, for me, once I purchased my vehicle, with the brakes pulling the car to the left, I first started by pulling the drums to see what I was dealing with. To me it was the starting point for the unknowns! There were some parts I ordered and replaced. Then when that was done, then, and then only, the brakes got adjusted. At the time, I used the wood stick method, kind of, in that I had the fronts grab sooner, and got good grab all the way around. Now having read thru all this, the next time, I will do, now what I know the Ford Service bulletin states as provided by RonC. The key to adjustment, for me, was knowing what I was starting with under the drums, regardless of the adjustment method.
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Old 03-21-2019, 10:49 AM   #13
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

Of course the brakes need to be in good condition before final adjustment . There is a lot of confusion about model A brakes and probably always will be !!! People need to know that there is two different discussions on brake adjustment and setup in the service bulletins , in two different places. The setup and adjustment is different for the early models and really don't need to be mixed together. The important thing for the most common 29 through 31 brakes is the brake cross shaft setup and removing all of the slack from the brake rod adjustment . There is NO set length for the brake rods on the more common 29-31 model A's . The service bulletins get confusing when it says adjust the brake rods to a certain length and then adjust so that the brake rod pins will just enter the brake shaft levers . One adjustment is all that is needed to set up the brake rods so there is no slack . If any slack remains in the brake rod adjustment, the pedal and rods will have free movement before the brakes are activated . I set mine like Ford set them . Back to front brake activation is built in because the rear brake levers are longer . Internal brake parts need to be good . A person can spend lots of money on brake parts and still have poor or no brakes at all if they aren't set up and adjustedcorrectly .

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Old 03-21-2019, 02:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

If your bakes are in good condition, then you have a chance of getting a fairly good adjustment. I am no expert on this subject but what I do is with the wheels off the floor with jack stands under the axles, I then use the board to adjust per the book. Then I take the car off the stands and take it on a graveled road and slam on the bakes. This then tells me which wheels need more adjustments.
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Old 03-21-2019, 02:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

Just study the brake working systems. Most adjusting is just COMMON SENSE STUFF!!!!
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Old 04-13-2019, 03:36 PM   #16
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

What the...? I took all 4 brakes apart, found worn parts, rusty drum, etc. so I sent them off to Ohio for a professional rebuild. They came back this week, I've been carefully reinstalling and started to adjust... turned the wedges c/wise a few clicks and then when I backed off the RR wedge it clicked once and then started to spin freely. I can rotate it with my fingers. Snyder's is closed today but I'm guessing the whole assembly has to come off. Any ideas? Whew!
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Old 04-13-2019, 08:16 PM   #17
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

If you have worn parts you are chasing your tail. Throw the board away and make it work.
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Old 04-13-2019, 09:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cave View Post
What the...? I took all 4 brakes apart, found worn parts, rusty drum, etc. so I sent them off to Ohio for a professional rebuild. They came back this week, I've been carefully reinstalling and started to adjust... turned the wedges c/wise a few clicks and then when I backed off the RR wedge it clicked once and then started to spin freely. I can rotate it with my fingers. Snyder's is closed today but I'm guessing the whole assembly has to come off. Any ideas? Whew!

When you say you sent everything out for professional rebuild did you replace everything? It sounds like maybe the rear shoe adjusting shafts may be rusted in and as soon as you turned the cone, they did not return, But that is just a guess.
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Old 04-13-2019, 09:51 PM   #19
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

I'd pull the drum off and see what's happening.
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Old 04-13-2019, 10:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: Brake adjustment - Frustration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Steinkamp View Post
I'd pull the drum off and see what's happening.

I plan to pull the drum before I call Snyder's on Monday... IF I can get it off... the shoes were tight when the adjuster failed. !!!Drat!!!


Also, Snyder used my backing plates and rear hubs... everything else is new (except E-brake which adjusts just fine). If you check their listing you can see all the parts they replaced with new.


Man, what a bummer.
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