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Old 10-08-2020, 05:47 PM   #1
vernlee
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Default Juice brakes

I started putting some 1953 F100 brakes on my 31 A , I did a ton of research on this before starting the job , I bought the ring adapters to center the backing plates on the model a spindles , filled in the bolt holes , put the centering rings in, marked just 2 holes to get it going and drilled them 3/8 , now the problem, the drilled holes run in to the the ring I'm using to center everything , The model a bolt pattern is just to small for the 53 backing plates , there is no way under the sun they are going to work , so I broke down and ordered the 37 / 48 spindles today , what I want to know now is what does everyone use for the steering arms ? I still have the original steering , so I have to fit the steering link to the new spindle plus the tie rod end , advise needed please , pictures would be a great help and part #'s I'm just not savvy enough to send a picture showing what I got .

Vern
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Old 10-09-2020, 06:07 AM   #2
Mike Peters
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Default Re: Juice brakes

I recently acquired a Model A already equipped with juice brakes. It's got 39-48 Ford brakes and front spindles. Model A spindles don't fit the later backing plates. I haven't gotten around to tearing down the rear brakes. Rear end looks Model A, so will see what's inside those 12" brake drums.
If you already have original mechanical brakes, I would not convert to hydraulic brakes. It's a can of worms.
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Old 10-09-2020, 07:17 AM   #3
vernlee
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Default Re: Juice brakes

To late for the can of worms , I opened it ( lol ), yes please let me know what you find .

Vern
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Old 10-09-2020, 07:41 AM   #4
Nosetime
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Default Re: Juice brakes

I run F100. you just bolt right on to the later spindles you ordered. I might be wrong, but the method you were tying is to use early Ford backing plates on A spindles. You also know you will need to modify the bearings to fit? I have a good article with all the details if you need it. PM me.
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Old 10-09-2020, 09:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Juice brakes

I started a hydraulic brake conversion. Bought the "adapter kit" with the rings, bought the used backing plates and drums, even bought the entire front and rear axles from a 1940 Ford (in 1978 it was perhaps $40 for both from a scrapyard in Maine)

The kit was set up around using the later backing plates against the Model A spindles and rear trumpets. To do this you had to "slot" the bolt holes in the backing plates AND use the spacer ring. The fit was not great as I didn't want to modify the Model A parts.

And putting a slot in the rear backing plates for the rear spring perch kind of got me to questioning - is this the way I want to go? (I have since learned that some "rotate" the backing plate but that leaves the hose visible and available to get hung up on roadside brush and torn off.)

Some conversation with a local semi-professional restorer brought me to the thought of "what tires are you going to be using with this?" For me the answer was "Model A 28-29 21" wheels like original." And his reply "Do you think this is going to stop you any better?" He says this like there was some question?

And there is question for a number of reasons. The conversion kit is not by itself questionable, but definitely not "engineered" well - all that material removed from a backing plate including the bolt hole slots MUST compromise it's strength. Strength that you count on to resist the torque of stopping. And - using original tires - the limitation on stopping is the point when the tires skid - and you only have about a 2" x 4" patch of rubber keeping you from a skid. AND you have a juice brake system designed for a car about 1.5 the weight of a Model A, and designed for a 4" x 8" patch of rubber with wider tires. Or we can go into the "dynamics" of braking and how the later juice brakes are SUPPOSED to be self adjusting - a big rationalizer for going juice - but the earlier pre-WWII juice versions like the ones I bought were not.

I threw off the 39-48 conversion as a poor idea. Fortunately, at the time I only had about $64 into the project - and a car trip up to Rockland, ME to get it. Ultimately all those parts and the axle were scrapped in "expedient disposal." Well, I was a college student at the time.

But you do as you will. The street rod crowd have available now some "seriously engineered" disk brake systems - with a serious price tag attached. Some of these are done so well they are held within the original brake drums and are seen only through the connecting hoses. MANY have done what they consider reasonable conversions - but like the few who buy a Cadillac (or a Volkswagen - heh!) there is no finer driving experience.

I could go on about the experiential hours I spent under my 2003 VW TDI Golf including removing the engine mount bolts to change a timing belt (IIRC 275ft-lbs on a $27 each stretch bolt.) Fine-ness is in the eye of the owner most certainly.

The computerized self-timing feature of the TDI Bosch injection pump was pleasant...

Unless you want to upgrade to the later Ford Mid-30s wire wheels, I would keep it stock.

Joe K
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Old 10-09-2020, 10:18 AM   #6
Purdy Swoft
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Default Re: Juice brakes

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I would keep the mechanical brakes !!! Properly adjusted mechanical brakes will stop just as well or better . There is more to brake adjustment than adjusting the adjustment wedges at each wheel . Brake rod adjustment is very important . The original system will always have some brakes even if adjustment is off . Fluid leakage with hydraulic brakes can render the system useless .
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Old 10-09-2020, 12:07 PM   #7
Jim Brierley
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Default Re: Juice brakes

I'm getting tired of explaining all this stuff! 39-48 brakes fit the A spindles with a kit, we used to just use a Model A piston ring and a hard-seat for A valves to space the bearings. Yes, the backers need some slight elongation, doesn't weaken them. Afraid of cutting a slight slot in the rear backers? Gimmee a break! Are hydraulics better than mechanicals??? If not we'd be driving our Toyota's around with mechanicals, and spending a lot of time and/or money trying to keep them working right! Afraid of rust? Use silicon fluid. How many late-model cars have break failures? Not many, almost zero. Opinion from a very experienced 83 year old phart.
p.s., don't know about F-150 brakes.
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Old 10-09-2020, 01:55 PM   #8
Chris Haynes
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Default Re: Juice brakes

My combination of ingredients brakes are 1937-1941 spindles. 1940-1941 hubs. 1942-1948 brakes. This set up was on my car when I bought it and it works very well.

Here are your steering arms.
https://www.est1946.com/ss_steering_arms.aspx

Here is mine mounted on a '32-'36 axle.
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Last edited by Chris Haynes; 10-09-2020 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 10-09-2020, 04:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: Juice brakes

Nosetime , yeah I ordered the bearing kit along with the new spindles
Joe K , I think this will be a pretty safe system , cost wise - cheap compared to some I have seen , I do my own labor .
Purdy Swoft , You can keep them on yours , I understand completely , But not me .
Chris Haynes , thanks for the picture and the link on the steering arms , I'm trying to figure out the best and easiest way to go with the steering arms , and this is the front brakes - hard telling what I got myself into when I get to the rears .
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Old 10-09-2020, 05:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Juice brakes

If I see a Model A advertised with hydraulic brakes, I immediately move on. It's not that I don't think they would work, I just don't see the point to fixing something that isn't broken. If the job was done by a previous owner, there is always a doubt about how well it was done and it's my @$$ on the line.
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Old 10-09-2020, 09:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: Juice brakes

I'm as sick of this debate as Jim. If you do it right there is only upside. I bought an Eastwood flare press; makes bullet proof perfect crimps of Nicop tubing. Daves battery box with Mustang dual master cylinder, front F100 Bendix brakes on later spindles, rear 40's ford and silicone brake fluid. I am running 40 ford steel wheels. Not everyones cup of tea here, but to say they are somehow inferior to mechanicals is just ignorant. Do you need to know wtf you're doing to do this? I would say yes, and your results may vary. Vern Tardel has a neat little book "let me help you" combined with Andrews book you should be ok. More than one way to skin the cat.

Last edited by Nosetime; 10-09-2020 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 10-10-2020, 01:16 AM   #12
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Default Re: Juice brakes

One thing no one mentions is drum width and diameter when converting to hydraulic. And should we mention brake fade?

And no, the fact that your mechanical brakes can "lock up" doesn't mean they work well. In fact, it's quite the opposite. A skid is not a controlled stop. Why do you think anti-lock brakes were developed? I could throw a stick in the wire wheel to make it skid to a stop, that wouldn't be very safe, would it? Tire contact patch area, shoe width, and drum diameter will increase brake effectiveness and reduce brake fade.

I understand the desire to keep things stock, but let's be real; why do new cars feature 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS? Hint: it's not because mechanical brakes rule. A little honesty would go a long way with some of the new blood.

That said, a hydraulic conversion on a Model A is not without it's challenges and is better left for one with experience as it's no place for an amateur. When I purchased my Model A coupe, the previous owner had installed juice brakes, but only plumbed three of the four because the "t" in the rear was cross-threaded. He drove from California to Florida like that. I drove it around the block before parking it and ripping it apart.

Shall we compare the '39-40 Ford hydraulic brakes vs. the Lincoln Bendix-style hydraulics while we're at it?
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Old 10-10-2020, 11:38 AM   #13
Mike Peters
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Default Re: Juice brakes

Here's my setup. Only had this car a couple weeks and got it running for first time in many years. Now on to the brakes These are 39-48 Ford brakes. Pulled the rear drum (first photo) and the rear backing plate bolts right up to a Model A rear axle. 12" drums in second photo. Front brakes in third photo. The front spindle is from a 39-48 Ford. Model A front spindles won't work without adapters, as others have stated above. Next two photos are the master cylinder mounted up against the bottom of the frame. It's nearly impossible to access for adding fluid. The original service brake cross shaft is cleverly used to run the push rod for the master cylinder. Last photo are the copper brake lines. Yikes!! Those will need to go.

My conclusion: Model A's have 11" brake drums. These later hydraulic drums are 12", designed to stop a much heavier car than a Model A, so these babies will stop an A on dime and give you 8 cents change.
Vernlee: Hopefully you can figure out a better mounting setup for your master cylinder that will give you better access for fluid. The rest is fairly straight forward. Good luck with your project!
PS- If the car wasn't already set up with juice brakes, I would't dream of converting. But since it is, it's a fun adventure.
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Old 10-10-2020, 11:41 AM   #14
Jim Brierley
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Default Re: Juice brakes

Nosetime and PotvinV8, Amen!!!
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Old 10-10-2020, 01:30 PM   #15
Nosetime
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Default Re: Juice brakes

Jim, was so sad the Long Beach Model T Club swap was canceled this year. Always a pleasure to see you and your friends....and your neat stuff for sale. Hope to see everyone out there in '21. Greg
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Old 10-10-2020, 04:15 PM   #16
vernlee
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Default Re: Juice brakes

Mike Peters , Thanks for the pictures , I always enjoy seeing how some one else figures things out , Yes your right on the M.C. placement , that looks like a bear to add to , I've seen some pretty neat ideas out there , I'll come up with something that works for me , I could have made my life easier by using 40's style brakes but I wanted the self energizing ones , so I figured as long as I was doing it , I'll do it once and be done with it , Thanks

Vern
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Old 10-10-2020, 04:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: Juice brakes

You can purchase the reproduction "Lincoln" backing plates that are made to fit the Model A front spindles. Then you use the 40-48 Ford front hubs and drums. Everything will fit.

Just a suggestion,

Chris W.
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Old 10-10-2020, 04:54 PM   #18
PotvinV8
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Default Re: Juice brakes

Speedway Motors sells Boling Bros' kit that mates the Lincoln Bendix-style brakes directly to the Model A spindle (front) and the Model A rearend. Everything bolts right up. That's what I have on my coupe, works great! No mess, no fuss, no more guessing.
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Old 10-10-2020, 09:23 PM   #19
vernlee
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Default Re: Juice brakes

PotvinV8 , yeah those brakes are sweet alright , but I'm not ready to sell the farm yet to get one , about all I'm lacking at this point to have everything to finish the job is the proper Master Cylinder , it will be manual braking , so I'm told it must be a manual MC , with a small bore , dual port , any suggestions ?
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Old 10-11-2020, 04:33 AM   #20
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Default Re: Juice brakes

Here's the Boling Bros instructions. Pretty interesting!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/boling...57657485472951
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