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Old 09-09-2021, 12:24 PM   #1
Sparta
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Default Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

Hello everyone! I recently sold my 31 Tudor for instead a 31 Fordor. Love the car. It has a few subtle upgrades for drivability, one of them being hydraulic brakes from an early ford car.

Iím having problems with it. The previous owner installed everything just before I bought the car, and had a health scare so sold it before buttoning things up. It has brand new wheel cylinders, master cylinder, shoes, drums, and hardware. Despite this, every time you press the brake pedal down it is spongy and goes to the floor. Pumping it makes no difference. Heres what Iíve tried..

starting with rear passenger and ending with front driver wheel cylinder, Iíve triedÖ
Pressure bleeding from master cylinder with custom made pressure bleeder.
Vacuum bleeding from wheel cylinders.
Conventional two man pump and bleed.
Adjusting shoes to make sure they barely drag wheel.
Double checked the master cylinder rod adjustment.

The master cylinder is under floorboard and close to same height as wheel cylinders, which all sit at the top of the backing plates. After all this I still have very little brake pressure. Pumping makes no difference, and if driving at 20 mph, slamming the brake pedal brings you to a very steady stop. Any ideas? Thanks!
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Old 09-09-2021, 12:51 PM   #2
Mike Peters
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

Bench bleeding a new master cylinder is necessary before installing to get the air out of it. You said you pressure bled the master cylinder. Is this the same thing?
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Old 09-09-2021, 02:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

Do you have single or dual master cylinder?
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Old 09-09-2021, 02:14 PM   #4
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

A lot of the modern production wheel cylinders have the fluid and bleeding holes drilled in the wrong place, they even sell defective brake shoes to use with the defective wheel cylinders, many times the bleeding hole is not drilled to come out at the top -- cannot get all air out
Go to the V8 side and search brake bleeding problems, many many pages
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

A common problem with model A brake system is too large a bore in the master cylinder. Thus will make the brakes very hard to push. The mc should be 1” in most cases with Ford brakes due to the model A pedal ratio.
Measure you mc bore. If it is 1 1/8” you might try 1”.

I had this problem in my car with Ford hydraulic brakes.

If you are not familiar with the system,you might to try to get someone to help.
Hydraulic brakes work well in an A. Do not get dicscouraged. I have 28k miles on my Tudor with no problems and normal maintainance.

John
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:39 PM   #6
Charlie Stephens
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

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So we have a starting point how about pictures of your backing plates (at 6 o'clock) and your master cylinder. Also the linkage. Does the linkage give you the correct ratio for the master cylinder. Any chance the rear backing plates are installed upside down for clearance to the shock ball?

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Old 09-09-2021, 05:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

Like Kurt mentioned some of these repop wheel cylinders have the hole in the wrong .
I also notice some of these repop drums are heavy and worse is the ark doesn’t match the shoes . Easy way to check is pull a drum and check wear contact points on shoes.
If so a light cut may do wanders ….
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Old 09-09-2021, 06:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

I had a similar problem
The master cyl mounting bracket was flexing
Added a bracket to reduce the flexing
Done
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Old 09-09-2021, 06:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

Don’t expect modern performance in an early Ford hydrolic system. Even perfectly set up they will feel “spongey” if you are used to modern brakes.

Agree with comments above. Many minuscule individual issues can add up to very poor overall performance.

Go drive some similarly equipped cars if you can and make the comparison.
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Old 09-09-2021, 07:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

Did you make sure to have some free play in the brake pedal linkage? The master cylinder has to return completely to uncover the bleed port that lets the wheel cylinders push the fluid (and any trapped air) back into the master when the brake pedal is released. You can feel the free play in the pedal-it must move slightly before contacting the piston in the M/C.
You could also try jacking one end of the car as high as possible, then bleed that end, then do the other end the same way.
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Old 09-09-2021, 07:27 PM   #11
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

You speak of the hydraulics as a subtle upgrade. I would suggest it is anything but subtle. It is a major change in my opinion that can be fraught with many problems.
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Old 09-09-2021, 07:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

I agree with Wayne. If I bought an A with hydraulics, the first thing I would do would be put it back to original mechanicals. Simple and effective.

But that’s just me, OK?
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Old 09-09-2021, 08:04 PM   #13
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

Quote:
Originally Posted by 700rpm View Post
I agree with Wayne. If I bought an A with hydraulics, the first thing I would do would be put it back to original mechanicals. Simple and effective.

But that’s just me, OK?
“ Great minds think alike, fools seldom differ “ ! Thanks, Wayne

Last edited by McMimmcs; 09-09-2021 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 09-10-2021, 11:32 AM   #14
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

If a fraction of the effort required to convert a Model A brake system over to hydraulic was used to instead to rebuild or adjust the existing mechanical brakes, the owner would end up with a better outcome in the long run.
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Old 09-10-2021, 12:26 PM   #15
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

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Originally Posted by barry022 View Post
If a fraction of the effort required to convert a Model A brake system over to hydraulic was used to instead to rebuild or adjust the existing mechanical brakes, the owner would end up with a better outcome in the long run.
I totally agree. A wise man. Wayne
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Old 09-10-2021, 12:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

First do as 40 Deluxe says. I had a faulty, brand new M/cyl., had to get a second one and all was fine. Don't listen the the guys that think mechanicals are the way to go, they are a lot of trouble and require a lot of maintenance, and even when they are good, they are not near as good as hydraulics. Early Ford hydraulics are designed for a much heavier car than the A is, so are much better. I recommend silicone fluid, DOT-5, as it rejects moisture and your cylinders will last much longer than with other fluids. 1" is the standard size used in your system, you can use a 7/8" bore cylinder for a softer pedal.
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Old 09-10-2021, 12:42 PM   #17
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

As long as you can lock up all 4 wheels when braking, either system is acceptable.
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Old 09-10-2021, 10:01 PM   #18
Kevin in NJ
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

Done right either brakes work and the real limits to the Model A braking is just the tire contact patch.

The difference is for how long.

Having owned a 39 Ford that every couple of years would have a bad wheel cylinder it gets tiring.

On the other hand, You can spend the money and time to do the mechanical brakes properly and they will be trouble free for decades. The key is having the correct tooling to do the job properly. The correct tooling is not cheap and takes some skill to do properly. So you pay someone to do it right for you and be done with it.

With some variables, like living in a dry climate, odds are very high that juice brakes will fail you on an antique car (notice I did not state make or model cause it happens to all juice brake cars).
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Old 09-10-2021, 11:36 PM   #19
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

SPARTA,
Where are you located ?
If in my vicinity, you can drive/ examine my coupe with hydraulic brakes !
THESE BRAKES WORK Perfect !!

I have 6:00-16 tires and Kelsey Hayes rims…. Rides wonderfully !
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Old 09-11-2021, 12:04 AM   #20
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Default Re: Early Ford Hydraulic brakes in 1931 Fordor

Quote:
Originally Posted by McMimmcs View Post
I totally agree. A wise man. Wayne
This would seem to infer that you also consider yourself to be a wise man.

Or could it be as you also stated:

ďGreat minds think alike, fools seldom differ"
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