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Brake problem on '37 Packard....


Guest 37Packard

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Guest 37Packard

I got the wheel cylinder off without too much drama. The brake spring pliers that I bought this morning definitely helped, especially the instructions on the back of the package. When I removed the hose no fluid came out so I just propped it up in the air so it was higher than the master cylinder. Hopefully the new one will arrive tomorrow instead of Tuesday. If I have to bleed it I'm going to have to ask for help with that. I've been the guy in the car pushing the brake pedal a couple of times in the past but I was never under the car watching how it was done. Is there anything I can look for on the old cylinder to tell if it's bad? Should I post photos? Thanks again to all those who offered advice and encouragement....

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To tell if your wheel cylinder is in need of overhaul or replacement, it will look like the second photo when your remove the boot or may only be wet inside. No leakage was seen on the outside of the boot, just like your photo. The first photo is the same cylinder disassembled. It took a shot of compressed air to pop one piston out, then I could used the brass drift to tap the other piston out. This cylinder cleaned up fine and with an overhaul kit, was put back on the car. If one cylinder is bad, most likely they all are or close to it. I would change all of them and all three hoses. You might consider overhauling the master cylinder as well. Then you know you have been through every thing in the brakes.

The tool in the third picture is the one used to remove the locks from the brake holding pins. It is called a "brake spring tool" in several catalogs I looked at.

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Edited by 61polara (see edit history)
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Guest 37Packard

Mine doesn't look anywhere near as bad as the one shown by 61Polara. Hopefully there is something wrong with it so replacing it with the new one will solve my brake problem. Here's some pics. The golf tees idea sounds like a good one....

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The rusty ring in the bore and around the end , says that there is water in the brake fluid,,,,,a common occurance ,,

Brake fluid can take moisture from the air,,modern master cylenders have a rubber membrane covering the fluid surface

to avoid moisture entry into the fluid,,Some people will change brake fluid like engine oil,,periodically ,,

Get familiar with that li'll bleeder valve on the cylender,,Open it 1/4 turn A small hose [hardware store]] go over that,,,and into a coke bottle,,,any old clean bottle,,put brake fluid in bottle,,say 1",,, put hose to bottom ,,,,Fill master cylender ,,,pump pedal a few times[3-4] and refill master,,,,,,If it tries to inhale through the tube it will just take in b/fluid,,,and as you pump it will fill the cylender,,,,,Have I forgottn anything?? Its been years and my troubles were with brokkken off bleed valves,,,, Good luck,,,Ben

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I agree with cben09, mosture in the brake fluid caused the rust ring and brown sludge in the cylinder. Does the other piston in the cylinder move freely or is it stuck? The rust in the sludge will cause the seal to leak. This is a good rebuildable cylinder. Don't throw it away! These are easly to rebuild and a rebuild kit is much cheaper than a cylinder. All your other cylinders most likely look like this and should be rebuilt as well. A basic repair manual will cover how to overhaul these cylinders. Check your service manual and see if a major adjustment is needed when you put the shoes back in place. Adjust all the brakes and you should have a great stopping Packard!

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Guest 37Packard

As I said earlier in this thread, I ordered a new cylinder which should be here tomorrow or Tuesday. I paid a $15 core charge so I won't be throwing it away, I'll be sending it to Max Merritt. The other three brakes work fine so I'm not going to mess with them.

So after I put on the new cylinder I need to put a rubber hose on that fitting on the cylinder and put the other end in a jar with an inch of brake fluid in it and pump the brake pedal a few times? What do I do with the brake hose while I'm doing this?

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My comments aimed at ,,,,after the cylender is back on the backing plate,,,hose connected,,DRUM on, so the shoes will be held in place and not fall off the pins,,,This procedure gets the brake cylender filled w/brake juce,,and almost to the part where it takes 2 people,,,Hope this helps,,,,Ben,,,

If anyone has a better/different choice of words,,,chime in,,

More than one description is often very useful especially in that we have a pen-pal trainee,,All for now,,,Ben

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Guest Foggy norm

Just a lite refresher.......

Backing plate...is what everything attaches to, the backside of the brake drum. It attaches to the spindle.

Brake drum...slides onto the spindle with wheel bearing's.

Wheel cylinder...attaches to the backing plate, it pushes the brake shoe's apart, has a flexible (rubber on front brakes) line attached to it and a bleeder valve (looks like a grease fitting).

Brake shoe spring's....hold the shoe's to the backing plate, over a metal pin with a disc to center the spring.

Brake spring's.....very strong spring's (a bit@h), which hold the shoe's together, top and bottom, definately need a tool or a hook.

Star nut....The adjuster which is moved by the spoon tool through the opening on the bottom area of the backing plate, usually has a rubber push-in cover.

Hope this help's a little.

The inside of the wheel cylinder should be very clean and somewhat shinny, the rubber cup (2)(neophrene) slides inside the cylinder pushing the aluminium caps and prevent's the brake fluid from leaking out. The rubber cover's that are visible are to prevent dust and moisture from getting in.

I would suggest, you get some tool's, heck, you can find some very good brand's at your leasure in flea market's and yard sale's. You, just may get hooked into this old car hobby and wish you had them.

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Guest 37Packard

OK, I think I have a pretty good idea of what I'm supposed to do now. If I have any problems with the reassembly or bleeding you guys will be the first to know. Thanks again....

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Guest Foggy norm

I think your wife would be more responsive than the 8' 2X4 (how on earth did you manage that!?), two people....big advantage.

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You Tube is also your friend.

There are, probably, a hundred videos showing how to bleed hydraulic system. It, again, doesn't have to be Packard specific. It's all, pretty much, the same. Bleed the entire system to purge out all of the old fluid and water. Empty the master cylinder reservoir first. Use a turkey baster to get as much out as you can. Fill the reservoir with fresh fluid and bleed all four wheels, starting at the furthest from the m/cyl. Pump each wheel cylinder at least 3 or 4 times to be sure the lines have only fresh fluid in them. Discard the old fluid. I would not use the hose in a bottle method. You can draw contaminated fluid back into the system. Messy as it sounds, I just let the fluid run onto the shop floor and clean it up when I'm done. You can use a bottle, just don't immerse the hose from the bleeder nipple into the used fluid.

Watch a few of the You Tube videos and you will get an idea of what allmof this means

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Guest 37Packard

I already checked out a couple of videos. I have a quart container of brake fluid. Will that be enough if I do it your way and drain the master cylinder and bleed all four wheels? If not how much more should I get?

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Guest 37Packard

I called Max Merritt this morning and the cylinder is scheduled to be delivered today. That's pretty good considering that I just ordered it on Friday. I guess the fact that they're only 90 miles north of Louisville doesn't hurt any. The UPS guy usually comes between noon and one so I should be able to get it on this afternoon. I'm still not sure how to bleed the brakes so I'm going to check out some videos on YouTube....

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Guest Foggy norm

Let's get some damage control done first, ie. the front wheel. You mentioned the brake drum came right off, that usually doesn't happen without turning the Star nut to release the adjustment. At this point, finding the reason for the pulling to the right is the issue, which it seems to be lack of response from the left wheel. Since your not going to be out jeopardizing the neighborhood right away, get this wheel done and test drive it. The other wheels should be fine till this is resolved. Looking at your wheel cylinder with rust inside, good idea to replace it and indicate's the other cylinder's need attention. These clyinder's can be cleaned up if there is no pitting inside them, "rust pitting" allows fluid to seep past the rubber cups.

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Guest 37Packard

The "mechanic" that I found on Craigslist adjusted the star wheel on all four brakes to where they would barely turn with some tension on them so hopefully they're adjusted to where they should be. The UPS guy should be coming any time now so I'd like to get started on it ASAP.

When I went out in the garage this morning there was a puddle of antifreeze under the engine. It never leaked before so that will be my next priority after I get the left front wheel back on. I'll drive it up on my ramps and see if I can see where the leak is coming from. Hopefully it's something simple that I can diagnose and fix myself....

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Guest Foggy norm

The bottom brake spring lay's across the star wheel, that's the clicking sound when it's adjusted. When you have the wheel open take note which way to turn the star wheel, open & back-off (turn it "up" or "down" with the spoon) all the wheel's should operate the same (keep a mental note or write it down). The star wheel mechanism should be cleaned (threads) wipe the moving part's (threads and inside the cap end) with oily fingers to prevent future rust. Very very little oil, just a "film".

The adjusted wheel's should not drag and turn freely by hand with a slight rubbing sound.

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Guest 37Packard

The UPS guy finally showed up at 5:30. I got much of it reassembled except for the two top springs. How exactly do I install them? Here's some pics of where I'm at. Are the tops of the shoes supposed to fit over the piece on the backing plate? After an hour and a half bending over while sitting on a little stool my 60 year old back told me to give it the rest of the night off. Does everything look OK? Let me know about the top springs. Thanks....

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One of the handles, of your brake pliers, should have a "divot" at the end. It will look like a crescent moon. Hook the spring in the hole in the shoe. Place the hook, on the other end of the spring, on the handle of your pliers. Place the moon shaped end of the handle on the upper pin. Carefully lever the pliers handle, stretching the spring. As the pliers handle goes "over center", the spring will slide down the handle and pop onto the upper pin. It doesn't work every time. Often the spring will have a mind of it's own, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty simple

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Guest frazer51

Well let me first say that to do work on the brakes of a car you better know what you are doing. For sure you are taking you life in your hands. You seem to be quite uncertain about many things. I understand you are fixing the brakes on one wheel. Well if it is assembled incorrectly and the other 3 are OK YOU HAVE NO BRAKES. If you assemble that one correctly and 1 of the other 3 wheels are faulty YOU HAVE NO BRAKES . If you insist on doing all the work yourself at least have someone with knowledge of brakes check out your work. As for myself brakes are the most important to have working properly and this work I do completely. What I am trying to say is that having a working brake system I believe is the most important part of your car. Someone's ad says Do it once and do it right. Just my 2cts worth.

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Guest Foggy norm

That's the beauty of doing one wheel at a time. If the front-end is up in the air, pull the other wheel and compare. The long spring's hook into the shoe, look for rub-mark's of which hole they were in, not sure, did you post a pic of your wheel already? Note: pix are good, if you remember to take some. The long straight end fit's on the center pin. So far so good, when mounting the drum, snug it up/on manually, tighten the nut and washer...gently then "back off" a quarter turn for the cotter pin. If there is noticeable wobble (feel the bearing's, so to speak) snug it some more and back off. Oh yeah, don't play gorilla with the nut. And it is possible to bleed the wheel cylinder with the drum off.

Edited by Foggy norm (see edit history)
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Guest 37Packard
One of the handles, of your brake pliers, should have a "divot" at the end. It will look like a crescent moon. Hook the spring in the hole in the shoe. Place the hook, on the other end of the spring, on the handle of your pliers. Place the moon shaped end of the handle on the upper pin. Carefully lever the pliers handle, stretching the spring. As the pliers handle goes "over center", the spring will slide down the handle and pop onto the upper pin. It doesn't work every time. Often the spring will have a mind of it's own, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty simple

I'll give that a try tomorrow and let you know what happens. Thanks....

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Guest 37Packard
Well let me first say that to do work on the brakes of a car you better know what you are doing. For sure you are taking you life in your hands. You seem to be quite uncertain about many things. I understand you are fixing the brakes on one wheel. Well if it is assembled incorrectly and the other 3 are OK YOU HAVE NO BRAKES. If you assemble that one correctly and 1 of the other 3 wheels are faulty YOU HAVE NO BRAKES . If you insist on doing all the work yourself at least have someone with knowledge of brakes check out your work. As for myself brakes are the most important to have working properly and this work I do completely. What I am trying to say is that having a working brake system I believe is the most important part of your car. Someone's ad says Do it once and do it right. Just my 2cts worth.

I don't "insist on doing all the work myself." I would much rather pay someone to do it but I haven't been able to find anyone around here to do it except a "mechanic" on Craigslist who couldn't figure out how to remove the brake drum. Feel free to read all my previous posts before making comments....

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Guest 37Packard
That's the beauty of doing one wheel at a time. If the front-end is up in the air, pull the other wheel and compare. The long spring's hook into the shoe, look for rub-mark's of which hole they were in, not sure, did you post a pic of your wheel already? Note: pix are good, if you remember to take some. The long straight end fit's on the center pin. So far so good, when mounting the drum, snug it up/on manually, tighten the nut and washer...gently then "back off" a quarter turn for the cotter pin. If there is noticeable wobble (feel the bearing's, so to speak) snug it some more and back off. Oh yeah, don't play gorilla with the nut. And it is possible to bleed the wheel cylinder with the drum off.

I came in the house several times and referred to the photo I took before disassembly (below). It really helped a lot. Thanks again for your help. Hopefully I'll get everything back together correctly tomorrow....

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Just a quick note about something you have probably already noticed, but... it can't hurt to mention. When you re-install the springs make sure that you don't switch them around. The spring with the yellow paint residue goes on the right and the spring with the silver paint residue goes on the left (facing this backing plate). The springs have different tensions and it makes a difference.

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Guest 37Packard
Just a quick note about something you have probably already noticed, but... it can't hurt to mention. When you re-install the springs make sure that you don't switch them around. The spring with the yellow paint residue goes on the right and the spring with the silver paint residue goes on the left (facing this backing plate). The springs have different tensions and it makes a difference.

I wasn't aware of that. I don't remember seeing any yellow paint on either spring so I'll have to look for that. Thanks for letting me know....

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Guest 37Packard

It took me a while but I finally got the upper springs on using my long needle nose pliers (see photo below). Now I can't get the brake drum on. I turned the little star wheel until it's all the way closed but it didn't make any difference. I took some photos in case someone can see something that I did wrong.

Some people were asking about tools so I took some photos of my extensive tool collection as well as my fancy Kentucky workbench and garage facilities. Hopefully nobody will be offended by my massive tool collection and expensive workbench ($12 at Goodwill) since it's probably a much nicer setup than most of you have.... :D :D :D

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Guest 37Packard
Do the shoes seem to be concentric to the backing plate??,,,Ben

Yes they do. I moved the adjuster down a little but the drum still won't go on. One thing I noticed is that the little round things that go into both sides of the new cylinder do not come straight out like they did in the old cylinder. They come out at an angle as if the cylinder is up too high or the shoes are down too low. Could this be the problem? Here's a pic....

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Edited by 37Packard (see edit history)
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Guest 37Packard

I think the problem is at the bottom. The shoes may not be 100% concentric to the backing plate. There seems to be a little less space at the bottom. If the shoes were a little closer together at the bottom that would solve the problem but the spring down there is not stretched at all like the other springs and I think that's the problem. Any suggestions?

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Guest 37Packard
Did you put the wheel cylinder in right side up the bleed valve should be on top it looks to high up.

Yes, it's on the top. As far as I can tell the cylinder can only go on one way because of the hole in the backing plate for the hose. Here's a couple of blurry photos. I stuck the camera in the wheel well and these are the best two of the 16 I took....

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Guest 37Packard
Wheel cylinder mounting is correct. Does this wheel cylinder match the old one?

Yes it does. I got the brake drum on. I removed the bottom spring and adjuster because I knew the problem was at the bottom. I stuck a screw driver behind each shoe and pried them out about a quarter of an inch and something clicked into place on each one. The pins going into the cylinder are straight now too, plus I had to stretch the bottom spring which I didn't have to do before. The drum fit on easily so I removed it and turned the adjusting wheel several times until I could barely fit the drum over the shoes so I won't have to adjust it later. The drum turns but not easily which is what Mr. Badwrench (the Craigslist "mechanic") did when he adjusted them. My next question is in what order do I put on the two nuts? I know the bearing is first and then the washer with the holes in it. The nut next to the washer has a little stud on it (on top in photo) so does that go on next and then the nut on the right? Does the side with the stud face inside or outside? Then I put in the cotter pin, right? Did someone say something about tightening the nuts and then backing off one or both of them half a turn? I'd like to do this right the first time so will someone please give me the proper instructions? Thanks again....

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Guest Foggy norm

It appeared, earlier, your shoe's may have slipped over the edge into the valley on the backing plate, you gotta take both hand's and push them together to seat them right.

The nut with the stud goes on first, with the stud facing out. This nut...you snug up to the bearing, then back off. slide the washer, in the notch, so the stud fits into a hole.

Check your wobble on the drum, should be snug and turn freely, listen for a slight drag on the shoes. If you can't hear them adjust the star wheel till you do. (I mentioned, to take note of which way it turns). Back the nut off slightly to the closest hole in the washer. put the other nut on. When you put the tire on, grab it (both sides) , and take note if it jerk's/wobbles', it should be snug with no apparent movement. It's easier to bleed the line with the wheel off, looking at you situation.

Edited by Foggy norm (see edit history)
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