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Guys! I have spent a couple hours today digging for info on three forums on putting a dual res. master cylinder on my 55 Buick Special, just for that "if one line fails" safety feeling. Has anyone found a master cylinder that will go in the stock location, even if mods are required? Preferably something that will be disc brake friendly in the future if I chose to go that way.....

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Have you posted in "Post War"? My 55 has plenty good brakes with factory single setup but it does have an original booster. I don't worry about the so-called safety factor of a dual. I guess that is why I don't have a lightning rod on my roof .. TexasJohn PS.....I would strongly recommend that you replace all 4 wheel cylinders, both rubber lines on front, single rubber line to rear which feeds both wheels and degrease and sand old shoes if still useable. Replace front grease seals and put back together and adjust by book method. With new wheel cylinders and lines what is to fail? The master cylinder is simple to rebuild or replace. Parts are very reasonable now and carried by local auto parts stores, ie: wheel cylinders at $12.00-$15. each, lines not bad either.

Edited by TexasJohn55 (see edit history)
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I have not posted it there, but I will. Mine has good brakes too, all new wheel cylinders, rebuilt master, and all new lines. I also have new shoes. The single reservoir has me scared a bit I guess!

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A fresh set of wheel cylinders and lines and master, what is to worry? Total failure is unlikely, master cylinder will manifest problems of creep at stop light or needing to be "pumped up" before total loss of braking. Just pay attention. TJ55

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I guess it's just been pounded in my brain with the hot rodder groups! My last 55 was bone stock. This car will likely see lots of road time. I love a driver, have no need for a trophy. Just my personal choice. I will probably keep it going stock for a bit.... Definitely want to get the 322 4bbl setup on it at some point!

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The stock brake setup isn't bad at all. Most of the time, you have worn out shoes and bad wheel cylinders. You also have to adjust them manually. But the wheel cylinders, shoes and master kit are very cheap, and the car will stop and you can even lock up the brakes. The problem you get going to a dual master is it is mighty tight under the car. Then you say, hmm- disk brakes. Then drop spindles, and then you really end up just building a modified from scratch as the back end is dated and the tranny too. The Stock Buick will hang with modern driving if you don't need jack rabbit starts. Now the 4 barrel will make a big difference and I personally think adding rear shocks is a good idea. Beyond that, it's hard to find incremental upgrades. Yes, the dual master would be preferred, but it's a lotta work to add a little safety. I suspect you would be more likely to have brake fade on a long hill than loose a brake line. And with the stock setup, you won't be tearing up the streets anyhow. You also start to loose the nostalgia as you get into mods. I would just tune up the brake system and you will be fine.

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The stock brake setup isn't bad at all. Most of the time, you have worn out shoes and bad wheel cylinders. You also have to adjust them manually. But the wheel cylinders, shoes and master kit are very cheap, and the car will stop and you can even lock up the brakes. The problem you get going to a dual master is it is mighty tight under the car. Then you say, hmm- disk brakes. Then drop spindles, and then you really end up just building a modified from scratch as the back end is dated and the tranny too. The Stock Buick will hang with modern driving if you don't need jack rabbit starts. Now the 4 barrel will make a big difference and I personally think adding rear shocks is a good idea. Beyond that, it's hard to find incremental upgrades. Yes, the dual master would be preferred, but it's a lotta work to add a little safety. I suspect you would be more likely to have brake fade on a long hill than loose a brake line. And with the stock setup, you won't be tearing up the streets anyhow. You also start to loose the nostalgia as you get into mods. I would just tune up the brake system and you will be fine.

Thank you! You mentioned the rear shocks..... I've been curious about replacing my knee shocks with gas shocks...not sure how hard that will be.

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Someone had a nice post on that a while back. If you look at a 56, bUick did it. The only issue is the panhard bar. The top mounts would be very easy, but you may have to weld mounts to your diff- easily done but you then get something that doesn't look stock, should you want to go for judging. I may take a closer look at a 56, it might lend itself to a 54 and a 55 easily if you have a junker 56 available. You could probably make a bracket that would bolt on where the lever shocks are mounted. You also have an exhaust pipe.

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Someone had a nice post on that a while back. If you look at a 56, bUick did it. The only issue is the panhard bar. The top mounts would be very easy, but you may have to weld mounts to your diff- easily done but you then get something that doesn't look stock, should you want to go for judging. I may take a closer look at a 56, it might lend itself to a 54 and a 55 easily if you have a junker 56 available. You could probably make a bracket that would bolt on where the lever shocks are mounted. You also have an exhaust pipe.

Dang! what happened to that poor car...........

no show cars here! drivers

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The rear shocks on a 55 work well when they are rebuilt. I tried having a hot rod shop install gas shocks on my 55 a loooong time ago, and they worked like garbage.

I pulled them back off and went back to my lever action shocks that I had rebuilt and I was much happier. They haven't been touched since. There are no leaks and I have never had to add oil in twenty years.

Damn, I'm old!

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The rear shocks on a 55 work well when they are rebuilt. I tried having a hot rod shop install gas shocks on my 55 a loooong time ago, and they worked like garbage.

I pulled them back off and went back to my lever action shocks that I had rebuilt and I was much happier. They haven't been touched since. There are no leaks and I have never had to add oil in twenty years.

Damn, I'm old!

Thanks for the info!

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That's a rusted out 54 century. This gen of Buicks (early nailheads) have a decent ride, with good shocks. And very smooth, as you don't have tranny shifts. The lever shocks are simple and reliable, generally the link goes bad and then they don't work at all. But the back end has far too much roll if you like to drive fast on a mountain road. It is very nice in a straight line and perfect for retirees (there is a stereotype of a little old lady in a buick with her head barely over the dash). There just isn't a quick and simple tack on, believe me I've tried. You have 2 big bouncy coil springs and a shock can really only do so much. The upgrade becomes an all in or just tune up what you have. If the shocks and brakes are good, it's quite sufficient for general cruising. If you want to be a little more daring, it's an all in modification. The nice thing is there are old rust buckets dirt cheap and frames tend to not rot out as fast as the body. Once you take apart your car, you often end up with an inop that never gets finished. You then either have a very bad yard ornament, a pissed off friend or a big shop bill. My theory is buy a frame to play with and when you get it where you want, you can transfer the body. If you never finish it, you still have a working stock car to drive around in. You may very well decide to stay stock once you start seeing what the hot rod will end up costing, generally any 1 mod won't quite satisfy your lust for speed, handling and power.

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That's a rusted out 54 century. This gen of Buicks (early nailheads) have a decent ride, with good shocks. And very smooth, as you don't have tranny shifts. The lever shocks are simple and reliable, generally the link goes bad and then they don't work at all. But the back end has far too much roll if you like to drive fast on a mountain road. It is very nice in a straight line and perfect for retirees (there is a stereotype of a little old lady in a buick with her head barely over the dash). There just isn't a quick and simple tack on, believe me I've tried. You have 2 big bouncy coil springs and a shock can really only do so much. The upgrade becomes an all in or just tune up what you have. If the shocks and brakes are good, it's quite sufficient for general cruising. If you want to be a little more daring, it's an all in modification. The nice thing is there are old rust buckets dirt cheap and frames tend to not rot out as fast as the body. Once you take apart your car, you often end up with an inop that never gets finished. You then either have a very bad yard ornament, a pissed off friend or a big shop bill. My theory is buy a frame to play with and when you get it where you want, you can transfer the body. If you never finish it, you still have a working stock car to drive around in. You may very well decide to stay stock once you start seeing what the hot rod will end up costing, generally any 1 mod won't quite satisfy your lust for speed, handling and power.

Thanks! Well put! I have measured the "new" buick a few times now and feel certain the frame is still straight. If I can figure out how to get a new left front frame rail on it, it would be drivable right now and I could "tinker" on the other frame (actually already have.... 4 link rear suspension with chevy rear, chevy big block motor mounts and trans cross memeber are already in it!!)

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There are 2 ways to look at it. You will see a lot of Ford and Chevy at a car show. The Buick platform Doesn't have much for aftermarket- fine with me, I don't want to have the same car everyone else has. Post a shot of your spare frame, it's quite a score if you found a Buick frame already set up. My only suggestion would be to use a nailhead, but if you already have the engine you can do that another day. The tri-5 frames are just different enough that they won't easily adapt, you pretty much have to build a frame from scratch. I doubt anyone will make a frame kit for 50's buicks.

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There are 2 ways to look at it. You will see a lot of Ford and Chevy at a car show. The Buick platform Doesn't have much for aftermarket- fine with me, I don't want to have the same car everyone else has. Post a shot of your spare frame, it's quite a score if you found a Buick frame already set up. My only suggestion would be to use a nailhead, but if you already have the engine you can do that another day. The tri-5 frames are just different enough that they won't easily adapt, you pretty much have to build a frame from scratch. I doubt anyone will make a frame kit for 50's buicks.

I definitely agree on not wanting the " same thing as everyone else" :-) Hence leading me to my first Buick in 2005 after I'd had a variety of other more common cars.

If you look at this thread I started a couple weeks ago.... http://forums.aaca.org/f115/new-here-351619.html

See where I'm coming from??

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  • 1 year later...

I know this is an old thread but just to answer the question. I used a 1970 Nova dual resi MC. Had to drill two holes in the stock bracket, make a new push rod, re-plum for the split system and smack the floor a couple times to get room for the cap bail to move. I was able to keep the stock access cover in place. It has the same bore as the 55 unit and works great.

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The biggest problem with an under car master is just room to work on it. It's an easy mod if the body is off, but you have to have a lift with the body on. Do post some shots of your frame project, they are always interesting. I can see you were hit on the drivers side. I suspect the frame will never be quite right. Parts cars can also be problematic with wives, neighbors etc. but if you have storage they are always fun to chop up for parts and rat rods.

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Guys! I have spent a couple hours today digging for info on three forums on putting a dual res. master cylinder on my 55 Buick Special, just for that "if one line fails" safety feeling. Has anyone found a master cylinder that will go in the stock location, even if mods are required? Preferably something that will be disc brake friendly in the future if I chose to go that way.....

Yes I have.

I just purchased a new booster, dual MC set up from ABS power brakes in Orange ca.

It comes with bracket necessary to mount to frame.

I will post pics of install

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  • 3 weeks later...
Yes I have.

I just purchased a new booster, dual MC set up from ABS power brakes in Orange ca.

It comes with bracket necessary to mount to frame.

I will post pics of install

Any updates?

I looked on their site and couldn't find this for a 55 super. It started at 57. I was using my smart phone and I know how that goes...

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  • 4 months later...
Yes I have.

I just purchased a new booster, dual MC set up from ABS power brakes in Orange ca.

It comes with bracket necessary to mount to frame.

I will post pics of install

Were you ever able.to take some pics of this? Really curious how this all fits under there?

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