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Yet another '55 Buick brake modification question


Guest DiXiEnailhead
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Guest DiXiEnailhead

I want to keep the master cylinder up under the floor in the stock location. My '55 Roadmaster came from the factory with power brakes. I have seen several threads discussing disc brake conversions and adapting a more modern booster and master. Everything I've read involves fabricating a new pushrod or swaping to the manual brake setup in order to adapt it or any number of other things. Forgive my ignorance but is there any reason why I couldn't or wouldn't want to adapt better master cylinder on to the factory booster?

Edited by DiXiEnailhead (see edit history)
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Forget about disks, and think about adapting '58 and later aluminum drums onto your original assemblies. No need to mess with brake lines or master cylinder. It is a simple mod, and I had guide pins machined to make it work. PM me if interested.

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If you're gonna change it, change everything. Do your research and contact someone who has actually done this and has produced an effective and safe solution. And don't just talk to vendors...they are there to SELL. There are other ways to good brakes if the ones you have are deemed inadequate (such as post #2). All I needed was to have the original brake shoes relined with more effective material.

Willie

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Guest DiXiEnailhead

Thanks for the advice guys, I wondered if the later aluminum drums would be an easy swap. My dad had a '65 wildcat that had the aluminum drums and it stopped pretty well, I think I'll try that first since it doesn't require any modifications to the rest of the brake system. So were the aluminum drums basically the same throughout their production? If so I know of a few parts cars from the 60's I could pull the parts off of.

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Thanks for the advice guys, I wondered if the later aluminum drums would be an easy swap. My dad had a '65 wildcat that had the aluminum drums and it stopped pretty well, I think I'll try that first since it doesn't require any modifications to the rest of the brake system. So were the aluminum drums basically the same throughout their production? If so I know of a few parts cars from the 60's I could pull the parts off of.

I believe the aluminum drums were identical up to '65.

I did this job on a '54 Super recently, with Roadmaster front plates and shoes, so some advice...

Other parts needed are:

--Longer front wheel bolts ('57 and later), because the aluminum drum center is thicker. Your '55 bolts are NOT long enough. You see these on Ebay now and then. Be sure they are off the front, not the rear.

--4 button-headed bolts, 2 longer threaded guide pins (I had a few extras machined and available...) and flange-nuts. These replace the guide pins and rivets holding the original drum to the original hub. Clearance is important here or it could foul up how the wheel mounts.

Work involved is as follows:

--Remove all four drums from their respective hubs by grinding down the rivet heads and guide pins, and pounding out these or any lug studs. Be sure to support the hub when pounding, or you may crack the drum.

--Widen the 5 lug holes on each aluminum drum to better fit the wider wheel bolts.

--Attach your '55 hub to the new drum using wheel bolts to properly index the parts, then install the guide pins and button head bolts in their proper holes and tighten well. Grind down excess thread length inside the drum, and strike the nuts with a punch.

--Take both drum and hub assemblies to a brake shop for a light turning, just to be sure all is good and round.

--Reassemble brakes, then drive it like you stole it.

--Keep the shoes well-adjusted, per FSM, often and frequently.

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Guest DiXiEnailhead

Thanks Fr.Buick, that is exactly the sort of things I needed to know. I will definitely be referring to this as I'm doing the project. I'm going to start rounding the parts up in the next few weeks to swap them out. I just found out an interesting little bit of info. In '58 the cast iron liners were perforated and cast in to the drums. In '59 they introduced drums which had cast iron aluminum alloy liners so they would bond to the drum. Also the aluminum drums are said to be able to accommodate a 1/4 inch wider shoes than the old Roadmaster drums. I often see cooling scoops on the Buick brake setups you find on "era correct" hot rods. I wonder if those would be beneficial in any way?

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Guest DiXiEnailhead

Haha kind of figured you might say that. I'm never going to do any sort of aggressive driving in this car anyways. I feel pretty confident about the drum swap and I also can't wait to rebuild the treadle vac unit but that will be new territory for me. Should be interesting.

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