Jump to content

Brakes just failed on '64


Recommended Posts

I stepped on the brake pedal this morning just as I was putting the Riv in reverse when the pedal went to the floor.  The car just barely started to move before I quickly placed it back in park.  Needless to say it was unnerving.  My house is surrounded by little kids.  

 

I followed the trail of brake fluid to my LH front wheel.  I expected to find a blown out hose, however, that was not the case.  Once I removed the drum the brake cylinder end was laying in the drum.  One of the ends had obviously broken off (see photo), and hence the leak.  My brake master cylinder is original, so there is only one reservoir.  

 

I've never done a brake cylinder before so I'm open to suggestions and experience.  My current thoughts are as follows:

 

1.  Given that I have to bleed the brakes anyway it seems that I should replace all 4 brake cylinders rather than just one

2.  I want to ensure I get the best made-in-USA quality replacement.  I don't want something cheaply made.  

3.  I think I've seen rebuild kits on the market.  Should I consider them?

4.  I'm open to suggestions regarding conversions to a dual reservoir master.  In the past I've preferred original but having the brake pedal go the floor gives one a sinking feeling.  

 

I feel like I dodged a bullet that this did not happen the last time I drove it.  Its a miracle that it happened between the time I last parked it and while it was sitting.  

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Eric

Brake.cylindar.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those tabs look really thin.  I bet they are the original wheel cylinders

 

cykinders are easy just be careful not to round out the fittings for the brake like into the cylinder in the back.  If you are doing one do them all and depending on how worn your shoes are replace them too since ya got it apart.   Especially the one in the front that go wet

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, I have never seen that happen. As stated the pushrod ears do look awefully thin, maybe an optical illusion? Or someone filed them? Weird...

Have you done any maintenance to the hydraulic system since buying your `64?

If the system has been tended to regularly it is possible to simply replace the wheel cylinder and bleed just that location in the system. Chances are there is only air in that circuit. Whether you are able to attain a firm pedal will be your indication.

If the system has not had any attention lately this may be the time to do it.

Obviously at least a check of the other pushrods is in order.

A change to a dual res system is always a good idea. If you call me I can walk you thru it, it is very easy.

Dont bother attempting to rebuild wheel cylinders. The originals are generally very pitted and the cost of the cylinders is very reasonable. An inspection is the only way to tell for sure but unless they have been replaced relatively recently you will most likely find them pitted.

 Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never seen a brake pin break like that. Of course, they are just getting to be 50 years old. Anyway the most frequent neglected brake system failures are on the fluid side. On my cars, and when asked for advice, a check of each wheel cylinder is the starting point before driving the car. I full brake job costs about the same as two bumpers; yours and theirs.

Those parts look pretty clean. You have three more that should have the boots rolled back enough to see how much red mud is in the cylinder. If you see it you need to take action.

The water absorbed by the fluid over years rusts on the bottom of the cylinders and lines. I check the lines by gently squeezing the sides with vice grips and watching for a crack to show on the bottom because the rust has corroded the wall thickness. Do that in a non-destructive manner.

Water settled in the wheel cylinders between the piston cups pits the inner surface. If you adjust the brakes or replace the shoes the cups change position in the cylinder and tend to rest in the pitted spots and leak. I have seen a lot of new shoes installed followed by a leaking wheel cylinder. Expect it and do the brake job.

Before doing any brake service remove the contaminated fluid from the reservoir, wipe it out and replace with clean. At least you won't pump the black stuff into the system.

I like to remove the emergency brake cables and give the inner cables a good coat of Never Seize.

 

When the brakes failed did you press the parking brake pedal? Many forget it is there.

 

Lots of proactive stuff to do on these old cars. New cars seem to need less attention, but they aren't 50 years old. Some new cars go from manufacture to scrap in ten years without ever having the hood opened. I know there will be lots of details on converting to a dual master cylinder now that the car is... 50 years old. Mine are all single, freshly maintained, and the black fluid is flushed about every two years.

 

Way back, years ago, I had a friend named Snake. I took a ride with his girlfriend to a plaza parking lot in her Olds Cutlass. When we stopped she told me the shift linkage was out of adjustment and asked me to put a rock they carried in front of the wheel because Park didn't work. I asked her if the parking brake worked. Ever hear the story about the Pollock with the chain saw? Yeah, that's how she looked.

Bernie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK Eric  and everybody else who has an old car:  All good news here.  Nobody was hurt, you were frightened and that's it.

 

This car is 52 years old. I drive these old heaps all the time. All have fresh brake jobs. Master cyl, wheel cylinders, brake lines and shoes.

 

Part two of the good news is that Rock Auto has all the parts and they are cheap cheap.  I always get their lowest priced component. I have identical Raybestos parts I got at the auto parts store for all the money and the part numbers are identical.  Rock Auto is a huge outfit and they would not sell poor quality  brake parts that would easily fail. If you can't do the work yourself most shops can give you a respectable bid.

 

There is no question your car and most old cars that don't have fresh brakes need them before going out the garage.  AND, no matter  if your brakes are...fresh, super super super duper what ever....MAKE SURE THE EMERGENCY BRAKE IS ADJUSTED PROPERLY WHERE IT GRABS TO STOP THE VEHICLE. MAKE SURE YOU PRACTICE USING THE EMERGENCY BRAKE TO STOP THE VEHICLE. THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED AN EMERGENCY BRAKE.

 

Mitch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my son bought his 63 the very first thing we did was go thru the braking system. We determined the wheel cylinders to be good as well as the shoes and brake hardware. I wanted to switch to a Dual master Cylinder for extra safety. We did and it WAS very easy. You don't even have to bother with the hyd. brake light switch as I believe a 64 has the brake light switch mounted tot he pedal assy. Another thing we did was replace ALL the brake lines and rubber hoses. I think we got the hoses from Rock Auto and Inline Tube supplied the hard line kit. Their price was reasonable and I had the line kit in less than a week!!! I think replacing all the wheel cylinders is a good call, you might as well do EVERYTHING, as has been said the parts are inexpensive, and you won't have to worry about some weak link somewhere in the brake system. We also rebuilt the entire front suspension as well. We used a kit from PST that included all the wear items in the front end, Including the inner tie rod ends for around $450. I have included a schematic I sketched to outline the M/C conversion.

 

f389f434-cf0b-4707-9609-c8277f9f936e_zps

 

image_zps993a5345.jpg

 

image_zpsaad1409c.jpg

 

image_zps54a56ecc.jpg

 

T

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reconditioned brakes on my 63 by having stainless sleeves fitted to the original wheel cylinders and master cylinder, new hoses and brake pipes.  We have access to after market cylinders however prefer the originals as they fit correctly, work correctly and designed for that vehicle.  Had shoes relined and drums skimmed so all new brakes now. Very happy with the result, just my two bobs worth.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is great information.  Thank you to everyone who responded.  

 

I think I've settled on the following things:

 

1.  I'm going to completely redo the brake system.  Four new brake cylinders, new hard lines, new hoses, new brake pads.

2.  I'm going to convert to a dual reservoir master.  Tom, I'll be contacting you.  Kaber, I'll use your notes as well.  Thank you.

3.  I'll have the brake booster rebuilt and re-plated.  (I may as well, the rest of the brake system will be apart anyway.  Plus it was on my to-do list)

4.  I'll freshen up/tighten up the emergency brake assembly as well.  There is a bit too much play in the cable.  

 

When I purchased this car it had a dent in the fender and a slightly bent bumper (both have now been repaired).  The brakes had failed on the previous owner and he bumped the car in front of him.  He had the brake hose replaced (I'm not sure if he replaced one, or all).  That's how I bought the car and that's how I've been driving it.  My point is that this has shaken my confidence in the braking system.  The car will be off the road until the entire system is redone and working with a dual res master cylinder.  

 

My next steps are to work on sources for all parts and to come up with a detailed plan.  I will also need to create a list of new parts that I'll need such as a new distribution tee, some new distribution lines, and some new tools that i don't have (such as line bending and flaring tools).  

 

Please let me know if I've overlooked any big items. 

 

Thanks again for all the help.

 

Eric

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Eric's.64.Superwildcat said:

This is great information.  Thank you to everyone who responded.  

 

I think I've settled on the following things:

 

1.  I'm going to completely redo the brake system.  Four new brake cylinders, new hard lines, new hoses, new brake pads.

2.  I'm going to convert to a dual reservoir master.  Tom, I'll be contacting you.  Kaber, I'll use your notes as well.  Thank you.

3.  I'll have the brake booster rebuilt and re-plated.  (I may as well, the rest of the brake system will be apart anyway.  Plus it was on my to-do list)

4.  I'll freshen up/tighten up the emergency brake assembly as well.  There is a bit too much play in the cable.  

 

When I purchased this car it had a dent in the fender and a slightly bent bumper (both have now been repaired).  The brakes had failed on the previous owner and he bumped the car in front of him.  He had the brake hose replaced (I'm not sure if he replaced one, or all).  That's how I bought the car and that's how I've been driving it.  My point is that this has shaken my confidence in the braking system.  The car will be off the road until the entire system is redone and working with a dual res master cylinder.  

 

My next steps are to work on sources for all parts and to come up with a detailed plan.  I will also need to create a list of new parts that I'll need such as a new distribution tee, some new distribution lines, and some new tools that i don't have (such as line bending and flaring tools).  

 

Please let me know if I've overlooked any big items. 

 

Thanks again for all the help.

 

Eric

Eric.

 

In the Tech Tips section of the ROA's website, there's a step by step articlet on this swap.  If I remember correctly, it includes part numbers and scaled drawings for a  bracket to hold the new tee.  It's worth checking out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did this last summer and followed Jim Cannon's procedure in a previous post which I have copied below. Simple, straightforward, looks clean and original. I kept and used my stock booster and have had no problems.

 

Here is what I recommend: (Jim's words)

Keep the factory distribution block on the frame. Remove the line going to the rear axle and plug it. Connect the port on the block that goes to the stock MC up to the FRONT port of the dual MC. You need to fabricate a line to do this, with double-flared ends at both ends. Put some slack in the line by making a Z-shaped portion or a coil The tube nut size on the front MC port is different from stock MC, but is easily obtained. That takes care of the front wheels.

For the rear axle, you want to fabricate a new line that goes from the REAR port of the dual MC down to the frame in the vicinity of the distribution block. Include a coil or a Z for slack. Use a T-fitting style union made for brake light switch to connect the end of your new rear line to the existing rear line that come off of the original distribution block. The 2 union-type ends will be tube fittings. You connect the line to the rear axle to one of them and the line up to the dual MC to the other. It is equivalent to a straight-through union. The T-part of the fitting is 1/8" NPT, not flared tubing. The stock brake light switch screws right into it. The wires on the stock wiring harness are long enough to reach down to the frame by the distribution block. You do not need to splice any electric or cut anything.

To keep the lines from vibrating against each other, I tied the lines to each other with a couple of small zip ties.

I got the 3/16" tubing, the master fittings STN-7 and STN-5, the T-fitting BS-01 and everything from Inline Tube. I might have gotten the plug from them, I don't remember. Call them.

You do not need a proportioning valve for the drum-drum system. Crude proportioning is already included in the wheel cylinder cup/piston diameter difference between front and rear. Connecting lines as I describe will maintain the factory proportioning, for better or for worse. (I used to design brake systems.)

The brake light switch is hard to bleed air out of. Fill it with fluid before screwing into the T-fitting. Try to keep it contacts down until you bleed the system, then invert it.

Regarding which dual MC to use:

You need to remove your stock MC from the car and look at the end of the piston that the booster pin presses against. It will be either a (roughly) 1" deep hole or a 1/4" deep dimple. The new dual MC that you install needs to have that same depth "hole". It will be either one or the other. Trying to put the wrong one in will not work.

If you are keeping your STOCK booster, you need to put an o-ring on the neck of the new MC where it inserts into the booster, or else you will have no boost (due to vacuum leak at the neck). Either move the original o-ring over to the booster or get a new o-ring. The only guy I know that sells this special o-ring is Booster Dewey out in Oregon. You might try NAPA or other places and find it. If you were to "cut" the o-ring and look at the cut surface, it would not be a circle. It would be a small square. So it is not really a conventional o-ring. It is specific to this application.

HTH.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Eric's.64.Superwildcat said:

This is great information.  Thank you to everyone who responded.  

 

I think I've settled on the following things:

 

1.  I'm going to completely redo the brake system.  Four new brake cylinders, new hard lines, new hoses, new brake pads.

2.  I'm going to convert to a dual reservoir master.  Tom, I'll be contacting you.  Kaber, I'll use your notes as well.  Thank you.

3.  I'll have the brake booster rebuilt and re-plated.  (I may as well, the rest of the brake system will be apart anyway.  Plus it was on my to-do list)

4.  I'll freshen up/tighten up the emergency brake assembly as well.  There is a bit too much play in the cable.  

 

When I purchased this car it had a dent in the fender and a slightly bent bumper (both have now been repaired).  The brakes had failed on the previous owner and he bumped the car in front of him.  He had the brake hose replaced (I'm not sure if he replaced one, or all).  That's how I bought the car and that's how I've been driving it.  My point is that this has shaken my confidence in the braking system.  The car will be off the road until the entire system is redone and working with a dual res master cylinder.  

 

My next steps are to work on sources for all parts and to come up with a detailed plan.  I will also need to create a list of new parts that I'll need such as a new distribution tee, some new distribution lines, and some new tools that i don't have (such as line bending and flaring tools).  

 

Please let me know if I've overlooked any big items. 

 

Thanks again for all the help.

 

Eric

Eric,

  Double flaring metal brake lines is an acquired skill and takes quite a bit of practice to get the knack for. Unless your intent is to acquire/build this skill I would strongly recommend that you purchase the lines pre-made. This is especially so if you want the original look of the armor protected metal lines. I write this assuming you want to replace lines other than those which are directly related to the MC conversion.

  To do the MC conversion you do not need to make up any lines. The line/lines needed can be purchased at any auto parts store in short pre-made lengths.

  The last time I did this conversion I used the existing brake line from the master to the distribution block to feed the front circuit. A little slight bending may be necessary. If you want to build in a little compliance to compensate for body relative to chassis movement a new pre-made line may be necessary. I then used a piece of short pre-made bendable brake line to plumb the rear MC port to a union in the distribution block area to join the new brake line to the existing rear line removed from the distribution block. So, only 1 small length of new metal brake line is necessary, assuming you are not replacing other unrelated metal lines.

Keep in mind, no need to plumb in a brake light switch in your `64 so some of the recommendations to do the conversion on a `63 do not apply.

  Tom

 

Edited by 1965rivgs (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those pre-flared lines from an auto parts store seem to be made of a alloy that corrodes at the frame rail attaching points. I have noticed that on a lot of cars flipped on their side in a junkyard. I like buying a 25' roll of steel tubing and making my own. The pre-flared are never quite the right length anyway.

I remember a guy with an early Monte Carlo that was interested in me doing some work. He had a brake line on it with four loops to use up the extra. He told me the shop who put the line on said you couldn't cut them. He was glancing around like someone who just lit a candle in church without stuffing a dollar in the coin slot. You know, that taboo stuff.

 

It takes about four flares to get proficient and it is a good skill. When I remake steel to rubber replacement vacuum lines I always do the first step of double flaring to make a bulge to hold the rubber on. It's just a fussy thing I do line spelling vacuum with two U's and making the overlap of my shoe laces match left and right.

Bernie

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I second flaring your own lines. After all, it is a good skill to have and you know what you have got when you are done. You can practice with a scrap piece without too much of a problem and flaring tools are not all that expensive. If you mess with old cars the chances of running into one that needs a brake line splice and flare would be pretty high i would think, so being able to do that quickly instead of waiting on proper length systems to install might do the trick in a pinch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...