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Asking opinions.  I notice my brake pedal getting soft the last few times I've had my car (1941 Super 51)  out for a drive.  Seems like it's down to about 1/3 above floor on stopping.  If I push hard I get the normal feel of stopping but still kind of soft pedal.  What I am asking is: are they due for a brake adjustment or maybe this is a  hydraulic problem?  I don't see any leakage on garage floor and I would think the brakes would have failed completely (pedal to the floor) if the fluid is being pushed out. As far as I know the brakes have not been manually adjusted since I got the car almost 10K miles ago. Prior owner had a new master cylinder and brake work but not sure at what mileage The car had 24K when I bought it. Now has 33,800. I admit I am not a mechanic so I'll get an appointment with the guy who knows what to do.  Just asking.





1941 Super 51


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Those brakes are manually adjusted. Adjustment directly affects pedal height.


Check the reservoir and make sure you can see some fluid in there. Also, if the fluid is over 2 years old, I would go ahead and change it. It may need to be bled anyway because the pedal is low. To change fluid, suck the fluid out of the reservoir and replace with new, then just keep bleeding until the fluid comes out clean. Start at the brake furthest from the master cylinder and work your way closer.


If the system has been converted to silicone then you probably don't need to change fluid. If the fluid is conventional or synthetic it needs to be changed periodically to avoid corrosion damage to the system.


Leaks can occur that do not drip on the floor. A master cylinder can leak internally. The fluid goes back into the reservoir. A sinking pedal is the usual symptom. Also, any cylinder can leak a tiny amount. This usually causes the brakes to stop working right away, because if fluid can go out, air can come in, and it only takes the tiniest amount of air to disable the system.


To check a wheel cylinder for leakage, with the drum off, peel back the dust boot on the cylinder. Don't take it clear off, just lift it a little bit at the bottom. do both dust boots. No fluid should drip out of there. If any fluid drips out, that cylinder needs to be rebuilt.


Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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