ljp602

1964 Riv brake issues and questions

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So, here I am back to the fountain of knowledge. When i bought my 64 Riv the brakes were exceptionally week. So weak in fact that I did not want to drive it. I have since replaced shoes and hardware in the back and replaced shoes, hardware, wheel cylinder and hose in the front. The back brakes had one shoe installed that was the wrong size and the front brakes looked very oily so I think that there had been leaks for a while.I took it out for a test drive and saw an improvement but I think it is still lacking a bit. Before the work was done, I could stomp on the brakes and not get it to squeal the tires. Now, when I stomp on the brakes with both feet I can get it to squeal the tires at times but it is a full two footed effort. It has me thinking that it is a power booster issue but I am not sure. I have tried the old booster check (starting the car with a foot on the brake and feeling the booster kick in and the pedal drop)  and I can feel the pedal drop a bit but not as much as I am used to in a more modern vehicle. I have looked at the vacuum system that I can see and it seems that there are no open or loose hoses. I was thinking that my next step is to unhook the brake booster from the vacuum system and see if there is a substantial difference in the brake performance. If the booster is not working properly, I should not see a difference in braking performance. I sure would appreciate any advice from you wise men. Am I on the right track here or is there something else that I am missing. Thanks in advance.

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Yep correct adjustment very important between all wheels but if pumping up a couple time doesn't improve braking force, problem may be elsewhere.

Put a vacuum gauge on engine and check level.

For best performance, all drums should be resurfaced/trued if its been decades since brakes were serviced. This can make a BIG difference.

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I started out with my car just doing shoes and hardware. This quickly progressed to new master cylinder, four wheel cylinders, all three rubber hoses and a fluid flush. Lesson here with 50 year old cars, if it needs ONE part of the system redone, it needs ALL of the system redone. Bonus is, these parts aren't terribly expensive.

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More to report, brake booster is working, I disconnected and took the car for a short ride. Wow, It is a tough job getting my Riv to stop without the booster. Vacuum at an idle is about 15 in/hg.. I am not sure if this is good or bad for this engine. A quick search of the internet reveals levels of 12 to 20 inches/hg but non directly related to a nailhead/riviera. So, is 15" good or ???

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15 inches of vacuum is OK but so-so, 18 to 20 is more normal. With low vacuum your booster will work but not to full potential. Vacuum leaks are a big problem with most 60s cars where it is used for hvac system controls, trunk release, and other things in addition to the booster, I learned this first hand with my 63 Olds Starfire. Carefully check all the vacuum lines and replace any marginal ones.

 

Regarding the brakes I agree with Jframe and others that it does not pay to do a partial brake job, replace all hydraulic units with new parts if possible and carefully check the hard lines for rust. I also agree that adjustment is critical, unless you had the shoes arced to your drums there will be a wear-in period during which brake performance will suffer. What I usually do is drive around locally and drag the pedal without stopping for short intervals, don't overdo it. Then find a vacant parking lot where you can back up and stop repeatedly to activate the self adjusters, you should feel the pedal becoming more firm. Alternate these two actions until the brakes feel right.

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I ALWAYS use the 30/30/30 method for braking in shoes/pads/drums/disc. 30 stops from 30MPH with a 30 second cool down in between. This helps transfer shoe/pad material to the drums/discs  DON'T overdo it. Easy stops are fine getting progressively harder.

Just my way of doing it.

 

 

Tom T.

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Check all brake lines as well . I found a leak in one of mine,took it out and decided that if one was bad ...you know the rest of the story. 

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