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Hello gents,  it's Rich here in Tampa, still working on my '63 Teal Mist.   Many thanks to all who have provided help and guidance over the last couple of months, especially  Tom T. and  Jim C. 

 

   My "resurrection" of the car is progressing pretty well. Did I post my headliner photos?  It turned out really well, but it kicked my ass. I can cross that off my bucket list! 

 

   I have removed all of the "bolt-on" items from the engine that will be replaced, so now I am thinking about the brake system. I know that there is much discussion about dual-circuit systems, and I surely understand the advantage, but.....let's assume I just re-build the system as it came from the factory.  I have both front wheels done with new cylinders/shoes/hardware/hoses.  So what's the best option for the master cylinder and booster?   I see that the guys in NJ have a rebuild exchange deal for $250 for the Master and booster.  Seems pretty good to me.  Next question would be about the brake lines.....this car is a Florida car, so the underside isn't rusty at all.  AND, I am looking at the routing of the brake lines, and it don't look easy, especially without a lift here.  

 

   As always, thanks for the friendly advice,

 

Rich

   

   

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Rich,

 

  The R/F line is the hardest to do. Look at ALL the lines closely for rust. The one you can't see is the one that goes through the frame. It may look intimidating, but really not the hard one to replace snaking it through the frame.  If for no other reason replace it because this one can't be seen & IF you pull it out may deform it pulling it out & be difficult to re-install.  This is the one that usually goes bad 1st. followed by the rear lines on the diff.  Leave the rubber ends on so as NOT to get debris in the ends of the lines.

 

Tom T.

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Hi Rich

 

great headlining...you must be a patient man!

 

Re brakes i did the same thing with my 65...though I kept the single master cylinder, at least for now.

 

I stripped all old ones out without even checking them for rbecause 1)car had been standing for 10 years and 2) it seemed hassle free and cheap enough (even cheaper if you make your own I guess but not as quick) to buy a new ready made set from inlinetube.com....very happy with them as well.

 

i stayed away away from stainless steel option as I heard they are harder to bend, and although pipes are pre-formed I expected that some fiddling would be needed to fit. Plus I don’t drive in rain and not looking for a show car finish..

 

re fitting of pipes ..the long pipe through the chassis was a two man job, for me at least. The others went into their basic position pretty eaasily on my own. However the long pipe Wasn’t as bad as expected - from memory I think we tied the new pipe to end of old and basically pulled it through

 

what i def needed help with personally was the final line up and connection of the pipes to the wheel cylinders - as a novice I left that to the guy who helped me with the long pipe...but of course pipes came  flared with fittings so this made his job easier.

 

still make a habit of checking for leaks and level of brake fluid ...and all is still good! 

 

Hope that helps

 

Cheers

 

Kev

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If you decide to replace the steel lines, the hardest is the one running through the frame front to rear as Tom states. Before you try to remove this line, tie a nylon string to the front of the line. It comes out the back, as there is more room. As you pull the line out the back, feed the string in the front. When the line is out, you should have a string through the frame where the line was. Attach the new line to the end of the string and use it to pull the line through the frame from the front. Still not easy, but it can be done.

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When I replaced the brake lines a few yrs ago, I requested that they ( In-Line) make the long line in two pieces. A LOT easier to slide thru the frame in two pieces, and a bonus: saved some ship. costs as carton was smaller.

Bunchabuix

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While you are doing everything else, go to a dual mater cylinder.  Easy to do now.

 

Replace all the rubber brake hoses.  They collapse/swell inside even when they look good on the outside.

 

The mild steel brake lines rust from the inside out.  You can't go by outside looks alone.  Water gets into the brake fluid and sits in low spots, causing rust.  Brake fluid absorbs water out of the air.  I replaced all steel lines with all new stainless steel.  Yes, harder to bend, but not that bad. 

 

Some will not agree with me on this, but I went with the silicon-based DOT5 brake fluid when I put everything back together new. This fluid does not absorb water.  Otherwise you need to flush the system every few years.

 

The new master cylinder needs to have a special square cross-section o-ring installed on the neck for a good vacuum seal.  This is often missed, resulting in no boost.

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12 hours ago, Jim Cannon said:

While you are doing everything else, go to a dual mater cylinder.  Easy to do now.

 

Replace all the rubber brake hoses.  They collapse/swell inside even when they look good on the outside.

 

The mild steel brake lines rust from the inside out.  You can't go by outside looks alone.  Water gets into the brake fluid and sits in low spots, causing rust.  Brake fluid absorbs water out of the air.  I replaced all steel lines with all new stainless steel.  Yes, harder to bend, but not that bad. 

 

Some will not agree with me on this, but I went with the silicon-based DOT5 brake fluid when I put everything back together new. This fluid does not absorb water.  Otherwise you need to flush the system every few years.

 

The new master cylinder needs to have a special square cross-section o-ring installed on the neck for a good vacuum seal.  This is often missed, resulting in no boost.

Yes, I did the Dot 5 thing as well for same reasons...

Edited by moran75
Mistake (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks to all who replied to this thread.  All opinions were helpful as usual.  I am going to start on the replacement of the brake lines tomorrow (which coincides with probably the worst head cold I've ever had in 61 years!). Can't wait for that gunk to start running down the back of my throat as I'm on my back on the creeper.   But sorry for that unpleasant aside.

 

I may have more questions, and again I appreciate the help. I may take photos if I remember.

 

Rich

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On ‎4‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 8:24 PM, TampaRiv said:

Hello gents,  it's Rich here in Tampa, still working on my '63 Teal Mist.   Many thanks to all who have provided help and guidance over the last couple of months, especially  Tom T. and  Jim C. 

 

I know that there is much discussion about dual-circuit systems, and I surely understand the advantage, but.....let's assume I just re-build the system as it came from the factory. 

   As always, thanks for the friendly advice,

 

Rich

 

If you want to stay with the single reservoir master cylinder send it to Apple Hydraulics http://applehydraulics.com/ or other qualified brake rebuild specialist and have your MC sleeved with brass. Then, since you'll have all new lines and wheel cylinders use DOT 5 silicone brake fluid instead of DOT 3 or 4.

Primary reason master cylinders fail is moisture collecting in bottom of cylinder bore and rusting the bore which causes seal leakage. The brass sleeved master cylinder provides a more superior finish on the bore than any aftermarket standard rebuilt or new master cylinder will have. The brass of course is more resistant to corrosion/failure from moisture. By using DOT 5 fluid you will significantly reduce or eliminate brake system failure due to moisture since it does not absorb moisture naturally like DOT 3 or 4.

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                       As Jason stated, DOT 5 will eliminate all hydraulic failures due to rust. I've used DOT 5 in my 69 GTO since 1985 and have the

same wheel cylinders and master cylinder still on the car with no problems ever over that 34 year span. I use the stuff in all my old cars and never ever have I had to replace a hydraulic brake part while using the stuff.

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3 hours ago, JZRIV said:

If you want to stay with the single reservoir master cylinder send it to Apple Hydraulics http://applehydraulics.com/ or other qualified brake rebuild specialist and have your MC sleeved with brass.

 

In 1994 or thereabouts, when I overhauled the chassis of my '64 Riviera I sent an NOS master cylinder to Apple and had it sleeved. I figured wheel cylinders would be easy to get in the future, but not so much the MC.

Last week I got the front wheel cylinders, hoses, and hardware kits.

"I like it when a plan comes together"

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Your car is not a show car where you are concerned about the details of an original single circuit MC compared to a double.  Put a new dual MC in now and be done with it.  If you have ever driven a car with a single circuit brake system and had it fail while driving (I have!) you will quickly understand the benefits of the dual MC.

 

The parts are not that expensive to go to a dual MC.  You are rebuilding everything anyway, so the labor is the same.  If you start out now with all new parts, the dual MC, and DOT 5 fluid, you will never have to mess with brakes again, ever.  Do it right and do it once.

 

 

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                      Every master cylinder that ever completely failed on me where I had no brakes whatsoever was a dual master cylinder.

It's happened to me twice and I witnessed it on somebody else's car one other time, so there are no guarantees against this happening to you regardless of which master cylinder you have. That being said, there is a pedal by your left kick panel called an "emergency brake". It has that name because it will stop your car if the main brake fails. It works every time and only takes one second to step on it if you have the presence of mind to do so. That's how I stopped my car

when my dual master cylinders failed and I didn't run into anything.

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Well said Winston!  I keep going back and forth.  My gut feeling is that with absolutely every brake component being replaced, the system should be safe and reliable.  And I myself have blown out old brake lines on dual circuit vehicles and had no brakes at all.  Thanks  for the comment, I got a kick out of it!

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I had a 76 Eldorado that had an emergency brake pedal that worked like a mechanical brake when the car was in gear. In that it didn't lock or ratchet unless the car was in park. I really liked that, I thought it was very clever.

 

I didn't know about Dot5 fluid, i'm going with that when I do my brakes.

Edited by jsgun (see edit history)
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17 hours ago, Seafoam65 said:

That being said, there is a pedal by your left kick panel called an "emergency brake".

 

I had to laugh. That was exactly my thought. And those have to be used and maintained as well. I even thought about how you hold the release so you can pump them. I know people who are afraid to use theirs. They think it will stick on.

 

Way back, a long time ago, I got a ride with a friend's wife in her late '60's Cutlas. When we parked she asked me to put the brick on the front floor in front of the wheel. She said the transmission linkage was out of adjustment and it wouldn't go into park. I asked if the emergency brake worked....... you know that joke about the Polish gentleman with the chainsaw?

 

One danger that is out there and not common is the steel plugs in antilock brake units. Moisture in the brake fluid can rot those out and when they blow there is no braking at all, something to be aware of on the newer collector Buicks. It is hard to flush them and about the only check is tapping the plug.

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14 hours ago, TampaRiv said:

Well said Winston!  I keep going back and forth.  My gut feeling is that with absolutely every brake component being replaced, the system should be safe and reliable.  And I myself have blown out old brake lines on dual circuit vehicles and had no brakes at all.  Thanks  for the comment, I got a kick out of it!

The observation that any master cylinder can fail to build pressure is correct but that really doesnt apply ...does it? The point is if some other component in the hydraulic system fails a dual circuit system will still provide 2 wheel braking.

Tom Mooney

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Too bad that parking (emergency) brakes aren't the hand operated kind.  A thumb button for a release.  Hold the thumb button down and pump away.  The World Rally Class guys figured this out some time ago.  They probably use their hand brakes more than the foot brake.

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5 hours ago, RivNut said:

Too bad that parking (emergency) brakes aren't the hand operated kind.  A thumb button for a release.  Hold the thumb button down and pump away.  The World Rally Class guys figured this out some time ago.  They probably use their hand brakes more than the foot brake.

 

When I was younger, a friend of mine liked to use his hand brake to get his VW Rabbit to go sideways. Fun, but I wouldn't want to do it anymore.

 

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Hi Rich,

You'll note from the engine pix I recently sent you of my Teal Mist/White Leather '63 that I upgraded to a 1967 style dual master cylinder but kept the drum brakes all around. It's not on your side of the country, but I had the factory booster rebuilt by Booster Dewey at https://www.yelp.com/biz/power-brake-booster-exchange-portland

They are highly recommended. It's important that you have him send you that correct square cut O-ring as mentioned earlier in this thread.

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Had my Master Cylinder rebuilt recently by White Post restorations and they cautioned about using Dot 5 brake fluid. They said it will swell or soften some rubbers.

It will void there warranty. 

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That is absolute total hogwash! Go ahead and use DOT 5 and disregard what they said. I have 40 years of experience with the stuff that

proves they don't know what they are talking about. All my customers old cars get converted to DOT 5 after I change out their hydraulics and I've had zero comebacks with the stuff....it works.

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Since the DOT 5 fluid came out I have always heard it was OK to use after a thorough flush.

 

I have been using Castrol GT LMA brake fluid for about 30 years now (1990). I do that because I want to commit myself to flushing and servicing my brake system every two years. I prefer the routine of refilling the master cylinder, opening the bleeders, being up close to the hoses, and a general check on a fairly regular basis. With DOT 5 I might end up with an out of sight, out of mind situation. And I am getting old, might not look for a decade. It is some self inflicted regimen on my part, but something I am comfortable with.

 

I just got all the hardware to redo the brakes on my '64 Riviera. Maybe I will use the DOT 5. If I do I will put a tag on the master cylinder cap so others will know in the future.

Bernie

 

Oh, almost forgot, hogwash, it made me remember slopping the hogs with the man who lived in the little house on my grandmother's farm. I helped mix it. He got most of it from the A&P grocery store. Funny thing, they sounded just like our dachshund when I push a few Wheaties off the table in the morning.

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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if you do not mind straying from originality, there is a guy on e bay who sells a front disc brake setup, and dual master cylinder with booster for a reasonable price, anyone tried it?  

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1963-64-65-Buick-Riviera-Front-Disc-Brake-Conversion-Kit/162157694373

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1963-69-Buick-Riviera-Power-Brake-Booster-Conversion-Kit-Disc-Drum-Application/162399854449

 

I was thinking about purchasing myself but did not want to guinea pig it.

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I installed disc brakes on the front of my Riv, in the 80's. Came from an Estate wagon. Far as I was concerned it was a bolt-on.  Then again I've been a mechanic ALL my life so these things come kinda easy.

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On 7/26/2019 at 11:23 AM, dr914 said:

if you do not mind straying from originality, there is a guy on e bay who sells a front disc brake setup, and dual master cylinder with booster for a reasonable price, anyone tried it?  

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1963-64-65-Buick-Riviera-Front-Disc-Brake-Conversion-Kit/162157694373

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1963-69-Buick-Riviera-Power-Brake-Booster-Conversion-Kit-Disc-Drum-Application/162399854449

 

I was thinking about purchasing myself but did not want to guinea pig it.

 

This is the kit that I bought from Jeg's, but in the disc/disc form.  It was sold from POL to OPGI, then from OPGI to Jeg;s, then Jeg's to me.  I received a discount from Jeg's, with free shipping.  Came to $270.19

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For my '64, I got Scarebird's bracket and then cannibalized a 1976 Riviera for everthing associated with the disc brakes - booster, master cylinder, lines, distribution block, calipers, pads, and rotors.  The rotors are a direct bolt on to the 64's spindles.  I like this set up because everything I'm using is avaiable a a local jobber.  If I need something, I'm not waiting for it to be shipped and hoping the company hasn't discontinued the part. Plus, I know that each part was designed to be used with the other parts, and years of use on hundreds of thousands of vehicles over hundreds of thousands of miles.  Plus its a heck of a lot less expensive.

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Tampa Riv, I’ve driven ragged farm trucks loaded with hay, straw and/or sack feed. They always stopped.

i changed my 63 Riv over to a dual master cylinder. I put in new brake lines, new brake cylinders, had the master cylinder rebuilt and I use Dot 5 brake fluid. I believe IF you maintain the single break cylinder set up it will always stop. My point is diligent on going maintenance will save the day.

Turbinator

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  • 3 months later...

Gents, though my brake system has all relatively new consumables such a brake lines, wheel cylinders, and brake shoes the Brake pedal went almost to the floor. The fellow that put the shoes on failed when he stalled the rear brakes to make sure all those little springs were fastened. Tom Telesco inspected the brakes and found the problem. Tom show me how the self adjusting brakes did not work because the springs  were not fastened. Tom fastened the springs and adjusted the brakes and now I have a full brake pedal.

For my driving style the drum brakes work just fine for me. I believe on going proper maintenance Performed by those in the know Should give you all the stopping power you need.

Turbinator

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  • 4 weeks later...

Gents, I had my 63 Riv brake system updated with the dual master cylinder. I’m not sure I needed to do so but I did. New brake shoes, new brake wheel cylinders and new brake lines.

Tom Telesco noticed my brake assembly parts on the brake backing wheel plate were not completely fastened. Tom fixed the fastening problem AND I now have a FULL. Brake pedal. The self adjusters were not working because other parts were not fastened. My brake shoes stop the car ok with me. No argument disc conversion stops better, but my shoes stop good for me.

Turbinator

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On 5/8/2019 at 1:04 PM, Seafoam65 said:

 That being said, there is a pedal by your left kick panel called an "emergency brake". It has that name because it will stop your car if the main brake fails.

 

Actually, that pedal is called the "Parking Brake".  It is not really intended as an emergency brake, but of course can help bring the car to a stop in an emergency.  However, note that our Rivieras are 2-ton vehicles, so don't expect a single set of rear brake shoes without hydraulic assist to stop the car very quickly.  The braking system of most cars is designed so the front brakes carry about 70% of the stopping force, so the rear brakes, while better than nothing, aren't going to be very effective. 

 

How do I know?  I had a total brake failure in my '65 Gran Sport in 2014 when driving home from the ROA meet in Monterey, CA.  I was doing 70mph along I-5 entering Portland, Oregon when my brake pedal went to the floor - NOTHING!!  A brief flash of panic ensued and then I thought - "What can I do"?  I first shifted down from Drive into 2nd, using the engine compression to slow the car as I exited the freeway.  The off-ramp led uphill, so I had a further assist from gravity.  Once the car had slowed to about 30mph I dropped her into 1st.  Only then did I judiciously apply the parking brake (AKA emergency brake) to bring the car to a full stop, luckily in a gas station!   I determined the cause of brake failure to be a pinhole in the brake line running above the rear axle, as the MC was bone dry.  I simply filled the reservoir back up, pumped the brakes and Back in Action!  I would lose fluid with each brake application, but managed to get home to Vancouver BC by refilling the reservoir periodically.

 

Another very handy use of the parking brake is while driving in snow.  If your wheels lock up going downhill on a slope and the car starts to slide sideways then use the parking brake to lock up the rear wheels only.  This will enable you to maintain directional control of the vehicle because the front wheels will continue to roll.  I used that trick more than once to get me and the Riviera out of trouble in snow/ice.

 

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On 5/8/2019 at 1:04 PM, Seafoam65 said:

 That being said, there is a pedal by your left kick panel called an "emergency brake". It has that name because it will stop your car if the main brake fails.

 

Actually, that pedal is called the "Parking Brake".  It is not really intended as an emergency brake, but of course can help bring the car to a stop in an emergency.  However, note that our Rivieras are 2-ton vehicles, so don't expect a single set of rear brake shoes without hydraulic assist to stop the car very quickly.  The braking system of most cars is designed so the front brakes carry about 70% of the stopping force, so the rear brakes, while better than nothing, aren't going to be very effective. 

 

How do I know?  I had a total brake failure in my '65 Gran Sport in 2014 when driving home from the ROA meet in Monterey, CA.  I was doing 70mph along I-5 entering Portland, Oregon when my brake pedal went to the floor - NOTHING!!  A brief flash of panic ensued and then I thought - "What can I do"?  I first shifted down from Drive into 2nd, using the engine compression to slow the car as I exited the freeway.  The off-ramp led uphill, so I had a further assist from gravity.  Once the car had slowed to about 30mph I dropped her into 1st.  Only then did I judiciously apply the parking brake (AKA emergency brake) to bring the car to a full stop, luckily in a gas station!   I determined the cause of brake failure to be a pinhole in the brake line running above the rear axle, as the MC was bone dry.  I simply filled the reservoir back up, pumped the brakes and Back in Action!  I would lose fluid with each brake application, but managed to get home to Vancouver BC by refilling the reservoir periodically.

 

Another very handy use of the parking brake is while driving in snow.  If your wheels lock up going downhill on a slope and the car starts to slide sideways then use the parking brake to lock up the rear wheels only.  This will enable you to maintain directional control of the vehicle because the front wheels will continue to roll.  I used that trick more than once to get me and the Riviera out of trouble in snow/ice.

 

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19 hours ago, 65VerdeGS said:

I was doing 70mph along I-5 entering Portland, Oregon when my brake pedal went to the floor - NOTHING!!  A brief flash of panic ensued and then I thought

 

70 MPH and discovering no brakes, must have been a wide open spot. My wife would have asked "What's that song you are humming, sounds familiqar.

 

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I've used the parking brake to bring a moving vehicle to a safe stop.  Not quite as good as the normal brakes (and I wouldn't recommend it as your primary braking system), but it can be done.

 

On a more general note, accident avoidance is more easily accomplished with the steering wheel than the brakes.  Situational awareness is of greater benefit than any braking system.

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On 12/31/2019 at 2:54 PM, KongaMan said:

Situational awareness is of greater benefit than any braking system.

Paying close attention to vehicles ahead and how other drivers are operating their vehicle is a great tip off for what m I g h t happen. I give the crazy drivers a wide berth. 

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On 12/31/2019 at 2:54 PM, KongaMan said:

Situational awareness is of greater benefit than any braking system.

 

"Always be extra cautious when driving near Chrysler products on the road. Those owners have shown poor judgement in the past."

 

Quote credited to Ray Caldwell, used car salesman in Western New York 1940's through mic-1970's.

 

Passed on to me by a Pierce-Arrow owner.

Bernie

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