Jump to content

What does "manual brakes" mean to you?


Recommended Posts

Manual choke,manual door locks,manual saftey belts,manual window risers,manual spare tire,manual radiator cap ,manual floor matts and manual dip stick.

 

"Caution! Manual Driver Behind the Wheel..." A "manual steering wheel" of course.😎

 

  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Had double front drum brakes on my '72 Suzuki GT750 "water buffalo". First bike I had that would just burn the rear tire instead of reaching for the sky.

 

 

 

Back in the day, at our motorcycle dealership, we called those twin leading shoe drum brakes. I have never heard the term "double front drum"..........but we did like turning the GT750 into a hill climber back in New England in the unlimited class. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

 I learned about self-energizing brakes in my early teens when I first started to study bound books to learn about cars. Seems like the term always refreshes when I see someone converting to disc brakes. But that's just me.

 

Bound books with paragraphs, the other reading material.

 

Bernie

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have clearly stated, 'manual brakes' refers to non-assisted braking effort reduction through the use of vacuum, air, or hydraulic(Hydro-boost), means.

 

I guess to clarify the uninformed and the nit-pickers, it would not hurt to state 'upgrade' to hydraulic brakes in the ad, as the original mechanical brakes are also considered 'manual brakes'.  

 

Craig

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

, it would not hurt to state 'upgrade' to hydraulic brakes in the ad, as the original mechanical brakes are also considered 'manual brakes'.  

 

Craig


Exactly. I have been following this today, and felt that explaining the conversion would have been a definitive statement eliminating any confusion.     -   Carl 

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I'll jump in and pick a nit or two.  Manual means "done with the hands"; so, to me, a foot-pedal operated brake isn't "manual", no matter if it has power assist or not, works hydraulically, pneumatically, or by cables.  I'll buy "hydraulic brakes, non-power assisted" or words to that effect.  I'm open to the handbrake (parking brake/emergency brake) being a manual brake, but we have those better words for it.  🤚

 

Older cars with brakes operated by cables or rods are "mechanical brakes", even if they have power assist via vacuum  or hydraulic pump, as a few cars did.  

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I have to say my feet did a lot of manual labor especially when I was in the army. We marched all over the place in basic at Ft Campbell and AIT at Ft Leonard Wood which we knew as lost in the woods because that’s what we were 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly why I was USAF. Had no desire to walk where I was going.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, edinmass said:

 

 

Had double front drum brakes on my '72 Suzuki GT750 "water buffalo". First bike I had that would just burn the rear tire instead of reaching for the sky.

 

 

 

Back in the day, at our motorcycle dealership, we called those twin leading shoe drum brakes. I have never heard the term "double front drum"..........but we did like turning the GT750 into a hill climber back in New England in the unlimited class. 

I had one of those in the mid-70s as well.  I did not like it compared to my 1973 Harley Sportster, which would also smoke the back tire.  Yeah, I know...AMF, but it is what it is...or was.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Me, late to the party.

Snarky comment first.

I think it means you have a 'not likely to be a customer' that believes himself to be Noah Webster! He KNOWS what something means and expects the entire world to go HIS way!

However. FINALY! Gary Ash said what I thought and knew (hello, my name is Noah Webster---) from the first post. Know what the Spanish word is for "hand"? It is "mano". It has the same origins as the "man" in "manual" of English.  Traditionally, it is the hand that differentiates man from all other animals (although in the past couple hundred years numerous exceptions to that tradition have been ignored). Mankind literally means "has a hand" (traditionally with an opposable thumb).

 

I have always disliked the way people have used "manual brakes" in reference to automobiles, because it is not traditionally used correctly. A "manual brake" is one operated by the "hand". Period. Mechanical doesn't make any difference. Hydraulic doesn't make any difference. Whether or not they have any sort of power assist or self energizing characteristics doesn't make any difference.

And I wish to offer my apologies beforehand for offending anyone here. But hydraulic alone does not in ANY way add any more power to the brakes! They do under certain circumstances not lose as much energy as mechanical brakes can, but that is not under usual driving conditions.  They are IN SOME WAYS easier to maintain. Adjustments are not nearly as critical. The are simpler to apply to steerable wheels than are mechanical brakes. THAT was their main selling point when they were first being put onto automobiles. Four wheel mechanical brakes did not become common until after hydraulic brakes became available simply because the manufacturers of mechanical brakes NEEDED to adapt in order to not lose a huge market. Four wheel mechanical brakes were not thought necessary when everybody else had two wheel brakes and most traffic was light enough to not really need the additional braking power on the ground. Flexible hoses made front wheel braking simple! It only took about two years to nearly perfect four wheel mechanical brakes once the mechanical brake patent holders faced the real prospect of completely losing their market to a new idea. The basics of mechanical front wheel braking had been played with for years! It was just corporate complacency that allowed them to not put them into serious production.

Power assisted mechanical brakes followed soon after (as Grimy and others have said) the threat of hydraulic brake competition pushed the mechanical brake patent holders to compete. Power assisted hydraulic brakes didn't follow along for several more years.

 

 

However. There is almost always a "however". 

Ain't linguistics fun!? Since people have been using the word 'manual' incorrectly for the better part of a century? Maybe it has actually become to mean what so many people think it means? So I will just continue to shake my head every time I read or hear someone saying" manual brakes" in reference to the "foot brake".

And with self driving cars becoming a reality (whether they are ready or not!), even a chimpanzee will be able to drive. Have you ever noticed that a chimpanzee has what appears to be an opposable thumb? They also have what appears to be an opposable toe (or thumb) on their feet! So if a chimpanzee were to drive a car, maybe the foot brake could properly be called a "man"ual brake?

 

Okay, enough out of me now.

Edited by wayne sheldon
I hate leaving typos! (see edit history)
  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The only place I have seen the term "manual brakes" as you use it, is in a new car showroom or from a car salesman. It is used in the catalog or order blank to distinguish them from power brakes, the analogy being manual vs power steering, manual vs power seat, etc.

The literal meaning of 'manual' is by hand. You do not usually operate the brake pedal with your hand but with your foot. So it is kind of a dumb term but everyone knows what it means.

If you want to be really literal there are manual controls available that allow operating the brakes with a hand lever. They are made for disabled people who have had their foot decapitated.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My version of the answer to that question would be, something like this; brakes that have "No power Assistance to Actuate the Braking Force, to the master cylinder or at the master cylinder "Thus making the pedal  easier to depress, to increase braking pressure.

 

After I study my words a bit; I may want to tweak that statement.  I'll go with this for now.

 

intimeold

Link to post
Share on other sites

Search :manual brakes vs power brakes 

 

see what you find.  You may not like the term and disagree that it makes sense but it has a common understood meaning, especially in the “old” car world.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Gary_Ash said:

 

I'll jump in and pick a nit or two.  Manual means "done with the hands"; so, to me, a foot-pedal operated brake isn't "manual", no matter if it has power assist or not, works hydraulically, pneumatically, or by cables.  I'll buy "hydraulic brakes, non-power assisted" or words to that effect.  I'm open to the handbrake (parking brake/emergency brake) being a manual brake, but we have those better words for it.  🤚

 

Older cars with brakes operated by cables or rods are "mechanical brakes", even if they have power assist via vacuum  or hydraulic pump, as a few cars did.  

 

Our 1934 Buick 34-57 used rods to actuate the brake shoes at all 4 corners,

but also relied on a vacuum tank to multiply  the brake pedal's effort,

effectively a Mechanically-Leveraged, Vacuum-Power-Assisted braking system

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Rusty_OToole said:

The only place I have seen the term "manual brakes" as you use it, is in a new car showroom or from a car salesman. It is used in the catalog or order blank to distinguish them from power brakes, the analogy being manual vs power steering, manual vs power seat, etc.

The literal meaning of 'manual' is by hand. You do not usually operate the brake pedal with your hand but with your foot. So it is kind of a dumb term but everyone knows what it means.

If you want to be really literal there are manual controls available that allow operating the brakes with a hand lever. They are made for disabled people who have had their foot decapitated.

Since we're nitpicking definitions, decapitated means having your head cut off.  Removing a foot is an amputation of which there are different types (metatarsophalangeal, transmetatarsal, Lisfranc, Chopart, Syme) depending on how much of the foot is cut off.  Manual controls aren't limited to amputees - they can be used by anyone who, for whatever reason, is unable to operate a foot pedal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the old hot rod day when you converted a 37 Ford over to hydraulic brakes you said you were converting from manual to hydraulic. Later on when you converted from non assisted drum brakes to assisted you also said you were converting from no assist to vacuum assist or manual assist to power assist.

 

If I asked my Dad or Grandfather what was the difference between manual cable operated and hydraulic brakes they would most likely say one is manual and the other isn't.

If you are to ask my generation it would be manual brakes are not vacuum assisted hydraulic and assisted brakes are power brakes.

graphics1.png

There is a mechanical advantage to hydraulic brakes even when unassisted by power assist to the piston of the master cylinder.

 

Just like dear old fashioned  Dad and Grandpa-they were right- small piston larger actuating piston is a mechanical advantage over mechanical cables. What can go wrong with a Old Fashion?

Jim Backus Makes an Old Fashioned - YouTube

Link to post
Share on other sites

And for those to whom "manual" refers to the hand, I submit the manual transmission which is operated with both hand and foot.  😁

 

This thread reminds me of the never-ending discussion of what body style terms really mean.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, CHuDWah said:

And for those to whom "manual" refers to the hand, I submit the manual transmission which is operated with both hand and foot

The foot operates the clutch and only the clutch.  Only the hand operates the transmission whether or not it is a pre-selector.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tinindian said:

The foot operates the clutch and only the clutch.  Only the hand operates the transmission whether or not it is a pre-selector.

Not exactly correct, if it is equipped with a Saxomat automatic clutch, or if has an F1 transmission.  Placing one's hand on the gear lever, or actuating the shift paddles automatically engages the clutch while shifting gears.

 

Craig

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, CHuDWah said:

Since we're nitpicking definitions, decapitated means having your head cut off.  Removing a foot is an amputation of which there are different types (metatarsophalangeal, transmetatarsal, Lisfranc, Chopart, Syme) depending on how much of the foot is cut off.  Manual controls aren't limited to amputees - they can be used by anyone who, for whatever reason, is unable to operate a foot pedal.

Someone got the joke

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tinindian said:

The foot operates the clutch and only the clutch.  Only the hand operates the transmission whether or not it is a pre-selector.

Yes, yes, and each can be operated independently of the other.  But they usually are parts of the same operation, namely shifting gears.  And then there's the Model T...😉

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Didn't Mark Twain say something like, "What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so."

 

 

The Lockdown/ CoVid has brought out a new level of  keyboard experts with nothing to do all day but harass those they are jealous of by showing their superior intellect gleaned from the internet, not actual experience.

 I'm getting deeply sick of them myself!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

a) have not had a car with a manual brake in a long time (though understand are popular with drifters). Do remember mention of hand and foot brakes (usually referring to E-brakes (emergency became parking about the time dual master cylinders came out)

b) guess my thought patterns were formed before the Internet was popular, remember the ArpaNet reaching 200 nodes. Had a language all its own and at 300 baud, the shorter the better.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt, it is just possible that your nit-picker was a foreigner. As an Australian, I had never heard the term 'manual brakes' until I frequented this site. Brakes down here are mechanical, hydraulic or power assisted, as Gary Ash said. We also have a 'Hand Brake', used manually when parking. When I read the term 'manual brakes', I think of a long hand operated lever. This is just an observation from outside of the US of A. And it has been quite an interesting thread, in more ways than one, and I stand 'educated'.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to admit until Matt started this I had never considered the term could have a different meaning to more then one person. The more I thought about manual brakes, the more I came to realize that for me manual brakes mean two different things. First after the advent of hydraulic brakes it meant cable or rod operated brakes as apposed to hydraulic. Later with the exception of some cars like Ford and PA, who continued to use cable, it came to mean a system without a power assist. I guess from now on I will never again accept the word without a proper definition. For an old man who craves simplicity, it makes my head hurt. It must be time for bed!

 

An additional reason for for PA's abandonment of the Bendix power assist mechanism after 1935 was the Warner overdrive. It was mounted on the rear of the transmission, the same place that the aforementioned power assist had been located. I have to think that the Bendix system would have been much more expensive then the vacuum system that was coming into general use. That might not have mattered much for PA, but it had to be a consideration for it's sibling Studebaker, which began to use VA in 1933. One other quirk of the Bendix system was the fact that the slower the car traveled the less mechanical advantage was available. So at very slow speeds (like a parade) at speeds under 5mph, not much assist was evident. In those situations the use of the hand brake became the method of bringing the speed down. Now I guess that would have been real manual brakes. Good night!

 

Bill

Link to post
Share on other sites

Uses of manual brakes definitions; here is another that says hydraulic is manual:

Manual System

If you're a die-hard stickler for authenticity, then a manual brake system is the way to go for your vintage car. That's because manual brakes don't have the added advantage of having power assistance that kicks in when you depress the brake pedal.

Another advantage of sticking to a manual system is that there are fewer parts to work with because it's a simpler system. The master cylinder doesn't have a power brake booster. This means you have fewer parts that can wear out and that you'll have to replace.

If you're like a lot of vintage car owners, you simply like the feel of manual brakes. They give you more feedback and can add to your authentic experience.

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

For now, just tell me what the term, "manual brakes" means to you. I'll explain after a few responses.

 

Prewar I think cables,  post war I think juice but non-power.   In the future it will mean somebody pushed on a pedal.

 

Stone Age I think it is your feet.

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

This reminds me of a story about a country boy who was admitted to Harvard.

 

He was walking across campus on his first day, and stops an upper classman to ask "Can you tell me where the Library is at?"  The upper classman stands up straight, and replies "young man, you are at Harvard University.  We do not end sentences with a preposition here".  The new guy thinks a minute, and replies "OK, can you tell me where the Library is at, a$$hole?"

 

Did you ask the guy where he went to college?  

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Pfeil said:

In the old hot rod day when you converted a 37 Ford over to hydraulic brakes you said you were converting from manual to hydraulic. Later on when you converted from non assisted drum brakes to assisted you also said you were converting from no assist to vacuum assist or manual assist to power assist.

 

If I asked my Dad or Grandfather what was the difference between manual cable operated and hydraulic brakes they would most likely say one is manual and the other isn't.

If you are to ask my generation it would be manual brakes are not vacuum assisted hydraulic and assisted brakes are power brakes.

graphics1.png

There is a mechanical advantage to hydraulic brakes even when unassisted by power assist to the piston of the master cylinder.

 

Just like dear old fashioned  Dad and Grandpa-they were right- small piston larger actuating piston is a mechanical advantage over mechanical cables. What can go wrong with a Old Fashion?

Jim Backus Makes an Old Fashioned - YouTube

 

back in my 1950s "Hot-Rodding" days, when  1930s Ford was "upgraded" to hydraulic braking,

we called it

"JUICE BRAKES"
The difference was notable

Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose that someday, when the computer does all the driving, we'll refer to 2021-style foot-pedal power-assisted hydraulic brakes as "manual".    To the troll who has nothing better to do (and will never buy a car from you anyway), perhaps I would reply:  "Oh, 'manual' brakes means it has the kind referred to in the owner's manual."  

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The English language is partly to blame. It's somewhat convoluted at times - that's how it evolved - yet some people think they can apply clearly defined and consistent rules to it, like with the word "manual." That word frequently means hand operated, but in the context of brakes, everyone I know uses it to describe non-power brakes.

 

It's like the "air raid" sirens that go off around here whenever there's a tornado. Like the vast majority of the US, we've never had an air raid here before, and the sirens have only ever been sounded for tornadoes, as I recall, but everyone still calls them air raid sirens. So that's what they are.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, JamesR said:

The English language is partly to blame. It's somewhat convoluted at times - that's how it evolved - yet some people think they can apply clearly defined and consistent rules to it, like with the word "manual." That word frequently means hand operated, but in the context of brakes, everyone I know uses it to describe non-power brakes.

 

It's like the "air raid" sirens that go off around here whenever there's a tornado. Like the vast majority of the US, we've never had an air raid here before, and the sirens have only ever been sounded for tornadoes, as I recall, but everyone still calls them air raid sirens. So that's what they are.

Growing up in the late 40's 50's early 60's in the L.A. county we did not get tornadoes, but the <CD> Civil Defense sirens went off once a month at 10:00A.M. I think it was the first or last Friday of the month.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Up here in the tundra of S-W Ontario Canada manual brakes meant no power assist. But as I learned to drive( partly) on a mechanical brake Pre WWII Allis tractor I understand the confusion from a regional point of view.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Str8-8-Dave said:

Look- I found a nice definition of manuel brakes....

 

 

 

Great clip!  On board cameras weren't common back then. I like how he takes his hands off the wheel at about 90 to finally pull his goggles down over his eyes. 😄

 

Such skinny tires and rough road surfaces. What a great driver he was.

Link to post
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
×
×
  • Create New...