Jump to content

Bore size of rear wheel cylinder ‘53 Special

Rusty Heaps

Recommended Posts

Hi  Rusty heaps,   just incase this helps, if your   cylinder cups are still good condition, you can do this,

Firstly i want to say that i know i will probably get  bad remarks  from others for showing this, but i have 

been doing this for for years and i have never had a problem--and depends on the wear inside cylinder.

When dismantling  cylinder  clean thoroughly--with   brake clean, if your  cylinder is --example  7/8 inch

diameter go to home depot or  similar outlet  buy a piece of , electrical fluming plastic tube, or even some wooden handle

broom handles are  great, buy it at 3/4 inch diameter, cut a piece about   12- 18 inches long, rap one end about 6 inches  long

with about 350-400 wet  dry  paper, then finish with  about 700-800 wet and dry, rap it around  about 2 or 3 times until it just

slides in to cylinder  nice  fit ,  use water , break clean, or any thing as you  pull in and out ,and turn about 30 degress  every few minutes.

Only   sand  cylinder for about  4 or 5 minutes--   until  smooth--dont worry if all   marks in side cylinder  are not removed.

You will be surprised how it works ,  when reasembling cylinder  clean and lube with new brake fluid.

If they are  to badly  worn ,  get them resleaved in stainless or bronze,----a few photos of my last  Buick about a year ago. ,had to do  all four

 cylinders, as shipping company removed all the aspestos brake linings into Australia.--so did them while they were  stripped.







  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rebuilding wheel cylinders is a nice rewarding little project...but it won't last.  Many years ago when these cars were my every day ones we probably rebuilt one every few months along with new shoes if contaminated with brake fluid.  Back then kits were the only economic choice (new cylinders were dealer only items=$$$).  When cylinders are made there is a hardened surface rolled in the bore and with wear and every rebuild you get diminishing returns on service life.  Today you can buy new cylinders for $5 to $50, most are lifetime guaranteed.   30 years ago I bought a set of Raybestos cylinders from NAPA and when I found some dampness inside the dust cover, they replaced them!  Only rare wheel cylinders should be sleeved since that costs at least $75 (master cylinders make more sense).

How to get 30 years service out of new cylinders?  Flush the brake fluid every 2 years and drive the heck out of them.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, old-tank said:

Flush the brake fluid every 2 years

Or every year, it might be easier to make it a routine. I try to do that. You need to flush until fresh clear fluid comes out. Dark fluid is contaminated with water and will rust metal parts. Flush and you won't have to replace rusty stuff.

Fluid left for years will rust the bottom of the component it is in. Right below the bleeder on a wheel cylinder you may find deep rust pits in the area between the pistons. Those pits will affect the lip seal on the cups and allow leakage. When you do a full brake job the thickness of the new linings will move the cups inward after adjustment and put the lips right in the pitted area.


My recent experience has shown me that offshore manufactured wheel cylinders are cast and machined of very poor quality. Fitting threads are really bad to the point where I would sleeve even an old wheel cylinder and, if the cups and pistons were hard to get I would buy the new one and use the internal parts on my resleeved old one. If you do use new parts be sure to screw in a fitting nut to check the threads before installing it on the car. Also check the bleeder size. It could be 10 or 11MM.


New master cylinder kits are hard to find. My '64 Riviera master cylinder was sleeved back in the 1990's. Two years ago I couldn't find a kit. For $60 I bought a low quality Raybestos and used the internal parts.


Parts availability appears increasingly high. The quality of replacement parts appears to be increasingly low. Cast and machined parts tend to be increasingly disappointing.


Well, everything is increasing. But be very thorough with inspections and verification things work as you planned. And if you are buying "work done by others" be especially cautious.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It also doesn’t hurt to go out and step on the brake pedal once in a while during the off times such as winter when the vehicle may sit for a while. Especially with the old Huck style brake cylinders and others that may not have the outer rubber covers and could allow moisture in the ends of the cylinder that way. Just an ounce of prevention.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
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
  • Create New...