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Hydraulic brake conversion on a 1920 Stanley Steamer.


Quilbilly
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Hello, I am finishing up converting my Stanley's mechanical brakes to hydraulic. After I looked at it I realized I may have messed up with the position of the wheel cylinder. It is at an angle to avoid some interferences on the black side and now I am wondering whether I will have trouble bleeding the wheel cylinders since they are at an angle. I can change them to nearly horizontal but I would rather not if I can still bleed them. Thanks Todd

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There several ways to bleed angled cylinders. 

 

Some mechanics use a thin feeler gauge slipped into the top end of cylinder with dust boot removed, to go past the inner rubber cup.  That tiny gap from the gauge lets the air out.   That won't work on yours because the angle is way to too much and the cupped shape of the back side of the rubber cup will still trap air.

 

Another way is remove the shoes and the bolts on cylinder, then pull the cylinder away from backing plate and rotate the cylinder to horizontal.  This is easy with front brakes with rubber hoses.  On your rear brakes, you'd have to make brake lines that are routed in a certain way to have enough slack to be able to pull the cylinder out and be able to twist the cylinder and line.

 

One last way is if you are able to unbolt the entire backing plate and rotate it to have the cylinder horizontal while bleeding, (if possible, depending on how you made the steel lines, or obstructions)

 

.

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42 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Installing brakes on that car in the rear is fine. Installing brakes on the front can be very dangerous, and should only done by an experienced engineer...........Steering geometry and weak font axles can cause cause very dangerous failures. 

 

How about a photo of the car? 👍

Very good point. The front suspension was never intended to deal with axle wrap from the rotational load of brakes. That combined with the forward weight transference would put a lot more stress on all fasteners and axle components. Perhaps a very light braking system with a proportioning valve adjustment for a 90% brake bias to the rear would help? I had thought about doing something similar on my 21 Haynes but starting wondering about axle wrap, wheel hop and spring hanger failure under braking. I decided I’m not messing with it. Just gonna learn to drive the original setup. 

Edited by BobinVirginia (see edit history)
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As for bleeding the rears....just put a longer line on it, and bleed it removed from the plate.........and then reinstall........easy as pie. 

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When 4 wheel brakes came in, some late model, usually expensive cars had them added by changing the whole front axle. Some car companies offered replacement axles for the purpose, I believe Lincoln did this. If a slightly newer car of the same make and model has a suitable axle, with spring mounts the same distance apart, compatible steering etc. this might be the way to get 4 wheel brakes safely.

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