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Brake conversion????????


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The old-time hot rodders used Ford parts pretty much throughout when adding hydraulic brakes to a Model A. Basically, 1940-48 Ford hydraulics are very much a direct fit to the Model A axles, both front and rear, and the the lug bolt pattern is the same as well (there were a lot of A's running around in the 50's and 60's with Ford 6:00-16 wheel rims and tires!).

For a lot of years back then, there were kits available for this conversion, consisting mostly of the mounting bracketry to adapt a 40-48 master cylinder (which mounts to the chassis, underneath the driver's seat) to the Model A chassis, and a set of adapters to safely bolt Model A wheels to the later brake drums. IIRC, the Model A wheel doesn't seat properly on Ford juice-brake drums, so an adapter ring, about 1/2" thick was needed in order to tighten the wheel to the hub was necessary).

There is an excellent book, albeit aimed at hotrodding a Model A in the late-40's style, but using the Model A Frame, that shows how to mount up a Ford hydraulic master cylinder to the model A chassis, and also showing how to adapt later Ford hydraulic brakes to Ford axles. It's titled "How to Build A Traditional Ford-Based Hot Rod", by Vern Tardell, available from Motor Books International (MBI). While this is a rodder's book, it should be very helpful in getting you where you want to be. Even though Tardell does cover the use of slightly later Ford pickup brakes or even Lincoln brakes, the principles are sound, and 40-48 Ford brakes were the best in the business in their day.

Art Anderson

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Why not just make the original brakes work correctly?

Juice brakes do not work better than the mechanicals (sorry, but the best you can do is lock up the wheels as you are limited by the tires) and juice brakes are more likely to fail, unless you plan on driving the car every week year round. Read Fordbarn.com there is an explanation about the how and why juice brakes fail. Just ask anyone with a 1939 or later car how often they are replacing wheel cylinders (we used to own one that was not driven enough so I know). If you do not believe me ask the other guys who regularly drive their properly rebuilt cars longs distances at high speed.

Lack of quality parts is no longer an excuse since there are good reproduction parts to make the A brakes actually better than new (the cast iron drums).

Take the time to make the original brakes work correctly and you will surprised and pleased with the final product.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Why not just make the original brakes work correctly?

Juice brakes do not work better than the mechanicals (sorry, but the best you can do is lock up the wheels as you are limited by the tires) and juice brakes are more likely to fail, unless you plan on driving the car every week year round. Read Fordbarn.com there is an explanation about the how and why juice brakes fail. Just ask anyone with a 1939 or later car how often they are replacing wheel cylinders (we used to own one that was not driven enough so I know). If you do not believe me ask the other guys who regularly drive their properly rebuilt cars longs distances at high speed.

Lack of quality parts is no longer an excuse since there are good reproduction parts to make the A brakes actually better than new (the cast iron drums).

Take the time to make the original brakes work correctly and you will surprised and pleased with the final product. </div></div>

You are quite correct. Of course, there is always the little bit of unpredictability with mechanical brakes, as no matter how well they are adjusted, one brake will almost always get more pressure than the other three--I know that from having several Model A's in the 60's, including one with the brakes done from all NOS parts, by an old long-time Ford mechanic (who started his career in 1914, retired for the final time, in 1968)

Art

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  • 2 weeks later...

I Agree.

Fix the mechanical brakes and do it right. The only brake falure I had on a Model A was one converted to hyd brakes. A brake line blew and I rear-ended the car in front of me. Gently... after grabbing low gear and the parking brake and shutting off the engine. I aimed squarley at the car to spread any damage over a larger area after I realized there was not enough room to go to one side.

No damage to either car and no desire to have juice brakes on an A after that

Bill

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I Agree.

Fix the mechanical brakes and do it right. The only brake falure I had on a Model A was one converted to hyd brakes. A brake line blew and I rear-ended the car in front of me. Gently... after grabbing low gear and the parking brake and shutting off the engine. I aimed squarley at the car to spread any damage over a larger area after I realized there was not enough room to go to one side.

No damage to either car and no desire to have juice brakes on an A after that

Bill </div></div>

Bill,

Just make sure that all clevis pins in the system are properly cotter-keyed though! I had the main brake pull-rod come adrift due to a cotter key not being quite the proper size (Hey, I was like 20 years old at the time,what did I know?), which dropped the pedal all the way to the floor (of its own weight) at about 45mph on a hilly gravel road (this was 1964). Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to leave it in gear, let off it completely, and retard the spark immediately--we slowed down to the point that I could pull the emergency brake lever without putting the car in the ditch.

ARt

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  • 1 month later...

One of the first things I did when I rebuilt the chassis of my 29 was rebuild the brakes. No matter how well it runs, if it don't whoa, you might as well let it home in the garage. I was working with a limited budget so when it came time to arch the brake shoes to match the curve of the drums, I found carpet tape (double sided), 200 grit sand paper, the drum that goes to that particular wheel, and a dust mask worked just fine. Use the tape to secure the sandpaper to the drum and little by little adjust the shoes out, while turning the drum, till they pretty much match the drum curve. I can lock my mechanicals up without much effort at all. I didn't even have to install the equalizer floater (B2051FL from MAC's). Yeah... stick with the mechanicals. <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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I agree whole heartedly about adjusting you brakes properly. My daily driver has over 478,000 miles on it. The mechanical linkage loks the wheels up with just under half a pedal travel. I have never had any trouble after I got a manual and adjusted them properly. Sorry to interject a "P****** into your fine thread but I realy don't think hydraulic actuation will give you better brakes.

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  • 9 years later...

Was wondering. I have a 32 studebaker that I want to convert to juice brakes as well. I think the easiest way would be to swap over all the components to ford. Meaning front end, rear end and then add the juice brake parts. Any thoughts on this. Building a studebaker hot rod is not a top search on google. Going to have to think about this project a lot.

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"Swap over" is an interesting term. Attaching all Ford parts to the Studebaker frame along with the associated peripherals is major surgery. Have you considered just remounting the body on a later frame ? Fabricating a few body mounts is vastly simpler and easier than "swapping over" mechanicals into an old frame. That is assuming you are building a hot rod.

If you are leaving the rest of the car original the comments above on why NOT to switch to hydraulic brakes would apply to your Studebaker as well . I believe (from memory) that it had a cable operated brake system (some models had a vacuum assist I believe). Those cable operated brakes were used on the Studebaker race car that garnered a third place finish at Indy in 1932.

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I guess when I say "swap over" I am asking more about converting the original Studebaker brakes to juice. The car is going to run a Buick nailhead motor and 350 trans, so it needs to stop. If there were some way to swap the ford juice brakes onto the original axles than it would better. I would love to keep as many Studebaker parts as possible. In reality I am going to chop up the frame or build a new one to channel the body over, not sure which right now. I just am not sure about bolt patterns etc on the ford juice brakes and if they will match the Studebaker stuff. Any thoughts?

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Hmmm, Buick engine, TH350, Ford suspension and brakes but you want to use as many Stude parts as possible?!?!? Just stick a 9" Ford rear end under it. Front brakes can usually be adapted with the proper, matching bearings and fabricated caliper mounts, if discs are what you're after. Sometimes it's amazing how little some manufacturers change things. Maybe later Stude hydraulics are a close fit. Stranger things have happened

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Yes maybe i am being optimistic. I would love to be able to stick the nail head in it and run everything else Studebaker. Hell would love to build the st8 6 engine that came in the car but I would like more than 30HP. the 9inch is what i was thinking about. And good thoughts about adapting the later Studebaker brakes to this axle.

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This discussion is better suited for a hot rod forum, not the AACA forums.

My car has two wheel brake, I want four wheel. My car has mechanical brakes, I want hydraulic. My car has drum brakes, I want disk.

Original brakes, properly maintained, will adequately stop any antique car driven within original limits.

If you want new car handling, go buy a new car. And, my advice to the fellow trying to hot rod a '32 Studebaker, please get some good advice before really messing up the car, no offense meant, but it sounds like you're in too deep before you even start....

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Yes maybe i am being optimistic. I would love to be able to stick the nail head in it and run everything else Studebaker. Hell would love to build the st8 6 engine that came in the car but I would like more than 30HP. the 9inch is what i was thinking about. And good thoughts about adapting the later Studebaker brakes to this axle.

If you're still hanging around keep in mind the later Studebaker flathead 6 was 112 hp stock and it was pretty easy to get it up to 150hp give or take a little. Torque was impressive.

For what it's worth you would be time and money ahead to have a new frame fabricated (or fabricate one yourself) and sell the old frame and running gear to someone else. There isn't much of anything you can reuse on that old frame that will withstand the torque or top speed of the nailhead - I saw far too many high hp - old frame combinations disintegrate back in the sixties - sometimes with disastrous results. Do yourself, your loved ones and others on the roadway a favor and make certain that what you build is safe at the speed at which you are going to drive it.

Just my two cents

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