Thursday, August 4, 2016

Brakes and a ride height adjustment

My next step was to get some real brakes into this thing. From factory, the Model A was equipped with mechanical brakes! The brake pedal was mounted to a lever that would push onto metal rods that would force the brake shoes into the brake drums and slow the car down. A friend of mine used to call them retarders as they only slowed you down and he didn't consider them brakes. LOL One trip around the block with the factory brakes and I new there was no way i was leaving those in this thing.
In 1939 Ford finally made the switch to hydraulic brakes. There were two different versions available, all Fords had a leading/trailing brake design. They work okay and are a good upgrade but the Lincolns of the same era had a Bendix designed duo-servo self energizing brake that could put out way more stopping force to the wheels. These are a much rarer option to find but there are a few companies that reproduce this style of brake for my application. So being that I am planing on running a much faster power plant in the old car soon, I decided to order a set of Lincoln Bendix brakes for the front and back of the car.

This just a pic of the backing plate mounted with the new brake line run to the rear and the wheel cylinder mounted.
 Being that the car never had hydraulic brakes, it never had a master cylinder for converting mechanical pressure to hydraulic pressure, so I had to get creative and find a way to mount a master from a 1940 Ford and hook it to the brake pedal. This shot is from underneath the car. I had to mount a push rod from the original brake pedal (it is designed to pull) to a lever to create a pushing motion on the master cylinder piston. There is very little room under that side of the frame so I mounted it to the cross member. It worked very well.
When it came time to choosing wheels for the car, I was going to go with the very traditional 1940 Ford solid wheels with hubcaps. But a friend of mine was selling a set of 1936 wide five wheels from his 1936 Cabriolet that he is building. They are a very different look so I bought them from him and then had to find some good brake drums. Have a look at the bolt pattern on that drum. The term "Wide five" comes from the bolt pattern that Ford used from 1936-1939. It is a five lug pattern with a 10.25" width between the lugs. Its huge. Unfortunately they are not reproduced and finding good useable drums was a bit of a hassle, but I scrounged the swap meets and eventually found some good ones and some extras I have stashed just incase. :)

 Once the brakes were set up, it was time for a height adjustment. I ordered some lowering springs for the front and the back from a company called "Posies" They custom make lowering springs for most hot rods and customs. They had the main leaf eye reversed and they lowered the car a total of 3" after some adjustments.

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