The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

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Rich Eagle
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The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Rich Eagle » Fri Apr 23, 2021 12:25 pm

35Brakez.jpg
The bolts that hold the rear brake backing plate on my 1935 Ford were poorly designed. It may have been an effort to discourage backyard mechanics from removing them. They have round corners and four flats that taper into that radius. Any normal tool wants to slide off before gripping it.
They live within a grease baffle that catches grease in an effort to keep it off the brake shoes. By now it is filled with that slimy black butter that like paint wants to stick to anything in sight. It wants to crawl up your arms, onto your clothes and shoes and follow you into the house. With both hands coated your nose and ears begin to itch without mercy. What isn’t liquid covers parts and has to be dug out.
Getting a little more feeble each year I find each spring a new challenge out in the garage. At 73 my fingers and joints don’t work as well and my mind and balance aren’t the best.
At some point in the disassembly of this I find what might seem to be a whole tool set has covered the floor. Some are covered with the previously mentioned grease form purgatory. Standing up to get the one tool that isn’t there and will surely do the job is awkward at best. Also, the area I’m working in was cluttered with boxes and parts stored there to make more room in the rest of the shop.
Good lighting is important so I tried to suspend my trouble light near to my work. Fortunately it can be attached to some of the clutter. There is a bad connection within it and it has to been wiggled and turned just the right way.
As only one of the four castellated nuts on these bolts came loose voluntarily heating the others seemed like a good option. I could get the remaining top one red hot but increasing flames from the bottom two interfered with getting the lower ones hot enough. They were covered with both the slimy kind of grease and the hard caked stuff. The resulting smoke concluded in my retreat from the project. Day two I scraped as much of the grease away as I could and put a sheet steel baffle under them. This was the most help in allowing them to come loose. There was minimum flame and smoke this time but I carelessly burned my thumb removing the baffle.
Trying to grip this bolt head involved vice grips, bending a sacrificial wrench to reach inside and making several wedges to bind between the head and adjacent parts. All to no avail. My last effort involved making a plate to fit the bolt head and lock in place between the housing sleeve and baffle. I drilled and filed a hole and then pressed a bolt head into the hole to make a suitable fit. Putting the plate in place I also wedged a spacer between it and the baffle lip. It was also required a large C-clamp to keep the plate tight against the bolt head. The lower two still would not budge until I had heated them.
The satisfaction in finally loosening the nuts was equal to the frustration and struggle to get there. The old cars can certainly be a source of satisfaction but they show no sympathy. That is not what I’m looking for but I relate this as some of this you may be able to relate to it. Others may avert such problems by playing board games instead.
Rich Eagle
35Brakez2.jpg
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Rich Bingham
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Rich Bingham » Sat Apr 24, 2021 11:20 am

An elegant solution, and a satisfying result that no board game can match ! (Even winning at Monopoly! 😉)
"Get a horse !"


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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Herb Iffrig » Sat Apr 24, 2021 12:32 pm

I think I read some where that Kalamity Dick deigned those for Ford in his waning years.


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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Burger in Spokane » Sat Apr 24, 2021 12:51 pm

I have found much comfort and ease of operation in my personal
philosophy that Fords are incrementally less interesting, every year
after 1925, and thusly a problem with a 35 is too far from my scope
of interest to worry about, and thusly, I just need to go work on my
T and disregard this modern annoyance.
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Ruxstel24 » Sat Apr 24, 2021 1:00 pm

Probably worked fine....60 years ago.
I try to wire brush the threads on old crusty stuff before I attempt anything.

I have had gratifying thoughts of being alone in a room with an engineer and me with a bag full of nickels from time to time !! :shock:

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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Rich Eagle » Sat Apr 24, 2021 1:12 pm

I totally agree with that logic Burger. That is why this project has been pretty much neglected for 50 years. I had a '47 that was ignored even further. I do find that a variety of aggravation often dulls the pain. A fellow asking to buy this thing and waiting for oil to penetrate my T bushings got me at it again. That V-8 engine has an awfully sweet sound though.
Someone mentioned that I should replace these bolts with later ones with real heads. That might be the kind thing to do. I'm thinking.
KD developed some similar designs while sliding down the mountain. This could have been one of them.
Rich B. might remember the journey to Bozeman to pick this and a '15 T runabout up. We tortured Norman with talk of 4s and 7s being more painful in our pockets than 8s and 0s. I'm afraid our intellect hasn't flourished much since.
I can see your plan too Dave.
More fun to come for as long as we can stand it. :lol:
Rich
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Rich Bingham » Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:24 pm

Fond remembries of that trip to Bozeman. Norm was a boon companion and a good sport even when we were calling pool shots on other tables. He was quite afraid they'd throw us out - they probably should have !! :lol:

I always admired the sound of the flathead V-8. I passed on a '51 3/4 ton pickup years ago, and always sort of regretted it, but I wasn't up to the maintenance of it at the time. Back to Lizzie now, whose condition suits my disinterest for starting massive projects. Right now she's needing a top replacement, and has just the right amount of tarnish and mud on her for the sort of "restoration" that's within the capability of my energy level these days !
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Rich Bingham » Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:28 pm

And the right amount of mud !
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Burger in Spokane » Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:45 am

I was but a wee nipper when the proverbial lightbulb above my
head came on with a string of minor epiphanies that set my life
outlook on a certain trajectory that has lasted 50+ years.

1. Ma & Pa explaining the facts that a 25¢/week allowance was
all they had in the budget for me, and resultantly, all wants,
desires, and lustful expectations were going to have to be paid
for out of my own earnings. This led to ...

2. Getting a job. Many jobs. Orchard pruning, haying, paper routes,
mowing lawns, looking after neighbors' critters, clearing ditches ....
Which led to ....

3. The realization of my own limitations of space and financial resources.
(This is where it got semi-profound) .....

4. I could not afford to buy, fix up, and keep all the neat things I saw
and dreamed of having. I needed to be selective.

What followed is 50 years of refinement of application of the former.
I repeatedly remind myself of my failure to adhere to my own known
limitations of space and resources, even being as hardnosed as I can
muster myself to be against the evils of hoarding and the perils of being
car poor.

Thusly, I relegate myself to a front row seat in the observer's section of
enjoying the sounds of a flathead V-8, or many other interesting oldtime
noisemaking machines, as I do with so many other things. I think to myself,
"This is so neat !", and then I review the old footage in my head of the old
Model T, and revise the lusting to a sense of gratitude, that I already have
something even neater, and I will cease to enjoy that, should I spread myself
too thin.

And so it goes .... IF I remain disciplined. I can hear the Gunny calling
now ! :lol:
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Rich Eagle » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:53 pm

Yesterday I managed to disassemble the other side in two hours. The first side took two days. It's amusing that lefts and rights often don't act the same. I attribute the learning curve, less grease (with flames) better lighting ( daylight rather than trouble light) and having the tool. Two bolts came loose easily. one required heat and only the last one needed the tool. I was also more nimble and the muscles and joints work better after a few days of exercise.
35Brakez3.jpg
However I was surprised to see some unknown substance gracing the mechanism. The hair for a brake mole perhaps? Copper wire was an early guess but it crumbled to the touch. Maybe cloth insulation or brush bristles. And how did it get in there along with some substantial gravel? The drums fully enclose the brakes with a very minimal gap between them and the backing plates.
Just one more mystery to enjoy with the old car work.
A fellow on Ford Barn has offered to make the tool for others.
Rich
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Mark Gregush » Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:54 pm

I sure understand the light thing. I can see so much better working on this stuff in day light as opposed to any kind of trouble light.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by perry kete » Fri Apr 30, 2021 4:02 pm

That's why it's called a trouble light...because you have trouble seeing anything! :roll:
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Rich Eagle » Fri Apr 30, 2021 4:13 pm

Absolutely Perry! The light is adequate for me if I can hold it in the right position. I end up rigging makeshift arms and brackets or wires to position them only to have them slip and bump the bulb. Then there is no light. I also need to get one that I don't have to wiggle to make it work. There are hundreds of nifty lights on the market, but I never think about getting one until I'm in the middle of something I don't want to leave. Daylight is good and in this case it's plentiful and perfect for that side of the car.
So many things can make a task easier or more difficult.
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by TXGOAT2 » Sat May 01, 2021 5:06 pm

I think those things are grease worms... a combination of waxy old grease and brake dust that that got rolled between the shoes and drum to make the wormlike shapes.... like rolling dough or putty into a cylindrical shape in a flat surface. The stuff probably had a consistency like modeling clay when it got rolled into those shapes. I've seen small ones in very old brakes that had sat for years, but never any that large.

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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Rich Eagle » Tue May 11, 2021 11:46 am

Now that it is ready to assemble comes the ethical dilemma. Do I reinstall the troublesome bolts or find some with real heads? These were original not only for 1935 but to this axle. Is it fair to put the next guy through all this grief. (It may be me.) Or would the next guy rather have it correct than easy?
35asmbl.jpg
The next owner would likely replace the mechanical brakes with hydraulic for safety and throw all my original parts away. Since I now have the tool and the bolts I elect to keep it original.
Just another choice like we often have with the Model Ts. What is truely RIGHT?
Rich
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by TXGOAT2 » Tue May 11, 2021 1:32 pm

I'd go with the original hardware and assemble with Neversieze on the nuts.

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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Rich Eagle » Tue May 11, 2021 5:32 pm

I have never tried Neversieze. I'll have to pick some up and try it.
Thanks
Rich
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by TXGOAT2 » Tue May 11, 2021 8:23 pm

It seems to be good stuff. I think it's primarily intended as a high pressure thread lube. It appears to contain powdered metal, probably zinc and nickle and maybe some copper. It stays put well. When applied to threads, I suspect that the soft, nnon-ferrous metal particles smear over the steel thread surfaces and provide lubrication and some level of rust protection. The grease base seems to resist weathering pretty well, too.

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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by david_dewey » Wed May 12, 2021 12:32 pm

Steam heads use Anti-Sieze religiously, it is a great product. I even use it when working on my modern stuff.
T'ake care,
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Kaiser » Thu May 13, 2021 5:40 am

Ahh Never-Seez is great stuff, and the company makes a special formula for a lot of applications
If you want to prepare for the worst ;
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Re: The brake bolts from Hell – ’35 Ford

Post by Kaiser » Thu May 13, 2021 5:50 am

Or if you want to set yourself apart from the landlubbers :
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