Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

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Bruce Compton
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Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Bruce Compton » Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:22 pm

I have just converted the emergency brakes on my '26 roadster to works as service brakes as well. I modified an old stock T cross shaft mounted about 6" behind the regular cross shaft with an adjustable link to the brake pedal and two arms to connect to the "new" service brakes. I removed the original steel brake rods, saved the ends, and replaced center section of them with 1/8" aircraft steel cable with 4 adjustable connections on the original emergency brake system and the new service brake system for each side. After fiddling with the adjustment for a while I now have way better brakes, and can lock up the rear wheels at will. They actually work better that the outside brakes on my '25 coupe (small drum). Sure was a very effective and inexpensive way to get great brakes. I can send pics if anyone is interested.


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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by agriscience » Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:35 pm

How could something that is sooo slow require brakes??

I would be careful on rear brakes ! When breaks are applied in the rear (unevenly) the car can turn sideways and a roll over will occur.
I remember reading on one such accident and it resulted in an ejection/death of the passenger.
Just saying!
I have always wanted to go disc but have never pulled the trigger.

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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Susanne » Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:57 pm

Just remember that as those brakes heat up your drums will grow, reducing your braking effiectiveness. 'S why most aftermarkets are external contracting... as the (relatively thin) drums heat up and expand, your braking is increased... also how does this affect your emergency brakes?
I'd want to make sure I cold pull that lever up tight and keep the car from rolling down a hill (especially backwards!)


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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Dennis Prince » Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:59 pm

I would be interested in pictures of how you made them work, thanks. Dennis

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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Squirrel » Wed Jul 08, 2020 2:34 pm

Susanne wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:57 pm
also how does this affect your emergency brakes?
I'd want to make sure I cold pull that lever up tight and keep the car from rolling down a hill (especially backwards!)
He said he removed the original rods, and replaced the original emergency brake rods with cables, and added two more cables to actuate them as "service brakes". So, either way will apply them, and since they are cable operated, the unused system will just get some slack when they are applied.


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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by lorenzo26 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:42 pm

Pictures Yes-- please


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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by 2nighthawks » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:12 pm

Nice project Bruce! As you mentioned,....'26 roadster,.....that would mean a large drum rear end, right? The '23 touring I sold had a large drum rear end in it, and altho' I never hooked up my emergency brake to work in conjunction with the transmission service brake band brakes, I remember what good emergency brake that car had, because I could very easily "lock up" the rear wheels with the emergency brake lever.

I think that's a great modification, but I would be interested to know, on a normal service application with the brake pedal, if your final adjustment enabled the transmission brake to begin stopping the car just before, or right with, or just after normal brake pedal application? I would think that ideally, it would be good if the transmission band brake "AND" the rear wheel drum brakes applied braking force on a normal stop "TOGETHER", as opposed to one before the other. However, I would think that that would necessitate very, VERY careful adjustment of both brake systems for equal braking force. Please tell us more about you set-up, and as mentioned above, pictures would be great! Thanks,.....harold

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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Dan B » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:28 pm

Hello Bruce,

I would also be interested in pictures. Sounds like something they would have done back in that era and offered it as an accessory kit.

I have a ‘23 with a large drum Ruckstell. I regularly pull back on my hand brake lever and use the lined brake shoes to slow down. They are VERY effective. Yes, you lose engine braking but for planned stops, you can alternate between the hand brake and brake band and neither gets overworked.
1923 Touring


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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Bruce Compton » Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:33 pm

OK guys , here are some pictures. I'm extremely happy with this set-up and the cost was minimal. I do have a hoist that enables me to lift the rear wheels and it was sure beneficial when making adjustments....and I made lots to get he action just right.The "new" service brake hits just before the transmission brake as there is more linear motion involved with the new brake set-up as opposed to the short brake pedal travel to activate the tranny band as well as more connections to have the slack taken up. Note also the arm for the adjustable rod to the brake pedal has several choices for travel and mechanical advantage. More travel here gives more leverage so I had to coordinate the travel of the new set-up with the existing travel of the pedal to fully apply the transmission brake.Also note that the new cross shaft is as far back as I could place it to clear the travel of the original cross shaft as well as the two arms from the U-joint to the backing plates. To get adequate clearance I had to put a 1" spacer between the mounting blocks and the lower frame rail. Photo 1 shows cables with both brakes off. Photo 2 shows placement of the new cross shaft. Photo 3 shows the cross shaft, brake light switch (1949-54 Chevy) and with both brakes off. Photo 4 shows the saved rear section of the original brake rod with both emergency and new service brake cables attached to a common point.Photo 5 shows another view of the two cross shafts and rod to the brake pedal. Note that I initially used the little bolt on cable clamps while getting the cable lengths close. When I was satisfied with my cable lengths I removed the bolt-on clamps and installed the crimp-on clamps that not only look better but they will not slip.
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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Susanne » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:44 pm

I was going to ask if the transmission brake was still hooked up as well... that is one heck of a balancing act! My hat's off to you, sir... Well Done!

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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Walter Higgins » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:23 am

This is not a brake design that lends itself well to use as a service brake. Because the shoe is not anchored separately it puts a tremendous load on one side of that little brake cam (which is doing double duty as an anchor) when using it to stop a car that is rolling. That's to say nothing of the rest of the parts in the load path not being designed to withstand the rigors of life as a service brake. After things wear or something snaps you can wind up with some very undesirable results. Be safe out there.


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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Norman Kling » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:09 am

I would rather use Rocky Mountain brakes. You just bolt them on and no modifications are necessary. That leaves me with 3 sets of brakes and in case all that fails, I will still have the reverse.
Anyway, all these systems only stop the rear wheels, so keep the tires in good shape and leave following distance and slow down by compression as much as possible.
Norm


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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Bruce Compton » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:06 am

Walter, thanks for your concern, but these brakes are intended to be in addition to the standard "service" brake in the transmission and not to be the "only" braking system. I would agree that the pre-1926 small pin brake cam and actual cam thickness might give one second thoughts but this is a 1926 with a much larger cam and 1/2" steel cam pins with a shear strength of somewhere between 13,500 and 17,000 lbs in a car that weighs around 1500 lbs. As well if you look at the rear brakes for a mid 50's Ford the only anchor is the wheel cylinder held to the backing plate with two 5/16" grade 3 bolts totaling a lot less shear strength than the single Model T anchor and in a system meant to stop a vehicle that weighs maybe three times that of a Model T , capable of speeds more than twice that of a T running on tires maybe three times wider with a footprint also three to four times larger than a T. I would be more concerned about having a tire break loose on the wire wheel than having the actual shoes, cam or anchor fail trying to drag two 4" tires supporting maybe 300 lbs each on pavement. BTW, the anchor pin on the R.M. brakes is the same size as the '26-'27 stock T pin and the braking surface is larger on the Rockies. Thanks again for you concern, but I'm more than quite comfortable with the additional braking capabilities on my 1500 lb car at 40 MPH, and I'm out of pocket less than $50.00 plus some engineering and tinkering time....which is why I have a Model T in the first place.

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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Squirrel » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:22 am

Bruce Compton wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:06 am
As well if you look at the rear brakes for a mid 50's Ford the only anchor is the wheel cylinder held to the backing plate with two 5/16" grade 3 bolts
There is a very substantial anchor pin on the Bendix brakes...that thing above the wheel cylinder, I think it's 5/8" thread. The wheel cylinder does not do any anchoring at all, it has a hole through it--it's job is merely to push the shoes apart from each other.


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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Bruce Compton » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:33 am

You're right Jim. I saw that and knew it before I screwed up in my text. The wheel cylinders might temporarily slow down the destruction if the main anchor failed. Thanks : Bruce

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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Walter Higgins » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:39 pm

Safe travels.


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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by katjack78 » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:49 pm

Bruce.....I thank you for taking the time and effort to share your rear brake upgrade. Your results look very carefully executed. Certainly has to provide a marked improvement to the standard "push and pray" Ford foot brake......Regards, John


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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Bruce Compton » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:24 pm

Thanks John. I drive my T's a lot and am constantly worried about getting stopped in time, especially in traffic. Although the original brakes running in oil are just barely adequate, the main concern with them is the chance of losing all braking if something lets go in the drivetrain (pinion key, crown/pinion gears, inner axle key , outer key on the taper,or a broken axle). This really inexpensive ( $50.00 for cable and clamps and a used cross shaft) and fairly easy to do modification more than doubles the braking capability (although not for the purists) and makes my car way more driveable with a lot less concern about stopping. I also have a '25 Coupe with rebuilt original period correct Lockwood outside brakes and the '26 now stops quite a bit better than the '25 (partially due to the bigger drums). The weak link in braking is that besides the fact that it's still only on the two rear wheels, it also still has the skinny tires (footprint) with not a lot of weight holding them down.

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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by mngreen » Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:14 pm

Many years ago before I installed rocky mountain brakes I used a friction-lined, cast iron emergency brake shoe as a service brake. After a while of normal use, one of the shoes unexpectedly snapped in half, folded back on itself in the drum and swung the car to a stop in a hurry :oops:

I have been using rocky mountain brakes ever since... :P
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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by JohnH » Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:07 pm

Bruce Compton wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:06 am
but this is a 1926 with a much larger cam and 1/2" steel cam pins with a shear strength of somewhere between 13,500 and 17,000 lbs in a car that weighs around 1500 lbs. As well if you look at the rear brakes for a mid 50's Ford the only anchor is the wheel cylinder held to the backing plate with two 5/16" grade 3 bolts totaling a lot less shear strength than the single Model T anchor and in a system meant to stop a vehicle that weighs maybe three times that of a Model T , capable of speeds more than twice that of a T running on tires maybe three times wider with a footprint also three to four times larger than a T. I would be more concerned about having a tire break loose on the wire wheel than having the actual shoes, cam or anchor fail trying to drag two 4" tires supporting maybe 300 lbs each on pavement. BTW, the anchor pin on the R.M. brakes is the same size as the '26-'27 stock T pin and the braking surface is larger on the Rockies. Thanks again for you concern, but I'm more than quite comfortable with the additional braking capabilities on my 1500 lb car at 40 MPH, and I'm out of pocket less than $50.00 plus some engineering and tinkering time....which is why I have a Model T in the first place.
Totally agree. I think a lot of people overlook the fact that 1926 rear brakes are a completely different thing to those fitted to earlier cars. I should know how effective they are since I've been using my 26 rear drums as the service brake for the last 18 years, although I actuate them by the hand brake lever. I drive fast and live in a hilly area. I've never understood the need to fit RM brakes to a 26. Even Bruce McCalley in his book, "The Car that Changed the World" states that the 26 rear brakes could have been hooked up as the service brake, and the overtone one gets is that Ford implied they could be used as such without actually admitting it.


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Bruce Compton
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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Bruce Compton » Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:31 pm

Yes John, I couldn't be happier with my modified brakes, and everything still looks stock unless one wants to crawl under the car. I was forced to use the hand brake a few times with other T's I had and am not crazy about using one hand to brake with and the other one to steer especially in a panic situation. Both braking systems on the pedal sure feels safer to me anyway.

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Re: Emergency brakes converted to service brakes

Post by Susanne » Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:12 pm

I always wondered if that was not the intent of Ford; after all, if all you need is to hold a car on a hill or have an EMERGENCY brake, then the 9" drums should have been just fine... that he increased the braking capacity in the improved car, both with the wider brake drum and the larger hub drums, makes me think Ford was already working his way away from the troubling transmission service brake.

Thing is, the car, originally designed for dirt roads in 1907, where 2 wheel rear brakes were sufficient to slide to a stop on loose dirt if the transmission brake somehow failed, was now in the 1920's being used a lot in congested cities and towns where roads were slowly being paved with harder surfaces and denser traffic, meaning the need to stop quicker was all that much greater... And is why they went to 4 wheel brakes in '28.

I relate it to my motorcycling experiences - if you're on pavement, you want to balance your brakes so the front is providing 70% of the braking... but if you try that on dirt, there's a good likelihood you will have a close encounter of the slide out and drop kind...

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