When I got the truck off the flatbed (on a Wednesday), I remember thinking to myself – “All I need to do is get the brakes working, and I’ll be driving it by the weekend!”
Sept 1st – that was the day I arrived in my driveway.
October 19th @ about 11:00pm, is when it left my garage, and was able to brake under its own power! About 50 days! And that was with me working hard to get it done! Hardly the couple of days I thought it would take. I would learn SO much about how these brakes worked over the next 50 days – not only the brakes, but the bearings, seals, steering, rear diff – pretty much anything I had to touch to get at the brakes. It saw the creation of my sandblasting cabinet (with much help from my dad!)
Keep reading to see why it took 50 days, and several hundred $$ to get this truck to stop! An accurate introduction the world of restoring a vintage auto.
First thing was to get the drums off, of course its 4 wheel drum brake, no disc brakes 60 years ago. With all drum brakes you loosen the shoes with the adjuster and then slide the drum off with a little elbow grease. On the back brakes of a 1 ton with huck style brakes, you use a wrench of socket to turn a bolt (left), this bolt loosens the shoes on the inside by collapsing the cylinder. (right)
One one side, the bolt snapped free of the gear, and on the other side, the teeth sheered away, all because the cylinders were both seized, and had no intention of being adjusted. On each front break there were TWO adjusters, one for each shoe. Between the both front wheels, only ONE adjusted I could move (of 4!) As this point I resorted to oil and and a sledge hammer! I soaked the pads, and hammered for days on end working on one wheel at a time, until I finally got all 4 off! It was hard work, I cursed and cursed some more, and pounded my finger with a sledge hammer more times than I can count. There are no photos of these sessions, I was not fun to be around!
After getting the drums open, everything else came apart pretty easy. After all, it was soaked in oil, not just the stuff I sprayed, but differential oil as well, the seals were gone. Add it to the list.
Now that I had the pads off, I could get them relined. I was misinformed when I thought the pads would be riveted on, but that is only the cae for 1.5 ton trucks and larger. My shoes needed to be stripped of the pads and relined. I had no idea this could even be done until I started looking into it. Apparently this is still done with the big brakes on crane mechanisms, so a local shop in town, Ottawa Clutch was able to reline the pads and resurface my drums for just under $400.
From that point on there was a lot of sandblasting and painting of break parts.
As well as the cleaning and rebuilding of the master cylinder. The rebuild kit was very affordable from rockauto.com. I ended up buying my all replacement wheel cylinders from these guys too – all said about $250.
Until finally I would reassemble the brake assemblies, and install them! (They were so clean I put them on the kitchen table!