- Written by webmin
While we had the engine out being rebuilt this winter, we also decided to change the original front brake set-up to a more modern self-energizing style.
Thanks to some information from an old American Rodder article we found online at the Flathead V8 website www.flatheadv8.org we decided to go with 1948-’52 F1 pickup front brakes. Most parts are still easily available for the F1 brakes and will fit on our existing spindles. The F-1 hubs share the same lug pattern as our Speedster and it is much easier to adjust the brakes with a star wheel than it was on the early brakes, where you were turning cam bolts to expand the bottoms of the shoes.
First, the hard part, finding backing plates, hubs and brake shoe pivot bolts for the F1. These are not items you find in your local pick-a-part, or if you do, they often aren’t in useable shape. Thanks to a lead from a friend on the H.A.M.B, we contacted Sid Drapal at www.droppedaxles.com. Sid was very helpful with both providing the parts and additional information on installation tricks. His website also includes the same American Rodder article. The backing plates were still in surprisingly good shape and cleaned up in the sandblaster easily. Once cleaned and painted, we used the backing plates to mark off a small portion on the top of the spindle that had to be ground down so the backing plate and new wheel cylinder would fit flush to the spindle flange. Once the grinding was done we could mount the new backing plates.
From there, installation was pretty simple. We were able to get the shoes, wheel cylinders, adjuster wheels, hold down kit and shoes springs from our local Napa store. Brake drums are still available, we got ours from Early Ford V-8 in Ballston Spa, NY. Beacuse one of the shoes on a self-energizing set-up are longer than the other, the short shoe was mounted towards the front. The original shoes had the same length of lining on both shoes. For the hubs, we were able to use the same outer bearing (Timken # 09067) and race (#09195) as the originals but had to use the inner race from the F-1 spindles (#14276) and an inner adapter bearing (Timken #14116) to fit the F-1 hub to the ‘34 front axle. The fit on the spindle was very tight, so we did as the original article suggested and chamfered the adapter bearing on the inside diameter, just to take the snugness out of the fit. For the seal, we had to measure with a micrometer and look through the numerical specs, we came up with a metric seal CR# 15860 which fit nicely.
Once the hubs were mounted, we realized the drum was making contact with the backing plate. We cheated by buying a set of 5/16-inch thick disc brake spacers and adapting them to our bolt pattern. They were mounted between the hub and drum to allow for the correct clearance away from the backing plate. Just to be safe, we also changed the wheel studs to longer ones that had more threads. Studs from a later model Ford LTD II with disc brakes worked fine.
After reinstalling the hubs, we only had to mount the spoke wheel adapters to complete the mechanical portion of the changeover. More on the hydraulic part of the changeover later. A complete list of the part numbers we used in this changeover is available on request.