1956 Thunderbird power brakes

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mmbuffny
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1956 Thunderbird power brakes

Post by mmbuffny » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:02 pm

I finally purchased a 1956 Thunderbird...a lifelong dream 35 years in the making. I would like to add power brakes. I was wondering what you guys are using. From my research, the Midland factory power brakes booster does not produce enough stopping power for disc brakes and if i want to use a typical booster and master cylinder, you must move the battery in the trunk. I was wondering what the pro and cons are of using the various power brake systems are. I think I am leaning to the ABS system electric power brakes as i can still have power brakes and can leave the battery in the same place. mike

goldwinghg
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Re: 1956 Thunderbird power brakes

Post by goldwinghg » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:12 am

I have seen 56 with the booster installed,in front of the battery,as well as under the battery. Google pictures of 56 engine bay. You an see how they are installed.

Joe Johnston
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Re: 1956 Thunderbird power brakes

Post by Joe Johnston » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:48 am

Welcome to the 55-57 section of the VTCI forum.

As you are finding out, there isn't room under the hood in that area for a more modern brake booster without some modifications. Electric or a hydro-vac unit driven by the PS pump work well and a lot of info is available online.

I converted my 57 to disk brakes many years ago, and did not put the remote Midland booster inline to the front disks. I have been very satisfied with manual disk brakes, but the pedal effort is higher than we are used to in a modern vehicle. This winter I am cleaning up some things in the engine bay and will have the Midland booster rebuilt and installed to boost the front disks. My goal is to lighten the pedal effort knowing the original Midland units do not have the performance capability of the larger dual diaphragm units we commonly see today, but will be an improvement over manual disk brakes.

As you go through you modifications to upgrade your system, please post pictures of your progress in the 55-57 Modified section of the forum. This is a very good topic and others will be interested and following. Picture posting information is in the "Forum How To" section. Keep us posted of your progress.

J
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. J F K

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57 Inca Gold-Colonial White
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mmbuffny
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Re: 1956 Thunderbird power brakes

Post by mmbuffny » Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:35 pm

Just read your post regarding the midland booster. Do you think that this booster will produce enough power to operate disc brakes? I actually just purchased an oversized midland booster and am hoping that it works.

Joe Johnston
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Re: 1956 Thunderbird power brakes

Post by Joe Johnston » Thu Mar 10, 2016 7:26 pm

I just connected the booster this afternoon!

Initial test driving results in less pedal effort and a softer feel, but also consider I am used to the feel of manual disk brakes on this car for many years. Hopefully in a few days I will get back to the garage and bleed the brakes again just to be sure air is out of everything and double check for leaks. The larger booster would obviously be better, but with either I would not expect to have the stopping power we are used to with any new car. The pressure produced and the swept area just isn't as great as modern cars. That being said, the switch to disk brakes (even manual) is an improvement over the original brakes.
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. J F K

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57 Inca Gold-Colonial White
63SR Silver Mink

mmbuffny
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Re: 1956 Thunderbird power brakes

Post by mmbuffny » Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:38 pm

Joe...Please keep me posted on the progress of your brakes. Still wonder if if I should keep the drums or just upgrade to disc' brakes.

Joe Johnston
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Re: 1956 Thunderbird power brakes

Post by Joe Johnston » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:13 pm

If you drive your car on a regular basis in moderate to heavy traffic, I recommend the disk brake upgrade. My booster was very corroded inside and I had it sleeved and rebuilt. I still need to attach a new SS braided line and a couple of hold down clamps. Always a work in progress.

Image
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. J F K

55-57 VTCI Forum Moderator
57 Inca Gold-Colonial White
63SR Silver Mink

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Kneetoe
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Re: 1956 Thunderbird power brakes

Post by Kneetoe » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:48 pm

Joe,
Going through my 1956 piece by piece. Just fixed the temp gauge, tacho and steering power cylinder leaks and now moving on the brakes!

The brake shoes appear new, no leaks apparent. It pulls up in a straight line, so I guess that good.
The PEDAL EFFORT seems high to get it to pull up. It has the factory power booster - I wonder if its working?

Is it normal to have to apply a lot of pressure on the brake?

Thanks
John.
1956 Fiesta Red 312
2001 Jag XK8

Joe Johnston
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Re: 1956 Thunderbird power brakes

Post by Joe Johnston » Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:13 pm

Is it normal to have to apply a lot of pressure on the brake?
In comparison to a "modern vehicle" with anti-lock brakes, I would say more pressure, but not necessarily a lot. Terms like this are difficult to agree upon online and our opinions are probably different. Just unhook and plug the vacuum hose to the booster and drive it to see if there is a difference. If no difference, than the booster is probably not working.
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. J F K

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Kneetoe
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Re: 1956 Thunderbird power brakes

Post by Kneetoe » Fri May 31, 2019 12:13 pm

A quick question to be clear....

I'm starting to drive my 56 now the weather up here is getting better. Aside from a couple of transmission drips all working well!
My question is;
With my standard brakes with booster, should I be able to lock up the front wheels in a sudden stop?

I definitely CAN NOT and I'm wondering if the power booster just isn't contributing to the effort!?

Can I remove the power booster and send it for a rebuild (Eckler's in Dallas ?) but still use the car with appropriate blanking plugs?

Any thoughts please?

Thanks in advance.
1956 Fiesta Red 312
2001 Jag XK8

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