1956 Brakes

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Jim G
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:25 am

1956 Brakes

Post by Jim G »

J G again— friend and I bleed brakes due to trying to get clean fluid in system . Bleed about 1/2 cup out per cylinder. Right front brake brake cyl had been leaking some and resealed. Auto still pulls to right when applying brakes! AND GET THIS- while Looking at TBird before trip gown the road to delivery to my house— the brake light just came on by there self!!!
We hit brake pedal some and went off but when we leaned the spare tire kit forward to lock it in place—the lights came back on?? Moved tire back and forth a few times and seemed to have fixed itself?? Brake switch on the pedal arm inside car or a pressure switch inline brake fluid line somewhere? JG

T-Bird Bob
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:00 pm

Re: 1956 Brakes

Post by T-Bird Bob »

Hello Jim,
I think you have two problems: One is the drum brake pulling and one is the lights flickering.
If the continental kit makes them go on and off, I guess there is a wiring problem in the rear of the car and the brake light pressure switch is always closed.
I would go through that step by step:
-The '56 should have a pressure switch somewhere in the brake lines in the engine bay (if it was not updated). Diagnose that for proper function.
-Once the switch works, check your wiring in the back of the car (If the moving of the continental kit makes it flicker, the problem must be somewhere there...)

Regarding Drum brakes:
You said that the right wheel cylinder leaked and now it is ok, but car pulls to the right? This sounds to me like the classic problem of "brake shoe was soaked in brake fluid and now bites". It appears as if continuous application of the brakes would remedy it because the biting shoe gets hotter and loses friction. However, at normal temps you will always have a pulling car.
I always recommend changing shoes and all hardware after a brake repair. Shoes for above reason and hardware because even a weak spring makes a difference in brake force (and before you ask: no, you can't see if a spring is weak).

Check this thread:
https://www.vintagethunderbirdclub.net/ ... =3&t=17668

I already shared all I know about brakes in posts 4 and 9.
Good luck and let us know what you did!

Have fun,

Bob

Daddio
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:51 pm

Re: 1956 Brakes

Post by Daddio »

A brake cylinder doesn't normally 'reseal' itself after leaking, certainly not permanently. Leaks are typically caused by corrosion in the cylinder and the rubber cups not sealing correctly. They are subjected to high pressure and are your only source for stopping the vehicle ... don't cheap-out, buy new cylinders, good quality ones. By the way, if one is leaking, the others probably aren't far behind.
Your right front shoes are probably soaked in fluid and are now useless ... you can't clean them. They need replacing, by axle.
I'm OCD on brakes and bleed mine every spring before taking my cars out of storage. It may seem extreme, but has worked for me.
As Bob stated, the brake lights are operated by a pressure switch in the brake line and can fail occasionally. It should probably be replaced since it appears little maintenance has been done previously to the brake system.
When serviced properly, the brakes will work very well. Good luck.
Mike
1956 TBird
1959 Cadillac Biarritz
Massey Ferguson 165
2005 Lincoln LS
2014 GMC Yukon

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paul2748
Posts: 1322
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:23 am
Location: Northeastern New Jersey

Re: 1956 Brakes

Post by paul2748 »

If the car turns to one side when braking, the problem in many cases is the other side. If the car turns right, you should check the left brakes to see if there is a problem there. Also check the rear brakes as one side not working properly will have repercussions in the steering when brakes are applied.

Turning right means the right side is braking, while the left side is not.

Regarding the light problem with the continental kit, there is a wire that goes to the license plate light back there. The wire my be frayed or broken which is causing a short. While this wire only serves the license plate light, it shorting out may have some repercussions on the whole rear light service.
1956 Fiesta Red 312
1954 Ford Victoria 312
1948 Ford Convertible Street Rod 302

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Haz567
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:40 pm
Location: Southeast Kentucky

Re: 1956 Brakes

Post by Haz567 »

paul2748 wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:57 pm
If the car turns to one side when braking, the problem in many cases is the other side. If the car turns right, you should check the left brakes to see if there is a problem there. Also check the rear brakes as one side not working properly will have repercussions in the steering when brakes are applied.

Turning right means the right side is braking, while the left side is not.

Regarding the light problem with the continental kit, there is a wire that goes to the license plate light back there. The wire my be frayed or broken which is causing a short. While this wire only serves the license plate light, it shorting out may have some repercussions on the whole rear light service.
Good catch Paul; see cropped photo from 56 Electrical Diagram.
56 T BIRD ELECTRICAL DRWG cropped.jpg

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paul2748
Posts: 1322
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:23 am
Location: Northeastern New Jersey

Re: 1956 Brakes

Post by paul2748 »

Jim - let us know what the solution was once you have it figured out
1956 Fiesta Red 312
1954 Ford Victoria 312
1948 Ford Convertible Street Rod 302

Jim G
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:25 am

Re: 1956 Brakes

Post by Jim G »

Thanks and I will report back when fixed... Jim G

tnswt12
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:31 am

Re: 1956 Brakes

Post by tnswt12 »

Jim G~

I’d say you would benefit by putting your car on blocks/jacks, pull the 4 wheels, and check out the wheel cylinders, shoes, plates, and rubber hoses. Rebuilding a wheel cylinder is simple stuff if the core is not corroded and unusable, otherwise, you will need to replace. Quality part replacement of the remaining worn components is always a good idea and so too is replacing the springs, clamps, etc.

I just stepped through this routine because suddenly my 57 began to give me braking issues, pulling, hard to stop, and such. I was shocked to find all the wheel cylinders gummed and corroded and I now wonder how I stopped the car at all. If you look up my past posts you will find pictures of the condition I talk about in regards to the condition of the wheel cylinders that I found on my car. Obviously, the previous owner neglected this important routine.

The work is not difficult; the worse part about the job is it is just plain dirty work, especially if your brake system has been neglected which sounds to me, like it indeed has.

I don't have power brakes but regardless I am here to tell you that a good brake overhaul makes all the difference in the way a car handles and brakes.

Finally, brake maintenance cannot be overlooked and should be performed on a routine basis for the safe operation of the automobile.

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