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55 Starchief Build

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 55starchief, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    I decided to start a build thread since everyone has been so helpful since i started to build this car with pulling the engine and trans out to replace freezout plugs in the block... i decided while the engine and tranny are out and seperated.... i will disassemble the intake and exhaust manifold and really clean and paint the engine, as well as the bay. i want to bring the car back to clean stock before modifying anyhthing... with one exception.... brakes:eek: needs advice on retro fitting modern vacuum brake booster and split master cyl. to my lines. iv been told i need to acheive a 7 to 1 push force ratio between petal and pushrod.. any help and advice would be great im going to update this thread as i go. im sure i will run into a whole bunch of questions as i am 21 years old and never worked on anything this old let alone this is my first major auto mechanical work... i am a mechanic for a commercial pharmacuetical building . thank you in advance for any advice, help and patience... heres where we are at now
     
  2. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    pictures
     

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  3. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    any ideas on the braking system? think about mounting a modern booster under the dash in the center facing drivers door and using a small bell crank pully to get the travel and positioning i need
     
  4. I have been running my 55 Safari for about 20 years with the standard single circuit manual brake system with precious few problems.Pulling the drums and cleaning and re-adjusting every 3 months or so plus pressure bleeding the hydraulics every year takes care of everything. I have had to make several hard stops(to avoid idiots on cel phones running red lights)and was successful all times. Modulating pedal pressure is easy and lockups unheard of.
    Locating a power brake unit for the car can be a problem and the cost can be prohibitive.Rebuilt units are very pricey.There are two different models(Moraine and Bendix if I recall correctly)and even when they are properly set up their operation leaves a lot to be desired.
    Setting up a firewall mounted unit requires getting rid of the defroster core which I wouldn't recommend unless you like driving around with a fogged windshield.You can modify 55-57 Chevy swing pedals to fit the car if you decide to do this anyway(my 57 has them but it was a race car so a defroster wasn't needed) and use a compatible booster/master cylinder setup.My 57 has a single circuit setup and works fine.You could use an aftermarket A/C -heater/defroster unit such as a Vintage Air setup but they are pricey and I'm assuming you don't want to spend a whole bunch of dollars on this.
    You can also opt to convert to disc brakes(Scarebird has adaptors and instructions on how it's done)but again there is going to be expense.
    One thing I forgot to mention:When I do the brake cleaning I also clean and re-pack the front wheel bearings.If you have to replace them for any reason,the outers are the same as a 55-57 Chevy (B-01)and readily available.Get USA made ones if possible as the Chinese made ones use plastic ball retainers that break rather easily.Inner bearings(B-60)are harder to find and more expensive.Usually re-packing and proper pre-loading will ensure their longevity.
    Just some ideas to consider.
     
  5. Pharouh
    Joined: Sep 18, 2008
    Posts: 437

    Pharouh
    Member

    That brings back memories. That was my oldest brothers first car when I was 11 (1963)
    he was always working on it,and I would ask tons of questions.
     
  6. Olds Dad
    Joined: Sep 22, 2011
    Posts: 216

    Olds Dad
    Member

  7. bryan6902
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,137

    bryan6902
    Member

    Looks like you have a good start.... Your situation sounds much the same as mine, 20 years ago.

    What I did for brakes was exactly what was mentioned in a previous post. I ditched the defroster box and put in an aftermarket pedal and booster set up. I did a disc brake conversion from Master Power brakes. It works well, but I don't have heat or defrost at the moment. Depending on when you want to drive your car this could be an issue. It gets cold if it's 40 or less and you have to crack the wing windows if it happens to rain.

    Look through the pics on my profile page and check my build thread. I tried to show most of my work and describe what I did. PM me if you have any questions, I check in here a couple times a week.
     
  8. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    What would be required to go to manual I have a manual master cyl NOS laying around but doesn't have the push rod?
     
  9. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    Also I was told that I should have looked at exactly what dowels go through what holes on the flywheel. It was to late that I found this out... If the dowels are all different sizes then will the holes be aswell? In that case I'd pay close attention to ensure the largest dowel lines up with largest hole. If not can anyone tell my how they should line up if I put my torus cuopling drain plug straight at 6 o'clock. Any help would be awesome thanks again
     
  10. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    Does a chevy door latch assembly fit my door, drivers side is rusted solid and I have had it out soaking for daysm tried freezing then torching as well... Got to thinking and hoping that a chevy would work but I'm thinking they'd be different anyone have a starchief drivers door latch assembly?
     
  11. chevy latches are same as Pontiac latches.
    The way I remember it [been a few years] the dowel holes are smaller than the bolt holes and are drilled between the bolt holes.
    Last time I needed a brake push rod I went to the junkyard...chevy row yeilded no adjustable pushrods so I wandered over to the ford row.....an explorer gave up a fine, adjustable pushrod.. I trimmed to length and adjusted it to fine-tune proper length.
     
  12. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    so i would just need to mount the cylinder on the toe board that the booster was mounted? seems to me the toe board will have to be patched or replaced because the boostter hole is way larger than the manual cyl.


    also i was told that the thre dowels are different sizes? is that true or does it not matter which dowel goes to wich hole as long as it is a dowel hole because the flywheel is symetrical all the way around?
     
  13. Manual master cylinder was mounted on the frame and had "under floor" pedal. Way different than your hanging pedal "bolted to floor" hydrovac system.
     
  14. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    cool thanks, il have to do my research and see what the system looked like. sounds like id have to find that pedal asssembly and fit it into my car?
     
  15. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    I ditched the factory manual brake frame set up and firewall defroster for a 55 chevy manual hanging pedal assembly and went with a longer pedal from an ot truck to get a 6:1 ratio. And used a wilwood look alike dodge 5th ave master cylinder. But if your keeping the drums use a late 60's early 70's chevelle type manual drum master.

    If your looking for the correct blue green paint Bill Hirsch auto has it.
     
  16. That's what I'd do but I'm also one of the guys that have had no problems with stock 55-57 Pontiac brakes [owned 11, 55-57 Pontiacs and all but one had manual brakes] with the exception of one 56 with a hydramatic when I rode the brakes coming down a very steep hill on a dirt road [goat path] with 6 people in the car...took about a mile before brakes overheated....my fault.
     
  17. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    do you have picture of your set up? Im trying to figure out the best way to attack this, i like the idea of the 55 chevy manual brakes. i was also considering mounting a modern boster under the dash facing the pushrod toward the drivers door then using a bell crank pully and linkage to the push rod
     
  18. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    Somewhere, i'll have to find it. BTW I sold my manual brake pedal assembly to a guy wanting to get rid of the factory under the dash power assembly who was having issues. Scarebird had a bracket to mount a newer style mc on the frame location.
     
  19. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    why did you ditch the factory manual brake for a chevy set up?
     
  20. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    For one i'll never use a heater going down the track, but I wanted an easier option to go with a dual master and also my headers are easier to route and don't have to worry about the exhaust heat around the mc.
     
  21. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    If I can find a manual set up that'd be awesome but I'm having trouble picturing how the set up would look and get bolted up?
     
  22. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    This is the manual brake setup, whats wrong with the currant brake system?
     

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  23. Tnomoldw
    Joined: Dec 5, 2012
    Posts: 1,563

    Tnomoldw
    Member

  24. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    The current system is a vacuum "trouble vac " (treadle) and was td by all the old timers at work to get rid of it and its not worth rebuilding... What year is the the master cylinder I have tha w order for my year but with manual brake by mistake have mounting holes out the from around the pushrod bore hole and has 4 hole... When I get home today I'm going to look I the frame for the manual brake cyl mounting holes ... This seems like my favorite route. Maybe in the future rig a dual diaphragm booster under th dash and have the holes in the toe board for vacuum and brake lines to pass thru. Will the manual pedal work with my toe board? The current is has a large hole where the pushrod came thru to the pedal, will the pedal drop thru that hole or no it will not line up and manuals have a different to board??
     
  25. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    There is a bolt in panal that should be able to make work . No offense but since it sounds like you havn't done alot of fabrication, I probably would not recommend how I did it unless yoy have some friends with some experiance to help. I welded in an 1/8 plate to the firewall for bracing also made a bracket to support the pedal assebly because some of it has to be cut off. Than bolted and welded the new pedal arm to part of the old one.

    Brakes aren't the best things to learn how to modify , there is a safety factor involved. I would try to find a manual brake set up and go from there.
     
  26. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Not sure if the drums and wheel cylinders are the same between power and manual brakes...not sure it makes a difference ! Might want to verify before converting.
    Anyhow, what I really wanted to say is that new (imported unfortunately) manual master cylinders are available on eBay. I bought one for my 56 Star Chief about two years ago and haven't had a brake problem since! Before that it was constant work. Rebuild your wheel cylinders, get new hoses, and make sure your e-brake works and you're set.
    PM me if you want a link to the auction for the correct one. Also, please take lots of pics during the freeze plug change!
    Hope this helps and ask the guys on the Yahoo group if you REALLY run into trouble. They are pretty helpful.
    Johnny
     
  27. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    I'm hoping to find a manual set up an slap it it in, I don't believe the drums should be different? Correct me if I'm wrong... I'm on the hunt for a pedal setup if anyone's has one!! In the mean time I began to tackle the floors, I have done floors in a huge dump truck but that was much more room to "groove" than working in here. I went with the same concept tho. Clean it up so I can see all the cancer, then balls to the wind and cut any cancer out.... Then the hard part (well for me atleast) fabricate new pannels an patches and weld em in. Got the floor cleaned up now time to cut... Here's some pictures of what I'm dealing with... More to come!
     
  28. 55starchief
    Joined: Apr 4, 2013
    Posts: 125

    55starchief
    Member
    from New York

    before and after
     

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  29. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    Looks like fun LOL. I had to make my own panals as well out of 18 ga. To make the grooves in the panal I used 1/4 rod attatched to the top than flipped over and peened over with a square die I had. Turned out pretty nice, anyway there are some pics on my build thread.
     
  30. bryan6902
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,137

    bryan6902
    Member

    Those floors are dreamy... Making your own is the way to go. There's a guy who sells pans on ebay. I bought a pair and was disappointed in every way possible.
     

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