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Hot Rods '63 Galaxy brakes qood enough?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by oj, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,913


    I have a customer that has a '63 Galaxy R code and he is not happy with the brakes. Its an original car and we'd as soon not go to disc brakes, my question is if I rebuild the originals will they stop the car with authority? The same guy also has a '66 Charger with 426 hemi and original drum brakes that stop on a dime, can we get the same service from the Ford?
    Thanks, Oj
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  2. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,357

    from Nebraska

    Properly rebuilt and adjusted drum brakes should work just fine. I think R code may have even had the wider 'heavy duty' brakes in front?

    And are you sure it's not a Galaxie? ;)
  3. Both the Dodge and Ford should have 11 inch brakes. The Ford R code may or may not have 11 X 3 inch brakes on the front and have 11 X 2 1/2 inch on the rear. If the fronts are 11 X 3 inch and the master cylinder is sized properly for the car it should stop well. If the fronts are only 2 1/2 inch it won't stop as well as it should. Police, Taxis and wagons often had the 11 X 3 inch front brakes if you need to find parts.

    Food for thought: I had a 64 with 11 X 3 brakes on the front and it stopped better than my 63 with 11 X 2 1/2 brakes so it does make a difference. Both cars had power brakes, an R code may not have. Does the Dodge have power brakes, does the Ford? Are we comparing the same sort of braking system?
  4. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,325

    V8 Bob

    No matter how good you rebuild the drum brakes, they are still...drum brakes, but it really depends on how the customer drives. They are fine in low traffic and speeds, and may stop "on a dime" the first time; it's the second or third time they'll probably fade from higher speeds.
    I owned a '64 R code, and had the Bendix drums working 100%, but knew first hand their fade limitations.
    If it was my R code, I would first switch to a dual master, and then upgrade to front discs. Keep the original parts and the car's value should not be negatively affected.
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  5. Common mistake, and a little bit funny I see it so often.
    lothiandon1940 and 62rebel like this.
  6. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,913


    The charger does have power assist, I've driven it and the brakes are impressive. I don't think I've driven the Galaxie, its been a few years since I worked it and don't recall anything about the brakes. He just dropped the car off and says the brakes are pulling very bad and it shouldn't be driven.
    Who would be a good source for oem quality parts?
    It'll probably get dualbowl MC, dunno about the power, wait and see.
    I'll post a couple pics of it later.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  7. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,590

    jimmy six

    Everyone who ever rode in a drum brake single master cylinder is dead. No old cars remain, we were never born, this is all an apparition. Give me a bleeding break..
  8. I had a big block 64 Galaxie that had new brakes on it and it still stopped like a train. So I bought a power booster unit and it was like day and night. It was quite driveable after that.
    F&J likes this.
  9. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,690


    I believe Bob hit the nail on the head, it depends on how you are going to drive the car and WHERE.
    Here in my home town of Muskogee, they would be fine. We have our rush five minutes at one intersection, sleepy little town , drum brakes are fine.
    You live in LA or other big cities and want to mix it up on the freeways, you would be better off with power disc.
    Just my opinion......

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
  10. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 425


    I don't feel dead. Then again, I've never owned anything billet. All the many pre-64 Fords I've owned had brakes that did a hell of a job stopping the cars as long as they were maintained properly.
  11. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,913


    Here's a pic or two of it:
    018.JPG 020.JPG 019.JPG 021.JPG
    Its a tight fit in my shop, sorry about that. And, yes it has 3 pedals.
  12. I had 3 '64 Fords and they all stopped well with manual brakes, actually my XL500 had power brakes. My last '64 was a wagon with a single master, I just rebuilt the brakes, all new hardware, turned the drums, good quality shoes, rebuilt the wheel cylinders (1 3/32" cups up front IIRC...). I would drive one again and I hope to. If the master NEEDED to come out, I would convert to a dual master.

    It also depends on how you drive it, I went discs on my '59 Ford up front since I do battle on The Long Island Expressway and parkways almost daily. You should be able to stop as well as everyone else.

    Drum brakes can pull for a lot of reasons, contaminated linings, bad hose, backwards shoes, glazed shoes, drums past the oversize, bad springs, gummy wheel cylinder. Bad wheel bearing adjustment, something loose in the front end. I'm sure someone can dredge up more. If you have to spring for new drums, you are about 1/2 way to a disc conversion.
    oj likes this.
  13. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,097


    Never seen a Galaxy except at night when I look up at the sky. I've owned several Galaxie's, though.
    56don, oj and Boneyard51 like this.
  14. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,499

    from Alabama

    Backing plates need to be in good condition. The pads that the shoes slide on wear a groove. This groove catches the shoes causing uneven braking. Sometimes all it takes is a file. For a plate with severe wear....weld up the groove in the pad and file flat. This restores the backing plate to specs.
    This is often overlooked.
  15. I have been using rebuild kits from Muscle Car Brakes for a long time and they really make a difference. I have been very happy with the drum brakes on my 51 Chevy (using a Walton Fab firewall mount power booster pedal) and before on my 64 Buick Skylark. Even if they don't list a kit call them, they can put together a kit for you. Their parts are much better quality than the made in China spring kits you get at stupid autozone.
    oj and lothiandon1940 like this.
  16. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 16,953

    from California

    I bet even those little square Russian cars I see on You Tube Russian car crash videos have disk brakes up front. there is a reason everyone switched over years ago.

    sure, rebuilt and adjusted they will stop "just fine". the problem is at 60 MPH your Galaxy will take say 100 feet to stop while the late model in front of you will stop in 40 feet and you can not drive around them with all four tires skidding along the pavement.
    jvo and Boneyard51 like this.
  17. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 21,217

    Jalopy Joker

    can make a real difference - if motor has a upgraded cam vacuum may be limited - check to see if a later power booster with dual master cylinder is available - replace all of the brake drums, even if measure at acceptable specs - have them turned before installed to make sure truly round - have new brake shoes trued/arched to make sure round
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  18. Black_Sheep
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 618


    Drums will scrub some speed before they fade, but they do fade. When we did the brake swap on my buddy's '63 he used a Mustang dual pot master cylinder, it was a direct bolt on. There was a TEE fitting just below the master cylinder which made replumbing the system pretty easy.
  19. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,690


    The only problem with drum brakes is fade. 1963 drum brakes, in good shape will completely stop the tires from rolling in an instant and lay down four black marks. Not that that’s what you want to do.... but they will do it, once, twice maybe three times.... then comes fade,because of design.

    Disc brakes are better, but not 150% as stated.

    Ps. OJ, I’m sportin wood over those pictures!

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
    oj likes this.
  20. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 865


    At different times I owned a '63 and later a '64 galaxie with 390 and 4 speeds. I converted both to 3" station wagon brakes on the front. I drove in every condition traffic offered in SoCal for lots of years. From stop and go traffic to twisty mountain roads, to hauling to a stop after cruising at 80+ in the desert. I never suffered brake fade after installing the s/w brakes.
    oj and lothiandon1940 like this.
  21. I've owned the car in my avatar since I was 19 years old. I couldn't get 10,000 miles out of a set of brakes. I set the car aside for 2 or 3 years and then did a complete restoration. With a little maturity (a little) I was able to drive the car 50,000 miles on the brakes I installed during the restoration, and never felt the brakes were deficient. I have since installed disc brakes on the front and put 11 X 3 inch brakes on the rear. I've only ever needed them once, but it'll lock em up at 80 mph with no trouble. The Hyundai beside me didn't bother to check my lane before deciding to drive into it. :mad:

    To sum it up, the drum brakes are adequate but disc brakes are better.
  22. The R code Fords only came with manual brakes and steering; no power available. As stated, they're good brakes... for one or two hard stops. Not so much after that...

    If they were 'just as good as discs' as some claim, you'd still have drum brakes on your new car.....
  23. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 4,550

    Bandit Billy

    I am groot
    treb11, Blue One and egads like this.
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 1,393


    As has been stated a properly rebuilt drum brake system with good parts stops just fine in regular or somewhat “spirited” driving.
    If your beating the piss outta it disc is better.

    The fact it’s a manual car helps as you also have engine braking on your side.

    Start from the back out to the wheel.
    Good backing plates that are not rusted
    Wheel cylinders rebuilt or replaced
    Good hardware
    Good shoes
    And machined or replaced drums.
    A good master cylinder. (Duel is better, it’s diputed over a single, but safe is always better)

    One thing not mentioned and makes a HUGE difference, is .... if you have one locally is getting your shoes relined and either, or both SIZED and ARCED to the drum.
    Big difference as now the shoes don’t need to be adjusted out to far to make contact with the drum, and the whole shoe is contacting the drum.

    Another one is cooling in my O/T vw days a lot of messing around with springs layed over the outside of the drum as cooling fins and drilling some holes in the backing plates made for better high speed and repeated braking without fade. I know the whole car weighs about as much as a door on a 60’s era ford. But still something to think about.

    Cool looking car.
    Bearcat_V8 and oj like this.
  25. With a 406 and a 4-speed I'd be swayed to go with a disc conversion but keep all the old parts to swap it back for the value it would add to the car.
    Black_Sheep likes this.
  26. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,913


  27. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,913


    I agree 100%, I do exactly as you describe, weld that groove up and grind it back flat. You tell a normal person about this and they'll give you a funny look as they take a step back. I think you are the only other person I've heard mention that groove.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  28. Bearcat_V8
    Joined: Sep 21, 2011
    Posts: 345

    from Dexter, MI

    I was wondering how long it would take somebody to suggest this. The problem is finding someone who can do this for you locally.
  29. This is tough to do. Shops in NY were stopped from arcing shoes in late 1976, I recall it going down. Some truck shops line and arc shoes, but there are services that will do it.

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