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Brakes pulling left, '56 Pontiac

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by flypa38, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Hey fellas,
    My '56 Pontiac pulls to the left when braking. It was all good for about 5 years then all of a sudden one day it pulled hard left and the steering wheel turned left as well.
    All stock brake system, not boosted. Since the problem began I've changed the master cylinder, bled everything, freed up the parking brake cables, adjusted wheel bearings, checked tire pressures, changed brake hoses, adjusted parking brake cable tensions, adjusted all 4 brakes for wear, and checked the entire system for leaks all to no avail. Speed, direction, how hard I brake all seem to have the same affect. Weird thing is it doesn't happen all the time and it seems to get slightly better the longer I drive. Anybody have any ideas? Also the brake shoe with the smaller surface should be forward, right? I did find one rear brake that wasn't arranged that way, but it was like that before the problems started.
    Any advice (other than upgrade to modern brakes) would be appreciated!
    Johnny
     
  2. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,893

    chaddilac
    Member

    One of the cylinders is sticking then.... if it pulls to the right the left cylinder is stuck and vice versa.... kinda like a tank, you turn by braking only one side.... get it?

    Or it needs new rubber lines cause they can collapse.
     
  3. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    JohnEvans
    Member
    from Phoenix AZ

    Most likely a stuck piston in one wheel cylinder as stated, my money is on the right one.
     
  4. unkledaddy
    Joined: Jul 21, 2006
    Posts: 2,865

    unkledaddy
    Member

    Rust is the enemy.
     

  5. oldskool30
    Joined: Jan 4, 2009
    Posts: 121

    oldskool30
    Member

    Make sure if you buy new wheel cylinders that they are made in USA the others are junk. So much so IMO that I tend to hone and rebuild mine
     
  6. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Just changed the hoses.....How can they collapse under pressure? I can understand if the hoses were for a vacuum or suction type of pressure. I've heard of that before and never understood how it could happen.
    Is there anyway to test the wheel cylinders without driving? Like actuate the brake pedal with drums off or something?

    JohnEvans.....thinking right front?
     
  7. The hose are multi layered and the fluid is forced between the layers and then collapses the inner layer thus closing off the hose .
     
  8. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,893

    chaddilac
    Member

    Yea trust me it defies all the laws... but it can happen!!!

    Probably just a stuck cylinder thought, pull it and hone it a bit and put it back together... easy as that!
     
  9. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    I would not actuate the brakes with the drums off, it may blow the cylinders out and get fluid all over the brakes. Keep the drums on and have someone step on the brakes and see if the rf brake is stopping as opposed to the left. I would suspect wheel cylinders as well.

    When brake hoses come apart internally , they can either have a total blockage and not let any fluid thru, or act as a check valve and not release pressure. In that case the brake would be stuck on and opening the bleeder screw would relieve the pressure caused by the "check valve " in the hose.
     
  10. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Rebuilt all the cylinders about 5 years ago, is it time for rebuild kits or hone and re-use?
    Also up in my original post I slipped a question in regarding how the shoes are arranged. Should the shoes with the smaller surface be leading (facing forward)?
     
  11. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    Yes, the primary(smaller) shoe should be forward
     
  12. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Woops! Hope I didn't mess anything up running that one rear brake backwards for so long!
     
  13. oldskool30
    Joined: Jan 4, 2009
    Posts: 121

    oldskool30
    Member

    For the couple of bucks for a rebuild kit I always hone and use a new kit . And I had a 56 T-bird that drove and braked fine before winter then in the spring I had your same problem...wound up rebuilding the wheel cylinders
     
  14. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Hmmmm.....Might be lazy, but if I remove the shoes, can I rebuild the cylinders on the car? Sort of worried about rounding off fittings and breaking bolts.
     
  15. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,893

    chaddilac
    Member

    Do you wanna die cause you were lazy?
     
  16. handyandy289
    Joined: Sep 19, 2010
    Posts: 354

    handyandy289
    Member
    from Georgia

    No No No. The cylinders need to be flushed of residue from honing. Many cylinders have to be removed to get the pistons out. If the fittings are in bad shape, then the lines need to be rejplaced also.
     
  17. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,893

    chaddilac
    Member

    do it right dude... we got kids on the same roads that you travel!
     
  18. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Just realized that after I posted!!! Just thought, man that would be quick! I guess it wouldn't pull to the left anymore if all the cylinders were full of debris and the brakes wouldn't work at all! My worries on the fittings are based on the over-tightening I'm sure I did in my earlier days of wrenching. Can't remember for sure but I probably used anti-seize on everything that doesn't come in contact with fluid. The lines all still look nice though.
     
  19. shinysideup
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,627

    shinysideup
    BANNED
    from ruskin, fl

    I just chased the same problem for 2 months.
    New kingpins,tie-rod ends,adjusted braked 12 times.
    Found the wheel bearing was bad.
     
  20. capten icon
    Joined: Oct 28, 2010
    Posts: 54

    capten icon
    Member
    from Lodi

    proportioning valve? dont think older cars have them, but my '74 chevy pickup had a problem with its proportioning valve. changed it and it steers fine.

    =Pete
     
  21. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member


    And I have a kid that depends on Daddy for everything! It'll be done right! I'm one of those guys that uses a torque wrench for everything with a value listed in the manual. Very detail oriented and everything, but lacking in the time to work on the car department. I always have "good" ideas like that till I think about things in the weeks it takes before I have time to do any wrenching!
     
  22. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Forgot to mention the front wheel bearings are brand new too. Seem to be all good with no noise, discoloration, grinding feel or anything else.

    And no proportioning valve on this one!
     
  23. Stuck wheel cylinder or a bad hose. I have seen old, grabby shoes too.
    Could also be a worn lower A frame bushing that when the brakes are applied, slop gets taken up and steers the car one way or the other.
     
  24. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Think I got it! Still a spongy pedal so I need to bleed it better, but seems to stop straight ahead now! I rebuilt both front wheel cylinders and found the right one all full of crud!
    Regarding adjustment, does it matter if you adjust the shoes before or after bleeding the system?
    Thanks,
    Johnny
     
  25. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    I also just chased this problem, and the shoes were separating from the pad. Not off, but about 50-percent of the area was no longer bonded.
    It was pulling REAL hard to the opposite side.

    I'm now hunting for riveted shoes, because this isn't the first time it's happened.

    -Brad
     
  26. 6t5frlane
    Joined: Dec 8, 2004
    Posts: 2,382

    6t5frlane
    Member
    from New York

    Similar situation. Does anybody know what wheel cylinders are USA made ??
     
  27. budd
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 3,478

    budd
    Member

    it is easier to bleed your brakes after you adjust them, you get the maximum amount of fluid movement with a full pedal.


     
  28. _charles_
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 305

    _charles_
    Member
    from Tampa, Fl

    I had a similar brake issue on the caddy. On the way to bulletproof florida last year, it got to the point only the right front was working, and this was after they had just been adjusted. Took it to another shop, and they mic'd the shoes and drums, and matched them best they could. Been good for 600+ miles now. Leaving for bulletproof florida 2011 tomorrow. Let's hope i don't need to use the e-brake this year to get home!
     
  29. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,707

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    In your case, yes. Yours are the Bendix brake, and they are all similar. The shorter lining shoe is the 'servo shoe', longer lining shoe is the 'working shoe'.

    The way to 'mastermind' the positions of 'servo' vs. 'working' is this:
    When brakes are applied, the wheel cylinder will expand both shoes, causing a 'rolling' reaction to the direction the drum is turning, as the expanded shoes contact the drum.
    The 'Anchor pin' at the top of the backing plate is literally what stops the car, as the working shoe is blocked against it. The smaller 'servo' shoe is assisting with friction, but in a lesser amount.
    Whichever shoe contacts the anchor pin is the 'working' shoe. (in pre-'48 Ford brakes, it is the leading shoe. The wheel cylinder also has a larger piston in front, for added hydraulic advantage)
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  30. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,059

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER


    I'm coming in late on this one but yes the shoe with the least lining always goes to the front.

    five years is a long time for a car that probably sits a lot more than it gets driven. The trouble with almost any enthusiast car or vehicle of any genre is that they almost always have to sit waiting to be driven way too much and that allows the brake cylinders to stick among other things.

    You and the others have covered most of the things that cause brakes to pull.

    the off side cylinder or caliper sticking
    .
    Grease or other contamination on the lining.
    One side not adjusted correctly. Usually due to the automatic adjuster sticking on that side or parts missing from the automatic adjuster.

    Shoes installed wrong on one side.

    Springs installed wrong on one side. Or broken or missing

    One drum worn or turned a lot more than it's mate.

    .Tire pressure uneven between sides.

    Mismatched tires either by, size, make or style. Try to get a car to drive and stop right after some clown decided that he wanted to run four different brands of tires on the car to see which gave the best service some time. Been there, done that and he wouldn't listen when I told him his problem was due to mismatched tires.

    Bias on one end and radials on the other can cause a rash of problems as far as handling and braking go.

    What ever you do on the brakes, do it right and buy quality pieces for it. Cut corners somewhere else but not on the brake system.
     

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