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Technical How do I adjust 37 Ford mechanical brakes

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Vin Man, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    Hello all. I recently purchased my first pre-war era car - a 37 Ford Business Coupe. It is in very nice condition however the brakes need to be adjusted.
    It has the original mechanical brakes and I have yet to find an article or video online that is specific to the 37. I did find a video on YouTube showing how to adjust the brakes on a 31 Ford truck but I don't know if it is the same on a 37.

    Any links to videos or articles would be much appreciated. ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454116910.158436.jpg
     
  2. fiftiescat
    Joined: Jan 22, 2013
    Posts: 159

    fiftiescat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from NY

    Beautiful car!!! Do the brakes have eccentric adjusters on top and bottom? Any pictures of the brakes?
     
  3. That's thing is Gorgeous!!!!! I'll come pick it up and adjust them for free. I should have them done by next Nov.
     
    Truck64 and lothiandon1940 like this.
  4. rfraze
    Joined: May 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,005

    rfraze
    Member


  5. flatheadmurre
    Joined: May 23, 2014
    Posts: 41

    flatheadmurre

    -37 is brakewires instead of rods so make sure they are moving free and not damaged stretched before you start adjusting.
     
  6. On my 38 there is a square adjuster on the back of the baking plate. Jack the wheel off the ground and turn the adjuster in until the wheel drags and then back the adjuster off till all the drag disappears. That is the basic adjustment.
    You can pull the front drums easily to check the condition of everything but the rears you will need a good puller like a Wilson hub puller as the rears are torqued on to 200 ft/lbs. It would be a good time to check that there is a least 150#s is torque on the the rear axle nuts. I'm amazed the number of people driving old fords that don't realize the banjo axles are torqued on. Me for one. I made up a set of axle retainers for mech brakes.
     
  7. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 11,074

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    Beautiful car. What color is that?
     
  8. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    Blue.

    Just kidding. I'm not sure of color name. But my wife's first car was a 77 Celica that was a similar shade.
     
  9. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    Thanks. I will get pics of brakes and post asap. Going to be busy with family stuff this weekend so not sure how quick I will get it done.
     
  10. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    Thanks for heads up. Would I get the puller you mention from a place like Autozone?
     
  11. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    Will do. So procedure same as 36 but it is a cable instead of a rod?
     
  12. Autozone won't have a proper puller.You need a puller for early Ford drums.
     
  13. khead47
    Joined: Mar 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,767

    khead47
    Member

    There is an old school trick to remove the rear drums without a puller. Loosen the castle not a little bit, and be sure to replace the cotter key. Drive around the block a few times in both directions. I am not responsible for any incurred damage!!!!!
     
  14. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Pro tip - on brakes that have a square adjuster do not use an open end wrench. Use a socket, turned backwards. In other words put the square end of the socket on the square adjuster. This prevents wear and rounding.

    Use a 3/8 8 point socket and stick an extension, or bar handle in it. If you don't have an 8 point socket use a 12 point. If you only have 6 point sockets use an allen wrench.

    Instead of a socket you can use an extension with a box end wrench on the other end.
     
  15. I like the KR Wilson puller like in this ad: http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/1928-1948-ford-rear-hub-puller-nos.972513/ If you use a cheap puller you risk damage to the axles that will cost more than the right puller. Any chance your local Ford Club has one to loan on rent? Remember you need to pull from the snout of the hub and not the studs. If they come off easy they probably weren't tight enough.

    Charlie Stephens
     
  16. Just my two cents;

    I just used a large bearing/ gear puller. I have a spindles and 40 drums. The ends actually have a divot in them for the screw thing in the middle to sit, and you just hold all three tight on 'that' lip, and tighten away. Doesn't take much.
     
  17. I put out an ad to borrow rent or buy and I ended up buying like new used one for a reasonable price. Any of the old ford guys will lend you one, you just have to find out who they are.
     
  18. The problem is with the rear drums. It sounds like you are talking about the front drums?

    Charlie Stephens
     
  19. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    Here are some pics of the back side of brakes ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454200271.316345.jpg
    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454200271.316345.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454200302.529009.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454200318.284557.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454200326.255907.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454200334.960426.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454200356.920410.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454200367.792662.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454200377.430379.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454200386.435432.jpg
     
  20. Ford mechanical brakes got a bad rap because people judged the performance of brakes that were worn out or out of adjustment. The '37-'38 mechanicals in good condition and correctly adjusted will stop you as quickly as the early hydraulics. One cool thing about them is that your parking brakes hold on all 4 wheels, not just the rears. That's a beautiful '37, always liked the business coupe styling.
     
  21. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    Anyone live close to me in Gilbert, AZ that is interested in coming by and teaching me the proper way to adjust these brakes? I learn best with on the job training!
     
  22. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

  23. Frank Carey
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 535

    Frank Carey
    Member

    37 brakes.jpg

    From 1949 Motors Manual. Hope this helps.
     
  24. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    I purchased a book that has reprinted service bulletins from the 30s.
    [​IMG]

    I have not found a specific set of instructions on how to adjust the 37 brakes. There is a bulletin published December 1936 which I believe covers it. Includes the following steps:

    A- Run car on lift (or jack up all four wheels) and release hand brake.
    B-Test front wheel and spindle bearing (looseness at either point may affect brake performance).
    C-Examine spring shackle studs, shock absorber links and front radius rod mountings for wear or looseness.
    D-Remove clevis pins from front and rear brake cables at cross shaft. (See Fig. 597)
    E-Remove wheel and hub assemblies.
    F-Install brake shoe gauge (SV-203 front and ABV-118 rear) set adjusting screw so as to obtain .005: clearance at adjusting wedge end.
    G-Check concentricity of brake assembly at both ends of both shoes as shown in Figs. 598 to 601. There shoud be .005" clearance at all points.
    H-Reinstall wheel and hub assemblies if OK.
    I-Check position of brake cross shaft opeerating levers. Front brake cable operating lever (see "E" Fig. 597) should be resting against bottom of cross shaft bracket ("H" Fig. 597). If not, pedal to cross shaft rod clevis should be adjusted accordingly. Be sure the hand brake cable is not too short so that it holds the cross shaft out of position.
    J-Run adjsuting screw in until shoes are tight in drums.
    K-Adjust each cable clemis so that pin can be installed while a 25 pound pull is exerted on the cable with the SV-207 brake cable puller (shown in Figs. 602 and 603.)
    L-Back off adjusting screw until drag is removed.
    M-Apply hand brake to first notch and check for even drag. If not even, back off at tightest wheels to equalize.
    N-Road test, backing off wheel or wheels that are tightest until all are equal (use the SV-208 pedal pressure gauge when road testing; see Fig. 604)

    Figures are below. The quality is not that great: Fig598.jpg Fig599.jpg Fig600.jpg Fig601.jpg Fig602.jpg Fig603.jpg Fig604.jpg
     
  25. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    Frank - thanks much for this excerpt. Between what you have shared, and what I have found in my Service Bulletin book, I think I will be able to do this job.

    My friends at SoCal - Arizona have the hub puller tool and have agreed to let me borrow it to pull the rear hubs.

    The procedure Frank supplied calls for a dummy drum or a brake gauge to measure the clearance and set at .005". I have neither a drum to sacrifice nor a brake gauge. Anyone have experience with this and can tell me if my feeler gauges will suffice?

    If I figure this out on one wheel, I will try and enlist the help of a friend to make my own video to share the process. I've never done a how to video before, but have used enough of them from the internet that I feel like its time for payback.

    Invitation is there for anyone that want to join me for the job. I will post up when I'm planning to make the attempt. Looking at possibly Thursday eve this week, otherwise a future weekend besides this coming one.
     
  26. Do you have a problem with the brakes?
    mechanical brakes take a bit to get use to. Once I adjusted mine I can lock the wheels on dry pavement.
    When I pulled the drums I found everything was new so I just adjusted the brakes with the square adjuster on the backing plate and everything was fine.
     
  27. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    Yes, my brakes will not currently stop the car safely. Once I get the hubs off I will know the condition. Most of the car was in very good shape from prior owner so I have high hopes. However, the PO did tell me he was planning to convert to juice brakes so he may not have done any recent maintenance to the existing mechanical brakes.

    I'm hoping to adjust what I have and use the originals. Everything I've read says the mechanical brakes work fine when properly adjusted.
     
  28. Vin Man
    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 18

    Vin Man

    I took tires off tonight and had hoped to get lucky pulling hubs without puller. Front was no problem but rear does require puller.

    Front: ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454384092.986254.jpg
    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454384108.108278.jpg

    Rear:
    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1454384130.987200.jpg
     
  29. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 11,074

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    Put the wheels back on the rear hubs. Only tighten the lugs and leave the hub bolt loose only a Few threads away from the tight position. Drop the car on the floor and shake the hell out it by moving the rear end side to side. A lot of times that will break the hub loose.
     

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