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Technical Lincoln Versaille 9" rear conversion to Drum Brakes Question(s)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by anothercarguy, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. I have a complete Lincoln Versaille 9" rear axle with factory disc brakes that I'm putting in our '38 Ford cabriolet project. I do have all the very rare hard parts so I could install the factory disc brake set-up and I am aware of the need to install and adjust the e-brake for it to work as intended (and this was my plan when I scooped this rear as the "hot set-up" close to 20 years ago). That said, as I've gotten older and wiser, I'd prefer a good old tried and true drum set-up for the rear.

    So, what exactly is involved in converting this rear to drums? What backing plates do I need (year and vehicle)? What drums? Anything else that I need to consider? Any help is appreciated.

    And, the obligatory picture because I know how much we all need to see it or it didn't happen... 20181230_145338_resized.jpg
     
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,862

    squirrel
    Member

    You didn't include a picture of the axles, and the bearing retainers....
     
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  3. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,451

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    Look at the shape of the ends of your housing and measure the distance between the two holes vertically. That will tell you what bearings and backing plates you need. Also there are different widths for the brake shoes. This matters because the distance from the backing plate to the face of the axle you have will decide what width of drum you need.

    Axle Dimensions 1.jpg
     
  4. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,647

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have one of these, and some big car brakes, sitting in storage.

    If I recall correctly, the brake offset, which is the distance between plane of the face of the housing end, and the plane of the face of the axle flange, is not the same as the old-style, or the newer style drums.

    I forget where it needed to go, but a spacer would either need to go on the housing end, or the axle flange face, to adjust the offset.

    There is another unresolved thread on this, that got posted, not all that long ago.
     
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  5. You have the disk parts. I would use them
     
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  6. b-body-bob
    Joined: Apr 23, 2011
    Posts: 454

    b-body-bob
    Member

    I have one that I need to swap to drums, but am busy in other places right now. I don't have the e-brake bracket on the caliper though, so I've got no choice. Consider me subbed.
     
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  7. Big Ford...2 3/8" top to bottom x 3 1/2 side to side.
     
  8. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 2,978

    Fordors
    Member

    4F01E4DA-E45C-495F-A9B0-1591DB72BDD5.jpeg

    From a past thread^ but from the looks of your shop I think you are more hands on than 800-chk-book.
     
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  9. b-body-bob
    Joined: Apr 23, 2011
    Posts: 454

    b-body-bob
    Member

    Thinking about this more, and looking at your photo, you can see how the housing ends are not plumb. I've heard that can cause problems bleeding drums on that housing, and IIRC you need to bleed them before you bolt the backing plates to the housing so you can position the bleeder at the highest point.
     
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  10. It would be more cost effective for you to sell your current set up and replace it with either a used to be narrowed rear end or an aftermarket with the drums that you prefer.
     
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  11. Parts are hard to get for these, and they're known to be troublesome. The E-brake setup is a real POS....
    But it is the good HD 9" housing, so it's worth dealing with a conversion. I had one and sold it because of the discs.
     
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  12. That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me on the HAMB. Thanks Lol

    I'm thinking there must be some combination of factory parts and a little HAMB ingenuity that can make this work.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
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  13. I would replace the bearing retainer/caliper bracket with the correct style retainer when I replace the bearings.
    20200928_112502_resized.jpg
     
  14. 20200928_113034_resized.jpg
    That makes sense. The axle wheel centering hub is about 3/4" proud of the flange so there would be some room for a spacer between the axle and the drum.
     
  15. That is correct, but I would cut the ends of the housing free, rotate them as necessary and then re-weld.
     
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  16. I remember these being somewhat popular 20+ years ago. Never really paid attention to the details since I had several early 9"s at my disposal
     
  17. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,451

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    Since you have axles that are the correct length and have the later model housing, if you want to measure from the axle face back to the housing face, I think I can tell you if the distance is the same as on a non-disc rear end. That way you will know before buying any parts. Look at the diagram above and get the dimension for the diagram in the lower right hand corner. Axle flange cross section.
    On a secondary note, I think I remember someone metioning that Speedway has a good set for converting "TO" disc brakes. I'm wondering if it is a better set up than what Ford had.
     
  18. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,862

    squirrel
    Member

    I'd be tempted to put new ends, axles, and drum brakes on there, that are set up to work together, from one of the "checkbook" places.

    If it's designed to replace drum brakes, then it might not be what he wants...but it's worth looking into
     
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  19. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,777

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Checkbooks make the world go round but nothing puts a smile on ones face compared to putting hands to metal and accomplishing what a checkbook sometimes can't.
     
  20. bubba55
    Joined: Feb 27, 2011
    Posts: 339

    bubba55
    Member

    I had mine converted to drums because of the PITA e-brake - also had pumpkin changed was 2.50 - took mine to a fellow that rebuilt rears and he bought aftermarket ends/ backplates and drums - cost was around 1K if I remember right but that's was many many moons ago - rear was right width for my '38 Chevy twuck


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  21. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 2,978

    Fordors
    Member

    You might consider redrilling the backing plates instead of cutting off and reclocking the housing ends.
     
  22. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,520

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Where Aothercarguy is you had better be able to do your own work or it isn't going to get done without a lot of hassle.
    I'd say that most haven't checked but he lives on a pretty cool island out NW of Vancouver BC and the only way you get there is by boat for the most part.

    With all the hassle of swapping that housing to drum I'd think that it depends on what you have on the front. Drum on the front = drum rear, Disk on the front = either or and what is the simple solution in your situation.

    One solution might be to get a nine inch housing with backing plates and drums and no center section and cut the housing to match your axles and use your third member.
     
  23. Thanks @ekimneirbo, the measurement from axle housing face to axle flange face is 2 1/2".
     
  24. Thanks @Mr48chev, we really like it here (rural acreage, with ocean views and a 20 minute ferry ride to Vancouver), and yes I do pretty much all of the work myself, but that's because I enjoy the work and the creative process...oh yeah, and I might be a bit cheap.;)

    I have discs on the front, so I could go 4 wheel disc...but I'm currently thinking that a disc/drum combo would be my preferred choice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
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  25. WZ JUNK
    Joined: Apr 20, 2001
    Posts: 1,669

    WZ JUNK
    Member
    from Neosho, MO

    I have one of these rear ends in my 54 Chevy. I had all the factory brake assembles but decided to switch to parts they were more readily available. Since the axle flanges are slightly rotated, Speedway and other manufactures kits do not work as they should. I had a HAMB member, who sold these kits, make a special bracket for my Lincoln Versailles rear end.

    As a side note, I have had a lot of trouble with this brake kit that uses the GM calipers. There have been other threads dealing with these calipers. They are difficult to adjust and bleed. I could have built another car in the time that I have spent dealing with the rear disc brakes on my car. It has been the most difficult automotive problem I have dealt with in nearly 60 years of working on hot rods.
     
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  26. Binkman
    Joined: Nov 4, 2017
    Posts: 250

    Binkman
    Member

    Weedeater sells the e-brake bracket if you do not have it.
    I have A Versailles rear under my '34 Cabriolet, one under my '34 roadster and I am putting one under my '33 sedan delivery. If set up coreectly they are fine and provide good brakes.
     
  27. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,647

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I concur.
     
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  28. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,647

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I am going to dig around and see if I can find any notes from when I was looking into this. I had designs on pulling it off, and most/all of the parts, too. It was my intent to modify the backing plates to fit, putting the wheel cylinders at the top, where they will bleed best.

    If I can get this all on a bench, I will do a write up.
     
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  29. fortynut
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 984

    fortynut
    Member

  30. That would be great! If you do this, please send me a conversation/heads-up so I don't miss the thread. Thanks again.
     
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