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This question about Buick brakes has been bothering me...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 3blapcam, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. 3blapcam
    Joined: Jul 15, 2004
    Posts: 526

    3blapcam
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    It seems to be a popular brake conversion, right? And, people put them on over top of '40 Ford brakes, right? On other cars (non '40 fords, and any other Ford w/ 12" brakes), why not use the Buick backing plates? (That was the question that's been bothering me.) It seems like a lot of machining is required to run them on the Ford backing plates, wouldn't it be a lot easier to just install the Buick parts that work with that drum?

    Please help me out... I'm getting tired of not sleeping at night.
     
  2. I'd say the Buick drums get adapted to the Ford hubs, not the other way 'round, so then it's natural to keep the backing plates.
     
  3. oldspeed
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 897

    oldspeed
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    I thought the machining was required to have then fit the ford spindles, not the backing plates. If you used the buick backing plates that still means you have to machine the drum to fit the ford "drum insert". ?????????
     
  4. 3blapcam
    Joined: Jul 15, 2004
    Posts: 526

    3blapcam
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    Yeah, that's what I figured, but I've read some stuff on what it takes to make it work and it seems really labor intensive to make them work with Ford backing plates. If you're putting them on something that didn't have the Ford backing plates originally, say a model A, why not use the Buick plates? I'm asking because I have the full setup and was planning on using them, but no one seems to run the Buick backing plates. I'm just confused [​IMG]. It looks a lot easier to run the Buick plates.
     

  5. 3blapcam
    Joined: Jul 15, 2004
    Posts: 526

    3blapcam
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    [ QUOTE ]
    I thought the machining was required to have then fit the ford spindles, not the backing plates. If you used the buick backing plates that still means you have to machine the drum to fit the ford "drum insert". ?????????

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Maybe that's what I was missing!!!
     
  6. Armstrong
    Joined: Apr 17, 2004
    Posts: 371

    Armstrong
    Member

    I have the complete buick brake assembly on my A coupe(not on the road yet). This involves even more machine work than running the Ford backing plates. There is a spacer that goes between the spindle and backing plate that I got from a machine shop whose name I can't remember, that was advertised in one of the rod mags. The center hole in the backing plate needs to be made larger and the bolt pattern on the backing plate redrilled to bolt to the Ford spindle plus all the steps to adapt the Buick drum to the hub. The upside of this is you get a much better brake that self adjusts.
     
  7. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    [​IMG]
    .
    My plan is to use the Lincoln 12" Bendix backing plates. Another option is the 3/4 ton F-2 12" Bendix B/Ps. Some people just prefer the classic T shape in the early Ford B/Ps.

    My theory is that it was more of a cosmetic thing. (cool looking) than a brake performance thing. We didn't have that much 70 mph bumper to bumper traffic back in the early 60's. Todays demands are a little different.
     
  8. 3blapcam
    Joined: Jul 15, 2004
    Posts: 526

    3blapcam
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    Just a thought, has anyone tried to go to Autozone or any other off the shelf parts place to buy drums new/reconditioned?
     
  9. The finned aluminum Buick drums not only run cooler, they allow you to run wider brake shoes. So this conversion's not just about adding bling. The hot set-up is as Tommy has shown: Buick drums with the Lincoln BENDIX-style brake, which get you a lot more whoa-power. Down the road from you, in Flower Mound TX, Bob Wilson has sorted alot of this out. He's got new hubs machined to mate the Buick drums with the Ford spindles. He also has started re-popping the Lincoln backing plates (which are getting hard to find). In using his stuff you'll find the machine work -- and expense if you can't do it yourself -- is kept to a minimum. I had to open the edge of my drums up a bit to accept the backing plates, and grind a bit on the Ford spindle plates to make 'em work, but it was nothing a dumb surfer couldn't figure out [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  10. 3blapcam
    Joined: Jul 15, 2004
    Posts: 526

    3blapcam
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    I have heard of him before. Doesn't he have a website? Does anybody know it off the top of their head?
     
  11. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,773

    Andy
    Member

  12. Smokin Joe
    Joined: Mar 19, 2002
    Posts: 3,770

    Smokin Joe
    Member

    The 3 parts you'll need to scrounge are the backing plates, Buick Drums and 46-48 Ford hubs in the standard setup. Everything else you can get new from your parts store.

    The machining isn't rocket science for those of you who haven't done it. The groove on the drum needs to be ground a bit so the rim of the backing plate will fit in it. The Buick hub is removed and drum center hole is opned up to allow the Ford 46-48 hub to fit.
    After that you just drill the drum for the Ford bolt pattern and insert new studs. That's it folks. ANY machine shop should be able to do it in an afternoon.
     
  13. 3blapcam
    Joined: Jul 15, 2004
    Posts: 526

    3blapcam
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    Thanks Andy!

    Smokin Joe... do you have any pics of the finished product? I'm curious to what it looks like after it's been redrilled for the studs. I guess it's a no brainer that if I get the 46-48 hubs, I need to run the 46-48 spindle as well? I guess the Buick hub just presses out, right? I don't currently have the front end yet, so I suppose I could go with any year at this point. I found the drums in a field by my house, so I snaked the drums and backing plates. It's all going on a model A if I don't decide to go with the stock wire wheels.

     
  14. Smokin Joe
    Joined: Mar 19, 2002
    Posts: 3,770

    Smokin Joe
    Member

    The 46-48 Ford hub goes on the outside of the drum. The old Buick holes in the drum won't show. Drilling new bolt patterns is something most any machine shop can do. One thing that hasn't been brought up here is the bolt pattern. Most people want the Ford pattern to match their rear wheels so that's one reason to do the conversion instead of useing the Buick hubs and backing plates. The other is to use standard Ford bearings on 37-41 or 42-48 ford spindles. Besides the Ford backing plates look cool. [​IMG]

    There is a slightly longer than stock stud that's been posted on here before that works great with this conversion but I don't have the part number handy. Anybody have it?

    The Lincoln/Bendix or the pickup brakes are better setups but harder to find in the scrapyards. The Ford stuff works fine tho and has the classic style. Use Wilson's stuff if you're in a hurry. I've heard that both Wilson and So-Cal are going to be comming out with new Buick drums soon. Wilson already makes the 46-48 hubs but I don't know what his prices are.
     
  15. wasnt rocky gonna use the buick backing plate on that 36 chevy project he had ???
     
  16. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    .
    One thing that is never mentioned...The studs have splines that dig into the hub and the aluminum drum. The holes for the studs need to be sized for these serations so the completed setup remains in one piece. The holes will be slightly smaller than the stud serations so they have something to dig into. The hub isn't just sandwiched between the drum and the wheel. All drums should be turned on a drum lathe after it is re-hubbed to get the braking surface concentric with the hub bearings.

    I had a machine shop drill the holes. (I gave them the studs so they could size the holes.) The relief for the outer backing plate flange was done on a standard brake drum lathe.

    The Buick hubs and drums are held together with rivits.
     
  17. 3blapcam
    Joined: Jul 15, 2004
    Posts: 526

    3blapcam
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    Seeing that hub on that drum clears up how you won't see the old holes. It's all becoming clearer now... thanks for the pics Tommy. Now where in the hell am I going to find those hubs? I looked at the ones Wilson sells and they're a little steep in price. I understand what you were saying about paying the price up front cancelling the cost of machining later, but I might have a hookup on machine work. Anyone have hubs laying around?
     
  18. Smokin Joe
    Joined: Mar 19, 2002
    Posts: 3,770

    Smokin Joe
    Member

    Thanks for the pics Tommy. Those 3 small holes in the inside picture are where the Buick hub has rivits. Grind them off, remove the studs and tap out the hub. As tommy said, bring your new studs along with you when you go to the machine shop so they can correctly size the holes when they drill the new pattern. This comes up so often, we need to do it right, explain it all, and put it in the tech section.
     
  19. 3blapcam
    Joined: Jul 15, 2004
    Posts: 526

    3blapcam
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    Thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate the info. I didn't expect it to spin into a tech post, but you're right, it should be posted in the tech section. Actually it sounds pretty basic and It sounds like I could do this in the garage - if I had the Ford hubs.
     
  20. Smokin Joe
    Joined: Mar 19, 2002
    Posts: 3,770

    Smokin Joe
    Member

    Nope, don't do that. Pop the old Buick hubs off at home but let the machine shop do the rest. Trying to get everything perfectly centered on a home drill press or lathe will probably leave you hopping down the road if you don't get it exactly centered right.
     
  21. delaware george
    Joined: Dec 5, 2002
    Posts: 1,246

    delaware george
    Member
    from camden, de

    i know that the 45 fin ones are the good ones,but what years were they made?...if the drum is wider than the ford,will it change the width of the frontend,from wheel to wheel?that could change things on a fendered car
     
  22. Smokin Joe
    Joined: Mar 19, 2002
    Posts: 3,770

    Smokin Joe
    Member

    Normally people don't do this on a fendered car. You want those fins out where everyone can see them.

    Late 50's to early 60's on the wide fins. the narrow spaced fins came mid 60's. Depends on the model. Big Buicks kept the wide fins longer. I think 57 was the first year. I know my 59 had them. I've seen 63's both ways.
     
  23. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    [ QUOTE ]
    i know that the 45 fin ones are the good ones,but what years were they made?...if the drum is wider than the ford,will it change the width of the frontend,from wheel to wheel?that could change things on a fendered car

    [/ QUOTE ]

    No the tread width won't change. You are still using the Ford hub on the Ford spindle so the wheel mount surface is still the same. My first picture with the Lincoln B/Ps is a 34 full fendered Vicky.
     
  24. Mr 42
    Joined: Mar 27, 2003
    Posts: 1,216

    Mr 42
    Member
    from Sweden

    The reason for using Buick drums are for the looks of it, nothing else.
    Ok you get some better cooling but lets face it when did you fade your brakes that last time.

    IF you dont change your backing plate, to the Lincoln or Ford F1 truck type that has improved mechanical design. read more modern type.

    Anyway i dont think there is so much work to fit the Buick drums to the Ford hubs. you have to do that to even if you go for the Buick backing plates, i know it has been done, but its a lot of work, and i dont like to fiddle to much with brake parts.
    Anyway here is a post how to do it the Swedish way.
    Buick drums on Volvo Hubs...

     
  25. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    You can also use '53-'56 F250 backing plates (front or rear - rears are actually better, but not that big a deal). If you go this route, you can use the easier to find '39-42 hubs. Still machine work involved - here's an old post:

    F250 Backing Plate Thread #1
    F250 Backing Plate Thread #2

    FWIW - I've found that F350 rear backing plates are exactly the same - fronts are different. There is no parking brake to worry about - it was mounted on the trans tailshaft.

    A couple folks on here have done the F250 bit - Tuck, 286Merc, Rocky? I've only mocked the stuff up - never finished the deal as my project is on hold...

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    45-fin drums first appeared in '58, and ran until the mid-'60s: either '64 or '65 (I don't remember now).
    The 90-fin drums are the same exact size, and ran until the early '70s on full-sized Buicks. '71 seems to be about the latest, though if the car doesn't have disc brakes, they'll be Buick drums.
    So check all those clapped-out, pimped-out 225 Electras and station wagons sitting in the junk yards. Don't pay much for them! They aren't rare. I found 8 (4 of each style) in junk yards in Florida, and got them all for $10 each--all at different times, from different yards.

    Be careful when pressing the studs and hubs out: I cracked a couple drums tryint to do this. A little heat around the hub is a good idea, and back the studs up with a piece of pipe, so the hub is supported firmly, rather than hanging 2 inches off the deck of the press.
    -Brad
     
  27. DRD57
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 3,989

    DRD57
    Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    I have the complete buick brake assembly on my A coupe(not on the road yet). This involves even more machine work than running the Ford backing plates. There is a spacer that goes between the spindle and backing plate that I got from a machine shop whose name I can't remember, that was advertised in one of the rod mags. The center hole in the backing plate needs to be made larger and the bolt pattern on the backing plate redrilled to bolt to the Ford spindle plus all the steps to adapt the Buick drum to the hub. The upside of this is you get a much better brake that self adjusts.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    The adapter rings to use the Buick backing plates on the Ford spindles come from Walden Speed Shop.

    When using the Buick drum and the Ford hub I like to put an 1/8" thich steel ring on the inside of the drum for the wheel studs to have something a bit more substantial than the aluminum drum to seat against.
     

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