1957 left front brake is hanging up

Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
My left front brake is hanging up after a short, 3 to 5 mile, drive. I've replaced the front drums, shoes, hardware, wheel cylinders, hoses and master cylinder. Basically everything but the hard lines have been replaced. I've double checked the return springs and that the shoes are oriented correctly. This seems to only occur after the car is driven a few miles and the brakes have been applied several times. My best guess is that there is piece of trash floating around and may be blocking the return of fluid to the master cylinder. This only happens to the front left. I'm thinking a complete flush is in order but wanted others input. The brake system is completely stock and is not power assisted. Thanks for any advice offered.
 

74 Harley

Active Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1962
Have you looked at the hard line itself? Many times they can be damaged (rust inside) or dented from flying stones or improper jacking and blocking. Seems like you covered about everything else.
 

jimntempe

Active Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
I have had more or less the same problem. As best I can tell the problem is that they claim the new shoes are arc ground but they are not. In my case only the edge of the rear shoe on the left side was making contact so that even though it doesn't seem at all like it's adjusted too tight even the slightest contact makes the brakes "energize" slightly and start to drag. Then it heated up and dragged worse till it was just about locked up. I've had to back them off more than I would prefer to keep that from happening. Going to give it another one or two hundred miles to get better broken in and then see if I can adjust them back closer to where I think they should be. Also, the lining that was used appears to be semi-metallic which starts out with lower friction and gets higher friction as it warms up, that just makes the problem worse. I've I'd know that before I bought them I'd have bought a set that I knew were not semi-metallic.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
I have had more or less the same problem. As best I can tell the problem is that they claim the new shoes are arc ground but they are not. In my case only the edge of the rear shoe on the left side was making contact so that even though it doesn't seem at all like it's adjusted too tight even the slightest contact makes the brakes "energize" slightly and start to drag. Then it heated up and dragged worse till it was just about locked up. I've had to back them off more than I would prefer to keep that from happening. Going to give it another one or two hundred miles to get better broken in and then see if I can adjust them back closer to where I think they should be. Also, the lining that was used appears to be semi-metallic which starts out with lower friction and gets higher friction as it warms up, that just makes the problem worse. I've I'd know that before I bought them I'd have bought a set that I knew were not semi-metallic.
I would agree but I'm only having an issue with one side. Seems if it was a shoe issue, it would be happening on both sides. I looked up a new set of shoes on the Advance Auto site and they state that the lining material is ceramic. The shoes are reasonably priced so that may be something you might consider in solving your issue.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
I would agree with the issue of the release pressure of the brake fluid. Clogged line, Sticking cylinder or even possibly the shoes are sticking on the backing plate. At least it's only one wheel so it's not a whole system failure.
 

jimntempe

Active Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
I would agree but I'm only having an issue with one side. Seems if it was a shoe issue, it would be happening on both sides. I looked up a new set of shoes on the Advance Auto site and they state that the lining material is ceramic. The shoes are reasonably priced so that may be something you might consider in solving your issue.

Before I replaced the shoes the car pulled to the right but no wheels were locking up. After replacing the shoes the car pulled to the left. That suggests to me an issue with the shoes. Plus it doesn't pull at all for the first couple of stops before the brakes get heated up. After a few stops it starts to pull which is what I would expect with semi-metallic shoes where one side is hotter than the other.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
I would consider also having the new drums checked for trueness. Could they be acting differently when warm? When I replaced mine many years ago I had them turned before I installed them as I didn't trust the original machining before installing. It's hard to trust any new replacement as the money they get is more important than quality. The new fuel pumps are a good example and the suppliers are playing catch-up. .
 

jimntempe

Active Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
I would consider also having the new drums checked for trueness. Could they be acting differently when warm? When I replaced mine many years ago I had them turned before I installed them as I didn't trust the original machining before installing. It's hard to trust any new replacement as the money they get is more important than quality. The new fuel pumps are a good example and the suppliers are playing catch-up. .

More likely I'd just switch to disks.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
More likely I'd just switch to disks.
The expense in my perspective is not worth the cost. My original drums haul it down very well. Too many variables are introduced. New M/C, Proportioning valve, new hardware all around changing the whole dynamics, is not worth the cost when the original works very well if properly maintained. yah I'm old school but let good not be the evil of perfect. Perfect is in the realm of unobtanium when it comes to old tech.
Introducing new tech to old never seems to go well in my experience. But each to their own.
 

knuckle47

Active Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1956
My ‘56 front right brake did this as well, I did take the easy way out..all new lines, hoses and disk conversion. I honestly felt like it was swatting a fly with a frying pan but time turns out to be the more critical element this last 4 months
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
Before I replaced the shoes the car pulled to the right but no wheels were locking up. After replacing the shoes the car pulled to the left. That suggests to me an issue with the shoes. Plus it doesn't pull at all for the first couple of stops before the brakes get heated up. After a few stops it starts to pull which is what I would expect with semi-metallic shoes where one side is hotter than the other.

I have had more or less the same problem. As best I can tell the problem is that they claim the new shoes are arc ground but they are not. In my case only the edge of the rear shoe on the left side was making contact so that even though it doesn't seem at all like it's adjusted too tight even the slightest contact makes the brakes "energize" slightly and start to drag. Then it heated up and dragged worse till it was just about locked up. I've had to back them off more than I would prefer to keep that from happening. Going to give it another one or two hundred miles to get better broken in and then see if I can adjust them back closer to where I think they should be. Also, the lining that was used appears to be semi-metallic which starts out with lower friction and gets higher friction as it warms up, that just makes the problem worse. I've I'd know that before I bought them I'd have bought a set that I knew were not semi-metallic.
I checked the "fit" of the shoes to the drum before installation. It looked really good to me.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
If one wheel is sticking try opening the bleed screw on that wheel cyl and see if a bit of air or fluid spits out. It will tell you if the line is constricted or if the issue is at the wheel.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2002
Its easy enough to do a system flush and blow out that hard line...
Shoes have to move to contact the drum, tpicaly there are "slide points" on the acking plate
where the shoes slide (6 raised tabs on GM cars) and those need to be lubed with brake lubricant (not regular grease).
Don't neglect the obvious things like tire pressure either. and brake adjustment either...
A rule of thumb is to adjust the brakes until the wheel can't be turned and then "back off" 8 clicks.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
Its easy enough to do a system flush and blow out that hard line...
Shoes have to move to contact the drum, tpicaly there are "slide points" on the acking plate
where the shoes slide (6 raised tabs on GM cars) and those need to be lubed with brake lubricant (not regular grease).
Don't neglect the obvious things like tire pressure either. and brake adjustment either...
A rule of thumb is to adjust the brakes until the wheel can't be turned and then "back off" 8 clicks.
Did that. I actually hit the raised spots with scotchbrite and then brushed on some brake grease. Also checked the shoes for nicks in the areas that contact the backing plate.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2002
There are only a couple of things that will make a brake drag after a short run...both heat related...
The shoes are contacting the drum a bit at all times creating heat, meaning misadhustment or break-in issues or the drum is out of round. or out of spec to the point it can't dissipate heat; a couple of checks you might try.
Get an I/R heat gun from Harbor Freight and "shoot" the left and front wheel hubs after the brakes start draggin and note the temp difference....then you can try puting the drum on that wheel about 1/2 way and have someone pump the brake and make sure the shoes move and retract AND the drum still turns freely after the peddal is released.
You could also post pictrures here of the assembled wheels (both sids) and see if anybody pikcs up on anything amiss.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
There are only a couple of things that will make a brake drag after a short run...both heat related...
The shoes are contacting the drum a bit at all times creating heat, meaning misadhustment or break-in issues or the drum is out of round. or out of spec to the point it can't dissipate heat; a couple of checks you might try.
Get an I/R heat gun from Harbor Freight and "shoot" the left and front wheel hubs after the brakes start draggin and note the temp difference....then you can try puting the drum on that wheel about 1/2 way and have someone pump the brake and make sure the shoes move and retract AND the drum still turns freely after the peddal is released.
You could also post pictrures here of the assembled wheels (both sids) and see if anybody pikcs up on anything amiss.
I did this and saw a 20 degree temperature differential. This difference only after about a ten mile trip. The brake operates fine during a bleeding process and for a few miles. I’m gonna go with some ceramic shoes. I also checked the new drums for runout with a dial indicator and found them to be good. That being said, ceramic shoes and a flush are first on my to do list.
 

jimntempe

Active Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
What disc brake conversion kit did you use? I want to retain my current stock wheels should I decide to swap to discs.
Knuckle47 has a 56 so he has 15 inch wheels which don't usually cause a problem. In my looking around comparing price and what you get I've found this place offers a good sounding option. They said they have sold to a lot of 57 owners and rarely has anyone reported a fit problem.
kit 604 ..14" wheels complete front disc brake kit.. wheel kit only $625.00
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
I drove it around today, to church and back about 20 miles total. Temperature was about the same on both front wheels, 95 degrees F. As we were driving and I shifted into third, there was an interesting noise behind the dash and then silence. My wife said, "what was that?" I said I don't know and then, as I noticed the speedo not working, I said, "Oh that was just the speedometer cable breaking and adding one more thing to my list". LOL!
 

knuckle47

Active Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1956
What disc brake conversion kit did you use? I want to retain my current stock wheels should I decide to swap to discs.
I bought the brake conversions from CASCO for both my ‘56 and ‘57… I have not even begun to address the ‘57 yet and the ‘’56 is on hold until the barn is finished…in about 9 days

I am preparing to fully document the conversion process and will post it all here. New brake lines as well
F8BD193C-ADBA-4084-ACED-A002DEA741B7.jpeg
 
Top