What can anyone tell me about the period accessory brakes sold under the name Bennett?
I have a branded brake pedal but no other information on them. Any ideas?
Anthony (Bennett... no relation)
I don't have any paper info, but I also have the Bennett brakes and Bennett branded brake pedal but it's on my 24 TT C Cab. It was pointed out to me that the cam is missing at the bottom of the brake pedal on purpose, so that the transmission brake drum can't be used. I was told that you do not want the wheel brakes fighting against the transmission brake, especially with a heavy load in a TT. If your Bennett brakes are on a T car, it would interest me to find out if your foot pedal has the transmission brake cam?
Anthony (no relation)
The early rocky mtn brake pedals did not have the cam either. I sold one to a fellow T'er and he was going to try and weld a cam onto it.
I have the Bennett brakes on my hack. It seems to me that on my car the stock brake pedal operates the transmission brake, and the hand brake lever operates the Bennetts. I'll take a look and get a couple of pictures of how they're setup a little later today.
I have Bennetts on my TT.
I'm no expepert, but as I understand it, the biggest difference between the Rocky Mountain and the Bennett brakes is the way the band is anchored.
The Rocky bands are anchored at the end of the band in a manner that uses the whole band when stopping forward motion. Very effective forward, but less effective when backing.
The Bennett bands are anchored at the center of the band. This provides equal braking ability when going forward or backward. This may logically imply that the Bennetts are not as effective as the Rockies when going forward, but when I was out for the first time in my TT, I made it skid before I got the hang of it. That makes me think that more capacity than the Bennetts have in forward motion braking is not necessary.
I like the Bennetts, but I imagine others prefer the Rockies. Also, I imagine there is some logic to the notion that equal braking when going forward or backward in a truck may be more necessary that in a car when heavy loads are considered.
As promised here's pictures of how the Brakes on my Hack are set up. I dunno if this will be of any help or not. Please excuse the dirt and grime. I've been driving in the winter. :-)
Erik, does the bottom picture show the linkage missing from the foot brake pedal and the rear brakes?
Yes, Just about in the center of the photo there is a piece that is connected to the cross shaft with a hole in it. I assume that there should be a linkage from that to the brake pedal.
I always just pull back on the hand brake lever to stop. If I do that and step on the brake pedal at the same time it will sometimes skid the tires. The ruckstell lever gets in the way of me comfortably using the transmission brake for regular use.
Great pictures, Erik. The first one clearly shows the band anchor at the rear. Compare that to the picture of the Rocky's in one of the parts catalogs and you will see the difference.
I have RM's. I would rather have Bennet's. Anyone wanna swap??
My TT Bennett brakes look just Erik's (above) T Bennett brakes, only bigger I guess? However, I noticed that my hand brake lever activates the inner rear wheel brakes while the foot pedal brake activates the outer Bennett brakes? Am I setup backwards? It still skids to stop if I slam on the hand brake lever in an emergency.
I think mine are set up like yours, Anthony. The pedal only works the outer Bennetts. The lever works both, so pulling on it in motion is a last resort. It really locks them up! I can skid with only the pedal too.
I used the ol'TT two days ago to get some fence material at Home Depot. Loaded it up with all the redwood needed for 65' of back yard fencing. Most was fresh and very wet (heavy). I don't know for sure, but I imagine I had about 1,000 pounds loaded. the Bennetts groaned a little, but worked fine. Of course, I drove it in the manner most T drivers drive, as though it has no brakes at all, that way I'm never disappointed.
Well this has been most enlightening blokes. Thank you all.
Does anyone have parts for a small drum Bennett brake that Dad and I could buy or copy? We might ba able to trade some Laurel lowering brackets or a pretty english made accessory suspension. We even have a dead Hassler or two;)
I've dug out the only part we have so far. I appears to be NOS... at least it's made for the RIGHT side of the car;)
Thanks for your help.
The Bennett brakes are not a period accesory, but a popular modern accesory made since the 1970's and sold by all the model T part vendors. I bought a set last month from Chaffin's. All parts are available as part of the kit or seperately.
I was told by Dave at Chaffins that the guy making the Bennett brakes is getting quite elderly and they don't know how much longer he will continue.
I don't know much about the modern production of them, but the Bennett's on my TT were on it in 1946 when my grandfather aquired it. They were not new at the time, either.
I always assumed that they were originally made by Charles H. Bennett, one of Henry Ford's early investors. He was president of the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company, makers of the Dasiy air rifle. I just assumed that he branched out into the auto accessory business making the after market brakes. Of course I'm just guessing. Anybody know the real story?
Looking at Eric's photo I believe his Bennett brakes are mounted upside down. Here's the drawing that comes with the kit:
Here's the kit:
Its pretty easy to install. The most time is spent changing the pedal. You have to drill out the rivet in your old pedal, then knock it out with a punch:
If you are lucky you can pry the old pedal off without removing the shaft from the transmission. If you are unlucky like me you have to remove the starter bendix cover and clamp the band so the shaft can come out:
The Bennett pedal comes undrilled for the shaft locating hole. I measured it carefully several times and drilled it 3/16" thru, then 1/4" on the rear side.
Then with the pedal on the shaft I drilled with a #3 AWG bit thru the front side and tapped it 1/4" X 28NF. I installed a NAS1204 bolt with Locktite and a lock washer.
The pedal and shaft slide back in and then you adjust the brake band as you normally would, about 1" off the floor board when pushed as hard as possible.
Bolt the brakes on and install the brake rods and link. Adjust the brakes so the bennet brakes limit pedal travel to just above where the pedal went to with the transmission brake alone.
Anthony, looks like the transmission brake cam is missing from your (right hand drive) foot pedal, just like my TT Bennett brake pedal?
Why would the transmission brake foot pedal cam be eliminated on some Bennett brake applications?
Thanks in advance, Tony
I too have Bennetts on my TT. They appear to be originals, I relined them and rebuilt them back a year or two ago. My pedal looks like it has never had a cam cast on the side, and as a result I pulled the brake band from the transmission when I did the rebuild.
I purchased a set of the reproductions from Chaffins, and they are really nice. I haven't had a chance to mount them on the speedster, but they look pretty straight forward.
Bennetts ARE an original accessory brake.
The reproduction Bennetts are different from the originals. I have a set of originals; they are almost 50% wider then the repops and they came with wider drums. The current repop kit is made of brass and has narrow bands designed to work with stock Ford small brake drums.
I loaned my set to a friend who was working on reproducing them, (He makes the Buffalo wheel sets) but late last year he was notified he had to move his shop. The project was put on hold while he relocates. He returned the parts to me so they wouldn't get misplaced in the move. Hopefully he can get this back on track; I think they would sell quite well.
I don't have the Bennett equalizer, just the brakes and the drums.
What causes the steel brake bands to release when you take your foot off the brake pedel? There does not appear to be a spring on the rod going from the lever to the band as with the ACs and other external contracting brakes of the period. Comments appreciated.
My TT has a big spring on the bottom of the Bennett foot pedal to release the brake bands.
There is no spring attached to the rod.
The upper and rear point of connection of the bands are spring loaded. This, along with the natural tendency of the band itself to expand, effect the release. If you look carefully at Royce's photos of the bands above you can see the springs.
The upper spring slides over a pin that is attachced to the band. When it is installed outboard of the anchor bracket, compressed, and a washer and cotter pin installed, it pulls the band away from the drum but allows the needed contact (against the spring pressure) when the brakes are applied. Upon pedal release, it pulls the band back up.
I can't remember exactly how the rear "return" spring goes, but it works in a similar manner. The bottom of the band sort of floats. It seems to work pretty well from my experience.
Anthony is right. I forgot to mention that there is also a spring attached to the eye in the Bennett pedal to return the pedal upon release. However, I found that this seemed more important in getting the brake light switch to work than in getting the brakes to release. Of course, at least on my truck, there is noticable play in the system. I imagine a brand new set would be a lot tighter and perhaps work a little differently.
There is no eveidence of the pedal ever having a cam to operate the factory Ford brake band. I can't really imagine why you wouldn't want it there as a back up but I suppose like anything it'd use some fuel to drive.
I didn't realise there were repros being made. Perhaps I should look into them!
Gary your original setup sounds interesting. Does the extra width of the replacement brake drums simply overlap the backing plate on the diff? Are they much heavier section?
Yes, the Bennett drums extend towards the center of the car over the brake backing plates. The drums are heavy and cast. The brake band material is about 1 3/8" wide. I'm trying to find pictures I took of them while on the car but haven't been able to locate them; I'll keep looking.
Henry ,thank you for the spring answer that I requested.
Royce, I have some bands of unknown manufacturer and I have been trying to figure out how they are attached. The info and the photos on the Bennetts have I think at least given me an idea as to what I need to try as to brackets. If you would be so kind as to flip the band and make a photo of the other side, I beleive it would clearify matters. The short brackets appear to be attached to the top of the band and just float? Thanks.