In December 2014 there was a post titled "Brake rods - straight or wavy?" http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/503504.html?1419231006 Eric Sole asked a question at the end but I did not see any responses - "... so many ingenious ways of doing things appear on this forum that I can't help but put it our there to you all - what's the best way to straighten a brake rod?"
My brake rods on my 1914 are not as bad as his but they do have a few "waves" as he referred to them. What is the best way to straighten them?
Could the Wheel Spoke Straightener tools sold by Specialty Motor Cams http://www.specialtymotorcams.com/pages/products.html be used for this? I could then use them on some wire wheels.
A hammer, an anvil, and patience.
Hammer out each small bend, as they are usually bent in dozens of small places, not just one big bend. Use a flat plate, or anvil to back up the rod. Don't go nuts and hit so hard that you make lots of flat spots and actually add bends. It just takes time & patience.
I just did this last week. Take 'em out, sight down them, and using a large vice to hold them, just bend out the bends. They'll be surprisingly straight when you're done. While you're at it, tweek the anti-rattle brackets and make sure that they do not drag on the rods when brake lever is in any position. My brackets' guide tubes were nearly worn in two and had to be welded up to bring back to normal.
Scott's way works good too. I would add however that there should be a slight side pull between the anti-rattle brackets and the rods. Just enough to put a very gentle pull on the rods, which will prevent them from rattling from side-to-side at the clevis ends. A lot of them you see however are way too far out of line, causing a visible bowing of the rods from front to back and creating the wear that Scott mentioned.
I've used the method that Scott used and it worked Ok.
I have to wonder though how straight they were when Ford line workers installed them originally.
I have a feeling that when they were installed the line worker had to "fit them in place" to get the right bend? The location of the support brackets do play a part in how they function.
Just my opinion.
While straightening the brake rods on my A I had one snap in two. The two pieces had been butt brazed together apparently in an ill advised repair. Needless to say all the rods were cleaned thoroughly.
Thanks for all of the responses. I was looking at my brake rods tonight and I'm curious about the relationship between the "hump" in the rods and the offset in the cast clevis ends. The clevis end appears to be offset about 15-20 degrees from the rest of the rod. Are they supposed to be at 90 degrees from the "hump"? Mine appear to have gotten twisted at some point as well as having numerous bends.
Another way of asking this - assuming that the upward/downward bends in the brake rods are in the vertical plane, is the clevis offset 15-20 degrees from the vertical plane on each side?
you know, Dennis, my brake rods were slightly different...when installed, one had the "hump" perfectly vertical to plumb. The other one laid over a little. I didn't correct it as that would have twisted the rod in a manner that I find to be unlikely done as "damage" in the past. I think that is how it was made. If the rods pull up the emergency brakes OK without hitting the radius rods, I wouldn't worry.
BTW, Jerry was correct in his correction of my installation of the "anti-rattle" brackets. If left the way I described, they wouldn't anti the rattle. Moving the bracket forward 1 inch sets the "pull" correctly after ascertaining the "pitch" and "windage" of the eyelet.