I am considering buying and installing a set of SURE STOP disk brakes on my '23 Touring. Any opinions, thoughts, suggestions or tips on installation would be greatly appreciated.
Bench bleed them, but be prepared to do it again, since some air can get back into the master while you are installing it. To bleed in situ, just use a lever to fully push the plunger all the way into the cylinder, prior to attaching the plunger to the brake pedal.
The set that I received had solid lines from the "T" connection to the calipers. I would replace them with the same length 3/16" flexible lines (from a place like AutoZone). That makes moving the calipers so that the bleeder ports are on the top, much easier.
All-in-all, this is a great product. And like wise old Model T guy told me..."Safety trumps authenticity)
Ditto the above comments, I also recommend them. They work good. Installation was not hard ... just follow the directions. I've had them for 3 or 4 years.
Easy job, took about 8 hours to do. They don't offer them on the Texas T website, but they do have flex lines to the calipers if you ask for them. The steel lines they sent were way too long, I had to purchase shorter lines. They are a pain to bleed. They work great, and the comments I get on them are hilarious. People are dead serious in a parking lot " I didn't know they had disc brakes back then"
I have AC Brakes which looking more accurate than Sure Stop brakes I thought. Both choice are good it is a question of personal choice I think.
Bleeding disk brakes is easy if you remove the caliper and put the bleed hole at the top.
My home built ones take two bolts to remove.
The master cylinder is pumped a few times to get brake fluid and air moving then watching the bleed hole until the bubbles stop keeping an eye on the master cylinder full of brake fluid.
you may have to slightly spread the caliper pads to get the caliper back on.
Two bolts puts one side back on.
Otherwise bench bleeding should work.
You did say you wanted opinions.....
I think disc brakes look WAY out of place on a Model T! I mean WAY!
And before anybody asks, yes I feel the same way about distributors and alternators.
Thank you Hal. I do want opinions and yours and mine are exactly the same. But when I'm out for ice-cream with my grand kids aboard safety is paramount. I won't be making a permanent alteration in any way. If at some point I want to go back to the original operation it can be done. And yes, I have the original timer and 6v generator also. Thanks again.
If one needs to hide the disk brakes for some event or reason, it is fairly easy to remove the wheels and hide the calipers underneath without undoing the brake fluid lines. Then mount another set of wheels and you will look like it was originally.
Installing the Texas T brakes does NOT disable the standard Model T brakes.
Has anyone done tests to see if the disk brakes are any better than the typical aftermarket brakes? I know in reverse they have to be better than the current reproduction RM brakes.
My calipers are 11 3|4 inch diameter you hardly notice them UNLESS you are a T owner. Like Michael says I have saved my fanny more then once and my calipers are much smaller the Texas T that have to be more powerful with the larger diameter.
I can play with my life but do not have any right to play with some one with me besides the dogs deer and elk missed because I have them.
It's not going to be a vintage car anymore once you put disc brakes on it so what's the point?
I put Sure Stop disk brakes on my roadster last winter. Easy job, bleeding was no big deal. They work great in any condition. They do not fade on down hills, work in reverse and work when wet. On the very steep mountain roads I drive I love them. I have two T's with these disk brakes. You still have the Ford service brake set just under the disk brakes and the emergency brake. And talk about drawing interest, young car nuts see that Willwood caliper and have to come over and look it over. Next generation interest?
1. I install a residual pressure valve to maintain pressure to disc so you don’t need to pump the brakes a price around $22 from Wilwood engineering in CA http://www.wilwood.com/
2. Only use synthetic brake fluid – won’t damage your paint, only install on new brake systems, keep you from changing fluid, can’t mix with other brake fluid
3. To bleed brakes – I install a product call “Speed Bleeder” it’s easy to bleed brakes http://speedbleeder.com/
4. Speed bleeder bag & hose combo
a. SB1328 Speed Bleeder QTY 4
SB1428 # 1/4 X 28 1.00, (25.40)
b. SB3824 Speed Bleeder QTY 1
SB3824 # 3/8 X 24 1.29, (32.78)
c. Thread Gauge
d. Total cost $55
5. On my Wilwood Caliper I only bleed the top two on each caliper
I bought my system from the Bill Tharp Colorado Disc Brake Co. which became Sure Stop Disk.
Well I don't have Disk's on my car but which is more important--------Vintage purist or YOUR'S OR SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE
Just my humble opinion
I have the discs on my car because every way out of the neighborhood I live in involves going down a very steep hill. Four of these hills end at a traffic light or stop sign. Once I leave my neighborhood, I have no choice, it is all 4 lane divided roadways with 45 MPH speed limits. It is also back up hill to go in any direction, so I contend with hills in both directions. For safety I either do what I have to, or leave the car home. Bill's statement above sums up my reasoning for the out of place ugly.
That being said, it is still one axle brakes and tall skinny bias ply tires doing the stopping, you still have to be aware and think ahead.
A close friend's car I drive from time to time has the repro Rockies on it. They stop very well, and we have never experienced any issues with them (yet).
You don't need improved brakes (anything better than Henry's) if you don't encounter other traffic, go down steep hills, or if you simply leave the car in the garage. If you stay abnormally vigilant, even Henry's brakes may do. The Montana 500 folks drive like a bat out of Hades with no aux brakes and some of them drive their cars regularly.
Steve in Kansas and lot of other folks who live rural lives can pick routes where the brakes don't matter much but those of us who live near population centers need to reevaluate. I've put improved mechanical brakes on the rear of my otherwise pretty much stock 26 coupe and went to 4 wheel hydraulic drums on my speedster. I still have to be careful driving both cars because of the idiots around me but they wouldn't leave the garage if all I had were Henry's originals.
AC Bennetts work much better then the new Rockies
BUT way modern city traffic is I sure thinking about them
But once you lock up the wheel your in a slide.
But how are these in city traffic
Are the BENNETS still being made
Bob, AFAIK, yes. Contact info??? Hmm, ask Erik Barrett, he'll probably have it.
OH I wish Ralph Ricks were here to "coach" you guys on brakes. It's the front wheels that need to have the brakes because of the weight transfer off the rear to the front when braking. That's why the rears skid when extreme braking.
Like posted above those "semi disc brakes" are only on the rear which is the least effective place for efficient braking. Even the Bennetts or AC on a small drum can slide the rear wheels in a panic stop. I'm not saying the disc brakes are bad, They're better in every way except appearance. The new ones available would fit a semi truck in my opinion and are designed extremely too large which makes them unsightly and at the wrong end of the car.
I have brakes on all four wheels and don't use my transmission brake. I can stop going up or down a hill in forward or reverse even with the small drum original rear drums.
My rear brakes are copies of the Bennetts and my front brakes are copies of both the Big Four and the McNearny which were originally made in the 20's. I have an equalizer in the cable system so all wheels brake the same. I have never had it pull to one side or the other but could see how it might be possible in certain conditions like ice. I have a double wishbone on my early car.
Yes, disc brakes on all wheels would be better by far and I saw an early touring on the Canada tour with such a set up. the rotors were small and hardly noticeable. The best job I have ever seen. I wish I knew the name of the person who owned the car.
Only a few people notice my front brakes but when they do it's a great talking point about the Ford tranny and braking system along with the many after market parts made for the T.
A few years ago at the Bakersfield swap a guy was showing some 4 wheel brakes that he was going to build and sell but never did see any?
Ralph and a few other T's use the Nash Metro brakes on all wheels which work even better
The only change I would make to a stock Tee would be the brakes, then only if I could go with four wheel brakes. The only advantage I have found with accessory rear brakes is that it takes the braking torque off the drive train. The rear wheels skid just as easily. WE forget that a Model T is just one step beyond the horse drawn buggy. We should drive it as such. I have found that a few simple relearned practices make driving and stopping a Tee more satisfying. #1 Keep your speed within reason. #2 Anticipate stops and reduce speed with the throttle then stop and hold with the brakes.#3 Avoid high speed crowded traffic. If we are going to drive 100 year old technology then we must stop trying to drive our Tee's as if they are 2017 xxxxx''''''s
In reading art Taylor,s post of feb 17 he mentions a speed leader. When I was working on aircraft brakes we would bleed brakes by attaching a tube to the bleed fitting on the caliper then pump the fluid up to the master cylinder thus forcing the air up and no air bubbles. Would this work on sure stop caliper?
You will love your new disc brakes. Stopping power is much better than original. You will eventually change how you drive your car...driving up to the light and applying brakes rather than slowing down with the throttle and using brakes to effect the last little "stop". Instead of using the cross-walk counter for a warning, you will be able to drive right up to the yellow-red signal and stop when and where you want it to. It will no longer feel like a "T".
If you tour in the mountains, you will be able to stop on any grade, anywhere, and let your wife take a picture.
If you tour with a group in the mountains and stop on any grade, you will be a hazard to all stock "T"s which cannot do the same.
Your car will be in transition to a resto-mod which will still not be safe for grandkids regardless of brakes you use. It is afterall a 95 year old car making the word "safety" difficult to apply.
Obviously, it's your car and your call. Just don't consider the car to be safe by our modern delicate sensitivity. Maybe safer (or maybe not, if you're being followed by an original "T"), but not safe in the modern sense. Myself, I find period style auxiliary brakes work just fine. The car looks right, and I drive it like it is a 100 year old car. And the kids still love it.
We install new calipers frequently in my wife's Subaru Service Center. We always bench bleed the master cylinders.
Once the system is purged of all old fluid and new calipers installed we use a vacuum bleeder. This operates with compressed air and draws the fluid through the system while removing all air. We start at the caliper furthest from the master cylinder then move to the next and so on. The old fluid is drawn into a receiver so no fluid is spilled onto the floor.
There are some inexpensive air bleeders available I think Eastwood has one. Once the master cylinder is pre-bled the rest of the job is a cinch with a vacuum bleeder.
T brakes of any type come down to one thing
The tire to road foot print.
If you can lock up the wheel beyond that you skidding
Nevada Bob is correct of course but it is really nice to know that you can easily modulate the braking effort as well as knowing that they work regardless of the weather conditions and any neutral condition in the drive line. They are obviously not era correct and some may find that a distraction (I do) but to my mind they are clearly the superior braking system if you drive where you need brakes. There are other options of course but none better as a bolt on kit.
Having had 4 wheel disk brakes on my speedster for 15 years... Now remember, you asked for my opinion;
I had started writing up a list of all the pros, when I realized there was just one con... Aesthetics!!! Every set of eyes that looks over my car picks out the brakes. I'm talkin about little kids thru old ladies. I truly wish there was a better option that looked less like a sore thumb. All this being said, I'm in no hurry to take the brakes off the car on account of how great they work.
I ran rear disk brakes for a couple of years before I added the fronts. And standard big drum rear brakes hooked up to a Rocky Mountain equalizer for a while before that. The rear disk brakes didn't work any better than well adjusted mechanicals. They did however... require no adjustments! As mentioned before, the car will slide equally good no matter what kind of brakes you use. If your current rear brakes can lock up the wheels, all you stand to gain by converting to disk brakes, is less adjusting. It's only when you add the front brakes, will your breaking performance truly improve over rear only brakes.
I’ve been intrigued by the addition of disk brakes since Model T brakes leave a lot to be desired, but I’ve wondered about the appearance. It seems as though they’d be a fairly obvious addition, even to the casual observer.
If someone is interested in weighing the increased braking power vs. the appearance, it might be helpful to see some pictures of the disk brakes installed.
Could someone post pictures of how the brakes look on the wheels?
The answer to ugly disc brakes are disc wheels. Problem solved.
That's right, Walter -
The original poster ask for tips on installing not whether you should have them or not!!! Interesting how the post intent drifted.
"Any opinions, thoughts, suggestions or tips on installation would be greatly appreciated."
Pretty much leaves that field open, doesn't it ?
I believe I would use the AC brakes if I wanted to be period correct and have better brakes.
Adding disc brakes can lead to other things such as another engine and later another transmission and --------------->
You are living in a fantasy world if you believe disc brakes make your T significantly safer...
It may give you a false sense of peace of mind but don't be fooled. I wonder how many folks who drive around on accessory brakes have let their guard down?
I'm sure I'm going to get lots of heat for saying this, but here's my two cents' worth.
In my opinion, stock T brakes are completely adequate for normal T driving!
Still, it's crucial that the stock brakes are installed and adjusted properly.
On my '24 Touring, I have nothing but stock brakes. However, the emergency brake has all new hardware, including drums, lined shoes, cams, etc,.
That being said, you still can't drive a T with stock brakes like a modern car. You have to be smart about it. I constantly drive my T in traffic with no troubles.
If I have to stop in a hurry, I'll close the throttle all the way, pull the handbrake all the way back, and then use the transmission brake to control the rest of the braking. I can stop my T about as fast a T will stop, regardless of what rear brakes are on it.
Now if you're going to push a T beyond what I consider normal T driving (less than 35mph), then accessory brakes are a very good idea.
Accessory brakes are also a must if you have any sort of auxiliary transmission. Heaven forbid that it gets stuck in neutral while driving and you find that your transmission brake isn't working anymore!
This has been touched upon, but I'll bring it up again. The only MAJOR improvement to a T's braking power would be to add front brakes. When you stop, all of the weight shifts forward. That means that front brakes typically do 60-70% of the stopping. A T with rear brakes only, regardless of how good the brakes are, is going to be limited by the fact that the rears only have so much traction and aren't ideal for stopping anyway.
My only concern with front brakes on a T is that all the braking effort is transmitted through the radius rod and into the crankcase. I guess it's not really a problem from what people have been saying, but it is something to consider. I would definitely not put front brakes on a T that only has an early radius rod.
ANY front axle brake installation requires over and under or side mounted bracing of the front axle from "folding over" on itself - no "ands, ifs or buts" !
When I lived in Indiana, it was easy to get out to T friendly roads. When I moved back to the NW, there were still some nice T roads very nearby. Those days are sadly gone with more and more people and traffic and a significantly higher sense of stress and poor humor. My stock coupe is not as much fun as it used to be. I never know when some twit in a Prius or BMW is going to dart out in front of me or slam on their brakes. Needless to say they aren't real fond of following me on any hill or when the speed limit is 35 and they want to do 45. That coupe may be coming up for sale. I modified my speedster so that it can compete with most of the local traffic but it is no longer a "real" T in many people's eyes. With the drive train mods (A crank, Fronty, Chicago) it will easily do 60+ MPH. Then, because I'm not totally insane, I've switched to a more modern steering box and added shocks and 4 wheel hydraulic brakes. I copied the concept for the brakes from a variety of folks and implemented them myself. They work fine for me but there is no way I'd build a set for anyone else. As Steve said it is critical to strengthen the front axle support. I split a Model A wishbone and anchor it with pivots to the frame rails rather than the pan. Works fine but of course another place it isn't correct.
I wish I could still safely drive a stock T where I live but that won't be happening and moving is not on my horizon.
If folks around here ask about brakes, I recommend the Sure Stop as the best or other externals as better than straight T if the visual is bothersome.
"You are living in a fantasy world if you believe disc brakes make your T significantly safer... "
Tim -- Obviously, you have never driven a T with disc brakes. I have for years, and I don't want to be without them.
I live in northern NM with a narrow gravel road with very steep hills for about 5 miles to the 'main' two-lane county road. For the safety of myself, family, and guests there really was not other option, especially considering they are the only auxiliary brakes which have any chance of holding in reverse situations.
My disk brakes were installed by Andy Loso as part of other work and he did a fine job. The comment above to use flexible lines to the calipers is well-taken and I think important. I did need to re-bleed the brakes once and it took awhile until I understood it all; then it was very easy with my bride assisting.
So for me safety trumps all. And yes, they are noticeable and noticed.
Maybe we can all agree that the brakes improve braking ability which equates to a measure of improved safety (i.e. easier to stop when all of the other maniacs out there do something unexpected and then they expect us to be able to immediately stop). But, we could probably all also agree that the brakes do nothing to enhance the other features of the Model T that lack modern safety improvements (airbags, seat belts, etc.). Just a thought.
Eric above asked for a pix. This is on our '23.
Another pic for Eric. With wire wheels.
They might look ugly, but I have never met anyone that had installed them, and wanted to take them off.
Have you tried the equalizer brakes ive installed a couple on cars. lets you use your back brakes hooked to the pedal for about $250. They are the catalogs