I may not be setting my brake pedal tight enough for fear of over tightening it. I don't believe my driving style is wearing the lining faster than the average driver. I understand not "staying on the pedal" for long periods but pumping the pedal to get lubrication and cooling but I keep having to tighten up the adjustment about every other drive. Maybe I need to go at it from another angle. I might jack up the rear and tighten it up until I know that the brake is dragging and then back off till it's just free. What do you think?
Did you recently change band lining? Chasing the adjustment while the new linings settle in is common. You have the right washers and nuts for the bands and they're installed the right way, I assume.
The engine in my car is freshly rebuilt and I believe the band linings are new also. We have driven the car on several short trips, probably 25-30 miles. I plan to adjust the brakes again tomorrow.
What are you using for linings Tommy?
I believe they are cotton. I have not removed a band and can only see the ends.
You asked this question:
"Maybe I need to go at it from another angle. I might jack up the rear and tighten it up until I know that the brake is dragging and then back off till it's just free. What do you think?"
that will be too tight regardless of what kind of lining you have on your bands. You want your best brakes with the pedal just off the floorboard. Running them too tight will exacerbate the wear/adjustment issue at best or will result in costly damage at worst.
Take a picture of your bands in the transmission, with a focus on the surface condition of the brake drum and post to the forum for more complete and/or accurate info/advice.
I adjusted the brakes again today, pretty much the way I did before. One full turn clockwise stopped the pedal just above the floorboard. I'm going to make an effort to use the engine to slow down more and use the brake less.
Can I pose a question?
What if the band was tightened so it was just about to touch the drum and there was no drag on it but the pedal was not just off the floor board but way up from the floor board? say 2"
Would that be any different in brake action than just off the floor board?
If the brake is not dragging on the drum the lining is not wearing out or producing heat.
If you then brake you have far more clamping action as the pedal has a lot further to go to get to the floor board.
For the last 53 years I have always tightened the brake band until the band is the closest to the drum as possible but the drum still turns without the band grabbing it.
If you have a lousy worn cam and you have the pedal so close to the floor you are not going to have much braking before you lose the band lining as the pedal has hit the floor and the band can't clamp tightly so it slips.
Peter please reread my advice. I said to adjust it so that best brakes with pedal just off the floorboard. That's applied brakes. I did not say to adjust the brakes to have the pedal just off the floor before stepping on them. Perhaps I should have worded it more precisely. On the other hand, if someone knew they had a lousy worn cam and compensated for it by having the brake band tuned to the "nth" degree to have any brakes, then I'd say that was probably irresponsible to operate the car on public streets and should consider replacing the cam.
If tromping down hard on the pedal leaves it an inch above the floor that's fine. It's not going down any farther until there's some wear on the lining. When it does you adjust it up again.
You're on the right track with more engine braking. As much as possible you want to plan stops well ahead, let up on the throttle, and coast to an almost stop. You have to go to neutral to stop, so you might as well pull the lever on back and let the rear brakes help the foot brake. It's a lot easier to replace rear brake linings than foot brake linings.
Scott, Still makes no sense to have the brake travel so far down to the floor to get applied brakes. Why is that the best? If the pedal was an inch higher wouldn't that be a better pedal?
You are right about the cam, its how far it can move sideways to clamp the band that counts not how far the pedal goes down.
From the just touching position to fully applied is the same adjustment except the pedal travels further to the floor before the same result is achieved.
The first part of pedal travel is doing nothing its only sideways movement that clamps the band.
With your method the pedal shaft adjustment has to be loose to enable the pedal to go down so far. If that was adjusted so the sideways travel of the cam started when the pedal was up higher then one has far more pedal until an adjustment is needed.
Still I know everyone does it differently, I for one never use the hand brake unless its to park the car,it puts the car in neutral (which you can do with your left foot ) and then clamps the rear drums which then means you have to let it off again when all that's needed at such a low speed to stop is to use the foot brake to hold the car a lot less wear than getting the speed down from traveling speed.
Its been more years than I can remember since I had to adjust the brake pedal and the car has done thousands of miles ( it does have Kevlar lining)
I only offered this explanation for owners to think about what is actually happening when they adjust the bands what works best for everyone is what they are happy doing.
Steve, On a long hill one could be forced to apply the brake heavily especially if some modern car is calling the tune, you don't always get to control the pace, You are not going to always be able to adjust it when you want to, that could be a mile further down the hill. Where I live its similar to San Francisco
not flat country.
I had the original cast iron shoes up until last year when I decided to replace them with lined ones. When I did up the rear end. I doubt anyone originally replaced the rear shoes to often instead of the foot brake bands. The cast shoes work better especially if there is an oil leak and if you try to stop using the rear drums going over a few miles per hour you will see how poor they are compared to the foot brake and you have lost the engine to help slow the car.
if the pedal stops an inch from the floor or 2 inches from the floor, the braking is no better for either position...the band is simply looser when relaxed in normal operation with the lower adjustment.
I can state with certainty that a close fitting band as you have described earlier is in fact dragging in one or more spots constantly...not under pressure, but dragging none the less. That is a condition I seek to avoid or keep to the minimum.
I had a similar problem, brakes barely grabbing with pedal all the way to the floor. Turned out to be a bent brake pedal. Removed the hogshead, heated the pedal and pulled her approx four inches back and I now have superb brakes....that is, by Model T standards.
Scott I understand your concerns but if a band was touching the drum but not causing it to slow it down then it would not be wearing away there is so much oil flung around inside the hogshead there would be no wear of the band taking place.
As you state the looser band when relaxed in normal operation with a lower adjustment works the same, you just have to adjust it sooner as you run out of band quicker when it does wear away.
With RHD T's the adjustment is on the outside so its only a matter of going under the car and turning the adjustment some more, with LHD having to lift the floor boards and the top of the cover to adjust the band is a lot more of a pain.
Probably the most important point in the adjustment process is to check that your pedal shaft is able to move sideways 1/2" from the off position to before it hits the floor so you have the ability to actually clamp the band tight around the drum and Paul's point about bent pedals is right on the money also, if it starts off close to the floor it cant move as much to clamp the band.
One small point that we forget to mention in the adjustment process. Are you sure that the washer has a good bump (using that term instead of what I usually call it, female viewers) on it and the nut has a good grove. Else it can move back when the brakes are applied. Just thinking!!! dick C.