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View Full Version : Brakes and Brake Fluid '58 Cadillac


Rich Cosner
04-06-2015, 10:55 AM
So... this Easter had a great surprise in store for me.

I took the 58 to my wife's parents house for dinner, the brakes were a little questionable. (This is only the 2nd time its been out since the last snow up here in PA)

While driving home, I lost my brakes, I had to swerve basically into oncoming traffic to avoid the car in front of me. Luckily my fellow drivers had some decent refexes and managed to stear clear. I managed to get the car home and parked, reverse brakes seemed to work a little better when I was backing it in.

Now, this is one of those learning things the hard way moments. I've never dealt with a car this old before. I called my dad about it when we got home and he said it might just be brake fluid. I haven't popped the hood yet to check, but was wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to any particular brand or type of brake fluid I should be buying.

I know, it sounds like I am crazy, but I learn by doing. Luckily noone was hurt during this lesson.

Thanks,
Rich

Daniel Scully
04-06-2015, 11:46 AM
So... this Easter had a great surprise in store for me.

I took the 58 to my wife's parents house for dinner, the brakes were a little questionable. (This is only the 2nd time its been out since the last snow up here in PA)

While driving home, I lost my brakes, I had to swerve basically into oncoming traffic to avoid the car in front of me. Luckily my fellow drivers had some decent refexes and managed to stear clear. I managed to get the car home and parked, reverse brakes seemed to work a little better when I was backing it in.

Now, this is one of those learning things the hard way moments. I've never dealt with a car this old before. I called my dad about it when we got home and he said it might just be brake fluid. I haven't popped the hood yet to check, but was wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to any particular brand or type of brake fluid I should be buying.

I know, it sounds like I am crazy, but I learn by doing. Luckily noone was hurt during this lesson.

Thanks,
Rich

Have the complete system looked at before driving it again. Just adding brake fluid is a band aid approach.

John ED Renstrom
04-06-2015, 12:10 PM
one check you can do at home is to refill the reservoir with the dot 3 fluid. pump them ditt you got brak. then hold the steering will low with a underhand grip engine running put as much pressure on the pedal as you can and see if you can push it to the floor. if it goes to the floor see which wheel has fluid running out or if it's a rusted brake line.

if you can't get it to pop then then the least you need to do is bleed the brakes before you take it anywhere.

a brake job is the cheapest thing you will do on the car.

Stan Swanson
04-12-2015, 12:40 AM
one check you can do at home is to refill the reservoir with the dot 3 fluid. pump them ditt you got brak. then hold the steering will low with a underhand grip engine running put as much pressure on the pedal as you can and see if you can push it to the floor. if it goes to the floor see which wheel has fluid running out or if it's a rusted brake line.

if you can't get it to pop then then the least you need to do is bleed the brakes before you take it anywhere.

a brake job is the cheapest thing you will do on the car.

For the above test, If none of the wheel cylinders are leaking, your brake master cylinder is bad. easy to rebuild if you can get a kit.

Paul Steinberg
04-12-2015, 06:31 PM
The only way to know for certain if a wheel cylinder is leaking is to pull all 4 brake drums off, and check them for leaks. The fluid can be running down the inside of the brake backing plate, and not be noticed. Any car that has sat for more than a year, should have the entire braking system checked, and properly repaired before being put into service. I don't know how many times, I have said that a bad transmission or engine will leave you stranded at the side of the road, but bad brakes or steering, many times are an attraction for those car magnets that grow inside of trees and other stationary objects that cars collide with. Good brakes and steering are one of those things that no one ever thinks about, until it is too late. Unfortunately, for some people too late is defined as death. Don't gamble with your life, or anyone else's. Fix those brakes!!!

Danny Ryder
04-12-2015, 09:18 PM
The 58 that Adam just got has no brakes. I took the cap off the master cylinder and found something never seen before. The fluid had turned to a sticky powder of sorts. Guess sitting for 50 years will do this?

Peter Grave
04-12-2015, 09:41 PM
The 58 Cadillac still had the tredilvac power brake master cylinder and brake booster ( same as used on the 52 to 56 Packards). This unit has a unique quality in that the seal between the master cylinder and the vacume booster can go bad and often does. When this happens the brake booster sucks the fluid out of the master cylinder. In the case of the Packards it ends up in the vacume reserve tank and NO BRAKES. Wheel cylinders are easy to check pull the wheel and brake drum off peel the rubber boot on the wheel cylinder back if its dry inside behind the rubber its OK fluid present time to rebuild or replace cylinder. Brake hoses inspect for cracks or chafing replace if either present. Check all lines for rust or wetness from seeping. One last comment PRO CARS are Heavy I have found over the years Bonded Brake Linings do not work as well as rivited linings the rivits and lack of glue holding the lining to the shoe provide better heat dissapation and less chance of brake fade. I have a good friend with a 55 Packard who just spent $2000.00 to convert his brakes to a modern duel master cylinder and power brake unit. He scared the wits out of himself with the fluid leaving the power brake unit as described above.

Rich Cosner
04-13-2015, 01:06 PM
So you'd recommend getting the conversion done then and just calling it a day?

2 grand... ouchies. I supposed stopping the car is important. Was hoping to put that towards more asthetic things but oh well...

Paul Steinberg
04-13-2015, 05:18 PM
Just keep it all original, and renew all the parts. The car stopped in 1958 with stock brakes, and it will stop again in 2015 with stock brakes if you repair/replace all the old components. Newer technology isn't necessary for everyone, just those with deep pockets that make changes for the sake of change only. Your not going to be hot rodding the car, and the money would be better spent on other things. Paul

John ED Renstrom
04-13-2015, 09:42 PM
never any reason to do a conversion on a car you only drive occasionally. besides as everyone here that has done one knowes you change way more then brakes. if you don't have to rebuild the booster it isn't all that expensive. but it may be only a rusted line or split rubber hose. the rest of the system might be good. find out where the fluid went first then set on a course to repair that. if it's a rubber line change all 3 of them. took me about a year to get all 4 done on the suburban. did them one axle at a time . starting with the leaking one and ending with the front that needed new drums. in between we got the booster changed. you don't have to break the bank. do it in stages but set up a plan to do all that needs to be done

Peter Grave
04-13-2015, 11:28 PM
I did not mean to start a conversion debate. My friend has a beautiful 55 Packard and decided he was not going to fear his brakes, I have plenty of Packards that use this unit and I have no intention to convert any them. A rebuild of the tredilvac unit is simple and not costly. Kits are available from several vendors Kanters among them. If the 58 has a vacume reserve tank check it for having a large amount of brake fluid in it if so that seal is bad and a rebuild is in order. The way we drive our vintage vehicles high performance modern brakes are not needed. MY point based on years with the Packards is failure of that seal equals no brakes without warning. A 7000 pound coach with no brakes hitting a Camry in the back ain't pretty.

Paul Steinberg
04-14-2015, 09:11 AM
Unless you know when your brakes were completely rebuilt, then it is foolish to believe that they are good, even if they do stop the car. Brake failures don't usually give advance warning, so if your system is old, and still working, it warrants having it completely checked to make sure that everything is in perfect working order. Unless you are going to keep your car in the garage and never drive it, do it now before you have a failure or an accident. It is an important maintenance item that is overlooked by many people.
I won't name names, or point fingers, but at the International Meet in Ohio, a member was driving another members car when the brakes failed. I had suggested for a couple of years before that the owner have his brakes checked, but he always said "they stop the car, they are fine". Luckily, there was no collision involved, and the master cylinder was replaced before he drove the car again.

Rich Cosner
04-16-2015, 11:03 AM
My dad came over last night and we put the brake fluid in and gave the brakes a work out. It looks like the rear brakes are leaking fluid. We could see the star pattern of wetness all over both the rear tires (which must have been from the previous weekend since it hasn't moved since nor no more than a few feet last night). They should be working well enough now for me to get it across the street to the garage.

I guess I will just go with the repair for now. Do I need to let them know about the Bonded Brake Linings vs. rivited linings?

Peter Grave
04-16-2015, 03:22 PM
If it were my rig I would insist on rivited brakes. Wheel cylinders are easily rebuilt. Check to make sure deposit on tires is not gear lube and you have leaking axel seals.

Daniel Scully
04-16-2015, 05:18 PM
My dad came over last night and we put the brake fluid in and gave the brakes a work out. It looks like the rear brakes are leaking fluid. We could see the star pattern of wetness all over both the rear tires (which must have been from the previous weekend since it hasn't moved since nor no more than a few feet last night). They should be working well enough now for me to get it across the street to the garage.

I guess I will just go with the repair for now. Do I need to let them know about the Bonded Brake Linings vs. rivited linings?

I have used this company for any brake parts (http://www.karpspb.com/) I have needed ,booster repair,shoe relining , master ,wheel cylinder rebuild and they can make DOT certified brake hoses. They have a brake shoe material it is only for bonded shoes but it has a better brake feel than a lot of newer brake materials. When they take they rear drums of make sure they have a good puller such as the one below .99% of the time the rear drum are on there good, if you try and get them off without a good puller you can do some serious damage to the drums and hubs.

Paul Steinberg
04-16-2015, 07:23 PM
From the wear and hammer marks on that brake puller kit, it appears that you have given it quite a work out over the years. :D

Daniel Scully
04-16-2015, 07:43 PM
From the wear and hammer marks on that brake puller kit, it appears that you have given it quite a work out over the years. :D

Some of us know how to use tools the correct way.:clubem:

Tom Hoczyk
04-16-2015, 08:00 PM
My brakes on all my procars have all been rebuilt to original specs, and all brake well, including my 1939 LaSalle Eureka. Personally, I would never do a conversion to disks, although if done correctly I would not be opposed to it. I just see it as an unnecessary expense as my standard brakes work just fine.

John ED Renstrom
04-16-2015, 09:20 PM
vary typical of this set of years. they would do the front as they were easy and not do the rear. if you don't have a proper puller there must be a tool rental place that does, get it. never let a shop without it attempt to do your brakes.

now mind you you don't need it you can get them off with a big pry bar and hammer. that is of course if you want your drums t look like this

John ED Renstrom
04-16-2015, 09:23 PM
Some of us know how to use tools the correct way.:clubem:

you ain't fooling me that one is new in the box

Paul Steinberg
04-16-2015, 09:34 PM
Theory vs. Application of appropriate amount of force to accomplish the task. ;) When a brake drum is attached to a tapered axle, with 400 foot pounds of torque, it doesn't want to come off easily. It stays firmly planted onto the shaft and keyway as it should be.

Daniel Scully
04-16-2015, 10:58 PM
you ain't fooling me that one is new in the box

Gov Auction $75.00 Bucks :dancing::dancing:

Rich Cosner
04-17-2015, 11:21 AM
I think I am more scared now to take it to the garage than to drive it with leaky brakes.

The business has been around since 1960, but judging by the comments, It doesn't sound like they would have this specialized tool.

I wont be doing this by myself, I am not a car guy (not sure if I ever will be, who knows)I am a computer guy. I can do very basic stuff, a brake job is not amongst that stuff.

I don't even have a proper jack to lift this car.

John ED Renstrom
04-17-2015, 11:50 AM
no reason to be scared, you now know the question to ask. any shop that has been around since the 60s has personnel that know how to do one of these and the tools to do so. they do have a hydraulic set up now that's kind of spendy for this also.

the question is do you have the equipment of remove the drums from a tapered axial and would you be willing to do the job? then it's how much?

a honest man will say yes or no, or not for any amount

some will say yes we can but price it at a grand so you don't bring it in because the answer to the first is really no.

ask the question feel for the response and go from there. but get it fixed all of it. rubber hose change and steel lines if they look like flaky rust on the rear. then heal up and do the front later. then that part of the car is done. you'll feel good about driving the car and it won't just sit for another ten years

Rich Cosner
04-29-2015, 02:15 PM
For the above test, If none of the wheel cylinders are leaking, your brake master cylinder is bad. easy to rebuild if you can get a kit.

Ok, the mechanic said this needs to be done (among other things). Anyone have a link for a kit for this particular system? He said he was having trouble finding it.

Rich Cosner
04-29-2015, 02:37 PM
I also found this on another forum site, can anyone confirm if this is true or if it makes any sense?

"According to Wagner, the 1958 & 1959 Commercial Chassis Use kit #F13620 in the front - 1-1/8" bore. The use Kit #F3609 in the rear - 1-1/16" bore.

If your cylinders are not rebuildable you can have them re-sleeved at any competent brake/clutch/friction shop. I can recommend one in Southern California if you need to go that route... or,

They bolt right up on 58 and 59 CC cars, Stopping power is excellent, and the only other change required is using 5/16" bolts to mount the cylinder to the backing plate instead of 1/4".
"

Should I be looking for this "#f3609" kit in addition to the master cylinder rebuild kit? Any links would be appreciated. I emailed that Karp's Brake's place but I am just trying to attack this from as many angles as I can. I'm a little out of my element, it's the first time I had to go looking for parts for a shop to fix a vehicle i've owned, I'm used to them handling that part. The car is currently sitting at the shop waiting for the parts, i feel like my baby is unprotected.

Rich Cosner
04-29-2015, 03:43 PM
How does this look for the rebuild kit?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bendix-Treadle-Vac-Brake-Booster-Repair-Rebuild-Seal-Kit-Master-Cylinder-/121545821664?fits=Year%3A1958%7CMake%3ACadillac&hash=item1c4cb20de0&vxp=mtr

Rich Cosner
04-29-2015, 04:02 PM
lastly, maybe... what shoes would I want then to pick up for the mechanic from this list?


http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=riveted+brak+drums&_from=R40&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H1.Xriveted+b rake+shoes.TRS1&_nkw=riveted+brake+shoes&_sacat=0

and should I pick up 2 of these for the rear?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/WAGNER-F3609-DRUM-BRAKE-WHEEL-CYLINDER-REPAIR-KT-NEW-OLD-STOCK-U-S-A-MADE-/160716368674?hash=item256b712b22&vxp=mtr

Sorry for the quadruple post. If I can get all these questions answered, I might just get somewhere :) Maybe I am learning something by accident here.

(last minute edit) Could these be the right pick for new shoes?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Centric-Parts-112-04190-Riveted-Drum-Brake-Shoes-/281424183755?fits=Year%3A1958%7CMake%3ACadillac&hash=item41863041cb&vxp=mtr

Daniel Scully
04-29-2015, 04:15 PM
How does this look for the rebuild kit?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bendix-Treadle-Vac-Brake-Booster-Repair-Rebuild-Seal-Kit-Master-Cylinder-/121545821664?fits=Year%3A1958%7CMake%3ACadillac&hash=item1c4cb20de0&vxp=mtr

This is just for the Booster. Did they pull all 4 wheels and look at the complete system? If in doubt I would send the wheel cylinders, master cylinder and even the brake flex lines out for repair. Places such as Karps (http://www.karpspb.com/)can rebuild any and all of the parts and make new DOT complainant brake lines if needed. Inspect the hard lines and if there is nay doubt replace them also. Unless a rebuild kit for the master cylinder and wheel cylinders is fairly new I would not use a old rebuild kit. Sure it will take longer to send the parts out but something you probably will never have to do again.

Rich Cosner
04-29-2015, 04:47 PM
This is just for the Booster. Did they pull all 4 wheels and look at the complete system? If in doubt I would send the wheel cylinders, master cylinder and even the brake flex lines out for repair. Places such as Karps (http://www.karpspb.com/)can rebuild any and all of the parts and make new DOT complainant brake lines if needed. Inspect the hard lines and if there is nay doubt replace them also. Unless a rebuild kit for the master cylinder and wheel cylinders is fairly new I would not use a old rebuild kit. Sure it will take longer to send the parts out but something you probably will never have to do again.

Ok, well let's say I want to give the guy the benifit of the doubt and let him rebuild it. What all do i need from this list? (obviously not the actual complete one for $800)

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2047675.m570.l1312.R1.TR0.TRC0.A0.H0.X195 8+cadillac+mas.TRS1&_nkw=1958+Cadillac+Master+Cylinder&_sacat=0

At this point I just want to get the brakes working so I can drive it to someone I can communicate with better. But it has no working brakes for me to get it there (they work for about 1 1/2 stops, then all bets are off). You replied just as I was calling him to tell him I was going to order what he needed, so now I am sort of committed to that course of action, yet I don't have the full picture of what I need to get for him. It's a younger guy, maybe mid-30's that you would think I could send links and emails with lots of info, but I have no direct way of emailing information so I initially wrote a letter, then also included one when I took the car over, I'm not sure he's fully paying attention to everything in the letters, and when we talk on the phone since I really don't know what I am talking about, its like 2/3's of a conversation and I usually end the conversation not quite sure of myself.

It's just a very odd situation I seem to have myself in here.

I did also emailed Karps with the information so maybe they will respond with something I can talk to the mechanic about.

Daniel Scully
04-29-2015, 07:04 PM
Ok, well let's say I want to give the guy the benifit of the doubt and let him rebuild it. What all do i need from this list? (obviously not the actual complete one for $800)

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2047675.m570.l1312.R1.TR0.TRC0.A0.H0.X195 8+cadillac+mas.TRS1&_nkw=1958+Cadillac+Master+Cylinder&_sacat=0

At this point I just want to get the brakes working so I can drive it to someone I can communicate with better. But it has no working brakes for me to get it there (they work for about 1 1/2 stops, then all bets are off). You replied just as I was calling him to tell him I was going to order what he needed, so now I am sort of committed to that course of action, yet I don't have the full picture of what I need to get for him. It's a younger guy, maybe mid-30's that you would think I could send links and emails with lots of info, but I have no direct way of emailing information so I initially wrote a letter, then also included one when I took the car over, I'm not sure he's fully paying attention to everything in the letters, and when we talk on the phone since I really don't know what I am talking about, its like 2/3's of a conversation and I usually end the conversation not quite sure of myself.

It's just a very odd situation I seem to have myself in here.

I did also emailed Karps with the information so maybe they will respond with something I can talk to the mechanic about.

He as the mechanic should be able to source the parts, as soon as you supply parts and something happens it is a catch 22 . I can see after something fails the words will be, well the customer supplied his own parts and there is no warranty etc etc. Do some research there has to be a shop in your area that can do the repairs. If you have to, have it transported back home until you find a shop that you are comfortable with doing the repairs. :my2cents:

John Royark JR
04-29-2015, 07:53 PM
He as the mechanic should be able to source the parts, as soon as you supply parts and something happens it is a catch 22 . I can see after something fails the words will be, well the customer supplied his own parts and there is no warranty etc etc. Do some research there has to be a shop in your area that can do the repairs. If you have to, have it transported back home until you find a shop that you are comfortable with doing the repairs. :my2cents:

I agree completely. If the shop you are using cant or do not want to get the right parts, go somewhere else.

Paul Steinberg
04-29-2015, 11:15 PM
Once you said that his is 30ish, that was all that I needed to hear. He most likely hasn't ever worked on a drum brake car, and everything on this car is totally foreign to him. You need to find a mechanic that is at least 50 years old, so he will at least know the principles of the system. Remember the tool that both Dan and I posted pictures of??? Who ever does this job will need to have that tool, and know how to use it. I would suggest that you contact Jeff Hammer from Penn Dutch Restoration, and possibly he can recommend someone in your area of PA that is competent to do the repair. Jeff is on this website, and is also listed in the PCS Members Directory.

Rich Cosner
04-30-2015, 02:04 PM
I like the '58 Combo in the google maps pic for his place... I guess he really is the guy I should talk to. :) Doesn't get much more spot on than that. I emailed him via their website. A 2 hour drive isn't too bad... once the brakes are working that is. i did ask about somewhere closer for this particular item.

Given the mid 30's thing , yeah that's not great and I know that. I am guessing though could be 40, I am getting older than I like to admit and its getting harder to judge. I am 42. I did talk to him yesterday after I ran home from work and things went a little better. He seems to at least sort of know something about these cars, he threw out the term "Commerical Chassis" and it needing special attention due to that, so he isn't totally in the dark. Also, he mentioned going to "the farm" to look for a new master cylinder (I think. Don't quote me, that was the subject we were on, but could have been something else), and my gut feeling is, any garage that has a "farm" to go looking for parts in, might not be totally bad for this.

The place is Paul's Auto

http://www.paulsautosinc.com/aboutus.aspx
Paul’s Autos, Inc
dba Hanchick & Lerch

Paul’s Autos was incorporated in 1999 when I purchased the business from Hanchick & Lerch Inc
Hanchick & Lerch was formed by my father – Hanchick and a partner –Lerch in the early 1950’s and has been at its current location since the 60’s. I have been a part of this business since 1972.

We are a small family run used vehicle sales and service business. Most of vehicles are local trades from New Car franchises.

Our service garage performs Pennsylvania safety inspections on cars, light trucks, and motorcycle. We also service and repair cars and light trucks.

We are located at 3418 Freemansburg Ave in Bethlehem Township, PA. Please allow 24 business hours for any online communications.

Thanks for visiting our site,
Paul Hanchick

Daniel Scully
04-30-2015, 03:55 PM
Also, he mentioned going to "the farm" to look for a new master cylinder (I think. Don't quote me, that was the subject we were on, but could have been something else), and my gut feeling is, any garage that has a "farm" to go looking for parts in, might not be totally bad for this.

If you start replacing parts with other ones rather than have the old ones rebuilt,make you sure you get all the original parts back no matter how trivial the part .

John ED Renstrom
04-30-2015, 09:48 PM
lets see my advice still stands ask the question, does he have a puller for the tapper axle once the drums are off it's just a brake job.