Steering, Suspension, & Brakes

tips, technology, tools and techniques related to non-driveline mechanical components

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John Hurmuses

(4 posts)

01/07/2019 10:04AM

Main British Car:

Posted by: Braindead
Date: May 09, 2019 04:08AM

I have a 1968 Triumph Spitfire with a 1979-ish 5.0 Ford V8 with a four speed manual transmission. Despite the previous owner's "less than advisable" engineering decisions, I would like to give it a shakedown run before I completely disassemble it to make it safe(r) to drive. The biggest hurdle I have is one I have never seen before; the brakes do not work. Not "does not work well", there is NOTHING ! The master cylinder is new, we have bled the brakes for about 15 minutes at each corner, so there should be no air left in the system and yet there is no resistance at the pedal all. I felt a BIT of pedal pressure while we were bleeding them, but it was barely even noticeable. One thing odd is the absence of a proportioning valve. I am not sure where the 9" rear end was sourced from but it has drum brakes.
Anyone have a bit of advice to offer?
I have a 1974 Spitfire 1500 as a future big block project to scavenge parts from but the master cylinder is different. I already pulled the proportioning valve but have not installed it yet as the fittings are incompatible sizes. I only have about an hour or two each day to work on it right now and would like to get it ready before the summer.

Ivor Duarte
Gloucestershire UK
(1037 posts)

02/11/2010 04:29AM

Main British Car:
1974 Land Rover Lightweight V8

Posted by: 88v8
Date: May 09, 2019 01:51PM

Hello and welcome.
Wow, subtle work there. Shades of the Flying Tigers. If you're going to drive it in that livery, you're a braver man than I.

So, no brakes when you bought it?

It bled out OK and it's not leaking.... and if there were an air lock you'd still have some pedal.

There needs to be a slight clearance between the master and the pushrod so the cylinder can return fully and uncover the recharge port. Perhaps 15 thou.
Otherwise you're pushing air.
There may be an adjustment on the pushrod, locknut. Or not.

If there is an integral servo, the adjustment will be on the front end of the servo.

If it worked before, carefully measure the backend of the old cylinder against the new one.

Rear drums... if they are really really worn and backed off, could be that all the travel is being taken up moving the drums into contact with the drums. Assuming they are manually adjustable, adjust them until they just about don't rub.

But I'd reckon on the pushrod.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2019 01:56PM by 88v8.

Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(6448 posts)

10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: May 09, 2019 04:41PM

Sounds like a bad master cylinder to me.


Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2764 posts)

10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Posted by: rficalora
Date: May 09, 2019 07:41PM

What do you mean by "bled the brakes for about 15 minutes at each corner"?

Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(4485 posts)

10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB Buick 215

authors avatar
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: May 10, 2019 09:44AM

The Flying Tigers didn't use Spitfires, though.

Even with the rear drum brakes not adjusted properly, there should be some brakes. I would be looking in the direction that Jim mentioned.

Jim Purdy
Memphis, TN
(156 posts)

12/06/2013 03:54PM

Main British Car:
61 austin healey sprite LS6

Posted by: Anarchy99
Date: May 29, 2019 03:24PM

I kinda like it

John Hurmuses

(4 posts)

01/07/2019 10:04AM

Main British Car:

Posted by: Braindead
Date: October 06, 2019 10:58AM

So I bought a new master cylinder as that was the culprit. However the new master has an entirely different rear brake line fitting size than the "original" (no idea if it is original) unit removed from the car. I took it to around EIGHT different brake shops, all places like Budget Brake & Muffler, Midas, etc. Not one would touch it, and only ONE even looked at it. The issue is that I cannot double flare a brake line if my life depended on it, and it will . . .
So, I took it to a small independent shop, I do business with the establishment next door so I knew the people there well enough that I recognise them when I am out and about. The guy had the rear brake line all set up in about 20 minutes ! Made my day.
Been SUPER busy all summer and the brakes are still not completely addressed yet as it turns out the FRONT brake lines are also a mismatch, but there are two much more pressing issues with this car; the radiator is the lowest piece on the car, have to find a different one. The front suspension sits WAY too low. Two inches ground clearance. IF there's no crown in the roadway.
There must be SOMETHING that uses a spring that has a slightly higher rate and fits !?!?
Anything ???
BTW, regarding the picture below.
Yes the exhaust goes directly through the frame on each side. No, it is not ideal. It was like that when I bought it. The frame is sealed with a steel pipe welded in place that the exhaust runs though, but it will be changed to a more sane approach before summer 2020.
A similar style of approach was used for the rear suspension. Not that it runs through the frame but was obviously "designed" (sic) by the same person. Well, technically I suppose the rear suspension DOES go through the frame, it was notched on each side so the locating brackets for the narrowed 9" with parallel four-link setup would clear the frame. Another insane idea done quite well. The Panhard bar appears to be approximately 5" long . . .

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