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brake springs


capt den
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My advise is to go to your local auto supply store and purchase these specific tools. Getting the spring off can be done with a long screw driver but getting them back on is easier with the proper tool.

 

The spring release and install tool has a hook and the long handles permit you to stretch the hook end of the spring so you can get the hook back into the hole on each brake shoe. It will take some practice but once you have done one it is a very simple tool to use.  The proper tools always makes the job easier.

Rich Hartung

desoto1939@aol.com

Edited by desoto1939
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I had no issues using my mid-sized needle nose vice grip pliers. A tool that can be used for many things besides just brake springs.  A better investment in my opinion, if you are buying a tool.  Maybe you already have vice grip pliers? Put a good bite on the spring and pull it into place.  Wear safety glasses. If you need a little extra oomph,  you can guide the spring hook with a screw driver.  Voila. Easy!

 

Tip: don’t buy cheaper priced grips. The original brand is pretty darn good. The over-center locking spring mechanism often craps out on cheaper made copied tools. 
 

 

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I agree having the brake tool is nice, not expensive either.  Simply one of the tools I never bothered to replace when I was buying my current tools.

 

I honestly do not remember how I did mine on my truck. I usually just use a long flat blade screwdriver. hook the spring on the screwdriver then as a lever stretch the spring over into place. Once the screwdriver goes past center, the tension on the spring pulls it down off of the screwdriver & drops right into place.

 

Sometimes this is awkward on some styles of brakes & use the vice grips or pliers.

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thanks for the tips. i am currently using the vice grip method. my age and loss of strength have made that very difficult. used to be very easy. getting them on is easier using a screwdriver. next brake job i will get the proper tool. i hope i get a next one. i have yet to look at the rear brakes, so that could be next.   captden

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i have a come-along as a last resort. i once used it to pull a spring on my riding mower that was difficult to get to to pull it where it needed to go. hooked one end to a tree and the other to the spring.a bit clumsy, but did the job. we need to get creative at times.    capt den

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I have a couple of the tools (I can tell you the old Blue Point I have is better than the newer no-name Taiwan, though it's hard to actually see the difference.) I just didn't find them to work very well on the older style Chrysler brakes. My hands are my weak point but I've still found a good pair of vice-grips works fairly well.

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11 hours ago, Bryan G said:

I have a couple of the tools (I can tell you the old Blue Point I have is better than the newer no-name Taiwan, though it's hard to actually see the difference.) I just didn't find them to work very well on the older style Chrysler brakes. My hands are my weak point but I've still found a good pair of vice-grips works fairly well.

Interesting you say that.  I finally broke down and bought one of those brake spring tools this past summer.  Despite watching youtube videos on how easy it was to use I ended up going back to my old vice grip method as I would not get that tool to work for me.

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i remember doing brakes on a 51 windsor in 2001, my first collector car. i had the spring tool but like many of you i found it did not work well at all. i thought i still had it, but it is nowhere to be found today. vice grips to the rescue. i am still unsure how to get the most benefit from the adjusting tool i bought from keith. i saw his video on line, but it is very sketchy on using the tool.i think he has a better video but i do not know where to find it.perhaps he reads this and can point me in the right direction. the weak point on these brakes is if they do not touch a large portion of the drum then they are weak, like mine were. i do not have access to the miller tool.     captden

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I don't even use an adjusting screw.  I just removed the lower adjusting bolts, put a slot in them (doubled up dremel cutting discs are just about the perfect width) so you can do an adjustment of them with the drum on, set them up like the minor adjusters.  Don't forget to pull the drums and hold the bolt head with a wrench before you torque the nuts.

 

bolts.jpg

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The real problem with newly installed Lockheed brakes is people don't drive the vehicle  enough to wear them in to conform to the drums 100%.

If this is done like back in the day and a couple minor needed adjustments you ended up with  high rock hard safe feeling brakes.

You will never have a high hard pedal if the linings don't hit the drums 100% .

The tools...the ammco 1750, Miller mt19 are the best and most accurate to center the shoes to the drums....but available to few.

 Other home made tooling helps.

BUT....if new shoe linings when test set into the drums don't accurately fit tight to the drum surface the shoes need to be arc'ed for for fast lining wear in.

This will make for faster and easy shoe adjustments on each drum using tools on a major adjustments.

Get the shoes/linings arc'ed, or try to sand them to fit each drum before installing....

First make sure the brake shoe linings match/conform to the drum surface 100%....

If you don't fit check the shoes...

adjust the shoes as  lbest you can.  Keep driving and wearing in the shoes..minor adjust the shoes up as the pedal drops.

1500 -2000 miles later....wonderul Lockheed brakes.

That's the way it was back then.

Today doing any brake job on most any car produces perfect powerful stopping brakes...

We are so used to that now days.

Ain't the way it works on old Lockheed MoPars unless you have good professional tooling and lots of experience with them.

I use an awl for R&R of most typical brake springs... other wise hook tools and bendix sping tools.

 

 

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In 1938 in Canada the stock adjustment cams could be tweaked without removing the drum. The bolts have ends designed for pliers or a wrench. 

@capt den I’ll send you a direct message through this site. Soon. 
 

Keith
 

 

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I’ve had a good experience breaking in new shoes. No arcing. No sanding.  
 

When you decide its time to install new shoes, for example install just a front or rear set. Not all 4 corners at once. Say you do just the fronts.  Install the shoes and set them up best you can. Get them concentric. Get them set so you can just barey slide the drum on. Get very close contact at minor cams. Ensure you have some slight drag there.  You’ll have crappy pedal feel as the shoe lining does not contact the drums evenly yet.  Drive down a steep hill a couple times. Give it a few good shots of the brake pedal. Later,  Re-adjust the front minors. Pedal will improve. Go for a couple more drives. Down a hill or two. Steeper and longer is better.  Exercise some good braking. Go home and re-adjust the front minors again. Pedal height will now be firm and high. Shoes are now arc’d and concentric and will feel great. Like new. 

The reason I don’t suggest doing all 4 at once like this is for safety. Do 1 axle only. Once the new shoes are all set up and you have a good firm high pedal, then proceed to do the other axle. You don’t want to be driving down steep, long hills with 4 new poorly arc’d sets of shoes.  


You can set minors in literally minutes. A hydraulic floor jack and 1 wrench are all that is required. 
 

If this seems like too much trouble, for me it is free, educational, and rewarding. I have tons of time and patience . Almost endless. Money…Well that’s a different story. 

Edited by keithb7
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Great advice👍!^^^^

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i am putting the shoes on today and will set them as keith suggested. i will use the tool to get them concentric.then after some driving i will do the minors again. the problem i ran into yesterday was with the pins on the wheel cylinders. i have extras laying around so i cleaned some up but hey turned out to be the wrong ones even though they came from a previous brake job. i have read on here abot how people do their brakes and then cannot get the drum to fit. seems like 90 % of the time it was the wrong pins. i will now use the exact ones that were on the car. i can see the difference once i compared them to the ones that came with the new wheel cylinders.     capt den

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Pin use/length  depends on piston design.

Several different piston designs and heights.

Use the ones that let the shoes retract enough to get the drums on.

The shorter pins/pushrods are generally a safe bet unless the drums are .030" to .060" OS.🙂

 

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I have been fortunate enough to have purchased both the Miller MT19 Brake gage tool with the 7 sleeves and also the Miller Try-Brake tool that is used in conjunction with the appropriate MT19 sleeves. The try brake tool is used to cut down the high point on each individual shoe lining to make it concentric with each drum.

 

I have attached the picture of the tool from the Miller Tool catalog.  I also have the Ammco 175 brake tool.

 

According to my documentation you initially setup the shoes to the drum setting with the MT19 for both sides of the shoes front and rear for each drum.

By setting up to the drum setting you will then find the high point on each shoe and then will have to grind down this section until you have a complete arc from top to bottom so there is no high spot and then the shoes are concentric to your drum.

 

I have used this tool and it does is a great tool. This is an early version of the Ammco Safe Arc cam driven brake arcing tool but Miller Tool was the tool maker for Chrylser Dealerships. Have to wear a face mask and also mark over your mouth and nose to protect from any shoe lining.  I try to do this when there is no wind to push the lining material around in the air.

 

When ever I decide to sell my 39 Desoto these tools will go up for sale but not until then.

Thes tool were used from 1928 upto 1955 that had the lockheed brakes with the eccentric pins. 1956 starter to use the centerplane brakes. 

Rich Hartung

Desoto1939@aol.com

 

 

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Edited by desoto1939
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