Friday, October 26, 2012

F100 Brakes, Problems and Solutions....

When putting '53-'56 F100 backing plates onto '37-'40 round back spindles, there is a clearance issue that needs to be addressed.  Because the brakes are only 11" in diameter, the wheel cylinder is placed closer to the spindle.  This causes an interference between the brake hose and spindle that is solved by simply grinding a small relief on the top of the spindle as shown below:

A second issues is encountered when the later '65-'66 F100 self adjuster hardware is installed.  The stock '53-'56 brake shoe retainer clip is too thick to put both springs and adjuster cable on the top pin.  The thickness measured 0.240" and needed to be reduced to at least 0.130".

The easiest way to do this is by using a surface grinder.  Fortunately, I actually have's completely torn apart.

None the less, I still was able to use the magnetic base and grind them done with a 4 1/2" angle grinder.

The next issue was that on the drive's side, the adjuster slot was in the wrong place.  It appeared that the backing plates are the same stamping from side to side and that the clocking of the mounting holes is what determines the  mounting direction.  They also used the same adjuster originally from side to side.  With the addition of the self energizing hardware, there are specific adjusters for each side.

With a little bit of machining, it was ready to go.

And here you have it...'53-'56 Ford F100 backing plates on '40 Ford spindles with '65-'66 Ford F100 self adjusters.  All that is left is the bearings, drums and brake lines...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

F100 Brake update....

So this is what I started with....

There has been plenty of discussion on how well stock '40-'48 Ford brakes work.  I've read and heard claims that "they will put you through the window" and there are "no problems running at highway speed".  Well...frankly...I don't care.  The fact of the matter is that I am not satisfied with them.  I've built the '40 to be capable of running 70 mph all day long and its time that it can safely stop from those speeds.  I've tweeked, adjusted, and manipulated them long enough.  It's time to embrace technology and move up several decades in braking evolution.

A disc brake conversion was my original idea of an upgrade however, this presented a couple of issues.  First of all, I wanted to use my 15" Ford wheels that have a 5 on 5 1/2" bolt pattern.

The commercially available kits for the 5 on 5 1/2" bolt pattern use newer F150 rotors.  When adapted to the '37-'40 spindles, they tend to push the tire out about an 1/2".  With the truck sitting a low as it does, I feared that I would have a clearance issue with the fender if the tire moved out any more that where it was.  The second issue is that the caliper would not clear the stock 15" wheels.  A disc brake wheel is different than a drum brake wheel on the inboard side as it is configured with more clearance for the caliper.  So, any commercially available kits were simply not going to work.

I looked at making my own disc conversion using hat style rotors off of a 4x4 jeep.  This would only push the tire out a 1/4"', but I still would have caliper clearance issues.  It was at this time that I ran across a complete '56 Ford F100 truck front end at an auction.  It was complete from drum to drum and in excellent shape.  So, I bought it for scrape price and drug it home.

The '53-'56 F100 not only used self energizing brakes, but the backing plates shared the same bolt pattern as my '40 spindles.  This was a fairly common swap back before the many aftermarket options currently available.  The brakes are 11" in diameter compared to the original 12" but they are 2" wide compared to the original 1 3/4" wide shoes of the '40.  The F100 brakes are not self adjusting but the self adjusters from a '65-'66 F100 fit with very little modification.

So to start, the original brakes had to go...

In the above picture, you can barely see how I didn't have full contact with the drum.  This could have been addressed with re-arching the shoes, but still, I was tired of constantly adjusting them.

Here is a good side by side pic of the original 12" '40 ford brakes on the right and the "new" F100 brakes on the left with the self adjusters mocked in place.
In the next post, I'll follow up with the modifications needed to make this conversion happen...

Round and round....

Not all parts need to be made on a CNC.  I've always been amazed what you can get done by the use of a rotor table.  Granted, this particular part isn't all that interesting, but none then less, with enough time and ingenuity, the possibilities are endless.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

F100 brake upgrade....

Since the '40 has been on the road, I have never been quite satisfied with it's stopping performance.  The original 40-48 juice brakes have been nothing but trouble.  Seemingly constantly out of adjustment,  I am always fiddling with them to get an acceptable, but by no means a great pedal. Well...I'm tired of it.  I built the truck to be able to cruise at highway speeds and it should be able to stop from there as well.

Several weeks ago, I was at an auction and picked up an entire '56 ford truck front axle.  It was complete from drum to drum but I was only interested in the backing plates and drums.  The reason for my interest is that from '53-'56, Ford used the same bolt pattern on the backing plates as the '37-'48 spindles used.  So, they will essentially bolt up and still give me the 5 on 5 1/2" Ford truck bolt pattern.

You still might be asking yourself "why does this matter?"  Well, in '48 Ford started using the Bendix style self energizing brake design on F2 and larger trucks and by '53, Ford's entire line were using them.  Here are a couple of videos from YouTube explaining drum brake operation and the effects of self energizing...

One disadvantage to the the F100 brakes are that they only 11" in diameter compared to the original 12".  This might be pose a issue on a fender less hot rod, but no-one will noticed on a fully fendered vehicle.  However, they are 2" wide compared to the original 1 3/4".  The other problem with the F100 brakes is that they are not self adjusting.  That is easily fixed however, with using the self adjusting components of mid-60's Ford trucks.

Don't work, I will follow with assembly pics shortly...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We have shirts!!!

Thanks to Henry at Coffee and Customs for designing and printing up some new shirts.


Also a special thanks to some local talent handling the modelling....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Back in stock....

The blanks for the T5 adapter plates have finally showed up.  The supplier who we have waterjet the aluminum plate had their machine go down and together we had to scramble to find a backup vendor.  Luckily, they are almost backup in running at full capacity.

We will be running the batch of plates today or tomorrow and should be able to get them in the mail by they weekend or early next week at the latest.  Thanks for everyone's patience and again, I apologize for the mishap.

Bring on the winter...

Due to Ohio weather being horrendous in the winter, everyone needs a plow vehicle.  This year, mine is going to be a very rusty but mostly trusty '93 Ford explorer.  I realize that this is not a very popular plow vehicle as I am finding out that there are several problems associated with it plowing snow.  First off, they were never intended to plow snow.  Secondly, Meyers Snowplow never made a mount for one.  Apparently the reasoning behind this is that the automatic transmissions cannot take the abuse and the frames are not strong enough to support the pushing of a plow.

Well, lucky for me, I do not have an automatic but I do have one of the very few 5 speed manual models that were produced.  I also have very limited funds in this particular vehicle so if it gets damaged plowing my driveway...well ok, so be it.

It only took a couple of hours to put together the mount that Meyers should have built.  Most of it was scrap lying around but I did have to purchase the green bends from McMaster Carr.  There is still a little work to be done, but at least it beats using a shovel.

Another new project...

There are big plans for this one.  Mainly, we are going to start by removing all the '80's.  Now, I realize to accomplish that, there will not be much left, so there is going to be quite a bit of fab work involved. 

Think late 60's early '70's Isle of Man/Moto GP....

We are moving!!!!

Well, we are moving moving eventually.  We have outgrown our tiny little shop and have started building a new facility. Bonecutter Construction will handle most of the details with some of the little stuff left to us.  Scheduled move-in time is...soon.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Kustom with a K....

Yesterday, a customer dropped off this Chevy kustom for a little welding.  He's been working on it for the last 10 years or so and finally got it running and driving.  It's an awesome car now and will be even better when he gets it painted...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Customer's rides....

A customer from Florida recently sent a picture of his project.  He currently is installing a T5 behind a 235 with one of our adapters.

It's a good looking truck....of course, I have always had a soft spot for these year Chevy's.  Thanks for taking the time to send the picture over.

Monday, October 1, 2012


My buddy Scott wrote this for his music class...

I Can’t Drive 55
When a man who has countless speeding tickets, failure to control, and other random traffic violations on his driving record gets behind the wheel of a high horsepower automobile capable of going so fast that it is on the verge of taking flight, there is only one song that can be on the radio and that song is I Can’t Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar. Needless to say, the only way to play it is loud.

 I first heard this song when I was about 5 years old on the radio. It instantly turned my direction in life. I put my Tonka trucks and Lego’s aside and started playing with models of sports cars and motorcycles all while this hardcore fast tempo song was playing in the background. My mom and dad would get upset that it was cranked too loud and I would simply reply “I can’t drive 55 and I can’t hear you!” It made me rebel so much that I talked my parents into growing a serious rat tail haircut to start to resemble Sammy’s ultra 80’s mullet. The rat tail did not last too long, as I forced to cut it off and start to clean my life up at age 7. Shortly after I got myself under control I got into regular adolescent activities, but I always retained the edge of toughness that I learned from this song.

The lyrics to the song start by saying “one foot on the brake and one on the gas”. That starts the song and instantly gives you a feel for the singer’s intensity level. He is on edge the entire song, obviously being a dangerous driver in traffic. Me on the other hand, I like to go fast but when danger to other people may be a possibility, I stay cool and slow it down. Sammy stresses through the song that he doesn’t care if they give him a ticket or not, and he definitely doesn’t want to drive 55. In the song, Sammy goes to court for speeding in his car. The judge gives him a ticket but it is unclear in the song if he loses his license or gets  one more chance with them because he sings about driving so slow that it’s hard to steer and the what use to take him 2 hours now takes him 16 hours to drive to L.A.

With this song being made in the 80’s and of course being a rock song, it is needless to say it is loud, lots of shouting, it is very “in your face” and has the screaming guitar throughout. Listening to it is a good way to relieve some tension and just rock out when in a lame mood. The song is pretty basic since the main lyrics are about speeding and dealing with the law enforcement. ALthough myself have done my fair share of speeding, I have never had any trouble with the law other than with the speeding tickets. Sammy on the other hand has had some major run ins with the law, well within his song anyways.

At this point in my life, I look back and realize just how tacky and distasteful this song really is to me now, especially if you watch the music video. It is interesting how my taste in music changes through the different parts of my life. However this song will always remain as a monumental ornament in my life growing up. I only wish that someday I could relive my childhood and be as hardcore as when I was 7. But for now my music taste has changed to a more alternative variety.    

Works Cited

Hagar, Sammy. “I Can’t Drive 55.” VOA Album,
US:  American Beat Records, 1984

So...what's your inspiration?