Restoration Of The Brakes

Stanley Steam Carriages were provided with brakes for only the rear wheels.  Originally the car had a contracting band around the outside of brake drum as the service brake.  A pair of brake pads on curved shoes similar to the brakes on today’s cars were mounted inside the brake drum and expanded against the inside of the brake drum to serve as the hand brake.  Neither were very effective in stopping a 4,500 pound vehicle but in the era of the steam car speeds rarely reached 35 MPH and at these slower speeds the brakes were generally effective.

Original Mechanical Brakes Installed

Stanley's were one of the most powerful automotive vehicles at the time and the ability to stop them was marginal at best.  By 1918 many manufacturers had gone to brakes on all four wheels.  The previous owner of the car indicated that during a teaching drive his student was backing up the car and didn't realize how poor the brakes were and ended up backing the car into a guardrail and breaking the right spare tire mount as well as putting a large dent in the right rear of the body.

Initially, just to get the car road worthy, the external contracting service brake bands and internal expanding parking brake shoes were lined with modern brake material since the original asbestos based materials are no longer available.  This would serve to allow the car to be operational for test-drives after the mechanical restoration was complete.  The initial plan was that once the car was mechanically restored the existing mechanical brakes would be upgraded to hydraulic brakes while the car's bodywork was being done. 

Hydraulic Brakes Installed

Custom-made, professionally configured, retrofit hydraulic brakes are available for Stanley cars.  When it was discovered that the boiler would need to be replaced, and recognizing that the boiler would take several months to replace, the conversion to hydraulic braking was move up in the restoration plan. 

The hydraulic brake conversion would require the brake drums and metal brake drum shields to be sent away so that the conversion hardware could be professionally machined.  When the drums are returned, also included would be custom machined mounting plates for the wheel cylinders and 12" brake shoes along with a master cylinder and mounting hardware for the master cylinder.

Along the left side of the screen are a series of photographs.  Clicking on a photograph will replace this window with a window describing a particular aspect of the braking system restoration effort.  As an alternate you can click the NEXT button at the bottom of each page to view each of the electrical restoration pages in sequence.

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