Restoration Of The Brakes

This photograph shows the assortment of hardware used to mount and actuate both the handbrake as well as the service (foot) brake.  Also shown are the two flexible steel bands which wrap the circumference of the brake drum to serve as the service brake for the car.

Originally the service brake shoes were lined on the inside with an asbestos-based woven material.  This material performed well but unfortunately due to its asbestos content is no longer available.  The modern day replacement material does not perform as well as the original asbestos-based material.

One of the problems with early cars was "brake fade".  If the brakes are applied for any period of time (such as when traveling down a hill to maintain a safe speed) frictional forces generate heat in the brake drum as well as with the service brake shoe band.   The heat causes the service brake shoe band to expand and reduces the braking effort the band can apply to the brake drum.  With sufficient heating the band expands to the point where the brake pedal reaches the floorboard and can not be pressed no further.  At that point braking begins to diminish and the brakes "fade" to no stopping power at all.  Today's modern brake shoe materials and hydraulic actuation systems allow a lot more heat to be generated in the brake drum and brake shoes before brake fade occurs.

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