View Full Version : 1961 Bird Pulls to Right when Braking

06-14-2016, 07:59 PM
Test drive today:

When wheels cold, Left Tire spins freely, with just a smidgeon of friction. RH Tire spins a little less freely, with friction for the entire rotations, but tire spins several revoltions.

When HOT: LH Tire spins with similar friction. Wheel is warm to touch. RH Wheel & Lugs are HOT, too hot to handle. Wheel spins less freely.

Per Lower Control Arm post, Steering Wheel turns to the right when braking.

I have new shoes, wheel cylinders, shoes, hoses. Master Cylinder is good. I had the wheel cylinders and hoses done by a shop, plus I had them check and adjust the shoes for me.

From Lower Control Arm thread, I have replaced just about everything on the suspension that can be replaced as far as bushings, ball joints concerned. Though I did discover that the lower ball joints (Thanks Dave) are "generic" and not really the right ball joints, I will replace those shortly.

Based on everyone's advice, I had performed diagnostics to figure out this issue, but I still get that pull.

Could it be the drum? Drum Linings?

Dave, I just got too tired to start pulling the wheels for have a look at the brakes. I will get that done tomorrow or Thursday. I need some rest.

06-14-2016, 08:18 PM
The first thing I would check is that the self adjusters are on the correct side. There is a right and left. They are usually clearly marked. I would also check that the linings are installed correctly. If that is ok I would adjust the right side brakes so they match the drag on the left side. It sounds like the left side is adjusted correctly. If the wheels are getting that hot where you can't touch them then you have major brake issue.


06-14-2016, 09:35 PM
Hi John:

Yes, I concur. I will re-check everything tomorrow or Thursday.


06-16-2016, 03:02 PM
To expedite, I am going to use postimage.org, but I will start using my own site shortly, with help from Dave on Filezilla.

So, today I did the following tests:

1) When wheels cold, I lifted the front of the car, both wheels off the ground. I spun the Left tire, and it move freely with just a little friction I could hear from the shoes. I spun the Right tire, with much less success and much more friction. 1 revoltion was all I could get.

1a) I backed off the shoes on the right side by turning the star wheel appropriately. I actually took the wheel and drum off to perform this to make sure that the shoes actually moved in.

1b) Returned the drum and tire, and the Right Wheel spun freely with about the same amount of friction as the left.

Drove backwards about 100 yards.

Test 2)

Taking her for a drive.

Wheels cold, slow and fast braking, stopped true (straight), with slight drift to the LEFT.

Drove more, several miles of 25-50mph street driving.

As wheels got warm then hot, more drift , then PULL to the right. I pulled over and felt each rim:

right wheel very hot to the touch, while the left was perfectly comfortable to the touch.

Test 3)

When I got home, I raised the front of the car.

Left Wheel spun the same as cold test result (GOOD)

Right Wheel I could barely spin it! I mean it took effort for me to move the wheel. As the wheel cooled, it became a little easier, but there is definitely a problem there with the shoes or adjuster not working, or the Wheel Cylinder not releasing. But when I use the brakes, when hot, over 20mph, the pull to the right occurs.

I am getting closer and closer to moving to disc brakes, BUT I am really focused on fixing this!

I think, per the manual, these look right, shoes in the right place. So Either I have a bad cylinder (second new one), or maybe the self adjuster is not working (less likely)?

Or I should just pass GO and put on front disc brakes! I expect that to be another challenge as I don't see a lot about that, but I have not looked that hard yet.

PS: I apologize for the stupid ads postimage is now putting on my pics. I am not up to anything nefarious, it's the stupid way they display them. I'll get on a better posting mechanism shortly.

The first two pix are of the Left Front Brake: The third pix is of the Right Front Brake:

06-16-2016, 03:23 PM
Your drum brakes although not nearly as good as discs worked fine when they left the factory so with all new parts they should work equally as well. One way to tell if it's a hydraulic issue or mechanical issue is to drive the car until it starts to pull. Jack up the wheel. If the wheel won't spin open the bleeder and let some fluid out. If the wheel starts to spin then it's a hydraulic issue. If it still won't spin then it's a mechanical issue. Make sure where the shoes touch the back plate that the contact points are clean and have a touch of grease. You can also try swapping the drums left and right and see if the problem moves. I doubt it's a drum issue though unless the drum is so worn that the shoes are being overextended and binding.


06-16-2016, 03:59 PM
If you determine that it's a hydraulic issue (which I highly suspect) try adjusting the push rod at the master cylinder. The piston may not be returning all the way. Try shortening it and see if that fixes it. Also make sure that the metal brake line is run where it should be and is not too close to the engine.


06-16-2016, 05:05 PM
Hi Guys:

I did switch the drums today before I read your post to see if the issue moved. It did not.

When I observe the brake shoes moving, it appears they are moving back to the right spot. Are you suggesting that perhaps there is too much hydraulic pressure on the right side?

I am starting to get concerned that this is not really a brake issue at all, but something else? Power steering gear box (new/rebuilt last June)? Car drives true enough, though it may need a re-alignement with the suspension work I did.

I also thought maybe the wheel bearings are shot? When switching the drums the issue should have moved.

I can try the hydraulic test. I have never done that so I will have to read up on that.

Another concern:

After driving around for this morning's test, I left it in the garage to cool while wifey and I did some errands. When I came back, there was a small puddle of some kind of fluid at the rear of the right wheel well...first thought, could I have a broken brake line? I followed it back it it was all dry. Since it was under the wheel well to the rear, I looked straight up and everything was dry...so, am I getting in over my head here?

I am getting frustrated, but I am determined. I think at this point, disc brakes are the way to go. My only concern is will that fix the problem? If I do that and the car still pulls right....I'll be really bummed.

Anyone have any further thoughts?

06-16-2016, 06:14 PM
Think logically. If the wheel won't turn when it's hot then it's a brake problem. If the brake line is too close to the motor or the exhaust it will build up more pressure than it should. A bad wheel bearing will not only make a loud noise but if it seizes it will smoke. It will not clear up when it cools off. Power steering will not lock up a wheel. As I suggested when the wheel gets hot and won't turn open the bleeder valve. If it starts to turn then you know the problem is hydraulic between the wheel and the master cylinder.

Remember that your convertible pump is in the right wheel well. That may be the fluid you are seeing.


06-16-2016, 07:32 PM
Thanks for the logic, John. I just am getting the experence as I go, so I am trying to think out of the box (or of the area of focus).

So, I agree, it HAS to be a brake problem. Also, thank you for filling me in on what happens if there is a bad wheel bearing. With that in mind, and how I have packed those, I can cross that off my list.

I am going to take a break from this today and tomorrow, and on Saturday I will check the brake lines and read up on how to bleed a little fluid from it.

However, this same thing does happen when the wheel is cold. I had wifey step on the break as I was spinning the wheel, and lo & behold, had more trouble turning it! But this "new" friction probably was not quite enough to drag the wheel, so it is still when HOT that the wheel cannot turn and probably catches really really hard. Each time I pull the tire/rim and drum there is brake dust all over, dark and messy.

So logically, it should be the shoes (cylinder) not pulling back far enough? I even tried reducing the shoe "length?" turning the star wheel adjuster to bring the shoes in.

No drum & brakes pressed then released, cyclinder looks to work fine. Put drum on, works less effectively. Wheel gets hot, can barely turn the wheel (and get the unwanted right hand turn).

PS, I will check the convertible pump. It looked like it was hydraulic (lite) liquid. I didn't even think about that, so again, I thank you! You guys are all awesome!

06-16-2016, 07:55 PM
If you can recreate the problem when it's cold then that eliminates heat being an issue. It should be fairly easy to turn after you release the brake. It could still be a master cylinder push rod issue as I mentioned before or it could be mechanical where the springs aren't forcing the shoes back into position. I don't like the smaller return springs that you have on the primary shoes. I know that's what the manual shows but I prefer to use the longer return springs on both the primary and secondary shoes. When springs are used too often they can lose their tension. When I do a brake job on an old car I always use new hardware rather than use 50 year old springs.


bird 60
06-16-2016, 09:36 PM
Hi Geoff, You mentioned that you had the Brake hoses changed. It's a possibility that the wheel that's turning hot has a defect brake hose. When you apply the brakes might be o.k. under pressure, but they may not entirely release if the hose has caved in. I had this problem with my '79 Cadillac Eldorado. I didn't have any pulling 'cause it was one of the rear wheels. After replacing the hose the problem was solved.

Chris......From OZ.

06-16-2016, 10:42 PM
Chris offers sound advice. If this is the case, John suggests you crack the bleeder valve and see if the wheel is free again.
I agree with John's suggestions but I'd like to 'talk' for a minute...
Hydraulic pressure should be the exact same on all wheels unless a line is restricted (like a de-laminated hose). I know the hoses are new so both front hoses SHOULD be ok.

Your shoes ride on three 'pads' on the back plate. Sometimes they wear a trench into the pads which usually makes the shoes 'hang up' then snap into service.

You can lift the shoes off the back plate and look at the three pads for each shoe. If the pads are worn, they can be filled-in with weld then ground or sanded flat.

Disk brakes do not pull. When you retrofit, the new disk brake system works exactly like your modern driver, if it's done right.

If you are going to retrofit, stop spending money on your drum system and put that money towards the components you need for power disk brakes. Now that you are a paid member, we have extensive info in the 'Members Only' section pertaining to the parts you need including part numbers, cost, etc. - Dave

06-16-2016, 11:24 PM
Dave is correct that disk brakes is the way to go. However, being the obsessive person that I am I would have to find out what the problem is before I gave up. After all this isn't normal brake fade that you are experiencing. This is a failure of the braking system to work as designed. With all the new parts that you have installed there's no reason for it not to function as well as when it left the factory. There can only be a few possibilities. Either the springs are not strong enough to force the shoes back to their at rest position, the shoes are hanging up on the backplate, or the fluid pressure isn't releasing either due to a blockage, or the master cylinder piston not returning to it's proper position.


06-17-2016, 12:21 AM
I am like John: I have to know what is the issue. OCD I guess.

So this weekend I will re-create the issue, drive the wheel until it is hot, jack it up, try to spin. If it is difficult (which it will be), then I will crack the bleeder valve and see if I can relieve the pressure.

I am 99% sure the hoses are fine, as they were replaced twice to make sure it's not the hoses.

I am not spending any more dough on this, as I have already replaced everything once..except the springs John mentions below.

I can watch the shoes/cylinder move in and out when I have the brakes pressed, but something about this right brake just isn't right. Seemingly, I have tackled all the mechanical stuff except replacing/repairing the master cylinder. Even if I go to discs, a faulty mc will create still create a problem, is that true?

So I guess it's time to start tracing the issue back to the hydraulics as John says. It's only about time right now, not parts or $$$.

I love a good mystery.

06-18-2016, 10:23 PM
Ok, so we had a little misfortune that turned to gold today.

Here's what happened. After doing all my checks on the brakes, me and the Mrs. went out for a shake down. Cruise to the beach, see a little sea, have a little lunch.

Down to business: While driving home (about 2 miles from home), some "poor driver" pulled out directly in front of us and I slammed on the brakes! Right wheel (or maybe both?) squealed, and I heard a "pop" under the hood. Sounded like my knee when I injured that years ago. Didn't hit him, but I wanted to do so.

I pull over to the curb because the Bird just wanted to go that way. You talk about alignement issue, this car just wanted to circle the globe to the right, as far as she could go. So, at 10mph I walked her home, barely using any braking, for when I did it sounded like nails on a chalk board. I am being long winded so I will try to get to the point.

When I got her home, I immediately pulled her up on jacks, removed the front tires and got under the car.

See photo below, that strut arm moved about 1" forward, maybe a little more. Big issue, but I thought that must have been the pop I heard, and said, "Oh, I can fix that."

While I am under there, the mail arrives with my new lower ball joints. Well, I am here, let's get to work and replace at least the right Lower Ball Joint.

I once again removed the Lower Control Arm, called simplyconnected, and said, "Is this thing (ball joint) pressed in to the lower control arm?"

"Nope, you dope! said Dave, "there are 3 bolt and nuts there holding it in. Just give it a love tap with a hammer and out it should pop."

Yes, it did. Out it came, and on went the new Lower Ball Joint.

Speed ahead to where I re-installed the LCA, put the wheel up on ramps, and tightened the loose nuts I left to ensure I tighten them while not suspended.

Put her back on Jacks just to make sure I have everything and didn't leave any parts remaining. Re-checked the nuts, and everything was back together.

Test Drive: Took her out on the local streets and when I came to a stop sign I really let the breaks have it. NO PULL! A slight drift to the right, but the car doesn't feel like someone is grabbing the wheel from me and making a hard right.

Update: Wifey just returned saying it is pulling again. Out for a test drive around the block....Doggone it! Not as severe as before but still wants to turn right.

Oh, well...HAPPY FATHERS DAY everyone.

So, in conclusion:

Suspension had problems. I guess that strut just wasn't secure enough and kept allowing the front to move to the right. Now it seems like its fairly solid.

Needs an alignment but other than that, I can check those issues off the list. For now....
All the above is true, except the part where Dave called me a dope....he didn't....but he wanted to.

Miracles do happen. I am now a Suspension and Brake Expert! LOL!

Pics to follow......

06-18-2016, 11:38 PM
Sorry to hear about your close call. At least you and the car came out unscathed. Unfortunately I suspect you still have your right front brake issue since your car is still pulling to the right. Those things don't fix themselves. A loose strut or bad ball joint isn't going to cause the wheel to overheat and lock up. I think you're back to square one with that problem.


06-19-2016, 12:43 AM
I told Geoff he probably has two problems that are NOT associated with each other.

He called today and reported the wheel moved about 1-1/2" forward. Ok, that accounts for the trashed lower arm bushing. The lower arm should never move forward/backward. There is a strut mounted to his frame and to the lower arm that only allows up/down motion, not front-to-back.

Geoff, I urge you to disassemble that arm and inspect the rubber and washer parts. The washers are supposed to hold the arm from poking through.

If you lock up your brake, the body wants to push forward but your wheel wants to cram the strut backward. If the strut washers are trashed, it makes sense that the lower arm IS moving and pulling the car to the right. Once the wheel locks up, it is no longer a brake issue but a suspension issue.

I would get a long pinch bar and torque the lower arm backward and forward by hand. Notice what is allowing any motion. I also believe the 'snap' you hear is also from the strut.

Use all your senses. If the strut is solid, look closely at the frame where the strut is mounted. Something is moving and it's a very dangerous situation. Again, no lower 'A' arm motion front-to-back is acceptable.

Logic says; if the RH 'A' arm moves forward the car will veer LEFT. If the RH 'A' arm crams the strut backward, the car will veer RIGHT. An inch and a half in either direction is HUGE!

I only wish I lived closer to help you out. This is purely a mechanical problem that should be relatively easy to prove out. Remember, when you hit the brakes hard with the car going thirty MPH those struts exert thousands of pounds of force on the frame on both sides. The other end of the struts bolt directly to your OEM ball joints. Clean the frame area well and carefully inspect for cracks in the surrounding strut/frame members. - Dave

Joe Johnston
06-19-2016, 08:28 AM
Lots going on here to think about and consider but the cause of 1.5" of movement should certainly be fairly easy to locate.

Which leads to another point:
We all probably drive our cars very easily and carefully, but once in a while we should slam on the brakes (preferably in a safe location and close to home:eek:) just to check and make sure everything should work in an emergency situation. I had to make a panic stop from 70 many years ago in my 57 and finally stopped BESIDE a restored Mustang. Thankfully there was a nice wide berm and no accident. This was the motivation to convert this car to disk brakes as the Little Bird linings are very narrow and were completely faded away after one hard stop.

Be safe & Happy Father's Day!

06-19-2016, 11:24 AM

It's a time of reflection, family and surfing! I am taking the day off!

Happy Father's Day to all of you "Bird-r's" out there!

Tomorrow I am back to work, so when I find time this week, I will crawl under Betty and get this figured out.



06-19-2016, 11:27 AM
I agree, although the water here is a little too cold for my liking. Have a great Father's Day.


06-20-2016, 09:07 PM
Hi guys

Didn't get out today. But I did look under the front strut bushings. I want to replace them when I replace the other ball joint this weekend.

But I'm am a little confused as to which set I need. Then illustrations by Ford posted earlier by simplyconnected show something a little different from what I'm seeing. Perhaps the old bushings are squashed.

These are the right side:

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/Betty%20Pics/Right%20Strut%20Bushing_zpszfppj50x.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/Betty%20Pics/Right%20Strut%20Bushing_zpszfppj50x.jpg.html)

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/Right%20Strut%20View%201_800x600_zpsrkqb17hy.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/Right%20Strut%20View%201_800x600_zpsrkqb17hy.jpg.h tml)

This one doesn't look good.

Left side looks better but if doing one doing the other.

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/Left%20Strut%20Bushing_800x600_zpsh0onibur.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/Left%20Strut%20Bushing_800x600_zpsh0onibur.jpg.htm l)

But this does not resemble the drawings.

PS using photobucket to place photos. Hope that takes care of any spam.

06-20-2016, 09:24 PM
I believe Dave's drawing was 1963-66. Here's the 1961 Diagram. It may be a little different.


06-20-2016, 09:43 PM
Yes, so do those in my pics look like 3a187? Mine look pretty mashed if that's the case.

06-20-2016, 10:00 PM
This is what they are supposed to look like.



06-21-2016, 03:45 AM
Geoff, the 1961 diagram exactly matches your car. The only thing they left out is the frame mounting plate for your strut. After showing the correct 1961 diagram, Geoff said his looked like the '63, so I posted that diagram as well. I also referenced the 3A187 stack of bushings:

I was looking for an illustration showing the space between your ball joints but couldn't find one. In the mean time, here's your front suspension:

The lower bushing is important but so is the bushing stack (3A187). I suggest you do ALL the bushings at once. If you had done them when changing ball joints, it would have been 'once and done'. Then do the other side the same way......I also have that same picture, however it is not 100% accurate. That diagram does not show the stabilizer bar that I have. I don't know why because I do see it on the 63/64 diagram. My reference is Larry's illustrated book...

Geoff, your car left the factory with the correct suspension. Somewhere down the line someone changed it because the '63 system didn't exist in '61.

Here's a genuine Ford diagram of the 1963-66 T-bird front suspensions:
Now, it looks like we're back to '61. That strut picture of yours proves the brake is pushing the strut back into the frame and that is why the car veers right. It's also the reason your other bushings are shredded.

Sorry for re-posting, but someone isn't reading my original posts. - Dave

06-21-2016, 09:16 AM

I am Reading all your posts. There's no confusion on using the '61 diagram. I have a stabilizer bar not shown in the '61 diagram but is shown in the 61 shop manual. I was only confused by the bushing shapes. Just on the apparent shapes of the strut bushings. My bushings look so mashed they don't match the diagram. So I am just confirming the correct part. 3A187 has several designations so Johns post confirms correct designation. I have a local supplier and I want to make sure I get the right part.

Also I still have a brake mystery as the right front wheel still heats way too much. So it's not releasing properly. I have tests to run there. But I am zeroing in on it. I'll know more this weekend.

I am only documenting my journey in the spirit of the forum. I apologize for any confusion on my part.

06-21-2016, 10:15 AM
I told Geoff he probably has two problems that are NOT associated with each other...
...Geoff, I urge you to disassemble that arm and inspect the rubber and washer parts. The washers are supposed to hold the arm from poking through.

If you lock up your brake, the body wants to push forward but your wheel wants to cram the strut backward. If the strut washers are trashed, it makes sense that the lower arm IS moving and pulling the car to the right. Once the wheel locks up, it is no longer a brake issue but a suspension issue...Yes Geoff, we spoke at length about your car having a brake issue AND a suspension issue ten days ago.

Your suspension and your brakes are stock, just as described in the 1961 illustration but it's up to you to recognize old, shredded parts will probably not look the same as new ones.

I hope you get these problems resolved using correct parts for a '61 T-bird. BTW, those bushings are sold by many T-bird vendors including Larry's:
http://8397-presscdn-0-89.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/B-3187B.jpg (http://www.larrystbird.com/product/strut-rod-bushing-kit-61/)
These are twenty bucks, not eighty. - Dave

06-21-2016, 11:06 AM
yes, I can get those for $19.95 locally. I have a good local source for all things T-Bird.

06-21-2016, 01:27 PM
You mentioned earlier that you can get the wheel to bind up when it's cold just by pushing on the brake. The wheel should turn just as freely after you push on the brake as before. If that's the case one thing you can try is to jack the right front wheel up and spin the tire. Make note of how freely it turns. Then push and hold the brake as far down as you can; release the brake and spin the wheel. If it doesn't turn as freely as before then loosen the two nuts that hold the master cylinder to the booster. Pull the master cylinder away from the booster about 1/4 inch. Spin the wheel again. If it frees up then your push rod is too long and you will have to make it shorter.


06-21-2016, 04:53 PM

that is an easy test. yes, when the brake is depressed and released, the right wheel is more difficult to spin. It is not freely spinning as it should. I can do the test you describe below tonight or tomorrow morning. If that does not work, I shall try cracking the bleeder on the wheel cylinder and see if that releases the wheel.


Yes, I have the new strut bushings. I have piecemealed the right side as a learning experience. I have all the materials I need for the left side, so I will perform that complete bushings replacement at one time. I have a new LCA bushing (the hardest part to press out and in the new one), new Strut Bushing, new Lower Ball Joint, new Stablilizer Link Bushings. the Upper Ball Joint is already new. So I can knock that out all at one time.

After all said and done, I will re-post with my results.


06-21-2016, 07:33 PM
Jacked right wheel up.

Pressed brake all the way and released

Could barely move wheel.

Repeated on the left side.

Same result.


Tried to loosen nuts on MC to booster. Frozen. Sprayed penetrant and will tackle later.

Back to work.

06-21-2016, 07:59 PM
How old is the master cylinder?


06-21-2016, 08:16 PM
That MC looks original and is probably original. At least it looks like it. I'll send along a pic.

06-21-2016, 08:20 PM
Well then there's your problem. Most likely the cylinder bore is corroded and the piston is hanging up and not releasing right away. When you said in a previous post that the master cylinder was good I assumed it was new. I guess I should never assume.


06-21-2016, 11:03 PM
Hi John:

Yep, well, the "experts" originally told me the MC was fine. Now I am having my doubts. I was able to finally loosen up the 2 nuts holding the MC on to the Booster, but I am running out of daylight, so I will put her to bed for the night.

But looks like I need to do an MC rebuild. That looks pretty straight forward. It's interesting the brakes look like they release when I have the drum off, as they seem to pull back quite readily But once I put the drum back on, there seems to be an issue with them releasing. I'll start a separate thread on that work if I cannot find one that already exists.

So, I need to do the suspension work and the brake work. I'm going to be busy for awhile!

06-22-2016, 09:10 PM
Talked to 2 brake persons today. Since both front wheels get bound up (glad I did that experiment on both sides), the conclusion is that the MC is ancient and can be rebuilt or replaced. I can get a brand new one for $44 from carparts.com BUT, do I need a 1" bore or a 7/8" bore? Specs in the manual say MAXIMUM 1.003".

Also, I have read in Larry's that if the car was build after 6/9/61, then use the 7/8" Bore. My car was build 1/23, so I assume 1" Bore for POWER BRAKES.

Other than 1/8" is there any difficulty going either way?

06-22-2016, 09:22 PM
Go with the 1". That's what your car came with. You can get one from RockAuto.com for $32.00. We also get a 5% discount.


06-30-2016, 12:33 AM
Geoff informed me tonight as to what the Brake shop found and action taken to fix the problem he was having with his Tbird pulling to the right when braking. Here is what he had to say.

"I will get the car back Friday. Here's a checklist of what work is being done:

1) New Brake Spring Kits all around. Just the springs, leaving the self-adjusters. Everything else: Wheel Cylinders, Shoes & Pad, Drums turned, brake hoses are all brand new.

2) Re-Greasing the back-plates on the front. Also repacking the wheel bearings.

3) Checked the hydraulics. The report today is that everything works just fine, including push rod length and the new master cylinder.

4) Adjusting the brakes appropriately. The front in particular were not properly adjusted and were way off.

5) Because of #4, it is suspected that all the braking was being done by Right Front, and the other 3 wheels provided little stopping. Indicator was there is very little brake dust on the other 3, while the Right Front was covered thick with brake dust.

6) replacing both front shocks.

7) I will be replacing the Left Side Lower Ball Joint and Lower Control Arm Bushing after I get the car back Friday morning. I am doing this work so that I can clean up and paint the lower control arm, so then everything on both sides of the suspension will match in new parts & bushing, etc.

So at the end of the day, all the brakes should be proper and the suspension proper.

I will gladly let you know the results shortly afterward.

As an additional fix-it note, my right front shock was leaking badly, hence I am replacing both front shocks. The outboard housing of the shock was pretty beat up, as I suspect it was hitting/rubbing up against the spring. I am unsure why that happened, as is the mechanic. I don't know if that is a cause or a sympton/casualty of what has yet to be identified as the root cause. I think I had asked a question about whether the spring could be a culprit in all this, as it is identified in the shop manual as a potential cause of the car pulling when braking.

Essentially I am trying everything, for education purposes and of course to right the ship.

This is probably more info than you were asking for, but these are steps I am taking to try to root out the cause, and solve the mystery."

The bold sections was done by me, to highlight a few things that Geoff reported on.

07-01-2016, 06:51 PM
Folks interested in the results of taking car to Brake Specialist:

Per earlier note, springs replaced and adjustments made. This is the left wheel. Right looks same.

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/New%20Spring%20Kit%20Left%20Wheel_zpsk0hy9arx.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/New%20Spring%20Kit%20Left%20Wheel_zpsk0hy9arx.jpg. html)

I also replaced the Left Lower Ball Joint and Left Lower Control Arm Bushing:

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/Left%20LCA%20with%20new%20Lower%20Ball%20Joint%20w ith%20caption_zpsmacvka7r.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/Left%20LCA%20with%20new%20Lower%20Ball%20Joint%20w ith%20caption_zpsmacvka7r.jpg.html)

I also had two new front shocks put on.

Brakes are all working much better. Right Wheel still heats up more than the left, but not like it did earlier; but to caveat that, it was after a rather short 3 mile ride.

Before I report any further, I will await the front end alignment. Right now it's rather out of alignment with all the new bushings and ball joints replaced on both the Left & Right. Because of the holiday weekend, that won't happen until Tuesday.

Enjoy your July 4th weekend.

07-01-2016, 11:36 PM
Thanks for the update Geoff
Things are looking up!

07-05-2016, 02:21 PM
Your suspension and your brakes are stock, just as described in the 1961 illustration but it's up to you to recognize old, shredded parts will probably not look the same as new ones.

I hope you get these problems resolved using correct parts for a '61 T-bird. BTW, those bushings are sold by many T-bird vendors including Larry's:
http://8397-presscdn-0-89.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/B-3187B.jpg (http://www.larrystbird.com/product/strut-rod-bushing-kit-61/)
These are twenty bucks, not eighty. - Dave

I ordered these from Larry's and installed them about 2 weeks ago. Took the car to the alignment shop this morning, and the mechanic said these are incorrect and wouldn't perform the alignment. The Brake Shop mechanic said the same, and I assured him according to the drawings and catalog suppliers, these are correct.

These are the correct parts for '61/62, but perhaps without the Stabilizer Bar?

Per an earlier post, you will see how damaged those bushings were, and the second set I installed recently now look the same.

Per the Ford illustrations, those parts are 3A187, what I noticed was that '61 Drawing (my vehicle) shows those looking similar to what I posted, but the '63-66 drawing has a more barrel-looking drawing. I refer to this because the '61 drawing does not show the Stabilizer Bar in place where the '63-66 Drawing does. My '61 has the stabilizer bar, and it is shown in my shop manual. I have posted below. My config looks more like the 63/66 config. Should I have used the '63/66 style strut bushings? If so, does anyone know the complete OEM designation (i.e. C4DZ-3A187-AR for the '65-66 Mustang)?

Has anyone any experience with this?

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/1961%20Suspension%20Drawing_zpsbiui836p.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/1961%20Suspension%20Drawing_zpsbiui836p.jpg.html)

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/1961%20Suspension%20Drawing%20to%20Bushings_zpsbyb nwxqt.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/1961%20Suspension%20Drawing%20to%20Bushings_zpsbyb nwxqt.jpg.html)

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/1962-63%20Suspension%20Drawing_zpsj2if5mur.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/1962-63%20Suspension%20Drawing_zpsj2if5mur.jpg.html)

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/1962-63%20Suspension%20Drawing%20to%20Bushings_zpsq0tsl 7lc.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/1962-63%20Suspension%20Drawing%20to%20Bushings_zpsq0tsl 7lc.jpg.html)

07-05-2016, 03:06 PM
Rock Auto shows them in stock for $17.35. I guess you can order them and see if they fit any better.


07-05-2016, 03:11 PM
Ford part number is C2SZ-3A187-A. Fits Thunderbird 62-66 and Lincoln 61-69.


07-05-2016, 03:26 PM
It won't hurt to try. Thanks, John.

BTW, I took out a little bit of brake fluid from my M/C. I had tried to match it up with the fill on the old M/C. When I removed some fluid, it seems to be allowing a better release of the front brakes. When I ran it to the alignment shop this morning, about 5 mile trip, the wheels were quite warm, but not too hot to touch.

Per the manual, I also created a sheet metal guage of the correct Push Rod Mininum (0.962) and used it to reset the Push Rod, and that may have also contributed. Since that is the min spec, I will keep it there.

My Brake Fluid is filled to about 3/8" from the rim. I was thinking perhaps taking down to 1/2" may help.

I just have not had the opportunity to break the bleeder on the wheel cylinder yet. That's the last experiment recommended, but I just have not had the time to try it yet.

07-05-2016, 03:40 PM
It sounds like you are making progress with the brake problem. You don't need much fluid in the reservoir for the brakes to work. Better to under fill than overfill. If you shortened the push rod even a little that may have been enough to make a difference. As long as your wheels aren't getting hot to the point where you can't touch them and you can stop in a straight line under normal braking then it sounds like problem solved.


07-05-2016, 05:10 PM
I am going to stick to the '61 Shop Manual and subsequent guides and the B3187B Bushings recommended by the OEM. Since my suspension has the Sway Bar not shown in the diagram, but in the Shop Manual, I thought something was different, but conferring with another local restoration person, '61 p/n is correct.

There must be something else going on with the suspension that is causing this issue with wearing the strut bushings so quickly.

Taking it back to the alignment shop for a front end specialist, as I have replaced all bushings and ball joints in the suspension, and the idler arm bushing.

Amendment: Alignment shop wants me to use 1970-71 Ford F-150 bushings.....I am sticking with the OEM.

07-25-2016, 10:47 AM
Took '61 to a reputable restoration shop. Here's what we learned:

1) Drums that were turned by general automotive shop were not in round. Restorer sent them to a specialist and came back round.
2) Shoes/linings did not fit properly to the drum. Right lining was cracked due to all the excessive heat created by the faulty drum.
3) As a pre-caution, I replaced the inner and outer wheel bearings of both front wheels, re-packed properly.

Result: no pull to either side. Brakes very effective. Strut bushings do not appear to be getting chewed up.

Next Step: Proper front end alignment should do the trick. needs a toe-in, and currently there is a slight drift to the left, but all correctable.

07-25-2016, 09:52 PM
Happy cruising down the boulevard,