1961 Bird Pulls to Right when Braking
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.
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.
Yes, I concur. I will re-check everything tomorrow or Thursday.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
but but but....
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!
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.
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