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Old 11-07-2009, 10:22 AM
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Dakota Boy Dakota Boy is online now
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Default changing master cylinder from single to dual-stage

After seeing all the discussion on the disc brake conversion, I am on board with ditching the old single-stage unit. Being a rookie gearhead, I need your assistance...

Here is a photo of my current cylinder.

My car has 15" rims, and drum brakes all around. It does not have power brakes. It stops pretty well actually, and converting to front discs sounds like a great plan, but that is going to have to be a project for another year...

So now... what exactly do I need to buy in order to have a dual-stage unit in my car? And maybe some how-to-install directions would be great as well....
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Old 11-08-2009, 04:37 PM
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Default changing master cylinder from single to dual-stage

Hi Greg,

I had hoped that one of our more technically inclined members would jump on this and answer your questions. Since you have been reading the other thread, you should have gained a lot of information from it. Maybe simplyconnected or one of the others who have been down this road before will jump in here.

I think all of the disk brake conversion companies also offer a dual MC/power booster system for sale. Some are more expensive than others. You could also buy the necessary parts at an auto parts store. You can also find them for sale on eBay. One person who sells a whole range of MC/Power Boosters is oldirishdave through his eBay store. Here is the link to that.

I have talked with him, as you know, and find him to have a lot of knowledge about this subject. He said that an 8" system is a better one for us with these heavy Big Fords and Tbirds, instead of a 7" one. I am thinking of getting his 1952-1959 Ford Mercury Edsel chromed dual MC/Power Booster version. Why it will not work on a 1960 Squarebird I do not know. That is something I should ask him. Maybe it is because he thought that all 1960's came with a dual MC and power booster from the factory. Not so. Just the later models. He also has this unit in a regular un-chromed finish at a lesser price. Me, if I am going to do this, want the chromed version to add to my engine dress up kit. There have been some comments about using non-Ford products on ones Tbird. You might be able to find the right Ford products through an auto parts store.

I think that simplyconnected is correct when he says if you are going to go to a dual MC/power booster and disk brake conversion, do it all at the same time. So you will want to take that into consideration. As to how to do it, there are a number of people here who can take you through it step by step, and we also have that information in Technical Tips. First go here to the temporary Technical Tips website. (Everyone should bookmark this website)

Here you will find the 1958-1960 Disk Brake Conversion technical article. Unfortunately, I have not been able to recover all the pictures that are missing. With this modification, it is a lot more involved, as you will see.

Also, keep in mind that if you go to the John Draxler Tbird Ranch Technical Tips, (click on the link to it and go down the left side to the Disk Brake Conversion link) there you will find the information on his parts kit he markets. With that kit, and the right drums, late '70's Torino, Ranchero, and maybe Granada rims. John says you can use your factory spindles on your Squarebird with those rims. If I have it correct, Lance at SW Tbird also said you can use your factory spindles with the late '70's Lincoln Versailles, Granada, LTD II rims. Also ;98 Ford Ranger rims might be usable, '75 Granada and up to 1983, I think it was, and '74 Mavericks. Finding the right rims these days might be tough as a lot of them have been crunched.

Well, this is a start. Others might be able to add to this. Rather than trying to get all the parts needed yourself, unless you are a very good mechanic, the best way to go might be buying one of the disk brake conversion kits, MC and Power Booster conversions from one of the previously mentioned companies. Me, as far as the disk brake conversion goes, I plan on using John Draxlers kit, and probably the MC/Power Booster from oldirishdave. Good luck when you do it, and hopefully, we will have a complete step by step procedure that is current and has all the pictures. I think someone else on here did do that, but I forget who..

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Old 11-08-2009, 04:44 PM
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My dad ran a dual rsvr m/cyl on the TB when he had it with the drum brks. I think it did more harm than good. The orig syst is designed to work off the sngl unit. The wheel cyls are different frt to rr to displace the fluid correctly.
The 65 TB had a singl unit w/frt discs and those thos brakes were every bit as good as my SBC stuff with WAY less pedal effort.

As far as wheels, look at 70'ish Mustang Couger etc. They are plentiful and 14x6 OR 14x7. I have 14x7's.
John Byers
1960 Convertible (Orig owner)
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:16 PM
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[quote=byersmtrco;38823]My dad ran a dual rsvr m/cyl on the TB when he had it with the drum brks. I think it did more harm than good. The orig syst is designed to work off the sngl unit. The wheel cyls are different frt to rr to displace the fluid correctly.
The 65 TB had a singl unit w/frt discs and those thos brakes were every bit as good as my SBC stuff with WAY less pedal effort.[quote]

Interesting, John. Do you know if your dad had a proportioning valve with the dual mc? If so, might it have not been adjusted properly?

I don't know about the '60s, but the '59s have 1-3/32" bore wheel cylinders on the front axle and 29/32" bore wheel cylinders on the rear axle. That gives a 60/40 bias to the front. I don't see why a dual resevoir mc would change the fluid pressure to the two axles unless there was a constriction of some kind.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:48 AM
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Dakota, if you are going with a new master cylinder, get it in a combination with a power booster. The whole combo as a unit (in chrome) costs $210 + $25 shipping from eBay.

A dual M/C is included as well as all the hardware to make it work with the power booster.

Your original setup has all the brake lines going to a tee next to your steering box. If you keep your drum brakes, unscrew the rear line off the tee plugging the hole with a double-flare plug. Connect a 3/16" double-flare union on that same line with an extension to your new M/C. Also, replace the old line running from the tee to the M/C, because the new setup will need a longer line. That's it.

If you go to disk/drum, you will need to re-plumb all the work you just did, adding a proportioning valve, and two new lines. That's why I recommend you do all your changes at once.

Your original brakes have two different sized brake cylinder bores and different shoe widths, from front to rear. Your manual M/C is probably a 7/8" bore. Ford tried to match correct brake ratio and pedal pressure with this combination.

When you go to power-assist brakes, your M/C will be a 1" bore, pushing more fluid with less pedal movement. Normally this would require more foot pressure, but now we have a power booster which makes foot pressure even easier. Disk brakes require hundreds of pounds more pressure than drums. No problem for the power booster, but the rear drum brakes need to be controlled by a proportioning valve.

Front disk brakes stop far better than drum, there's no comparison. Everyone who has made the change agrees on this point. Let us know when you're ready for disks. - Dave

Edit: John Byers' Dad probably replaced a 7/8"-bore single M/C with a 1"-bore dual M/C. That would make the pedal pressure much harder without a power booster. To the driver's foot, things just got worse instead of better. Single and dual master cylinders displace exactly the same volume/psi at the same foot pressure, if they are the same bore size.
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Last edited by simplyconnected : 11-09-2009 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:09 PM
wfopossum wfopossum is offline
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Default drum master cyl. w/o booster

Will the master cylinder that comes with the booster fit the factory power brake booster ? My booster works fine , I'd just like to find a dual master cylinder to fit it. When it comes time to redo the brakes I'll upgrade to disks,but for now the drums are ok,I'd just like the dual circuit brakes for safety reasons.
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