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brake self adjuster cables on bullet birds

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  • brake self adjuster cables on bullet birds

    i was doing some inspection on my 63 rear brakes today. . the self adjuster cable is frayed and on its last strands. evidently the self adjuster cable on a 63 or 64 is 10 15/16" long while the 1960 and 1961 birds have a 11 1/8" cable. i will need to check lengths for the cables, likely the vendors all buy their kits from the same manufacturer. rock auto sells the raybestos H2102 separately for a 62 but only as a kit with lever, adjuster, cable, cable guide, etc. for the 63. has anyone had experience with these different cable lengths? i know the brake shoes, springs on 63 are bigger than earlier years. thanks vermbird . I ran across a VTCI forum from 2014 that discusses these issues. one person cut the longer cable down and used a little aluminum crimping piece to shorten the cable.

  • #2
    Warren, self adjusters came out in 1961. If your 1960 Thunderbird has ANY self adjusters, they won't be found in any aftermarket books under that year.

    Having said that, it's important to note that Ford didn't make their brakes. They bought brake systems from a few manufacturers like Bendix. The rear brakes in question are 11" diameter by 2-1/2" wide for 1961-1976 Thunderbirds unless you have trailer towing or heavy duty brake package (those shoes are 3" wide). Those same brake part numbers were used on many cars such as:
    FORD 300 1963
    FORD CLUB WAGON 1962-1967
    FORD COUNTRY SEDAN 1961-1974
    FORD CUSTOM 1964-1977
    FORD ELITE 1975-1976
    FORD GALAXIE 1961-1974
    FORD LTD 1965-1978
    FORD LTD II 1977-1978
    FORD RANCH WAGON 1961-1974
    FORD THUNDERBIRD 1961-1976
    FORD TORINO 1976
    HUDSON HORNET 1955-1957
    LINCOLN MARK IV 1973-1974
    MERCURY COMMUTER 1961-1964
    MERCURY MARQUIS 1969-1978
    MERCURY MONTEREY 1961-1974
    OLDSMOBILE 98 1962-1964
    OLDSMOBILE SUPER 88 1962-1964
    PACKARD CLIPPER 1954-1956
    PONTIAC GRAND PRIX 1962-1964
    PONTIAC STAR CHIEF 1962-1964
    This is why Delco brakes are manufactured for your Ford Thunderbird. Look at the car lines. This represents many MILLIONS of the same brake shoes over many years.

    Let's get back to 'self adjuster' kits. The whole kit for one wheel costs under seven bucks. If they sold just the cable, it would probably cost seven bucks. These kits are made by more manufacturers than Rockauto lists and are avaliable at your local auto parts store. If you buy the wrong one, take it back for the right one. A good parts counter guy will work with you. You can also take your old part with you for comparison.

    Since my '59 Galaxie didn't come with self adjusters, I bought the kit for a '61 Galaxie because as the above listing shows, we use the same brakes as the Thunderbird. Therefore, we use the same self adjusters on the same 11" brakes. Are '59 adjusters listed? No. The car didn't come with self adjusters. The car didn't come with radial tires or disc brakes either but they fit and I use them both. Bottom line: restoring your classic car for running on today's roads and competing with modern drivers means you need to retrofit your classic. Sometimes the swap isn't listed or it isn't obvious so you got to dig deeper. - Dave
    My latest project:
    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

    From: Royal Oak, Michigan


    • #3

      Warren is referring to the rear adjuster cable on his '63, not his '60. The rear adjuster cables on '63-'66 Thunderbirds are 10 15/16" per the Ford MPC. The adjuster cable that comes in the kit is 11 1/8". These kits are supposed to fit all Fords from '61-'78. There is only one kit available for these years and they all have the longer 11 1/8" cable. There is no 10 15/16" cable available either by itself or in a kit.

      John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

      Thunderbird Registry #36223 856-779-9695


      • #4
        ok so if i use the longer 11 1/8" cables, they will have too much slack in them and likely will not work to adjust the brakes, too much slack. I could shorten the cable by using one of these little aluminum ferrules and crimp it in my vise, the kind used on dog leashes and fencing.


        • #5
          Oh Good Lord, the difference between 10-15/16 and 11-2/16 is 3/16" or .1875" too long.
          To put things in perspective, the spring that the 'rachet' attaches to must be stretched farther than that. If it were me and I couldn't get a shorter cable I would simply drill another hole in the shoe so the new cable does fit. It's only an extra hole. Sometimes restorers must work with what is available if they can't get an exact match.

          I would NOT crimp an aluminum piece onto a spring steel cable. - Dave
          My latest project:
          CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

          "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
          --Lee Iacocca

          From: Royal Oak, Michigan


          • #6
            i don't understand drilling a new hole in the shoe. if drilled far enough away from the old hole, wouldn't the cable then be too short? i guess i can just every few months tighten the adjusting screw from the outside like the brakes on squarebirds pre self-adjusters. of course that would take us back to square one when we had to jack up the car and use the brake spoon to adjust the brakes.