Brake adjustments on 1936 120B

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Sherman D Taffel
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 6:15 pm
Location: Columbia, MD and Goldvein, VA

Brake adjustments on 1936 120B

Post by Sherman D Taffel » Thu May 19, 2011 8:50 pm

Greetings all: I am the new caretaker of a 1936 120B 2dr touring Coupe. Been working on my cars since a pre-teenager in the 1950's. The Packard makes 2 dozen I care for now. Drum brakes nothing new to me. Sorting several issues as the car had been 'in storage' several years. On my 'test drive', The car pulled horribly to the left when the brakes were applied, so I investigated the right front brake. Sure enough, it needed about 15 star wheel 'clicks' to adjust properly. The left drum was properly adjusted (go figure that).

Then examined the rear brakes. Right brake adjustment- fine, can spin wheel 1/2 turn. The left rear brake, needed some adjustment, can't get better than 3/4 spin on that one or the drum will ''bind'. So I am convinced the rear brakes 'mechanical adjustment' is now proper.
However, ( rear axle still jacked up) when I apply the handbrake, which is suppose to, and does have the proper 'equalizer', the right rear brake will 'lock', meaning I can't turn the wheel by hand force) on the 3rd handbrake click. However, even with the handbrake fully on (4th click) the left rear wheel still is not 'locked'- that is, I can still turn it by hand force. I see, and can not feel any difference in the 'slack' between the two handbrake (equalizer to rear brakes)cables. I also don't see -if I removed the cable turnbuckles, and tried to tighten them a bit- that I would be able to re-attach the turnbuckles to the levers.

What Am I missing? Usually, the cars I've dealt with have one rear cable from rear brake lever to rear brake lever- the loops over a U bracket- and so the tension is pretty automatically adjusted, and the adjustment is on the "handbrake lever to 'U bracket' cable".

Any suggestions most welcome! Sherman
Sherman D. Taffel
Columbia, MD and Goldvein, VA

Posts: 196
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:02 am

Re: Brake adjustments on 1936 120B

Post by JWL115C » Fri May 20, 2011 7:59 am

Here is a suggestion. With the hand brake lever in released position, back off the hand brake adjustment most of the way to where there is considerable slack in the two cables. Then, adjust the rear brakes until both sides are locked. Next, tighten the hand brake adjustment until there is just a slight amount of slack in the cables. Finally, back off the adjustments on the rear brakes until they can be rotated with a just noticeable contact between the brake shoes and drums. Both sides should be adjusted alike. This should satisfy the requirements for rear and hand brake adjustment.

This is based on the brakes being in good condition with wheel cylinders functioning properly and not leaking, more than minimum amount of lining on shoes, and true and not worn drums.

Brakes are such and important safety feature that I would not take any chances. I would pull off all the drums and inspect the brakes for wear and leaks.


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Re: Brake adjustments on 1936 120B

Post by Adam » Tue May 24, 2011 1:06 am

Hi Sherman

By all means try the adjustment method suggested by JWL, which is a good place to start, although my method would be the slacken the handbrake cable, then adjust the rear brake shoes (without locking them) before readjusting the the cables.

If unsuccessful, you may have a cable that is seized on one side, or the handbrake lever on one of the brake shoes may be seized in it`s pivot on the shoe. This will prevent the shoe "reacting" across the drum to apply the other shoe when the cable is pulled. In either case you will need to remove the rear drum to check the parts or to disconnect the cable in order to free it off. This will allow an inspection of the linings and wheel cylinders, so it is time well spent.

I am not sure what sort of compensator (equaliser?) there is on the handbrake cables on the 120, but I expect you have already checked that it is not seized at all.

"Do not underestimate the English cousin.....they are not as stupid as they look!" - Signor Altabani in The Italian Job.

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