Manual to Power Brakes

Discussions related to braking systems.
Post Reply
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:10 pm

Manual to Power Brakes

Post by DWDuck70 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:05 pm

How difficult would it be to go from my current 52 model 200 manual brakes to a Packard power brake system? And if so, where would I be able to able the parts?

Dave Czirr
Posts: 5022
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:30 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: Manual to Power Brakes

Post by Dave Czirr » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:11 pm

Very simple, in fact Packard offered a kit. Basically you just need the booster/master cylinder unit (Bendix TreadleVac), the pedal hardware, and probably some hard brake line. I suspect Howard will come along soon with specifics.

Most vendors will require a core to sell you a rebuilt unit but I suspect you can buy a core easily enough. There were several minor changes to the unit over the years but I suspect any of them would be satisfactory.

Posts: 1140
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:35 am

Re: Manual to Power Brakes

Post by Howard56 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:46 am

If you want to go with the Packard Treadlevac system go to and download the March 1952 Vol 26 #3 and #5 issues of the Service Counselor. They have the details and photos of the install of the kit and some frame mods on very early 52s that may be needed. If you get parts from a later car those Treadlvacs will not have the external breather on the firewall so you can ignore that part.

There are many who do not like the Treadlevac and have opted for a modern universal booster and dual master setup from Master Power Brakes or ABS Power Brake. Those can be installed but not if you want it in the original location and to keep the stock Packard suspended pedal arrangement. The Treadlvac is a different animal as to how it operates compared to a modern master. Being mounted at the end of the pedal it has a 1:1 pedal ratio and works satisfactorily. The modern power master requires at least a 3.5 and preferably a 4:1 or greater ratio. That cannot be obtained with the stock Packard setup and the unit low so the modern master/booster unit has to be relocated on the firewall or, if kept in the original location, the pedal has to be completely reworked which changes its looks and location in the car. Several have opted to use the vent opening for the master location and have adapted a modern pedal which with some work can almost duplicate the factory setup looks inside the car. Obviously the relocated master is quite visible in the engine compartment.

If you do decide to go power by all means do not damage or throw away your manual pedal and parts. There are some who wish to go the other way so the parts are desirable.

Post Reply