Complete brake failure

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Tattoopower1691
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:42 am

Complete brake failure

Post by Tattoopower1691 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:02 am

So first off hi and thanks in advance for the help.. So I bought my 1953 packard clipper about 2 mos ago and could not have been happier but last night I'm driving home from work and I'm doin about 55 and start applying brakes and......NO BRAKES...Now I'm still waiting for my service and owners manuals and got no clue where to start my troubleshooting besides looking at the brakes but any advise would help or if this has happened to anyone else

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

Re: Complete brake failure

Post by Dave Czirr » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:29 pm

It certainly is not recommended to buy a used car and put it on the road without a thorough brake system check. You say you just bought it recently, so what's the brake system history since you bought it, and any prior recent history if you know. It's a simple basic brake system typical of the era from the early 30s thru the 60s and even the 70s, so you certainly won't need a shop or other manual to diagnose and service the system.

The most likely cause was a lack of brake fluid - can you tell us how long since you checked the brake fluid, and did you check it after the event? And has the fluid been flushed and changed since you bought it? Have the wheel cylinders and brake hoses been checked and/or replaced? I'd start by also looking for any signs of leaking brake fluid on the brake backing plates or around the master cylinder or a burst hose or rusted-thru brake line. If it has power boosted (Bendix) brakes, I'd very highly recommend the power booster should be rebuilt by a competent rebuilder before you drive the car, unless it's been done recently. All brake service parts are readily available, most from NAPA and other parts stores, and of course from the Packard vendors like Kanter Brothers.

I'd suggest checking the fluid first, if it's low then start looking for where it leaked from. If no leaks are apparent anywhere, then the booster might be suspect. Remember, unlike modern cars its a single master cylinder system so a leak anywhere in the system results int he loss of all the brakes. Let us know what you find and we can go from there.

Tattoopower1691
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:42 am

Re: Complete brake failure

Post by Tattoopower1691 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:16 pm

So first off thank you for your reply..... Brake history since I bought it is as followed I bought the car from a older fellow who stressed multiple times he was selling it cause it was his time..he drove it daily and so did I everyday since I bought it until for about two months. I park my car in the garage and have not seen any sign of leaks and didn't think to look at work cause I park in different places at work.I just know I was driving home from work and the brakes were workin just fine up to the point where my brakes didn't work and there was no in between. They go from working to absolutely nothing.

Dave Czirr
Moderator
Posts: 5175
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:30 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: Complete brake failure

Post by Dave Czirr » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:22 pm

Once you work you way out of the the problem, and I think you should consider a very thorough brake overhaul including new steel and rubber lines, wheel cylinders and master cylinder, I would recommend that you check your brake fluid 3 or 4 times during the driving season. These cars called for oil changes and chassis grease jobs every 1000 miles and that's a good interval to also check the fluid, as was done back "in the day...".

Hopefully you stopped on the emergency brake with no damage to the car or anything else?

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