Brake Failure, Not a common fault thank God, But it could happen!

Submitted: Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 10:44
ThreadID: 139132 Views:1811 Replies:8 FollowUps:25
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Just reading a article where a super car driver lost his brakes at 200km hr!

It was the first for him in a long racing career. The scariest thing he has had happen.

I have lost brakes in early model trucks fitted with air over hydraulic systems caused by fluid loss, due to a rupture in a line or something rubbing on a chassis member somewhere. the front and rear where on separate systems but when one went the other was useless if carrying weight

Sometimes on a long steep decent I still give the brake pedal a little tap , even in the car just to make sure lol, old habbits never die.

Cheers Axle.


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Reply By: RMD - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 11:22

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 11:22
Axle,
A rupture in a line or something rubbing, means the something rubbing would be a brake line or brake hose. That means the integrity of the preventative maintenance was not up to the expected level of quality. ie, nobody really looked at the system. Why would anyone who genuinely inspects leave a line rubbing on other items?

If you try the brakes going down hill to be sure to be sure, how does that prevent it from not working the next time the brake pedal is pressed, ie, when you actually need it to work? A failure is unexpected, so checking only means they worked then and not NOW. The sudden rush of adrenalin will give you super powers and response to handle the situation. It must have worked in the past "cos you are still here.
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Follow Up By: axle - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 13:54

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 13:54
RMD

The trouble in the early days was where a steel line was clamped along the chassis rails , Brackets that FELT tight were still allowing vibration and movement ,especially with tippers operating in harsh conditions. Unless things were totally dismantled,and inspected, things went unnoticed. The way things are put together these days is a completely different scenario.

Cheers Axle.
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Reply By: Member - Warren H - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 15:41

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 15:41
Back in the days of youth invincibility, I lost the brakes on my HR ute at 60 mph. Coming over the crest of a hill on the Bruce Highway just out of El Arish, I hit a huge pothole (it was the wet season). I saw the cavern and too late hit the anchors. The brake shoes must have been still going out on impact, as somehow the shaft had come adrift from the calipers and the brake piston and cup rubbers spat out of the wheel cylinder. No split brake system in a 67 HR! I drove gingerly into El Arish, pulled into the servo forecourt, jacked her up, picked the bits out of the drum, refitted them and of course as you do, I just happened to have a brake bleeding kit in with the tools and spares, so I proceeded to do a master cylinder refill and bleed. Then there was the time when driving on a recently bulldozed track that a bowed green stick took out the rear brake lines where they went over the axle. Now by 1979 Toyotas had slit split systems, so all good? Nope, unbeknown to us, Dipstick the exploration party mechanic had been working on the brakes and we only had rear brakes. The front brakelines had a nail in them to block them off. It was a slow day at work with only the gears and handbrake to pull up at the 100 m survey station intervals.
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Follow Up By: axle - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 16:53

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 16:53
G/day Warren

Lol , you don't hear of things like that these days very often, {the good old days)

because there gone!

As ive mentioned trucks gave me all the snow on the roof ,lol.

Cheers Axle.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 22:31

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 22:31
Warren
It must have been a long time ago and memory a bit fuzzzzzed. Disc brakes on a HR don't have brake shoes or a shaft. A drum brake on the rear has cup rubbers but the disc piston doesn't have cup rubbers. A bit of a mixed bag of brake technology?
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 08:06

Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 08:06
G'day RMD,
Nope memory all good, front discs were an optional extra on HRs. No seat belts either. I think the 186 was lower compression/hp as well, although this might have only been on the poverty pack. Mine ran happily on standard. Perhaps the Deluxe model had discs? Disc brake models also had different rims as a mate with discs up front found out when he wanted to borrow my spare. Might have been 14'' rims, mine had 13''.
Cheers Warren
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 15:12

Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 15:12
Warren
How can the brake shaft come off the caliper which isn't there???????? Isn't fitted to the vehicle so you said.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 15:53

Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 15:53
Goodness me do we really need to have an argument about an anecdote, ok:
1. Many if not most HR Holdens were fitted with drums all round, but AFAIK they were the first Holdens to have discs as an option but hey I could be wrong;
2. Mea culpa not calipers, brake shoes. Perhaps an operational description would be more satisfactory? The metal rod that comes out of the wheel cylinder and piston assembly that's slotted on the end and fits over the brake shoe came adrift. Perhaps the springs were in need of replacement? As a result the piston popped out and all braking was lost.
End of what was meant to be a mildly amusing story. Sorry if my lack of precision offends anyone, I'm a Chemist not a mechanic. It must be >40 years since I've worked on drum brakes, I gave away the workshop manual in 1976 when I sold the ute. All my vehicles in the last ~30 years have, thank goodness, had 4 wheel discs.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 20:22

Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 20:22
Sorry Warren, but it just didn’t make sense mechanic or not.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 11:01

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 11:01
As far as I can remember the HR [67] was a slight model upgrade from the HD [66]., the main difference being the removal of the 'kidney' scoop metal at the headlights AND the introduction of disk brake front end on the new '186' red motor over and above the '161' ... although each motor was available ...the 186 at the time could be souped up by taking it out to 192 which then became the later on the 202 of 'Kingswood' fame ..
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 13:44

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 13:44
I was chatting to a mate who had a souped up HR with twin carbs, extractors, shaved head, modified cam and the in-line floor shift to replace the three on the tree. We figured the disc brakes came with the Special and Premier models, along with such luxuries as a radio and heater, the Standard like my ute had drums all round. Wheels were still 13'' but he'd replaced his with 14s from the later models.
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Follow Up By: axle - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 16:32

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 16:32
From what I remember the X2 came along with the HR models, a more powerful version, {sports version)...a whopping developed 140bhp,..lol. or am I incorrect.
its a while back.?

Cheers Axle.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 17:30

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 17:30
I sort of remember the badge, a tick on its side with an X2. Didn't the 186 in the HR develop only 125 hp vs 130 in HK onwards, so getting a massive 140 was a reasonable jump? Thinking about the fuss that was made of the Holden/Ford 350/351 cuin motors developing 300 hp and you now see a Holden SS with a 307 kw badge. Always was a bit of a closet petrol head, but never did own or even drive a big petrol V8.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 21:54

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 21:54
The HD Holden was released in Feb 1965 and the engines were the 149 cu in, the 179 cu in., and the 179-based X2, which produced 140HP.

The X2 featured twin Stromberg carburettors, a high lift cam and extractors.

The HD Holden came with drum brakes only.

The HR was released in April 1966, and came with the above engines bored out to make 161 cu in. and 186 cu in., and the 186-based X2 now produced 145HP with a single carburettor.

The HR also came with drum brakes as standard, but disc brakes were an option that many HR buyers ordered.
Power steering was also an option on the HR, but not widely ordered.

I owned a HD (secondhand) and a HR 186 with disc brakes (bought new).
They were both good cars, but the HR was a definite improvement over the HD.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Dusta - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 17:31

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 17:31
DEAR DIARY , sometimes i like to create threads on a forum with what's in my mind at the time.
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Follow Up By: Member - shane r1 - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 21:00

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 21:00
Yes Axle probably did that, but it has caused a bit of good discussion, even if it is reminiscing the old days! Nothing wrong with that.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 08:53

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 08:53
.
Dusta, that's Axle's job on here.

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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 21:10

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 21:10
Its funny how we read something like this topic & we think back to all those times we have had brake dilemma's. having had a few over the years .
like when i don't see the sign driving in to Alligator gorge SA " DO NOT TOW " pass this point .... lol :))) smoking brake at the bottom !!
Cheers Nick b
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Reply By: Member - shane r1 - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 21:06

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 21:06
I recall, I think it was Alan Moffat, saying he would pump the GTHO’s brakes fairly often around Bathurst just to check there was something there. Of course race cars are a lot better these days.
But an old saying. “ if you race it , it will brake” (as in fail) still applies.
All part of the fun, get the adrenaline running.
Cheers
Shane

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Follow Up By: axle - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 07:57

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 07:57
Hi Shane, It was the current Shell Penske Team that struck brake troubles testing last week.

Goes to show the' best of the best', can still have the odd failure.

Cheers Axle.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 18:24

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 18:24
If you watch the incar video of the supercars, they still give the pedal a tap down any long straight....1...to make sure they still have a pedal and 2...to bring the pad against the disc.
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Follow Up By: BobR4 - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 20:05

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 20:05
Don't know these days, but with very hard driving the pads would be pushed back in hard cornering due to systems flexing, requiring a light dab before braking to restore the pedal.
Maybe still required today Gronk.
When you ask the question you want an early answer. ??
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Reply By: Member - Andrew - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 21:56

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 at 21:56
Ahhh the good old days. HT Holden 253 flat out acceleration while doing transmission testing on a trimatic, then hit the brakes at about 90 "miles" per hour to slow for the crossroads. Whoops, pedal on the floor!
Lucky that country roads were a lot quieter then. Yes a split system so the rear brakes were still working, not that you notice at that speed. Crawled back to the shop and found a front brake caliper pipe flare had split losing a bit of fluid at evey application.
Then there was the time the throttle jammed open!

Regards
A
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Follow Up By: axle - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 08:09

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 08:09
Hi Andrew

My 84 l200 Mits 4wd had a caliper piston seal blow just as I started to pull up at a T section, that wasn't nice I can tell you., and the old guy across the road(probably the age I am now) went off his nut because i flattened his front garden lol, no sense of humour I thought at the time.

Cheers Axle.
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Reply By: 9900Eagle - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 03:29

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 03:29
Axle, I drove a diesel engined tipper that had vacuum brakes before air over had brakes were used. Wasn't that a joy, once the vacuum tank ran out you needed the legs of an elephant to pull it up.
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Follow Up By: axle - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 08:14

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 08:14
That reminds me of a dodge tipper we had

Know whats its like to need elephant legs!

Haven't things changed!. lol.


Cheers Axle.

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Reply By: Mudripper - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 12:20

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 12:20
No skid marks outside means plenty of skid marks inside lol.
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Follow Up By: axle - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 13:12

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 at 13:12
Ain't That the truth!...)


Cheers
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Reply By: Gbc.. - Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 09:16

Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 09:16
I lost mine in my TC Cortina coming down the front side of Mt Tamborine in the 80's. What a feeling of helplessness that was. We just made it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 18:08

Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 18:08
Mate had just got his first job as a civil engineer and bought a brand new 1978 model Cortina 6cyl. He took we mates for a ride up to Paluma for apple pie and cream at Ivy Cottage. On the way down the very steep narrow and windey road all braking was lost. Gears and handbrake just controlled the descent. The brake fluid had boiled as it had been filled with drum brake fluid. Fitted in with the other example of the great qc, an ill fitted boot lid that channelled water into the boot.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 20:27

Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 20:27
Warren. Brake fluid is same for both drum and disc. No difference. Water in any fluid can boil though causing the failure. Accuracy is good.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 22:17

Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 at 22:17
When disc brakes were a novel thing, only some brake fluid was marked as suitable for disc brakes. Perhaps it was just marketing, but I understood at the time that it was a boiling point difference. Wouldn't think there would be too many vehicles nowadays with drums all round so all fluids would of necessity be suitable for both. Now covered by the Dot 3, 4, 5, 5.1 specs anyway.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Friday, Oct 04, 2019 at 13:38

Friday, Oct 04, 2019 at 13:38
Warren
Not uncommon in early vehicles that the reservoir sealing WASN'T, so moisture nearly always entered the brake fluid as it is hygroscopic. The trouble was if the mechanics actually did bleed the system a little bit, they often transferred the contaminated fluid to near the brakes, they being drum or disc. Therefore, the water molecules absorbed within the fluid easily boiled and then braking became a definite problem. Most people never heated the fluid to much for it to be a problem, but non existant or poor servicing of the systems created the failures during common usage.
Years ago on a Mazda 626 of a friend, who had it regularly serviced, found the brakes had problems. Despite dealer servicing the system has NEVER been looked at or flushed after 4 years of quality servicing. No brake nipples ever undone etc. I tested the fluid for boiling point and it immediately failed.
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