Them’s the Brakes… | The Jalopy Journal The Jalopy Journal


Them’s the Brakes…

One more part to the story from the Reliability Run from last week. You might remember that I mentioned that we had “two cars with partial brake failures (one front, one back)”, which should by all accounts end your day being hoisted on a rollback, right? Let’s be honest: We’re all rolling the dice by running a single-circuit master cylinder on our hot rods, and we double down on that risk by having no parking brake for an emergency stop either.

Picture the scene… Your A-V8 roadster is on a 350 mile reliability run with tons of curving roads when suddenly you’ve got one front brake dragging, getting red hot, and on the verge of locking up.  Now imagine you’ve only got hand tools and couple of friends to help you. That’s exactly what happened to my buddy on this run. Did I mention ZERO cell service out on a remote two-lane back road, so we had no chance of calling for a tow? After trying the obvious stuff to fix it, our only option in this scenario is to leave the car behind, or repair it with what you have on hand. And here’s where you have to make that call and fire up your shade tree mechanic skills. The answer in this case was Vice grips, a few coins, and some zip ties. Sure it meant twitchy 3-wheeled brakes, but it also mean getting the can down the hill and to a local shop for a proper wheel cylinder and brake line repair. Bonus points that this all happened near Fort Bragg, home of Red’s Headers, and Red himself helped get the car back on the road!


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