With all of the brake parts rebuilt and ready to be assembled, we are getting close to test-driving the '41 LeBaron around the block. While the body is still in primer, and having no windows or interior, it will still be fun putting our restored chassis to the test before going on to the finished body work.
The brake system on the '41 Packard Super 8 and Custom 8 is single eccentric-anchor, self-energizing and hydraulic. The Super 8 Model 1903, 1906 has two shoe adjustments and the Custom 8 Model 1904-5, 7 & 8 (we have a 1907) has three shoe adjustments. Except for the adjustment difference in the two series, everything else is the same.
To assemble the front brakes, we connected the wheel cylinders with two bolts to the backing plate, crimped the push rods back into the shoes, placed the push rods into each wheel cylinder and attached the shoes with the hold down springs, while holding the pin to prevent it from turning. We placed the adjuster screw into position and replaced the bottom spring to keep it in place, then put the top cover washer into place and replaced the top two springs and side spring. Now with the backing plate assembled, we put the inner dust cover into position and set the entire plate in position onto the car.
We turned the steering knuckle into position to slide the four bolts through the plate, the spindle and the knuckle, then tightened the castle nuts and installed the cotter pin. We packed the wheel bearings, placed the inner bearing in the drum and installed our new seal. We tried one of the new crossover numbers but it didn't work. We found the CR 17599 won't fit, but the National #5827 fits perfectly. Now we slid the drum onto the spindle and put the outer bearing on the spindle, adjusted the retaining nut, locking washer and locking nut, and installed the cotter pin. To finish, we tapped the dust cover on with a rubber mallet.
We installed the rear brakes, put on the newly-rebuilt master cylinder and bled the system (this can be done by manually pumping the brake pedal or by using a special vacuum pump. We will cover this in a future article.) The rear brakes are the same as the front, with the exception of the emergency brake cable which fastens to the left rear secondary shoe. We lubed the cable with penetrating oil until it worked freely. To adjust the emergency brake cable, we pulled the hand brake lever back, ran the release stop into the first notch, pulled the brake cable toward the cross lever to remove all slack, adjusted the clevises so that pin "A" could be easily inserted, locked the clevis jam nuts and installed new cotter pins, then released the hand brake. Emergency brake adjustment should be done after all of the brakes are adjusted.
On our 3-adjustment system, we loosened the shoe anchor nut, placed a .010 feeler gauge in the adjustment hole in the front drum which was turned about one and a half inches from the top of the secondary (rear) lining, and turned the anchor in the direction of the rotation of the wheel until the feeler gauge was snug. This was repeated at "secondary" eccentric, with the feeler gauge this time in the middle of the shoe. We rotated the drum to adjust the primary side by adjusting the screw adjuster until the primary shoe had .010 clearance between the shoe and the drum. (It is best to adjust the eccentrics a little at a time.) When we tested our brake pedal travel, it had 1/2" free travel before engaging the master cylinder. (The book calls for 1/4" to 1/2", so ours was in tolerance.) In last month's article, we stated that the brake linings on the '41 Super 8s were short shoe (primary) and long shoe (secondary). Further research has shown that to be true on the Super 8, but the Custom Super 8 had the primary and secondary linings the same length. Super 8 Model 1903-06, primary shoe length is 2" x 11 1/2", and secondary 2" x 13". Models 1904-5-7-8 and 1903A Custom Super 8s primary are 2 1/4" x 13" and secondary are 2 1/4" x 13". The color of the anchor springs "F" for the primary shoe is aluminum and the secondary "G" is yellow.
Now the only thing left to complete on our brake and suspension system was to finish assembly of our front lever shocks.
Having already disassembled and cleaned our shocks, we began to assemble them, using shock oil as an assembly lubricant. We replaced the check valves in both sides of the piston, making sure the hardened valve was towards the seat (see August, 2003 SW, for shock disassembly). We placed the spring in and secured it with a C-clip, then slid the piston into the shock body in the proper direction (X & Y--this is marked), and replaced the cam lever and shim, and pressed the splined shaft back in, being careful not to press the shaft too far or damage could occur, as it could on removal also. Using a new gasket, we inserted the freeze plug, then reinstalled the relief valve into the main body and bolted the shock body onto the car. We filled the shock with shock oil (light oil for a soft ride; heavy oil for stiffer ride. We used light.) We didn't hook up the arm yet, to allow us to bleed the shock. We pumped the shock arm up and down with the filler plug out, expelling the air. As we continued this, we felt resistance coming into the arm as the shock fluid pumped up. We topped up the fluid through the filler plug hole until it was even with the bottom, and put in the plug. When we hooked up the arm, no leaks and good resistance! We plan a test drive next month. Keep 'em driving!