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1954 Deluxe Clipper power brake to regular brake?
#1
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Richard France
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I was wondering, I have power brakes on my 54 clippers, the booster and master cylinder are shot, they are original factory ones, can I replace them with a regular non power master cylinder, and do away with the booster? How much trouble is it? What do I need to replace or add? This car has been nothing but a headache and is now my only vehicle. I can't spend a fortune on it right now to make it show quality, just road worthy. If I can switch it over, someone can have my booster and master cylinder if they need it or want to rebuild it for them selves. Thanks

Posted on: 2015/10/7 18:12
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Re: 1954 Deluxe Clipper power brake to regular brake?
#2
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HH56
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It can be done but the job is not an easy "take the BTV power booster out and put in a manual" operation. The 51-4 manual master mounts to the frame rail just behind the steering box so you will need to change the suspended power pedal. The as built Packard suspended pedal does not have the geometry or, IMO, strength for a manual operation. IMO, to get a safe manual brake operation you will need to install the floor pedal and all the mounting hardware and linkage. The manual needs a much higher pedal ratio so you need that floor setup to get the proper 6 or 7:1 ratio. The plumbing needs to re-route a bit too.

Documentation is marginal so best approach for a drop in manual install would be a parts car where you can see the layout and remove the small pieces yourself or else finding someone who has removed a complete system and has kept all the parts intact for sale. Without a parts car or compete system the easiest alternative for a manual system would be a universal floor mount system from one of the brake suppliers like ABS or MasterPower Brake. That approach could look almost stock with the proper pedal top and would work but would probably need some custom manufacturing, fitting and welding in of brackets and supports.

Unless you can do all the fabricating and mounting yourself I think you will be talking some serious money. Even if you do the fabrication yourself, by the time you get the parts it might be less expensive to do an exchange BTV or have yours rebuilt by a reputable rebuilder.

Another alternative would be to change the BTV to a modern booster and master. That has been done by several and is almost drop in as far as mounting the booster. The plumbing changes a bit since most have been using the dual masters but rerouting the tubing is fairly easy.. Downside is the pedal ratio a modern power system needs is approx 4:1 so is still different than the BTVs 1:1. The pedal has to be relocated and modified some. That change is visible and obvious for those wanting a stock look and it also changes the position and feel of the pedal slightly.

If you want to investigate that approach there are several threads here on site where the MasterPower Brake booster and cylinder has been used. Price for the MPB booster and cylinder is probably about the same as a BTV exchange or rebuild -- maybe slightly less. Pedal mod is not expensive unless you have to pay someone to cut and build up a bracket and new rod attachment.

Posted on: 2015/10/7 19:32
Howard
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Re: 1954 Deluxe Clipper power brake to regular brake?
#3
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Richard France
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Wow. That's a lot more work than I was thinking of. I appreciate all the information. Very knowledgeable and professional. I was thinking I could by pass the booster somehow. I really don't have weeks to wait on rebuilding everything. My wife got the other car in our divorce. I got both kids and the Packard. Go figure. The kids and I love the car, but I need to fix it or sell it and get something dependable. Lol. Thank you for the information.

Posted on: 2015/10/7 20:15
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Re: 1954 Deluxe Clipper power brake to regular brake?
#4
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JWL
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As HH56 posts, the easiest way would be to install a complete outfit from another Packard. Check with Ross Miller who posts on this site. He may have a surplus brake outfit. He did this kind of conversion on my 55 Clipper and it worked out great.

(o{}o)

Posted on: 2015/10/7 21:39
We move toward
And make happen
What occupies our mind... (W. Scherer)
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Re: 1954 Deluxe Clipper power brake to regular brake?
#5
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Richard France
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Ok. Will check him out. Thanks to all for the great information.

Posted on: 2015/10/7 22:09
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Re: 1954 Deluxe Clipper power brake to regular brake?
#6
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Richard France
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How hard is it to get a rebuild kit and rebuild it myself? Looks simple enough, but every time I say that it ends up being more than I bargained for.

Posted on: 2015/10/8 11:43
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Re: 1954 Deluxe Clipper power brake to regular brake?
#7
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HH56
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The actual mechanical part of a rebuild is not difficult but you really need to be a stickler for detail and cleanliness in several parts of the system. Not recognizing potential issues at certain spots is most of the problem with home done rebuilds. If you are careful then there is no reason you could not do a rebuild. Many here have done their own.

Since the rebuild kit only contains primarily soft parts such as gaskets, seals and the rubber for the hydraulic section, the issue becomes the overall condition of the unit and recognizing when something is not up to standard. A scored part, corroded sealing surface, misguided earlier rebuilds and things like that make a huge impact that needs to corrected. Additionally, If there is a problem in the vacuum piston portion the rebuild kit does not offer anything. Any parts needed in that section has to be made or found NOS or installed by a rebuilder who has had parts re mfg'd but does not offer them for sale to others.

The BTV is a different animal compared to modern systems. On modern systems the fluid is contained ahead of a short stroke large diameter piston and is pushed to the wheels. While it is possible to have sudden issues with the piston sealing, it is less likely and there is usually a soft feel or warning something needs checking.

On a BTV the fluid is contained in an enclosed space and is displaced to the wheels by action of a long stroke ram taking up space that is filled with fluid. The ram never touches the cylinder walls and the fluid having nowhere to go is forced out to the wheels. Unfortunately, that fluid has to be contained in the enclosed space so all the pressure is taken by a blob of rubber called the compensator valve or by the ram seal itself. The compensator valve is usually where most problems occur. It has to seal absolutely but a bit of floating debris such as congealed or crystallized fluid can lodge on its surface or a weak spring doesn't lift and tilt it to close and you instantly create a no seal condition. The ram seal can be compromised by a score on the ram or corroded edge of the bore. Aside from that, there are also conditions in other seals or parts that can allow the fluid to be sucked into the vacuum side with the resulting loss of brakes.

Properly rebuilt they are reliable and many other car mfgs used them for several years. Knowing when something is wrong or marginal in those critical areas comes by experience. A failure anywhere in the hydraulic side is usually without warning and is a complete brake loss. The expertise part in knowing where and what to look for is the main reason for recommending the units be done by a competent rebuilder. Stop at one corner and not the next is a sad motto several on the forum have come to appreciate.

Posted on: 2015/10/8 12:37
Howard
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