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54' pacific brakes??
#1
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FloridaK5
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Had to fix the starter, once it was put back in weirdest thing is now I have no brakes?? Coincidence?? My question she has power brakes which the pedal goes to the floor. No fluid anywhere that I see that has leaked out so do I have to pull it from under the car? It looks like the master cylinder is underneath the steering ? I have never had to pull it out so I am curious as to the most efficient way to do it .. Thanks in advance..

Posted on: 2016/7/22 21:11
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Re: 54' pacific brakes??
#2
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Ozstatman
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G'day FloridaK5,
to PackardInfo. I'm unable to offer any advice on your brakes, not being experienced with BTV's although I'm sure others will be able to advise, but invite you to include your '54 Pacific in the Packard Owner's Registry.

Posted on: 2016/7/22 21:42
Mal
/o[]o\
====

Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

1938 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

1941 One-Twenty Club Coupe - SOLD

1948 Super Eight Limo, chassis RHD - SOLD

1950 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

What's this?
Put your Packard in the Packard Vehicle Registry!
Here's how!
Any questions - PM or email me at ozstatman@gmail.com
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Re: 54' pacific brakes??
#3
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HH56
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You can take the cap off the reservoir and check the fluid level but it is a bit of a reach since you almost have to crawl in to access it. The cap should be visible just to the left of but almost under the steering column. Fluid level should be just below the bottom of opening.

If fluid is low or gone, a few possibilities. One would be an obvious leak which you should be able to see at a tube or connection or running down the back of a wheel. Another is a seal has failed between the hydraulic and vacuum sections and vacuum has sucked the fluid into the power side of the unit. You didn't mention how long the car had been sitting or if you had been driving and had good brakes before the starter failed but if the car has been idle for a long period another possibility is the fluid just evaporated or dried up.

If the unit has fluid, another possibility of pedal going to the floor is the compensator valve is failing to seat. Debris and congealed or hardened chunks in the fluid or sometimes mechanical issues can possibly prevent the valve from closing. That has been felt by many to be the usual cause of sudden total brake failure with the Treadlevacs. Because it can work and fail then work again many feel it is how the unit got the dubious reputation of rolls thru one corner but stops at the next.

At any rate, if it has been sitting for a period of time the brake unit should be examined and either exchanged with a rebuilt unit or rebuilt by a competent rebuilder -- preferably someone who is familiar with the quirks and problem areas of the unit. The BTV is a fairly simple unit but works on a different principle than ordinary modern piston type masters. The ram seal and compensator valve are the only things that contains the hydraulic pressure so pedal doesn't go to the floor. The unit is very unforgiving of dried or cracked rubber and a few other mechanical details if those items are skipped over during a rebuild.

As far as taking the unit out of the car, check out these two service counselors.
http://www.packardinfo.com/xoops/html/downloads/SC/SC-VOL26NO3.pdf That article shows an already installed unit and should provide the information you need. For more detail but not as pertinent on your car, the other article shows how to retrofit the unit in a car having manual brakes.
http://www.packardinfo.com/xoops/html/downloads/SC/SC-VOL26NO5.pdf

Photos in the articles are of a 52 unit so those show an extra hose and an external breather your unit does not have. Except for the specific steps related to the breather, the removal and installation procedure is identical on your 54.

EDIT: Fred Kanter has posted a reply and I would surely suggest you take advantage of his offer on the rebuild. It would really be nice to find a definitive cause for the issue.

Posted on: 2016/7/22 21:43
Howard
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Re: 54' pacific brakes??
#4
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fredkanter
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My experience since 1962 with Packard and other Treadle vacs has never turned up a single instance of a non-seating valve. I believe that many can't properly pinpoint the reason for failure and thus figure it's the valve. Fluid leaking by the piston may lead to failure and when it takes the engineered path back to the reservoir "magically" the brakes work again.

Some think it is because the hair thin steel valve spring has worn out or rusted. Not possible to rust, it's stainless steel. Worn out??, never seen it in the 100's of units we've processed.



Some rebuilders block this path with silicone thus defeating an important engineered safety design.

Thje most common reason for failure is fluid leaking by the piston seals and getting sucked into the vacuum canister

Why do the units fail, for the same reason an engine fails if the oil is not changed in 20 years. The fluid gets contaminated with water or congeals into a crystal-like substnace.

Failure is mostly due to lack of maintenance. When was the last time the fluid was flushed in your Pacific.

We will extend the same offer we've been for 3 years with no takers. Send us your unit and we'll rebiuild it for free, we want to do a failure analysis on it.

Posted on: 2016/7/22 22:53
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Re: 54' pacific brakes??
#5
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Ozstatman
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"We will extend the same offer we've been for 3 years with no takers. Send us your unit and we'll rebuild it for free...."

A great offer Fred, I'm surprised no one has taken it up!

Posted on: 2016/7/22 23:12
Mal
/o[]o\
====

Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

1938 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

1941 One-Twenty Club Coupe - SOLD

1948 Super Eight Limo, chassis RHD - SOLD

1950 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

What's this?
Put your Packard in the Packard Vehicle Registry!
Here's how!
Any questions - PM or email me at ozstatman@gmail.com
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Re: 54' pacific brakes??
#6
Just popping in
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FloridaK5
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I appreciate the information I am going to take a look at it tomorrow seems like a crazy place to put a reservoir where you can hardly even get to it ?? Depending on what I find tomorrow I may take you up on your offer Fred if you could send me some information on where to send it .

Posted on: 2016/7/23 23:00
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Re: 54' pacific brakes??
#7
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fredkanter
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In the era that this Packard was made service work was performed by the dealer, not the owner. I've owned and worked on Packards since 1960 and never had any difficulty doing any service work myself, access to fluid reservoir included. No it's not the most convenient but when the chassis series started in 1951 the Bendix Treadle Vac was not offered on any automobile, it was "adapted" to Packards not designed in from the beginning.

Many power brake units of many designs were installed in many makes, the design of Packards left only one location for the unit. Packard did not put it there for the discomfort of all.

Posted on: 2016/7/24 1:04
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Re: 54' pacific brakes??
#8
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DavidPackard
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I hate to admit this, but one day my BTV equipped '54 Cavalier brakes became almost non-existent. Poor maintenance on my part was the cause. Not only was the fluid level extremely low the brake adjustment was far from being correct. Filling the reservoir and adjusting the brake shoes on all four wheels corrected the poor brake condition. It's been about two years since my little episode of both feet on the brake pedal, and there have been no problems since. I suspect lack of maintenance and a rush to condemn has given the BTV sub-system a bad name. While the master cylinder reservoir cap can be reached from above (with lots of extensions on the socket), I find it easier to add fluid with the car elevated. Just be sure to clean the area before removing the cap. For starters I would inspect and correct the fluid level followed by adjusting the shoes on all four wheels, and while the car 'in the air' I would also bleed the system.
Now for a bit more of the story: As a teen I owned a '55 Chevy and as this was my first car I purchased a 'GM approved' shop manual to have a bit of good technical advice when I was learning about cars. While researching my '54 Packard situation I pulled out the Chevy manual, and much to my surprise in the power brake section was a BTV unit. Unlike the Packard application the Chevy mounted the entire unit horizontally high of the fire wall, and used a 'suspended' pedal assembly. In approximately 1/2 of the manual illustrations there is a reservoir cover shown that restored the Chevy reservoir service cap to the horizontal. I have also seen 'toe board mounted' GM BTV reservoir covers with a long 'filler tube' with a dipstick built into the cap. From this I've concluded the BTV was designed to be quite adaptable to either 'fire wall' mounted, or below the toe board mounting, and if mounted low some manufactures made maintenance a bit easier by installing a filler tube. I'm not sure that a '3 on the tree' equipped car could use the GM filler tube, but any design that makes servicing the master cylinder a bit easier would be beneficial.
dp

Posted on: 2016/7/24 11:46
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Re: 54' pacific brakes??
#9
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HH56
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A remote reservoir would be the answer. No idea when they were first introduced but even if it was years after a particular car I am sure the dealer would have been glad to sell and install one if an owner wanted it and as long as it would work on the car.

I still think as simple as it is repros would be a nice project for a region or vendor. It would work on multiple years and would be much more appropriate than some of the modern plastic or polished aluminum kits available now. The cap for some applications might be an issue but Instead of making new caps for the different masters maybe do an exchange or devise instructions to drill and modify an existing or readily available cap.

Attach file:



jpg  (114.48 KB)
209_5794f902933a9.jpg 710X692 px

Posted on: 2016/7/24 12:21
Howard
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Re: 54' pacific brakes??
#10
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fredkanter
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Believe the external reservoir was introduced in 55-56.
The reason a glass jar is used is so you can see the level without opening the jar.

Posted on: 2016/7/24 14:37
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