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    Roller track cracked ears,

    cracked ears finally,
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    Just in case, (depending on where ordered), please note that Mr. Bratton mentions in his Catalog that some of these roller tracks offered by others are made with soft metal, may not be heat-treated and may wear quickly.

    In my opinion, past wear on these roller tracks contributed to the ever so many complaints about Model A mechanical brakes years ago.

    Years ago one could hear quite often: "Yes, I am still driving my old Model A" ..... followed by a new car owner's typical response, "And how are your brakes?"


      Were they cracked when you were centering shoes?


        Never mind, found your other post


          I usually weld up the originals and grind down. There is always enough original track there to act as a template

          To me this is the single biggest weakness of the mechanical brake setup. If you watch the motion carefully when you get done, no matter the method, you will see most of the time the rollers do not roll as they are claimed, but slide.

          Not much can be done about that, but I grease'em up real good with that heavy red grease Tom likes


            I find the same thing as Dave, and I also weld and grind. These never were meant to be bent and never should be bent, and that's why they now have cracks. Since they are off, just install new ones. I think it's been stated somewhere to bend them, but even if they could be bent, the riding surfaces between the two would no longer be parallel.


              I have never re-shoed a Model A, guess I am in for a rude awaking.


              • JDupuis
                JDupuis commented
                Editing a comment
                It's not that bad.
                I quite enjoy the rebuild process. Jeff

              It takes a certain mindset. And when you are done, if done correctly, it will all outlast you by decades


                Thanks Tom & everybody, That just goes with my gut feeling. You just cannot bend metal without doing damage. The car did not have original roller tracks when I got it. So now I have to ask, "how do you center the shoes when re doing the brakes?"


                  I think the dealers sell a centering checking tool. Flathead Ted sells pins with 4 flat sides to adjust the height, if they need to be moved.


                    FWIW Past experiences:

                    Appears it is always a good thing that everybody does not think alike, either accurately and/or inaccurately, and/or either inside or outside the box; hence, when a delicate "Life Saving" Model A brake question is asked, and several different responses are presented, one can choose from multiple choice answers and/or solutions.

                    A. Ford's mechanical engineers very precisely set the horizontal surfaces of both sides of front roller tracks at a perpendicular vertical distance of 4.620" below the center of the front backing plates as illustrated on their Shop Drawings. (Re: message 05-04-2017-12:17 pm, by Mr. Brent; also Mr. Marco's August 20,1998 12:53:19 Ahooga message, (A Little Trivia), who mentioned this dimension as approximately 4.625" or 5/8"; however, in using either dimension, one is well within .005" of important vertical brake shoe centering.) Thanks to Mr. Brent & Mr. Marco!

                    B. Every time these Model A roller track rivets were and/or are presently removed for replacing worn tracks, the former backing plate rivet holes were and/or are enlarged as new rivets were installed and hammered; hence, centering new rivets in these enlarged rivet holes was and still is a challenge to try to maintain these 4.620" exact and delicate roller track dimensions.

                    C. The front backing plate on my Town Sedan had elliptical off-centered rivet holes after the old rivets were removed 12 years ago.

                    D. I made a manila folder/wood template device to fit inside the centered front axle hole in the backing plate which also indicated this precise 4.620" vertical dimension on both sides of the track.

                    E. Next, on one backing plate, I hammered the rivets a little at a time while adjusting both sides of this vertical dimension of the movable roller tracks while using an adjustable wrench ...... the wrench was allowed to move and adjust this track, but did not bend the track.

                    F. On the other backing plate I filled the backing plate rivet holes with weld, used a centering punch, (and template), to locate a new roller track rivet holes, and drilled new rivet holes positioned to maintain this 4.620" roller track perpendicular dimension.

                    G. Used Bratton's no.2420 heat treated tracks with Bratton's no. 2870 floaters which helps to center brake shoes in the horizontal direction. (Ford provided a similar device on rear brakes).

                    H. Used Bratton's no.2695 centering tool to further center and fine tune bonded brake bands in cast iron drums provided by Mr. Mel Gross.

                    I. Also, if interested, "Permatex" makes a reliable brake caliper lubricant, regular and synthetic that really sticks to metal after several thousand miles of use.

                    J. To share Model A shopping, (LOL), I bought my rear brake parts from Steve at Bert's ..... no problems either.

                    K. Just hope this helps to do it once with a roller track installation plan.


                      Might add that in above reply no.11, (re: Mr. Marco), he noted 20 years ago that before 1931 soft, front metal tracks were installed and milled to this exact 4.625" dimension; however, I'm guessing that possibly because of excess later roller track wear, in 1931, heated treated tracks were provided on new Fords, and also provided to dealers for replacing worn, non-heat-treated tracks.

                      Could be that worn, softer roller tracks on Model A's prior to 1931 may have been replaced.

                      And, also thanks to Mr. Bratton for being aware of this Model A track wear problem and his sincere caring and providing new no.2420 "heat treated" tracks made from exact Ford prints.


                        HL exactly where is this dimension referenced to again? The actual center of the hole in the backing plate? That is gonna be hard to do unless the plate is off. Even then finding the center of such a large hole won't be easy

                        Is there a pix somewhere you can link to?


                          Here is a picture, I think Brent posted this.

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                            OK, if the 4 mounting holes are equidistant then the intersection of the centers of those holes will define the center of the larger hole


                              Roller Track Centering Wood Jig:

                              A. Reply No. 14 above shows one (1) of two (2) drawings in Mr. Brent's [05-04-2017-12:17 P.M.] message on. (This photo copy is difficult to read so he kindly provided the 4.620" dimension in his written message.)

                              B. I removed the front wheel backing plate, and measured the diameter of the large front axle's hole in this backing plate with an adjustable metal calipers, with lower caliper ends pointing outward. (A compass with a very sharp pencil point or set of drafting dividers with two (2) sharp steel points could also be used.)

                              C. From this inner backing plate hole's diameter, I found the 1/2 radius and drew a circle with this measured diameter on a manila folder with a compass with a very sharp pencil point.

                              D. Then I cut the manila folder with the measured diameter, and glued it to a piece of 2" nominal soft, clear white pine, after marking the center of the circle with a sharp pencil.

                              E. Next rough cut out the wood disc on a band saw, and carefully finished the disc in a vise with a wood rasp and sand paper to fit snugly in the backing plate

                              F. Used a drill press to drill a (90) degree hole in the marked center of the wood disc, and provided this hole for a somewhat tight finishing nail.

                              G. In an approximately 2" x 2" x 7" long nominal clear white pine, with a drill press I drilled two (2) similar finishing holes, at 4.620" (closed to 4-5/8") apart.

                              H. Provided a similar nail hole through one end of the 2 x 2 and same diameter nail hole through the other end, and made sure these (2) nails were 4.620" apart, at tops and bottoms.

                              I. Fifty (50) years ago, I drilled three (3) holes in a one (1) cylinder engine's cast iron flywheel for a wide 12" diameter flat belt pulley with three (3) outer mounting holes ...... it was easier in that it involved one (1) piece of wood with just two (2) sharp nails.


                                HL and everybody, you are way over my pay grade. I am going to try a farmers fix with parts I have on hand. !. First for the adjuster I am going to use the sliding wedge from flathead ted's kit. That should allow the top of the shoes to center. 2. Next I am going to use Brattons adjustable wedge floater system which should allow the lower part of the shoes to center when the brakes are applied. I have new roller tracks and pins from Brattens. Can I get the rivits hot enough with a propane torch to do the job right??


                                  "Can I get the rivets hot enough with a propane torch to do the job right?"

                                  Probably a few different opinions on this subject; however, a propane torch always worked for me with absolutely no problems.

                                  Of utmost importance in my opinion is to have a very sturdy anvil or similar backup when hitting the top of the rivet.