Brake uprade - safety

The 4A, 4AB, 4AC, 4AD cars, including the SM 1500 Roadster and SMX
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Brake uprade - safety

Postby tufsinger » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:21 pm


Thanks for the info on the grounding. I received the car and it is a beauty (and is positive ground). Needs a simple tune-up and should run beautifully....except for the braking. I own a good number of classic cars (this is my first British) and with each one that was not a complete numbers-matching original I've upgraded the brakes to a modern system - minimum dual-bowl master cylinder and typically a front disc-brake conversion with booster.

Room being tight and this car being mostly original, I wouldn't even consider any heavy modifications (engine, electrical, etc.); however I do plan on driving it regularly. As many of you have said in the forum "the braking system is great for a vintage car of that period." On that statement I agree. Having many classics I also know that means "the braking system is terrible and potentially dangerous on modern roads with modern cars."

Anyone have information on disc-brake conversions? I'd assume it would need to include converting the rears to hydraulic versus mechanical. Maybe use a Triumph or MG kit for the front.

Thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

Many thanks

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Re: Brake uprade - safety

Postby bitsobrits » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:33 am

I agree that the stock brakes leave much to be desired, even after I have completely rebuilt my brakes, and believe they are working as good as can be expected (adjusting the mechanical rear brakes was a lesson in patience!).

A unproven conjecture on my part is that MGB uprights (spindles to some) with their attendant disc brakes might be a bolt-on fit. To that end I've obtained a used set of MGB uprights and dimensions look very close. I have yet to do a trial install to determine what the resultant camber is, and therefore determine what other modifications would be required.

Haven't looked into the rear brakes yet, but was thinking about fitting an early MGB axle as well, to get the 3.9 ratio, which should work well with the 15" wire wheels I have fitted.
Steve W
Singer 4ADT

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Re: Brake uprade - safety

Postby mikeyr » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:54 pm

that has been done before. I once saw a 4AD with MGB parts on it. The owner at the time said it was a lot more work than he initially believed it would and he thought about giving up several times but said now that it was done, it was worth the work. Unfortunately I can't give you more info than that, it was 15-20 years ago at a random car show I went to. I did take pictures but it was pre-digital days for me so not sure i could even find them now. The car also had a different rear axle from a British car but not a MGB. I remember him joking it would have easier to cut the body off the MGB and put the Singer body on it, car looked great and was well done I am sure it is still around.
Mike Rambour. Site Administrator
1953 Singer 4ADT (sold), 1934 Singer 9 Le Mans, 1934 Singer 1 1/2 4-Seater Sports, 2009 BMW K1300GT

Don Adams
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Re: Brake uprade - safety

Postby Don Adams » Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:27 pm

If you want better brakes on an original antique car get the softer higher friction brake linings. They won't last as long as the newer hard linings but will really stop your car, and your car is still a historically correct piece of history. We put "feather touch" linings in a pickup years ago and it felt like power brakes. I use soft woven linings in my model A Ford and they work very well and have never worn down. I have the long lasting newer hard linings in my 1933 Chevy and I run red lights. How many miles do you intend to put on your car?


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Re: Brake uprade - safety

Postby tufsinger » Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:16 pm

Thanks for the info. The master cylinder is shot so need to pull and rebuild it - leaking pretty badly. The rear driver-side union was welded at the backing-plate. Was able to loosen it, now just need to re-thread it and reconnect everything.

I've inquired at a local shop who did my Mustang and Willy's conversions. They may be willing to take on the challenge of this conversion, but I think I'll try replacing the shoes first.

Any other suggestions and help is always greatly appreciated.

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Re: Brake uprade - safety

Postby bmlindbert » Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:04 pm

Just a suggestion. I shipped my Master Cyl to Apple Hydraulics and they completely rebuilt it including boring it and placing a brass sleeve in the bore to eliminate future moisture corrosion. They can be reached at 631-369-9515.

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