<VV> power brakes vs manual
Ray R. (aka Grymm)
vairguy at echoes.net
Sun Jun 13 02:29:42 EDT 2010
> those archaic drums had worked pretty well since neither of my parents -
> their hot-rodder son had noticed the lack of assist!
I have to say, I don't understand all the fuss about power brakes (and to a
great extent disc brakes) myself. I'll start short and simple.... and with
I have never driven a Corvair that I could not easily lock the brakes up
on.... or even accidentally lock the brakes on for that matter. Several of
my girlfriends have driven my Corvairs on a regular basis over the past 9
years.... none of them weighed more than 120 pounds and ALL OF THEM
accidentally locked the brakes up the first few times when I had them
practice "emergency" stops in empty parking lots. I have a great photo of
the result of one of them locking up the brakes when a deer ran out in front
of her despite her practice... take a look. Note the car was unbelievably
not hurt hardly at all, one suspension arm got bent so we changed it out..
and a few light scratches were made in the clearcoat.
Now I realize the Corvair is not the same as heavier large cars... but my
1968 Corvette also had no power brakes and I could easily lock the brakes up
at will (or by accident in a panic).... admittedly I've never driven a
"large" car with manual brakes.
Manual brakes may take more pressure at the pedal, but I think anyone
(except maybe some patients from the geriatrics ward) could very easily
exceed the pressure needed... and I find that manual brakes have a much
better feel.... lots of power assisted brakes have a squishy feel or even
in the case of many 80's GM products have what I find to be a very
noticeable delay that drives me crazy. I see no benefit whatsoever in power
brakes on any small or mid size car... and I think its very likely I'd feel
the same about large cars if I got a chance to try one out.
Now on the other hand... antilock brakes are the most wonderful safety
feature I can imagine.... I consider myself a very experienced driver (I
have well over 500,000 miles on me at age 30) and even I worry that I might
screw up in an emergency and lock the brakes up.. especially in rain or
other slick conditions. Less experienced or less knowledgeable drivers
benefit even more.
Disc brakes vs. Drums? I only see disc brakes as important on a car that
will be driven fast a lot (raced or whatever). They do also have the added
benefit of drying more or less instantly but I have only been let down by
drum brakes once in my life... because I was driving way too fast... and I
was let down by discs the same way once. The main benefit of discs is they
are less prone to fade... they can stop or slow down the car a lot more in a
shorter period of time... but how often does this come into play on an
average road car? Probably only when an aggressive driver or teenager is
behind the wheel. I had a 70 Chevelle with four wheel drums (though they
were power) and never had any complaint whatsoever... the brakes had
excellent feel and provided more braking force than I could ever use (though
I'm sure aggressive driving could overheat them).
I'm perfectly happy with my factory manual drums, but I don't race.
Ray "Grymm" Rodriguez III
Lake Ariel, PA
66' Corsa 140/4 coupe
65' Corsa 140/4 coupe (under construction and almost done!)
63' Monza PG coupe (next project)
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