<VV> [FC] Springs for "working" Rampside (Now Brakes)
RoboMan91324 at aol.com
RoboMan91324 at aol.com
Sun May 17 13:45:10 EDT 2015
What you wrote is absolutely correct. I did mention a dual cylinder in my
first post but failed to raise the red flag on brakes anywhere nearly as
high as you did. Bravo. Both on and off list, a number of people who
responded on this train bragged about their FCs' ability to carry a load uphill.
You brought to light the danger of carrying that load downhill. Yes,
skidding off a cliff is much worse than replacing and engine.
I don't know if I would call myself obsessed with the engine as the weak
link. I merely submitted a series of responses. After Hank's initial
question, the subject changed from suspension load to the engine and that is
where it stayed; until now. If it can be said that I have obsessed on the
engine, you could call me guilty of serial obsession. Over the years, I have
"obsessed" over tire safety, fans, engines most recently and, yes, brakes
among other things.
Perhaps the highest value of VV is the tips and advice on safety issues.
Your topic more than mine is a shining example of that. These topics have
great value to the "newbies" but also for those who feel they are "old
hands" at the idiosyncrasies of our Corvairs. Many do not give their brakes a
thought until it is too late.
Something implied but not discussed in your statement is the subject of
brake fade. This nasty brake issue may allow false confidence until it
raises its ugly head and then it is too late. Here is the scenario.... As you
say, brakes of the 60s are poor by today's standards. They were considered
adequate at the time but under certain conditions could fail even when
new. Most of us do not drive our vehicles as if we were in competition.
Econo-Runs don't count. :-) Without getting too far into the physics, the
braking process basically turns the kinetic energy of a vehicle in motion into
heat energy in the brakes as it slows down. You may have seen the glow of
cherry red brakes shining from beneath a Formula 1 race car on TV as it
brakes into a curve. Those brakes were designed and built with "no cost
spared" to handle the heat. For the brakes to be used repeatedly or for a
single lengthy use, they must dissipate heat from the previous braking event.
Our standard brakes are poor at this. If you have an emergency stop, the
brakes will probably work fine if they are in good condition. Several
emergency stops in quick succession are another matter. The brakes get very hot
and can fail. I was involved in a discussion some time back about
replacing our standard steel drums with aluminum drums with cooling fins. From a
fade perspective, this is a vast improvement over the stock brakes though
still not anywhere near the performance of disk brakes. The main point is
that you may go along for years with only "normal" braking duty which is
perfectly adequate. This could give you false confidence in your brakes.
Then one day, you decide to load up the old Rampside to deliver the load down
in the valley. You think, "I will be driving downhill with the load and
uphill without the load. No problem." You could consider those downhill
conditions to be an extended semi-emergency braking experience. Your
perfectly good "normal driving" experience has now become your worst nightmare. By
the way, big-rig drivers learn early in their careers to use a low gear in
their trannys on downhill grades to use "engine braking" to relieve some
heat buildup in the brakes. This is a significant concern for FCs but also
cars. It is especially the case with a fully loaded FC.
On the subject of salt air and the effects on cars over time, I completely
agree. To expand; salt air is bad for steel vehicles and components but
merely humid air is also bad. Worst of all is an environment where vehicles
are driven in the winter in a state that uses road salt. I used to live
in Minnesota where they use salt. I remember looking at an old El Camino
and the seller used the fact that it was a North Dakota vehicle as a selling
point. I asked why and he told me it was a good thing because North Dakota
used cinders instead of salt on the roads. If you are in a dry hot state,
you still need to check things out. I am in a warm state now but I own a
Canadian Corsa. I don't know how much of its life was spent in Canada.
Arizona is known to be quite dry and hot but that vehicle may have spent its
life in the Arizona mountains with a very different environment.
Bill, thanks for pointing out the larger issue. Perhaps this will
encourage a train of responses on brake issues. Hopefully.
Like previous posts, I have included this response on VV as well because
this is an issue for both cars and FCs.
In a message dated 5/17/2015 9:05:21 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
corvanatics-request at corvair.org writes:
Date: Sat, 16 May 2015 10:55:07 -0700
From: Bill & Chris Strickland <lechevrier at q.com>
To: corvanatics at corvair.org
Subject: Re: [FC] Springs for "working" Rampside
Message-ID: <5557847B.6030406 at q.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
Yes, Doc, Newbies need to be educated in the ways of their Corvair. But as
such, you haven't even mentioned the Big Safety Factor that could lead to
physical injury. Brakes.
A 1 ton load in an FC with tires so rated is a hazard with stock brakes.
And to further digress, our common usage load rating system (? & ? ton) is
grossly unrealistic and was so in the sixties.One simply can not compare
the load carrying capacity of a Corvair truck to that of a 1 ton dual wheeled
truck of conventional manufacture, which in the sixties, also had woefully
But that was then, and this is now. Those 9,000 pound 1 ton diesel
behemoths have rather spectacular brakes, and not just for their size. Since this
is no longer the sixties, things have changed, especially highways and
speed limits. Very few Corvairs, and other cars of the sixties that are being
driven in regular usage still have their original engines. It's not a big
deal to expect that any replacement engine in an FC is an upgrade to the
original, so most FC's already have that upgraded power plant.
What isn't a somewhat automatic upgrade is the brakes, which weren't
really good back when it was 55 mph speeds, let alone what folks are driving on
the freeways these days. And if you want to talk loads", it gets much worse
-- the engine will still work, but the brakes won't!
And, I think, Doc lives in Florida, a small peninsula surrounded by salt
water. I would think that undercarriage inspection (and perhaps testing and
repair) would be common place for a Floridian FC, a unibody FC without a
heavy steel frame under it, and a good practice in general for any old FC,
and they are all "old".
Doc seems obsessed with the engine, but to put an FC in regular service,
it seems to me there are any number of other things to obsess over before
the engine. If the engine blows up, so what -- quite likely there were no
lives lost. But brakes, frame, or other structural failure, even inadequate
defrosters can lead to unexpected consequences. Without power brakes and
power steering, a Corvair is fairly immune to drastic consequences related
to engine failures (fire would be an exception), whereas loss of vehicle
control due to loosing a rear axle because of bearing failure would be a far
more serious and potentially dangerous situation. If an engine blows, you
call for a tow, and pay the man - happened to one of the Ultra owners on our
NW Econo-Run a couple years ago - stuff happens, and like a good Boy Scout,
"Be Prepared". No ambulance needed.
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