Monday, March 19, 2018

Modified Brake Light Switch for CSRP Kit

I upgraded the brakes on my 1966 Mustang from manual drum brakes, to power assisted front disk brakes using a kit from CSRP a couple of years ago. Since installing that kit I've had issues with the tail lights illuminating when I press on the brake pedal. I did some forum searching online and found that other people have also experienced the same issue after installing the kit from CSRP. User "Woodchuck" from posted a useful picture to explain how the brake light switch is triggered when pressing on the brake pedal. I have modified that diagram and used it below:

The above diagram shows the pedal as if you were looking at it as it sits in the car from the driver's side. It's as if you're looking at the side of the car from the driver's side door with the side of the car cut away. Numbers don't correlate to diagram--they are order of operations:

  1. The pedal and switch are pressed by the driver they move towards the firewall. 
  2. The "slack" or "play" that exists where the pedal stub (diagram part #2), and the push rod meet (diagram part #1) is shifted (yellow shaded area)
  3. The push rod moves a few millimeters into the switch.
  4. The spring is depressed 
  5. The plunger inside the spring is now pushing against the (hot) metal blade which makes contact with the brake light side of the switch (diagram part #5)
  6. The circuit is now closed and power travels to the brake lights

The Problem
The flat side of the master cylinder push-rod (part #1) was not quite thick enough to make enough contact with the switch to push the hot side of the switch into the brake light side of the switch. There could have been different ways to remedy this issue.

  1. Drill out the hole in the push rod to create more slack or play so that it traveled further when the pedal was pressed.
  2. Add some weld to the flat part of the push rod so that when it started moving into the switch it could make enough contact to trigger the brake lights.
  3. Add a shim between the push rod and the switch so that the push rod could make enough contact to trigger the brake lights (similar to #2)
The Solution
For me it seemed easiest to try solution #3 (adding a shim between the push rod and switch). I also had to cut off about 1 coil from the spring, but I had tried that first anyways before getting to the shim solution. If I had used a thinner shim I probably wouldn't have needed to cut off a coil from the spring.

Shim Front View
Shim Side View
Shim Installed on Switch
The shim was crafted out of an aluminum "L" bracket that I had sitting on a shelf in my garage. I just used a hacksaw to cut it to the length and width that I needed. I left enough length to bend both ends to wrap around the switch to ensure it didn't fall off. If I had a thinner metal or even a grinder to make the metal thinner I could have gotten by without needing to shorten the spring. I installed the switch back on the brake pedal/push rod although I don't have the plastic washers that go on either side of the switch.

Now the circuit is closed as I start pressing on the brake pedal. This is necessary for me since It takes very little pedal travel for the car to stop now that I've got the power booster installed.

I took the liberty to by the "DISC BRAKE" rubber pedal to replace my standard brake pedal since I (thought) I needed to buy a new brake light switch anyways.

New Alternator Belt

I finally found an alternator belt that works with the 3G alternator that I installed. The belt that I originally installed sheared off after only 2,000 miles because it wasn't a great fit. The employee at AutoZone near my house was kind enough to look through his inventory to find a belt that would be a better fit based on length/width rather than by year/make/model.

Ultimately I needed a 40" belt with a 38 degree angle that is 0.41" wide (10.414mm). It was part #15400 and was only $4.99.

I don't get to drive the car much these days, but in the time that I have driven it I haven't had any belt-related issues. The belt seats nicely in the pulleys.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Alternator Not Charging Battery

I recently joined the Air National Guard which means that I have the opportunity to drive the Mustang to UTA one weekend a month. The base is only about 25 minutes from my house so it makes for a decent drive. This month was odd in the sense that UTA was Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I was driving home on Saturday evening when I noticed that my battery wasn't charging. The Volt meter was reading just under 12 volts. I didn't have the time to troubleshoot on Saturday night, and since I had to leave the house early the next morning I took my wife's car. I popped the hood a few days later and started checking the various connection points between the alternator and the batter. I checked the cable on the back of the alternator, the fuse, the connection on the starter solenoid, and then the connection on the battery. I noticed that the cable was loose so I took a closer look and noticed that the connector was broken.

I went and bought a new cable from the local parts store, but before I got the chance to hook it up I noticed that the alternator belt was gone. That is most likely the cause of the non-charging battery.

I haven't taken the time to go back and buy a new belt, or hook up the new battery cable since I don't need the car running. I'll probably try to fix it before I head out of town.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Officially a Washington Resident

After years of talking about moving out of California, I was finally able to make the move with my family. Our second son is on the way in September and we were able to get out of that state in late June. It was definitely a long time coming and we've been very happy where we are in southern WA. The thing that makes the move official isn't buying property here, it's getting my original WA state license plates registered on the Mustang:

Now I won't feel like an outsider with my California plates anymore. As an additional bonus, I have permanent registration on the Mustang since I'm using an original license plate and I'll never have to pay registration fees again! 

On another note about license plates, I received a notice from the CA DMV in the mail right after I moved to notify me that my new "classic" plates that I ordered over a year ago will be ready to pick up in 8-12 weeks. Thanks CA're so efficient.

Monday, September 29, 2014

SN95 Disk Brake Kit Installed From CSRP

The good news is that my power disk brakes are now installed and working on the '66 although there was an issue with the brake lights not working with this CSRP kit. I resolved it recently in THIS BLOG POST. The bad news is that my power steering appears to have stopped working on my way to work this morning--the only steering part altered from the brake upgrade were the tie rods. I'll have to tackle that problem later.

I had picked up the Mustang from my mother-in-laws garage two night prior to the install so that I could drive it to work on Friday to get a feel for the old drum brakes one last time. It drove like a champ even though I was sitting in Friday traffic on my way home during the heat of the day in southern California. With the 24" radiator upgrade I don't think the water temp breached 190 degrees.

On Saturday morning I packed up the baby and drove over to my parents house where I have access to any tool that I could ever possibly need. My wife was worried about the baby driving in the Mustang  because of it's lack of nearly everything modern when it comes to automotive safety standards. I made sure to send her a picture when we arrived so that she knew the Mustang hadn't failed the baby.

I took out our child and passed him off to his Grammie since she would be watching him for the day while I worked on the car--he made the occasional visit outside to see what I was up to. I got the front of the car jacked up in the air, put some jack stands under the frame, and pulled the front tires off so that we could get started.

Upgrading From Drum to Disk

1. The first task was to pull off the entire front brake system. We decided to keep everything intact so all we had to do was unscrew the brake line from the master cylinder and remove the spindle from it's three points of contact:
  • Upper control arm
  • Lower control arm
  • Tie rod.
All of them were secured with a cotter pin and castle nut. We also decided to unbolt the sway bar, and adjustable strut rod from the lower control arm so that there was a little more room to get the spindle off. Using a brass hammer we were able to knock off the pressure fitted studs and get the entire front brakes off. Fortunately the kit we were using from CSRP provided new spindles so we didn't need to break down every component of the drum brakes. Below you can see all of the bolts I had to remove (with the exception of the tie rod castle nut):

2. Next I mounted the new spindle onto the upper and lower control arms torquing down the castle nuts and installing the cotter pins.

3. This kit required new tie rods which had lager studs for the castle nut to spin on to. Before removing the old tie rods, I measured from the edge of the inner sleeve to the center of the stud. This would allow me to remove the old tie rod while installing the new tie rod with the same measurements to keep the same alignment.
  • I greased the tie rod with the new zerk fitting supplied in the kit.

4. We realized that the new brake hose had a larger fitting than would work with the existing hard brake line from the master. My dad had to to buy a fitting to step down the threading size.

5. I put the strut rod, and sway bar bolts back through the lower control arm and tightened them.

6. We installed the foam pad on on the spindle, then the splash shield, then the retaining ring with the supplied bolts and lock-tight.

7. After packing the bearings and installing the inner bearing in the rotor, I slipped it onto the spindle, put on the outer bearing, washer, and nut.
  • I torqued down the main nut, spun the rotor, backed off the nut, spun the rotor, tightened down the nut, spun the rotor, etc., etc.
  • Once the bearings were seated I put on the nut cap, cotter pin, and the dust cap with a little bearing grease in it.
8. I mounted the caliper bracket to the spindle (2 bolts) and made sure to use lock-tight on the threads.

9. I dropped in the brakes pads, and then put the caliper over the top of the pads. 

10. We tightened the new brake hose to the caliper.

We moved over to the passenger side of the car and performed the same procedure as above. The real pain came when it was time to install the new power booster and master cylinder. I have the Mustang Steve clutch cable installed which didn't interfere with the power booster, but it did make for a tighter working space when it came to tightening the bolts.

Upgrading the Master Cylinder

1. My dad got under the dash on the driver's side to remove the brake pedal and brake light switch from the master cylinder push rod. 

2. I removed the lines from the current master to the distribution block mounted on the fender apron. 

3. I mounted the new power booster to the firewall (4 bolts) and installed the vacuum line off of the carburetor spacer plate.

4. Once we had the new push rod threaded on to the correct location and tightened down, my dad hooked up the brake light switch and tie rod to the brake pedal.

5. The new master cylinder was mounted to the booster (2 nuts) and now it came time to fit new lines from the master to the distribution block.

This is where I had to walk away from the project and head home because we were having friends over for dinner and I still have to shower. My dad let me take his truck home and I would bring it back the next morning. We pulled the master back off the booster so that we could get the right fittings on the new lines. The picture below is how I had to leave the car for the evening.

When I came back the next morning to drop off my dad's truck, I saw that he had fitted one of the brake lines from the master to the distribution block. I had purchased two 12" 3/8" lines from the local parts store, but he needed a line longer than 12" to travel from the front of the master (the rear brake reservoir) to the rear of the distribution block.

By the time I got back to their house after church, he had bent and installed the last brake line, but we still needed to bleed the brakes. We didn't install the proportioning valve that came with the kit because we couldn't find a proper plug to blank off the spot on the distribution block. Maybe we'll get to that another time. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

CSRP Disk Brake Kit Ordered

I decided to order a CSRP from disk brake kit last night. I know that I don't get the Mustang out much these days, but it seemed like a good idea to make sure that I have a good set of brakes on it for when I do drive it. I'm going with their kit that utilizes "1999-2004 type SN95 Mustang based 11.0" disc brake with large dual piston aluminum calipers and 1.03" thick rotors." It is the .4.2/PBU/AT kit. This is what the kit is said to include (On CSRP Website):
  • Dust shields 
  • Single piece caliper brackets 
  • Large dual piston aluminum calipers 
  • Brake pads, brake hoses 
  • Hose brackets and attachment hardware 
  • Adjustable proportioning valve with convenient mounting bracket 
  • Master cylinder with an integral residual pressure valve 
  • Master cylinder outlet adapter(s) 
  • All metal master cylinder bleeding kit 
  • Adjustable push-rod, wheel bearings 
  • Wheel seals, caliper attachment hardware 
  • Wheel attachment hardware 
  • Dust caps 
  • Performance slotted rotors with bearing races pre-installed 
  • Correct grade 8 attachment bolts 
  • Medium and high strength thread lockers 
  • High temperature wheel bearing grease 

The kit should hopefully arrive this week and if everything goes as planned, I'll have it installed on Saturday. I'm going to enlist the help of my dad with bleeding the brakes since that is one thing I've never done before. The installation instructions for this kit are supposedly the same as the ones for the .2 kit.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Show and Go 2014

It's that time of year again when all of the muscle cars from all around southern California come out to play in downtown Riverside for the annual car show for charity put on by the local Rotary Club. This was my second year participating in the event and it was a scorcher with temperatures soaring into the mid 90's! Friday night was nice because it was later in the day and my buddy John and I got a spot on the corner of 12th and Market in front of the Salted Pig which also happened to be in the shade. I stayed until around 8:30 and then drove through the cruise route to take my dad back home where I then helped my sister-in-laws boyfriend change the spark plugs on his 2000 VW Jetta. Unfortunately it requires pulling off the upper intake manifold and throttle body to change the spark plugs so it wasn't a 5 minute project.

On Saturday I rolled up around 7:20am since the event started at 8am, but the spots we had the night before were taken. Most of the good spots were taken. I ended up parking on Market at Ninth street in front of White Park. 

It was a good thing that John brought an ez-up because I would have likely melted in that heat all day without shade. Lauren brought our son down for breakfast around 9am on her way to celebrate her dad's birthday with the rest of the family. They walked down to see the car and hang out for a little bit before they left.

My dad took over 900 pictures between Friday and Saturday, and although I haven't seen them I'm sure they turned out good since he was standing in the middle of the street taking pictures of the cars as the cruised by. I'm sure he took some of mine and some of my friend John's El Camino and I'll post them once he sends me some of them.

On Saturday afternoon I ran into my old co-worker James P as he was walking down the sidewalk with some of his friends. The last time we hung out was 2 years ago in April. It was nice to see him and catch up. I took him and his girl for a ride along the cruise route and we said that we'd try to catch an Angels game together this summer.

I'm happy to report that nothing broke on the Mustang during this year's car show. The new clutch and clutch cable that I installed worked perfectly this year. Last year's snapped clutch cable on the cruise route was stressful so I'm glad that I didn't have to experience that again this year. Here's to many more smooth cruises!