Work on our ’54 Champion

Beware of off-shore wheel cylinder kits!

Prior to converting my ’54 Champion to 11″ front brakes I sand blasted and painted the new larger backing plates. All to no avail. You can see the track of destroyed paint running down from the wheel cylinder location to the bottom of the plate. It also leaked onto the secondary shoe and coated the friction surface with a nice coat of brake fluid.

This was a brand new old stock replacement wheel cylinder. As it turns out both wheel cylinders were leaking. Fortunately I had two old NOS kits on hand

I don’t know who made the wheel cylinders, but I expect they came from offshore. The difference is obvious. The NOS rubber is deeper and has a better flange to keep the brake fluid from leaking when the pistons are at rest. The kits were made in the USA.

Ditto on the springs. The American spring on the left has thicker wire and as a result has more tension to help keep the cups sealed in the cylinder bore.

Ditto on the seals. You can guess which one came with the new American kit!

Here is the overhauled wheel cylinder on the right side. I did have to hone one of the wheel cylinders slightly before installing the new kit. It was showing the early signs of rust.

So a word of caution to those with ears to hear. Open up new wheel cylinder kits and if the cups, springs and seals aren’t as robust as the one from the US kit above then be prepared for leaks later on or maybe right away!

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