Brake MC vs. Caliper Height?? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:37 PM
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Brake MC vs. Caliper Height??

I have two important questions to be applied to my studebaker project. Since I have such large tires and the body sits so low, I am looking for information on the concepts of brake master cylinder vs. caliper heights...

1) Where is the theoretically required horizontal line to be placed between master cylinder and caliper. In other words, is the MC exit port supposed to be higher than the caliper inlet, or is the MC fluid level to be higher than the caliper inlet, or is the MC fluid level to be higher than the highest point in the piston of the caliper, etc.??

Lets call this requirement "X"

2) I have air ride suspension. When the car is to be dropped, the brakes (should not) be applied. If the car is built so that "X" passes the requirement, is it okay if the "X" barrier is broken when the car is dropped (even though brakes won't be applied at this point)?

Basically, I'm trying to determine the position of my Master Cyilnders (dual balance bar) in relation to the calipers at ride height and at dropped height. Any help on theory would be appreciated.

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Old 09-23-2009, 09:49 AM
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I have to make a few assumptions here.

You refer to calipers, so I assume you are running disc brakes all around.

You mention that you have a balance bar between the brake pedal and the master cylinder, so I assume you are running an aftermarket master cylinder. Probably a Wilwood since they are the ones that offer the balance bar setup. Balance bars are an excellent method to adjust the braking force between the front and rear without the need for a proportioning valve.

Master cylinders that are designed for disc brake applications usually do not have a built in residual valve. A residual valve is used to keep some pressure in the brake lines against the piston in the calipers or for drum style brakes to keep some pressure against the piston seals in the wheel cylinders.

If the master cylinder is mounted the same height or below the calipers (or wheel cylinders) a residual valve is usually employed to keep some pressure in the lines after the brake pedal has been released. A 2 p.s.i. residual valve is usually used in the disc brake system. A 10 p.s.i. residual valve is usually used in a drum brake system. This setup will not change how the brakes function whether your air suspension is "up" or "down".

If the master cylinder is mounted above the height of the calipers (or wheel cylinders) such as on the firewall, a residual valve is not usually employed with calipers but may still be used with drum brake systems. Using residual valves in this case will be OK and not cause any problems. In this case the master cylinder will always be above the calipers regardless of whether your suspension is "up" or "down".
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