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Old 12-09-2004, 03:50 PM
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Power Brakes?

I bought a '72 ElCamino project car a few years ago that's been languishing. The car has gone through a bunch of owners, each apparently with his own schemes and uses. I think the last owner saved it from the crusher and started sort of a restoration...sort of. I found all kinds of band-aid solutions.

One of the problems it's always had was hard brake pressure. The last owner said he put a new (manual) master cylinder on it. I've tried everything I could think of to resolve this situation. I was wondering if it was originally power brake car.

Is there any way to determine if it was?

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Old 12-10-2004, 08:29 AM
 
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power brakes

With out the origional build sheet it would be hard to say. I am betting that if it has disc brakes on the front end that it did origionally have power brakes, though. And converting it over would just be a simple matter of getting a power booster and master cylinder for your vehicle. I hope theres still a nipple on the intake for which to connect the booster.
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Old 12-10-2004, 02:40 PM
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Is there a way to tell from the proportioning valve?
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Old 12-10-2004, 04:06 PM
 
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proportioning valve

I doubt that the proportioning valve would be a signal to whether the vehicle had power brakes or not, since they are usually the same on both boosted and non boosted brakes. All a proportioning valve does is to equalize or bias the pressure in the lines. This is necessary due to the difference in volumns of brake fluid used between the front and rear brakes. As a rule, front brakes are bigger and have larger slaves or in the case of disc brakes, larger calipers, than do the back ones. The reason being is that the front brakes do the majority of the braking. If you used the same sized brakes on the back as the front, you would wind up locking up the rears long before the fronts really started to grab, due to the weight shift.

My suggestion would be to get a part number off of the proportioning valve and have it checked out and see.

Since your El Camino is a 72 and has disc brakes on it, I would wager that it came with power brakes origionally.
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Old 12-10-2004, 09:30 PM
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Unfortunately, it's still drums in front.

I picked up another proportioning valve and thought I might try that.

I'm torn between diving into it next spring, or just getting rid of it. Too many hobby cars.
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Old 12-10-2004, 09:58 PM
 
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power brakes

Im sure it had power brakes from the factory. The last vehicle I ever owned that didnt have power brakes from the factory was a 71 Ford F-100 bare bones basics type of truck with a 302 and automatic.
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Old 12-11-2004, 09:23 PM
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Check & see where the master cylinder rod connects to the brake pedal. The pedal should have two holes where a rod could be connected. With power brakes, it would normally be in the lower hole, and with manual brakes, the upper hole. The upper hole gives you more leverage. Manual disc brakes by nature take more pedal pressure than drums, as I found when I converted my '69 Nova to discs.

In '71, Camaros & pickup trucks came from the factory with standard manual disc brakes. Power was an option. '72 Novas were not available with manual discs, or power drums. You got both, or you got neither. I tried to get mine with manual discs, but they wouldn't go for it. This may have been true with Elky's too, but I don't know for sure.
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Old 12-11-2004, 09:32 PM
 
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Chevy update

Thanks for the input. Im not the worlds greatest on GM stuff, being a Ford man myself. I just figured that most cars and trucks that came with Discs after 70 or 71 had power boost on them.
Learn something everyday.
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Old 12-11-2004, 09:48 PM
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Thanks Jim.

My nagging feeling is/was that the previous owner put a manual master cylinder on a car which originally had power brakes.

I don't know if that would cause a hard pedal or not. It wouldn't if the rest of the brake system is the same with or without power assist.
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