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Author Topic: SSBC brake users read this !  (Read 25244 times)
firefighter3931
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« on: September 27, 2012, 09:04:08 PM »

OK, i've had the SSBC force10 kit on my car for several years and have never been happy with the performance. I swapped master cylinders (Wilwood 1in bore) and it did improve a little but not quite satisfactory. I decided to grab the bull by the horns and really dig into the brake system to see what was causing the poor braking performance.  Tongue

The first thing i did was to purchase a brake pressure kit which would determine how much line pressure i was developing at the front caliper. I installed the guage and hit the pedal as hard as i could with one leg and the guage stopped at 800psi. Keep in mind the magic number to achieve lock-up is 1200 psi for disc brakes and 600psi for drum brakes.  yesnod So, the question then became...why was i not achieving the desired pressure.  scratchchin

Research showed that with a 6:1 pedal ratio and a 1in bore master cylinder the resulting pressure would be 1200psi with only 150lbs of force on the pedal. I was putting in at least double that and still 33% short of the target pressure with twice the pedal input. Why was this happening ?  Undecided

I spoke with my buddy Dwayne and he came up with 2 possible scenarios...one of which i had considered, the other not. The first scenario was that the piston was bottoming out in the master cylinder and not moving enough fluid to adequately supply the calipers. That's what i was thinking, initially. The second scenario was something i hadn't considered ; the rear brakes were hydrolocking. I had never thought of that as a possibility but it sure could happen.

Let me explain ; consider that the same solid bar that actuates both circuits in the master cylinder is responsible for building pressure. Now, if for some reason one of the circuits couldn't move brake fluid.... that would limit plunger travel and affect the pressure in the other circuit. Seems plausable but i'd never encountered this before. 

Next phone call was to HP Mike who has installed several SSBC kits for customers and claimed that they work great...no problems. I quizzed Mike on his setup procedure and everything he does is the same as i had done. I asked about the adjustable proportioning valve and he said that he opened them all the way and road tested the car....choking back the adjustment until he is able to achieve simultaneous lockup on both front & back. At this point the little light bulb in my head turned on and i began to suspect the proportioning valve was an issue. This was based on the aformentioned hydro-lock theory explained above.
 
I then phoned the Willwood tech line and outlined the problem. My first comment was that with a 6:1 pedal ratio and their 1in bore master cylinder i was only able to generate 800psi of pressure at the caliper. His response : What's wrong with 800psi ? I stated that the car wouldn't stop for crap and the math shows that this combo of parts should be able to to make 1200psi easy ! His response : Just go with a 7/8 bore master. Really ? That's just a bandaid fix and not addressing the root cause i thought to myself. I then asked about the possibility of rear brake hydro-lock and my theory was readily dismissed. Impossible he said, 2 seperate, independant circuits and no way can it happen. That was the end of that conversation and i thanked him for his opinion and advice.

So, on a hunch i went back to the car and opened up the adjustable prop valve all the way and guess what : 1200psi !!! You've got to be friggin kidding me !!! I went back to the SSBC installation instructions and reviewed the prop valve setup procedure. The literature clearly states that the valve is to be opened 1/2 way and adjusted from there. I can tell you that this is totally WRONG ! Of course, mine had been adjusted 1/2 way open !  brickwall

I informed Doug (R2) about this discovery because he had been complaining about the same issues using the same kit. He immediately went out to the garage and opened the prop valve to wide open and took the car out for a drive. Doug was so excited he called back within an hour and said the brakes were waaaaay better....night & day difference ! He hadn't been driving the car much due to such poor brakes and didn't feel confident the car would stop in a panic situation. His prop valve was adjusted as per the SSBC procedure and was still 1/2 open or 1/2 closed...same difference. Didn't matter because it was wrong.  icon_smile_blackeye

So, based on the research, some old fashioned analysis & pressure testing along with a little common sense the problem is solved. I'll bet that the majority of guys who've installed the SSBC kit and followed the manufacturers installation instructions have  been having the same issues as I have. There's nothing wrong with the kit but the prop valve set-up instructions are flat out wrong. If you have a SSBC kit and are experiencing poor brakes my recommendation is to open the prop valve completely and road test. If the back brakes lock up before the fronts you can adjust the bias slowly by decreasing pressure at the prop  valve....in very small increments.

Worth noting ; to increase the line pressure you need to turn the knob clockwise. To decrease it, rotate counterclockwise. This does seem backwards when you're looking at the adjustable prop valve but trust me on this.  Wink



Ron
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Fred
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2012, 01:58:37 AM »

I have SSBC and I agree with you fully. I made the exact same adjustments to my system and it's never failed me. As I said before, I run it with the hydraboost
I couldn't be happier.
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2012, 02:53:16 AM »

good bit of detective work Ron  coolgleamA 2thumbs  , thanks for sharing your findings  cheers 2thumbs
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2012, 06:16:43 AM »

Once more Ron to the rescue.   2thumbs

Sticky please!
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2012, 01:14:52 PM »

.
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Just 6T9 CHGR
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2012, 04:54:29 PM »

When I bought the standard 4 piston cast iron manual front disc brake set up from SSBC, I complained to them from the get go that the pedal effort to stop the car was waaaay to excessive over the previous manual drum set up.  I was told it was "inherent to the design" of the disc brake system due to the fact that the caliper has to "squeeze" the pads and witha drum setup it is a cantilever effect.

After living with that answer for a year I finally wound up adding the stock Bendix power booster setup to the car & the brakes work ok since then but could there be room for improvement with a prop valve adjustment?  scratchchin

I might just try it out!

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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2012, 07:10:52 PM »

Thanks for the info Ron, I'm running SSBC front manual disc brake system and when I brake I really have to push the brake paddle down hard, I will try it.  cheers

Frank

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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2012, 07:32:44 PM »

Way to go Ron.   Your a wealth of knowledge on this site!  Keep up the great work... 2thumbs
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2012, 06:45:49 PM »

Ron, you da man.
Great post, and my brakes are now working great. 
I spoke to Dwayne last week, and he reviewed the research you guys did,,,nice work....
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2012, 12:03:41 AM »

Ron, I will Try you adjustment Next summer as I have all ready put the Charger up for the winter. I have The SSBC Force 10 front and rear disk set up with Power running 21” of vacuum, down right scary to drive in town.  What’s fun is Auto-X At this time I have never gotten into wheel lock up. Most cars that I have driven with stock brakes would be into 4 wheel lock up, with half the pressure that I am applying to the pedal just to slow the Charger down. By far this has been the worst brake set up on the Charger.

Worth Noting This may be my problem The adjustable prop valve I may have been turning the knob Backwards this would explain the lack of braking.   brickwall

David H.
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David H.
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2012, 11:48:03 PM »

OK I went out and checked the Adjustable Proportion Valve and found like I thought that it was turned all the way Counter Clockwise. So I turned it all the Clockwise Hoping for dry with to day so I can take her out and test the brakes. 
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David H.
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« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2012, 12:15:11 PM »

I never had a problem with my SSBC discs...          Then again that's because I never rear the instructions - I just bolted it on and opened the valve all the way - stopped good so I never screwed with it further 


Moral of the story?   Don't read the instructions     2thumbs

Good to know there is a root cause to the problem though - thanks for the research   2thumbs
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« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2012, 04:04:09 PM »

The literature clearly states that the valve is to be opened 1/2 way and adjusted from there.
Ron

It looks like you finally got around to the adjusted from there part. 2thumbs
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« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2012, 04:13:10 PM »

OK I adjusted the Proportion valve the other day. It Stopped raining finely so I took the charger out to try the brake No Difference. I Can not lock the Brakes on a wet road, it just slows down as if I was only applying light brake pedal force. So next spring I will get a Gauge and see what pressure is being generated at the Calipers. Here is quick run down what has been done so far. All ending result with the same problem.   
1.   rebuilt all 4 calipers
2.   replace Adj. Proportion Valve
3.   Eliminated factory Proportion Valve and metering Block
4.   Replace Master Cylinder
5.   All new SS brake lines
6.   New Braded Brake hoses
7.   4 brake boosters two were new
8.   Two sets of Brake pads  one Stock non metallic and one EBC Green Stuff The stock worked better on the Street 

David H.
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David H.
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2012, 05:06:08 PM »

OK I adjusted the Proportion valve the other day. It Stopped raining finely so I took the charger out to try the brake No Difference. I Can not lock the Brakes on a wet road, it just slows down as if I was only applying light brake pedal force. So next spring I will get a Gauge and see what pressure is being generated at the Calipers. Here is quick run down what has been done so far. All ending result with the same problem.   
1.   rebuilt all 4 calipers
2.   replace Adj. Proportion Valve
3.   Eliminated factory Proportion Valve and metering Block
4.   Replace Master Cylinder
5.   All new SS brake lines
6.   New Braded Brake hoses
7.   4 brake boosters two were new
8.   Two sets of Brake pads  one Stock non metallic and one EBC Green Stuff The stock worked better on the Street 

David H.



Dave, what is the bore diameter on your master cylinder ? What brand is it ? Did you install a residual pressure valve(s) ?

In theory your brakes should be fantastic with that combination of parts.  yesnod


Ron
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2012, 07:54:09 PM »

 scratchchin
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« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2012, 05:02:01 PM »

Great find Ron!  I did the standard SSBC manual front disc conversion several years ago and have never been happy.  I changed the 1" master to a Wilwood 7/8" and it helped, but will still not lock the brakes up.  The car is now up on the lift in the shop for the winter, so no testing until Spring.  I do remember setting the valve at about half open as they suggested.  YOU ARE THE MAN!
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2012, 06:47:07 AM »

I'm getting doubts on installing my disc brake kit now.  I fiddled with the old drums a bit and now it stops on a dime.  Go figure...
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2013, 12:38:31 AM »

Good info Ron!  I think this is the first thread I've read that you have started.  After reviewing your post, your thought process and way of explaining things has a scary resemblance to the way I think.  Yikes!  lol

This is good info for me to take in.  I would like to get my beast to stop a little quicker than it does now but don't want to make the move to disc brakes... it's the "appearing stock" thing for me.  Can you describe your entire set-up?

Thanks again!
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« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2013, 03:49:26 PM »

Good info Ron!  I think this is the first thread I've read that you have started.  After reviewing your post, your thought process and way of explaining things has a scary resemblance to the way I think.  Yikes!  lol


Hi Mark, your 68 is lookin great !!! I don't start many threads....mostly troubleshoot & answer questions and PM's  Wink  This thread was wortwhile because so many members have complained about the SSBC kit over the years....

 
Can you describe your entire set-up?

Thanks again!

Mine was originally a power drum car similar to yours (don't know if you have a PB booster) and i decided to go manual brakes due to low engine vacuum and not being able to run a booster with the big cam. The conversion kit bolts right onto the factory drum brake spindles which is a huge bonus. At the time SSBC was the only company making that type of a kit. Front rotors are slotted 11in diameter and the calipers are fixed (non sliding) 4 piston aluminum units. This kit fits inside a 15in wheel and that was a requirement for me using the Weld Pro-Stars.

Since this kit came out there have been several companies come on board making similar kits and some with larger diameter rotors (increased stopping power) for those running larger wheels, like yourself  yesnod With the larger wheels you have there are several options for big brakes and with the design of your Magnum wheels you wouldn't even see the rotors/calipers. I understand the stock appearing concept but Brakes are something i don't compromise on if there is improvement to be had out there.  yesnod

That being said ; an 11x3in drum brake can be quite effective on the initial brake attempt but drum brakes will fade when heated up so if you have to make 2 panic stops back to back there will be some loss of stopping power/brake performance.  Tongue

Seeing that mine sees some track duty i felt that an upgrade was in order....i now feel comfortable going through the traps at 125 and being able to slow the car down in a short distance.  2thumbs

The braking system consists of a WillWood 1in bore master cylinder, line lock to the front SSBC disc setup. The rear brakes are 11x3 Factory drum brakes with a proportioning valve & residual pressure valve.


Ron
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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2013, 07:47:10 AM »

Well, I really thought this was my problem also, but it doesn't seem to make any difference, if any in my case.  Maybe the change to a 7/8" bore has something to do with it.  Admittedly, I have not yet tried a panic stop, but during a few fairly hard stops it didn't feel any different to me.
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« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2013, 11:01:40 AM »

Bob, are you using the factory distribution block ? If so, was this a drum brake car originally ?

FWIW, I removed the factory block and have the front lines tee'd off from a line lock and the back brake line off the master goes directly to the prop valve.  yesnod

Ron
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« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2013, 01:54:17 PM »

Hi Ron.  Yes, I retained the original block and it was originally a drum brake car.  So I guess your saying you just did away with the block?
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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2013, 03:11:24 PM »

Good info Ron!  I think this is the first thread I've read that you have started.  After reviewing your post, your thought process and way of explaining things has a scary resemblance to the way I think.  Yikes!  lol


Hi Mark, your 68 is lookin great !!! I don't start many threads....mostly troubleshoot & answer questions and PM's  Wink  This thread was wortwhile because so many members have complained about the SSBC kit over the years....

 
Can you describe your entire set-up?

Thanks again!

Mine was originally a power drum car similar to yours (don't know if you have a PB booster) and i decided to go manual brakes due to low engine vacuum and not being able to run a booster with the big cam. The conversion kit bolts right onto the factory drum brake spindles which is a huge bonus. At the time SSBC was the only company making that type of a kit. Front rotors are slotted 11in diameter and the calipers are fixed (non sliding) 4 piston aluminum units. This kit fits inside a 15in wheel and that was a requirement for me using the Weld Pro-Stars.

Since this kit came out there have been several companies come on board making similar kits and some with larger diameter rotors (increased stopping power) for those running larger wheels, like yourself  yesnod With the larger wheels you have there are several options for big brakes and with the design of your Magnum wheels you wouldn't even see the rotors/calipers. I understand the stock appearing concept but Brakes are something i don't compromise on if there is improvement to be had out there.  yesnod

That being said ; an 11x3in drum brake can be quite effective on the initial brake attempt but drum brakes will fade when heated up so if you have to make 2 panic stops back to back there will be some loss of stopping power/brake performance.  Tongue

Seeing that mine sees some track duty i felt that an upgrade was in order....i now feel comfortable going through the traps at 125 and being able to slow the car down in a short distance.  2thumbs

The braking system consists of a WillWood 1in bore master cylinder, line lock to the front SSBC disc setup. The rear brakes are 11x3 Factory drum brakes with a proportioning valve & residual pressure valve.


Ron
Just curious.... what pressure residual valve did you use for the rear drums & where did you install it in line ??
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« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2013, 08:22:15 AM »

Hi Ron.  Yes, I retained the original block and it was originally a drum brake car.  So I guess your saying you just did away with the block?

Yes, the distribution block is Gonzo !  yesnod



Just curious.... what pressure residual valve did you use for the rear drums & where did you install it in line ??

I used a 10psi RPV and it is installed right behind the adjustable prop valve.


Ron
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