Brake Equalizer and Wheel Bearing
Brake Equalizer and Wheel Bearing
So the real exciting news is I got my Brake Equalizer back from Karp’s Brake Service all rebuilt and ready to install. It was a process that started back in March! Here are some of the highlights and some explanations as to what this thing does:
Brake Equalizer description
Disassembling the Equalizer
CNC Fabrication of Pushrod
New Remanufactured Pushrod
With new stainless steel pushrods remanufactured by my friend Morten in Denmark, I sent the pieces to Ron Karp to see if what they could do. All the while I contacted all the usual suspects who supply Ferrari Parts looking for replacement seals. I also called several Ferrari mechanics and restorers to see what they did when these equalizers went bad on their customer cars. I found out some of them removed them or bypassed them when seals were not available, but some of them rebuilt them when parts were available. The general consensus was there was no easy solution to rebuilding this unit and no readily available seals.
Ron checked his vast inventory of seals and couldn’t find a substitute, so we decided our only solution was to have custom seals made for this equalizer.
There are two seals inside the equalizer, one is roughly shaped like a doughnut while the other is a round square cut seal, so Ron began looking for a rubber manufacturer who could make the seals. Karp’s Brake Service has rubber manufacturer plants that reproduce seals for many of his rebuild kits, so he began by sending drawings and measurements to them. It’s a shame that manufacturing in the United States (that once made this country great) has all but left this country and gone to an overseas market, but one main choice was to have this piece made in Asia. There are several problems when going to the far east for our manufacturing. Asia is competitive in manufacturing from an economy of scale. Minimum orders in the thousands allow them to make things like rubber seals very cheaply, but we as Ferrari owners don’t need that many pieces. There is also a time lag when sending prototypes and product across the Pacific. Add all this with the language barrier between Ron and his supplier, and you have a great potential for problems.
Ron sent the drawings to a manufacturer willing to fill our small order with the specifications for the hardness of the EPDM rubber. When reverse engineering the seals without documentation, some guesswork was needed, but molds were made and a sample was returned in couple of months. Ron took my new piston, and installed the remanufactured seals to test it on his work bench. At a few hundred PSI, the seal started leaking hydraulic fluid, so Ron disassembled the unit to take a look. He determined the hardness of the rubber was too hard, and a softer EPDM rubber would need to be used in the mold. Ron contacted the manufacturer and placed his request.
Several weeks later, another box arrived with new seals. Much to Ron’s surprise and dismay, a completely different seal arrived in the mail. It seems something was lost in translation, and new molds were made with different specifications! Trying to find out what happened was impossible, but when asked to return to the original mold and change the rubber formula, the manufacturer began changing pricing to recoup their mistake. Ron persisted with the manufacturer while more time passed by.
Eventually things were resolved and seals were sent. Ron installed the new seals last week and the unit held 1000 pounds of pressure! The unit is now ready for me to test in the car.
In the last several months I’ve been collecting names of people who are interested in buying a rebuild kit for their equalizers, and I have not forgotten about you! As you can see it’s been a long process to make just this one rebuild kit, but we’re closer than ever in having a definitive solution to this brake equalizer! I’m working closely with Ron Karp in coming up with a complete rebuild kit with seals, gaskets and boots, so hang in there! He is also also available to rebuild your equalizer as a complete service, so we now have options!
In my research there is at least one other brake equalizer installed on early 60s Ferraris. Its body is longer than the one I have pictured above, and Zac Dugger of DGR Performance has sent Ron one to measure and make those seals as well.
With all my brake pieces in hand to finally assemble my system, I began installing my front calipers. As I spun the right front rotor, I felt a strange feeling from the rotation. There was a roughness that shouldn’t have been there when the rotor spun. I took a look inside the hub only to find pieces of the bearing cage stuck in the grease! When I removed the axle nut and washer, I found the bearing on its way to self destruction! This rotor was the one that got really hot from the seized brake caliper, and perhaps the grease in the bearing coked up and seized the bearing. Perhaps driving it an additional 400 miles to Florida did the rest of the damage. I took the hub off the car and ordered two new bearings. I’ll get my car back on the road yet!
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