Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
Manual Brake Conversion - Brake It Down
Part 2: From power-assisted to manual brakes—here's why
Last month we ditched our Coyote coupe's factory brakes in favor of Wilwood Engineering's Superlite brake kit. We've now increased our braking capacity from a single-piston design to a monstrous six-piston setup. Our stopping power has been greatly enhanced with a few simple bolt-ons.
If you read last month's issue, you'll know we decided to split our brake story into two parts. We got down and dirty, showing you exactly how to install new brakes and a master cylinder, and make new brake lines. In this issue, we finish up our manual brake conversion.
Our new Coyote 5.0L powerplant takes up a hefty of amount of engine bay space, so we made the decision to switch to a manual brake setup. It's important to note that a power-assisted brake system can be used for a Coyote swap, but it takes up a large portion of an already-tight space. We've gone through extreme lengths to create a clean-looking Fox, so we opted for the cleaner install of the manual setup.
Another key thought, Editor Smith prefers the feel of manual brakes over hydraboost. According to Smith, "With a power braking system, you often get a initial spongy feel when first pushing down on the brake pedal. With a manual setup, youdon't have that."
Follow along as we take you through the steps to convert your power-assisted brakes to a full manual conversion.
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A huge part in understanding manual brakes compared with power-assisted is that there is no more aid in braking. In other words, the work is up to you in order to stop.
When converting to manual brakes, more leverage is needed from the brake pedal. If you were to leave the master-cylinder rod end connected to the factory connector, you personally would not be able to deliver enough hydraulic pressure to properly stop. With that said, we needed to increase our leverage by increasing our pedal ratio.
Pedal ratio, or mechanical leverage, is the ratio calculated from the length from the pivot point of the pedal to the center of the foot pedal (A), divided by the length from the pivot point to the master-cylinder pushrod (B).
Mechanical leverage is simply a means of increasing the brake force without increasing your leg effort. As "A" gets longer and "B" gets shorter, the mechanical leverage increases brake force without pushing harder on the pedal. The disadvantage is that the pedal stroke also increases, requiring you to push the pedal further.
This information and more can be found on Wilwood Engineering's website.