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 Post subject: 1998 brakes
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2017, 9:47 am 
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Joined: February 11th, 2015, 8:16 am
Posts: 26
Location: Northern CA
I made the left rear brake smoke by driving home from my mechanic, who charged the A/C, with the parking brake on to some degree. So I searched for information on 1998 E350 brakes, and saw reference to disc brakes in the rear as well as the front, with a drum portion for parking brake only. Then I crept under there and am pretty sure that all I see are big drum brakes.

Does anybody have clarifying information? As well as how badly does smoking the one side for 6 miles cook my goose?

Thanks, Roly


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 Post subject: Re: 1998 brakes
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2017, 12:46 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
Posts: 246
Location: Santa Cruz
I believe the first year for rear disc brakes was 1999.

With the beefy 3.5" wide shoes in the drum brakes on the dually Dana 70, you're probably fine if you dragged the park brake for a little while, so long as it was only lightly applied. Some smoke isn't the end of the world, but I would definitely want to inspect it. If you're inclined, it's easy to do. Jack it up, pull off the wheels, knock off the drum, and check for hot spots, gouges, or anything out of the ordinary, and check the shoe linings. If it all looks good, it's probably fine. While it's open, check the wheel cylinders for leaks, check the self adjusters to make sure they're lubricated, and adjust drag if necessary. Also, since our rigs are a bit long in the tooth, a fluid flush would be a good ideaa.

I redid my rear brakes entirely (shoes, drums, cylinders, springs, auto-tensioner for the park brake. etc.). The parts are inexpensive, and the work is not that difficult or miserable. The most challenging part was finding the right shoes (that took three tries). But I love having a strong park brake to avoid putting stress on the transmission's tiny parking pawl.

Shorter answer: you're probably fine, but you probably want to inspect it.

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 Post subject: Re: 1998 brakes
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2017, 7:44 pm 
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Joined: February 11th, 2015, 8:16 am
Posts: 26
Location: Northern CA
Thanks, Scott,

Taking it to my regular tire and brakes guys in Lakeport tomorrow.

Santa Cruz hey. In the mid to late '60's I used to bomb over 17 from Fremont in my 1950 Mercury convertible, rent a board or two at O'Neills, stick them out the back, and cruise about trying to appear like a real surfer. Never really learned to surf. Fun times, long ago.

Roly

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 Post subject: Re: 1998 brakes
PostPosted: April 4th, 2017, 9:43 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1914
Location: 1999 Concourse
Not that Scott needs corroborating, but yes, 1998 was the last year for rear drums (on our Ford E-350 chassis models), and 1999 went to rear discs. While Chinook shopping, I looked at both a 1999 chassis Premier (rear disc) and a 1998 chassis Concourse (rear drum).

PS: Great surfer car throwback photo! I had it worse: Wannabe in the Midwest, without the car or the beaches :groan: :D

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 Post subject: Re: 1998 brakes
PostPosted: April 6th, 2017, 7:03 pm 
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Joined: February 11th, 2015, 8:16 am
Posts: 26
Location: Northern CA
I had the brakes inspected, cleaned, and adjusted. They were found to be in nearly new shape with 15% wear in front and 20% rear. These are original 1998 with about 35000 miles on them. I feel confident now that disaster due to Chinook brake failure is unlikely.
I wonder if going to rear discs would be a bolt on improvement...

My cool Merc was sold by my parents back in 1970 when I was overseas "fighting Communism," for $400. It was registered in their name...

Roly


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 Post subject: Re: 1998 brakes
PostPosted: April 6th, 2017, 7:58 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
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Location: Santa Cruz
Well that's great news! Brakes perform a pretty basic function (create heat, then shed it). Disc brakes in the rear have advantages, but drums aren't to be shunned. When you consider the size of the shoes and the utter mass of the drums, and the 33% duty they perform, you should remain plainly confident with the current system in place. Changing to disc rears is not a bolt-on affair, and to my mind, certainly not worth investing in, even if you intend to rack another 100k miles going forward. There are other things to spend your time/money on. If you have original brakes, then you have the preferable Ford OE parts. But all those springs in the drum assemblies lose their temper after many heat cycles. Ah, forget it. If they're good, they're good. But a quick system flush won't hurt. Get someone to pump the pedal a few times and you can do it in less than 20 minutes.

1950 Merc and late sixties Santa Cruz. I don't even know where to start. Sounds like paradise to me.

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 Post subject: Re: 1998 brakes
PostPosted: April 7th, 2017, 12:05 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
It's a good feeling to know where you stand, brake-wise (and that things look good). You mused about changing to rear discs, so I'll tell you what my experience was.

First of all, my 1998 Chinook brakes were in similarly good condition to yours when I got it (this was early 2014). But, I always felt a bit underbraked. I'd get a bit nervous approaching a stale green light, etc. My 1997 Ford E-250 van (which I think got the same brakes from Ford) felt fine, but it was 7,500# soaking wet.

I have a friend who's knowledgeable on Ford vans (has one, plus manages a fleet) and I wrote to him and asked about converting to rear discs. That was my first thought since I knew that the next year Ford had gone that way. His response was that sure, I could, but that's not what he would do if he were me. He said that what he'd do is convert to the newer Ford *front* brakes. He mentioned that a place in Oregon that converted new Ford vans to 4WD often had take-off front ends and did good work. So I contacted them, they had an opening (and a front end), I had a couple of weeks free, and it was nice fall weather. So I hit the road up there that afternoon.

The main feature of the new front end is the much beefier brakes, but you also get Ford's suspension re-design that came in in 2008. The parts are impressively sturdier to look at. And more importantly, it was a HUGE improvement in braking. I no longer fear yellow lights (respect, but not fear). And as a side bonus, of course it included all new ball joints, tie rod ends, etc. Not that I needed them at the time, but mine did have around 50,000 miles on them at that point, so I started back at zero.

Not saying everyone needs to run out and do this; but if you are thinking of improving braking at some point, I can definitely say the difference was noticeable - and all to the good. No downside that I could find. The cost seemed reasonable to me, and it took only part of a day (to have the shop do it, not me).. (I don't know what the availability of new take-offs is now that the E-Series is mostly out of production, but they may be available, and/or newish ones, and/or at least brake parts).

BG

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 Post subject: Re: 1998 brakes
PostPosted: April 9th, 2017, 10:01 am 
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Joined: February 11th, 2015, 8:16 am
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Location: Northern CA
Blue, Scott,
Thanks for the info and suggestions. What I'll do now is nothing, except maybe the fluid flush.

Too much on my plate right mow to do more than keep the Chinook functional and use it in my present efforts. Those efforts being liquidating property in N. Calif and relocating back on the Olympic Peninsula. I hope a new home will include a pole building with a 10 foot door for a Chinook hanger wherein I can get creative with upgrades. That would be unless I see a diesel trawler boat that needs me.



Thanks again, Roly


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 Post subject: Re: 1998 brakes
PostPosted: April 9th, 2017, 11:23 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Roly wrote:
... relocating back on the Olympic Peninsula ... a pole building with a 10 foot door for a Chinook hanger ... a diesel trawler boat that needs me.


Now there's my dream setup in a nutshell! :D Here's to finding your perfect little spot/hangar/boat.

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