Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Ability to Go is Good - Stopping is Better

You may remember an earlier post about brake issues with the mighty Mini. The wheel cylinder came in and it went on without much fuss. Bleeding the brakes went fine and a minor adjustment got them back to their previous OK state. A big thanks to Richard Cunningham for the use of his garage and for his help in getting the old girl stopping again.

Since my first day of ownership, the Mini required a two-stroke approach to stopping; one pump and then another to brake the car. It became a habit - if you want to stop, pump the pedal.

The members of the Mardi Gras MGs invited SABCC to attend their tech session at the new (and beautiful) Chris Meyers Nissan dealership. Mike Darby - restoration expert and all round top bloke - was there and he didn't much like the idea of repeated pedal pushing. So, up on the lift the Mini went and Mike looked at the adjustment.

The rears seemed fine, but the fronts were either fully tight or or completely loose. Off with the drum to have a looksee. It turns out that the rear adjusters are the common screw-in type with wedges doing the actual adjustment. The front brakes are quite different. Yes there are two adjusters, but instead of being a multi-turn threaded affair, they are a cam type. A half turn is all you need to go from full tight to uselessly loose. The shoes on the front looked brand new, too.

The theory is that the shoes were replaced on the front at some point in the recent past - before it came to this country - and they were probably never adjusted.

Taking the newly fettled Mini out on the road, I nearly stood it on its nose! The first pump to wake things up actually stopped the car. What a revelation.

Once again, I get by with a little help from my friends.

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