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elite 501 rear brakes

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Car looks great Roan!  The rear brakes are a bit of a pain - it's the reason they often get left until they just don't work any more!  There may be several things causing problems;  the wheel cylinders are aluminium and corrode (new ones for manual cars seem to be unavailable - you have to buy the ones originally fitted to the automatic);  the diff output seals leak oil onto the brake shoes and stop them working;  the handbrake linkage may need adjustment - the cable itself or the automatic adjusters inside the drums.  The automatic adjusters can also corrode and stop working properly.  Refurbishing the brakes with the diff in place is really difficult - virtually impossible if the diff output seals need replacing as the diff output shafts have to be rebuilt.

Good luck!


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You don't need to remove the diff, just disconnect the drive shafts, but it's not easy working at arms length on everything. 

Are your headlights Vacuum operated still? If so quite probable they have major leak in the actuator and they could be disconnected from the inlet manifold to avoid playing havock with the engine tune. 


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To drop the rear end is no big deal. Once you do it a couple of times, it can be taken out in less than an hour.  I used an air powered rivet gun with a flat hammer end to drive out the long bolts holding the whole rear end in place. Just use a smaller diameter long punch to drive out the bolts completely.

You will have to disconnect the emergency brake cable right at the rear end. This seemingly simple step can give you fits if you try while the rear end is up in place unless you cut holes behind the rear seats to easily access the cable. You can lower the whole mess down to better access this step  but rear end won't be totally free until the cable is disconnected. 

Not only will you need new seals on both sides , you will need two steel rings, one for each side,  which is the most difficult part to deal with. It has to be cold chiseled off by smacking it with a hammer.

Then when putting the new one on, you may have to take a few thousands off the inside of the steel ring with some light 220 grit wet dry sandpaper, like I did, and you will also need to heat the ring up in your oven to help expand it enough to slip it over the axle after you have carefully slid the new seals on without tearing the thin rubber which is the actual part that fails and is easily torn. Ask me how I know that?

There is another thing you may have to deal with and that is the valve in the brake line ( located on my '74 Fed Elite in the engine bay, passenger side, low just before the brake line heads back to the rear. This part, can and will stick and not allow any brake fluid past to actually actuate the rear brakes. I tried to power bleed my rear brakes and even 160 psi was not enough to pump fluid to the rear brakes.

Like anything new it may look a bit intimidating but after if you regularly do major stuff on your Elite it will just be another step necessary to keep these cars with all the original parts on the road. However, this is not all that difficult.




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Thank you Richard I appreciate your comments very much and thank you for taking the time to post me the information whether I tackle the job myself is another matter it sounds a bit much to me ,I will have to think about it 


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