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Discussion Starter #1
I have another question about which direction to take with my 1959 Sprint Normale restoration project.

It is an original car. Original factory paint is in good enough shape (for me at least) to polish. The original interior is there but needs to have seats, carpet, headliner, and dash top redone. I had the original matching number 1300cc engine very finely rebuilt by an Alfa racer. However, the rebuild incorporated some minor reversible modifications such as Weber 2 barrel carburator substituted for the original Solex.

My question is regarding the brake system. Would you rebuild the drum brake system or would you convert to later year disc brake system? The original drums and shoes that are on the car appear to be in good condition. I like the look of those big finned front drums, but don't want troublesome brakes.

Thanks you you input.
 

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Just rebuild the stock system. Alfa was slow to go to disc brakes in part because those big finned drums work really well.

I have found wheel cylinder leakage to be somewhat troublesome, but that was my fault -- for reusing worn wheel cylinders with excessive taper.
 

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Why upgrade a good original car?

Hi,

If the car is to be used as is, with only relatively minor engine mods, I can see no reason to consider changing to discs. It is not as if the drum system is inherently unreliable, the news isn't full of Giuliettas running into the back of buses due to brake fade or failure...

The engine mods described are relatively invisible, a change to discs is not.

Too many original 750 & 101 cars are being personalised, customised or upgraded (waiting for the deluge of replies!).

Just one owner's opinion,

Tony Stevens
England


QUOTE=59Sprint;410727]It is an original car. Original factory paint is in good enough shape (for me at least) to polish. ...original matching number 1300cc engine very finely rebuilt by an Alfa racer. ..the rebuild incorporated some minor reversible modifications such as Weber 2 barrel carburator substituted for the original Solex.

Would you rebuild the drum brake system or would you convert to later year disc brake system? The original drums and shoes that are on the car appear to be in good condition. I like the look of those big finned front drums, but don't want troublesome brakes.
 

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59,

I'm another one that suggests staying with the original drums. They're powerful, fade resistant, and have excellent feel. I think many in the US have an appropriate dislike for drums after what we endured on domestic cars in the '50s and '60s. Giulietta brakes aren't like that. I'd also suggest staying with the original 155-15 size tires. Wide tires kill feel, stress steering components, and if you feel you need more grip you're probably overdriving the chassis anyway.

Just so you don't think I'm another cranky originalisto, you need to get a five speed trans in there pronto!

Mike Hollinger
Atlanta
 

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There are two ways to rebuild the brakes.

New seals in old cylinders can weep brake fluid within a month--that was done in early January.

Then a sticky cylinder on the left front caused pulling to the right, and a number of adjustment attempts soon failed.

It took an old Alfa hand to sort it out--got new aluminum billet cylinders and new brake springs from Alfastop.

For the 3-shoe fronts it is expensive, but when properly adjusted--they work.:)

Best to do the "fix" once.
 

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Bill,
Stay with the originals. Use Alfastop to buy new cylinders and springs if necessary. I have raced, rallyed and driven far to fast in Giuliettas over the years and my last concern was the drum brakes. Twin shoe will do nicely too. I have a pair of tripple shoe front sets if anyone feels the necessity.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advise. I plan to stick with the original drum brake system and perform a proper rebuild. I checked the Alfa Stop website and noticed that they carry both the original Girling wheel cylinders and reproduction sets. Which ones should be used? Also, what is it recommended regarding the master cylinder? Should it be replaced or is rebuilding the original master cylinder to the car okay?
 

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The twin leading shoes were developed to stop mad Italians from tossing their expensive machinery into the scenery on those twisty European mountain passes - take a look at a relief map of Italy to understand why all Italian cars have good brakes.

Collivanfan / Tony Stevens is too modest - I very much doubt that there is an Alfista anywhere in the world who understands brakes as well as he does. www.alfastop.co.uk

Brakes & brake overhaul / rebuilds are EXPENSIVE, but accidents due to dodgy brakes are EVEN MORE EXPENSIVE. Not to mention the trauma of seeing your price & joy crunched. If you are going to skimp in certain places while restoring your cars, brakes, suspension & tyres are not a good place to start......

Stuart - if you are not going to stick those 3 leading shoe drums onto the front of your Lightweight or SZ, send them to me !! Actually, send the both cars + the drums.....

Cheers
Greig
 

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keep it original

I have stressed my drum brakes very hard for a 1963 car with no difference in performance: a good rebuild, change of pipes and hoses etc, and you will be fine.

ciao
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have stressed my drum brakes very hard for a 1963 car with no difference in performance: a good rebuild, change of pipes and hoses etc, and you will be fine.

ciao
Did you rebuld the original wheel cylinders and master cylinder or did yo buy new ones?
 

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The master cylinder is cast iron and is probably rebuildable. The aluminum wheel cylinders are much more likely to have excessive wear/taper problems requiring their replacement.
 

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I have had a 63 Giulia 1600 for 20 years now. In the late 80's it was my daily driver and the drum brakes worked great. Never a problem. When I began to store the car for longer than 6 months at a time the brakes would "freeze up". Getting the car on the road again always required going through the brakes. Sometimes this was not a big deal, but I have been through a few rebuilds. I have recently converted to disc without a booster. The car feels the same as it did with the 3-shoe drums. I just don't expect to have to "free up" the brakes after it has been stored. So, if you are going to use the car on a regular basis, then stick with the originals. If you plan to store the vehicle, at times, then you may want to convert to disc.
 

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Disc / drum combination cars.

All this advice mirrors my own feelings. My 65 Spider Veloce came with front discs, along with a somewhat spongy prdal feel. Fine, until I wanted to race it and wanted a firmer pedal. I measured stopping distances with the discs, removed them and replaced them with Alfin 2 shoe (Normale) 1300 drums. I weighed both assemblies off the car and it was close, can't remember 40 years ago which was lighter, but once the drums were on and shoes bedded, stopping distances were the same, with a now, firm pedal. A cheap 1966 solution.
Today, the discs are back on rebuilt, ss lines sleeves and all. I have learned how to eliminate the mushy pedal feel, (in my old age, using trickery!:cool:) and if I knew then what I know now, would have stayed with the discs, though as has been mentioned, the Alfa drums are excellent. :DGordon Raymond
 

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Discussion Starter #14
When replacing the wheel cylinders, which wheel cylinders are recommended, original Girling or Alfastop reproduction sets? They sell reproduction sets of 4 for the front and 2 for the rear.
 

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You can find them on ebay all the time (used). Early Austin-Healy's used the same ones. The 100-6 model I think. One inch diameter.
 

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No Sir, I have been watching for the 3-shoe Girling front brake cylinders now for almost two years on Ebay and niente. That´s why I´m curious to know who sells them, new or used.
Dennis
 

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Try Christian Ondrak, OK Parts in Germany. He sometimes has new 2 and 3 shoe cyl.
Gordon Raymond
 
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