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Brake Hydraulic System Principles & Service Tips.
Author/s: Bob Freudenberger
Issue: Sept-Oct, 1999
Everyone who works on brakes MUST know these concepts and procedures
In the early days of the automobile, some very clever engineering was employed to apply brakes mechanically. For example, the Italian Bugatti routed the cables over the top of the front axle so that the twisting action generated by stopping added force to the shoe cam lever.
No matter how ingenious the design, however, there was always a major drawback: Nothing could insure that braking force would be exactly equal at any pair of wheels, so there was a good chance that stepping on the pedal would cause swerving and skidding. This made the idea of hydraulically actuated brakes attractive--according to Pascal's Law, pressure at all points in a closed hydraulic system must necessarily be the same--but it took many years to develop dependable systems. The first car of any consequence to carry four-wheel hydraulic brakes was the. 1921 Dusenberg of the U.S.
On the most basic level, all brake hydraulic systems share the same principle: Muscle strength amplified by leverage and perhaps a power booster displaces fluid from the master cylinder and causes pressure to increase all through the circuits. This overcomes the retracting springs in drums and the seals' elasticity in disc calipers and pushes the friction material against the rotating member.
That much is obvious, but the subtleties of modern designs that provide proper performance in the real world deserve some explanation. Hence this article, which also includes important service information every mechanic should know about.
Although it has been in use for decades all over the world, the dual (also called "split" or "tandem") master cylinder is still widely misunderstood, so we had better explain its construction and operation. A typical late-model specimen will be of the composite variety (aluminum with a plastic reservoir), but iron one-piece units are still around in abundance. Two pistons ride in the bore, and here is where we encounter some confusing terminology. The rear piston is the primary, and the one in the front is the secondary. This apparent misnaming resulted because the rear piston is the first to receive the force of the driver's leg.
Each piston has a primary seal at its front and a secondary at its rear, so you will be hearing such combinations as primary piston secondary seal, secondary piston secondary seal, etc. The primary seals are the most important because they trap the fluid that is about to be squeezed into the lines. The primary piston's secondary seal keeps fluid from escaping out of the back of the cylinder (commonly into a booster), and the secondary piston's secondary seal acts as a barrier to make two essentially separate cylinders out of one.
In normal braking, the push rod from the pedal or booster forces the primary piston forward. No pressure is created until the primary seal covers the compensating or vent port from the reservoir. Once it does, fluid is trapped in the chamber between the pistons and becomes, for all intents and purposes, a solid column. Pressure is routed from this chamber to two wheels. The trapped fluid and the primary piston coil spring both bear on the secondary piston, moving it forward and creating pressure in the chamber ahead of the secondary piston's primary seal, to which the line to the other two wheels is attached.
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When the pedal is released, a partial vacuum occurs in both pressure chambers because the fluid's inertia and viscosity prevent it from returning from the lines immediately. In order to re-arm the brakes instantaneously, the primary seals are designed to allow fluid to flow one way (forward) from behind each seal into the pressure chambers.
The replenishing ports allow fluid to move freely between the chambers behind both pistons' primary cups and the reservoir according to demand and expansion and contraction from temperature changes.
If a hose should rupture or one of the brake lines should become perforated from corrosion resulting in a catastrophic loss of fluid in half the system, the other half will still provide a means of decelerating the vehicle, albeit with a lower pedal and reduced stopping power.
Both pistons have extensions which project out ... more
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A Time To Kill And To Kill A Mockingbird
The movie based on John Grishams A Time to Kill is a Hollywoodized, modern-day version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Both movies employ many of the same themes and plot elements; but the former movie is one-dimensional and predictable while the latter is innovative and purposeful. The movie version of Harper Lees novel To Kill a Mockingbird is considered a classic film, whereas John Grishams adapted novel is merely another example of the money making efforts of Hollywood.
Some of the movies more prominent themes are the same. Both focus on the family, particularly the role of the father. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Attacus, who is based on the father of author Harper Lee, is an upstanding parent. Not only is he an excellent role model for his children, but he takes time to talk to his children. He respects them as growing individuals, allowing them to call him Attacus, and explains important issues rather than discounting them. Jake cherishes his daughter more than ever when he compares her hypothetically to his clients victimized daughter Tonya. The power of the family institution is reiterated when Carl takes revenge upon the offenders who raped Tonya. These ties drive an otherwise socially conforming man into violating the sanctity of human life in cold blood without regret.
Another motivation that inspires his action is the personal degradation he must have experienced as a black man in a racist community that includes backwoods deviants, who look down upon the blacks in the community. Hate crimes appear in both movies, including hate-fueled riots, attempted lynchings, and the reappearance of the Ku Klux Klan. Other manifestations of racism were realized as well, such as injustice in the court system and the school system, where, in both movies, the protagonists children are continually taunted for being the progeny of a nigger lover.
The classic figure of the hero is at the forefront of the plot in each movie. Both lawyers put their lives on the line for the liberty of a client without expecting compensation. Attacus does so because he believes in justice and knows its the right thing to do, whereas Jake simply empathizes with his client, especially by projecting his daughter into Tonyas experience. Either way, these men sacrifice themselves for the sake of others, a defining characteristic of heroes. Attacus especially is elevated in the mind of the narrator to a state of untouchable selflessness and courage. A few other characters with very heroic traits emerge. Boo Radley saves the children by fighting their attacker to the death at great personal risk even though these same children had feared him. He is a very mysterious character until this incident, which unexpectedly defines him as a hero. In one of the most striking scenes in A Time to Kill, a soldier jumps in the path of a bullet to protect Jake. When Jake learns this total stranger is permanently paralyzed, he is dumbfounded.
The basic plots of the two movies are identical: a white man commits rape but a black man ends up being prosecuted in a racially charged trial. The focus is on the defense lawyers struggle, and the movies climax during the closing statement. The essential difference of plot is a juxtaposition: in To Kill a Mockingbird, an innocent man is convicted, while in the other, a guilty man walks. This reflects that more was at stake than simply one mans life in both cases. The formers result is much more powerful. This unrevenged injustice has potential to hold audiences in indignant shock and open their eyes to the harsh reality of racism. This is the first of several discrepancies I will point out that favor To Kill a Mockingbird as the better film.
These juxtaposed outcomes of the trials can be attributed to two factors unrelated to the plot. First, it reflects our nations growing sensitivity toward stamping out racism. A black man prosecuted for a crime against a white person had terrible odds in the in the first half of the twentieth century. I understand Lees novel was accurately portrayed, but A Time to Kill, the movie, strays from John Grishams original at least with respect to the ... more
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