Need some advice: 

My car swerves when stopping.  The mechanic noticed the problem when he drove the car and he adjusted all of the vehicle’s drum brakes.   He, noted the brakes and drums looked good and the car has had an updated Master Cylinder installed.  Since the car was swerving to the right, we both believed the driver's side brakes were out of  adjustment, and they did appear to be the problem.  But the car still swerves when stopping.

I want to keep the car as original as possible, but this swerving issue is nerve-racking.  Here's my dilemma, should my first course of action be getting  the original drum brake system and front suspension inspected and working properly or should I just consider converting to disc brakes.  

 What's your advice?

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The factory brakes when working properly are great so I'd go with that. I can't speak to disc upgrades since I've never done it but I have read many stories of clearance issues and other complications associated with that modification.

How are your brake hoses? If original or very old that can swell under the crimped portion. That can block off the flow of the brake fluid. I replaced my hoses recently and found that the right rear brake hose was swollen shut. Essentially only 3 wheels were braking which caused the car to veer left. It stops straight and evenly now.

Thank you Kurt

The suspension has alot to do with driving and braking straight. The entire front suspension needs to be inspected and repaired if needed. I loose idler arm will also cause a pull when braking. 

Thank you Russ

I had the same problem.  New springs and hardware solved the problem.  There’s a vendor on eBay that sells a kit for all 4 wheels for like 50 bucks.   My brakes work beautifully,  I don’t see how disks could work any better.  

Thank you Phil

post a pic of the master cylinder first.   The system is split front to back, not left to right, so it's pretty likely that the master cylinder can be ruled out, unless the installer added a lot of plumbing.

if the brakes have been adjusted, let's assume that is ok enough and didn't solve the problem.

First, bleed the brakes.  Air in one wheel cylinder will create this condition, so make sure it's not just that.

Second, check out the hoses.  They are 99% of the time the cause of this problem.   You can't do that visually, a bad hose swells internally to create this condition, so you have to test it in action.   Lift up  the front wheels, both at the same time is the best, but you can do one at the time too.   Have someone push and hold the brake, while you try to spin it by hand (tire on works best).   If it locks up and can't be moved, have the helper let off.  The wheel should spin immediately upon release.  If it does not, the brake hose is restricted, and the fluid is slowly flowing in and out of it.  You will find the bad hose is opposite the side of the swerve.  Replace both hoses if one is restricted 

If both sides apply and release normally on the test, go inside and check out the condition of the brakes hardware and backers.

I'd hope the mechanic would be able to tell the difference between front end and brake problems, but that is the final possibility.   To the idler arm, i'd add the strut bushings that attach to the frame by the bumper being gone, that would defininitely cause this condition, but a mechanic should immediately tell by feel whether it is brakes or suspension.   you'd hope.

Mark,

Thanks for your response.  Based on your response, I'll probably on the correct path getting this braking issue resolved.  Vehicle in the shop and mechanic will be replacing the front springs, all four shocks,  and front strut bushing (mechanic note the busing were worn out).  He additionally found the master cylinder and wheel cylinders were leaking.  Therefore, replacing the Master Cylinder, and all four wheel cylinders and brake hoses.

Thank you for your advice. 

 Walter

No need for disc brakes as far as bringing these Cadillacs to a ——perfect quick stop when brakes are working as they should 

The simplicity of being able to change disc pads has some advantage 

My brakes have not faded once —since my 64 was new 

Car stops aggressively 

I use only Raybestos brake shoes as they do what was done to brake shoes back in the day 

They cut the shoes to match the drum ( like the local auto parts store did in there machine shop in the back of the store  ) and have a superior friction material for these very large drum brakes 

Replacing the  old worn  brake springs is a good idea ( to return the shoes ) 

All other posts have very good points 

Worn rubber brake hoses will flex ( buldge) and not provide the support needed - i second that 

 I would recommend ——cleaning  up and getting the self adjusters to be working for the convenience they afford 

Put some time into getting the stock brakes to work - it is less expensive and will be all the braking you will ever need 

Bleed the brakes and replace the brake fluid every few years to prevent rust in the brake cylinders helps

The brake peddle should move about one half inch and get  real real hard under foot when right 

Enjoy 

Enjoy 

If you need any brake parts, I have new (maybe 100 miles on al parts) cylinders, hoses, hardware and even drums were turned right before i installed it all.

I switched for discs cuz got fed up with trying to adjust drums and whenever I barely touched brakes while going slow, myself was about to go through the windshield.

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