Tech Tip: Brake Hoses

 Old (bottom) vs New (top) brake hose

Old (bottom) vs New (top) brake hose

During the restoration of our car, we've had to replace more a few components that are no longer available. One of the main goals that I've had when sourcing replacement parts is to maintain the look of the original component while replacing it with one that is functionally superior. Case in point, the flexible front brake hoses. We are fortunate to have the original hoses and I wanted to use original style fittings, while upgrading to stainless steel flex hoses. The problem is that the modern stainless hoses look too modern. Also, where could I get fittings that had the same basic ends as the original?

First off, we should all be grateful for the Internet. I'm a firm believer that the Internet is solely responsible for the increase in quality of automotive restorations. After a few minutes of searching, I stumbled across the BrakeQuip Dealer Catalog. Armed with my original hoses, I measured the fittings and found the following BrakeQuip equivalent fittings:


Unfortunately they aren't brass, but these steel fittings are much stonger.

Next step was to find a suitable stainless steel braided brake hoses. I didn't want the typical stainless steel color as it just screamed modern...I was looking for something black, ideally with a matte finish. I found that black lines were available, but the outer coating was shiny. Then I had an idea...fabric wire loom covers look a lot like the original brake hose material...what if I bought some of that and slipped it over the stainless steel brake hoses while they were being fabricated. I found a 7' length of PICO 3/8" (ID) fabric loom (with asphalt coating) on Amazon that looked just like our old brake hoses.

Armed with my fabric loom hose, I went to our local ParkerStore and explained what I wanted. After convincing them I wasn't crazy, they agreed to make up the hoses to meet my requirements. They used their "smoke" colored stainless hoses, the fittings noted above, my PICO fabric loom, and put them together with a total length of 17.5". As you can see, they came out pretty good with a total cost of around $40 per line, less if you have a business account with Parker.

 Detail: Old vs New

Detail: Old vs New

 The outer wire loom housing pulled back to reveal the braided stainless hose within 

The outer wire loom housing pulled back to reveal the braided stainless hose within 

J&G Brake Drum Relining

If your Alfin drums are warped, have damaged fins, or thin/separating linings, then you should contact J&G Brake Drum Relining in McHenry, IL. They specialize in aluminum drum relining and they do all welding & machining in house. They also offer 3 different compounds for brake pads depending on your application. Turnaround time in the winter is 4 to 6 weeks, while summer repairs take a bit longer. Rates are typically $550 per drum, but mention that you are a member of the Allard club for their discounted rate of $430/ea. For more information, visit their web site at www.jgrelining.com or call Don Booker at 815-276-2578.

The Tire Story

One of the most common questions we get asked is, "what tires should I buy for my Allard?" Unfortunately you're going to have to answer that question yourself, but well try to give you some guidance. There are two main options when it comes to selecting a set of tires for your Allard...bias-ply (aka cross-ply) tires or radial tires. Once you've selected which type of tire you want, then there are a variety of brands and tread types you can select from. This article attempts to summarize the differences between the two types of tires, outline the various tires available, and share recommendations that we've received from various Allard owners over the years. Through this information, we hope to help you make an informed decision when it comes time to buy your next set of tires.

Before delving into the exciting world of tire types, sizes, and ratings; we recommend that you check the age of your tires. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) recommends that you should not drive on tires more than 10 years old, less if they are stored in a hot and dry environment. The DOT has mandated that all tires have the date they were manufactured stamped into the sidewall. For tires made after 2000, the date will be the last four digits of the 11-digit code stamped on your tires. The first two digits are the week of the year and the last two represent the year; for example 3208 means the tires were made in the 32nd week of 2008. For tires older than 2000, the date will be the last three digits of the 10-digit code. The first two digits are again the week of the year and the last digit represents the year (yes a 5 could be 1995, 1985, or even 1985. If you have tires with a 3-digit date code, you should buy new tires NOW. If you buy new tires and they are more than 2 years old, you should ask for a replacement set or a generous discount. If possible, ask the tire shop what the age of your new tires is before you buy them.

 POST 2000 Tire: 5107 = 51st week of 2007

POST 2000 Tire: 5107 = 51st week of 2007

 pre 2000 tire: 408 = 40th week of 1998? 1988? 1978?

pre 2000 tire: 408 = 40th week of 1998? 1988? 1978?

When starting your search for tires, you need to know what size you need. The standard tire size for most Allards is based on a 16" diameter wheel with a rim width of 4.5. For bias-ply tires, the size is listed as either 600-16 or 600H16, where 600 (or 6) is the tire cross section width, 16 is the rim diameter, and H is the speed rating. Radial tire sizes can get a bit more confusing; they are often called out as 185R-16, where 185 means width in mm, R means Radial, and 16 is the rim diameter. Sometimes, you will see the tire size listed 165/80R16, where the 80 is the aspect ratio meaning that the tire height is 80% of the tire width (165 x 80% = 132mm). When not listed, it is assumed the aspect ratio is 100% (tire width = tire height).

Speed ratings are the maximum speed that the tire is rated for. Common speed ratings for Allard tires include P = 93 mph, S = 112 mph, H = 130 mph, V = 149, and W = 168. Unless you are Jim Tiller, you really dont need anything rated higher than an H, but it wont hurt. A higher speed rating doesnt mean that a tire is better or worse, it just means that it has been tested to safely withstand that particular maximum speed. Some tires dont include a speed rating, which means their manufacturer hasnt tested them for maximum speed (likely not DOT rated). These tires may be fine for the street but should not be raced.

You should also pay attention to whether or not your tires are DOT rated. Many bias-ply tires do not have a DOT rating. This doesnt mean that the tire is unsafe; it just means that they were not required to pass the DOTs stringent road tests that modern radials are subjected to. The tires listed in this article have been on the market for a while and have been proven safe. However if you were involved in an accident thats tire related, you shouldnt be surprised if your insurance company looks into what tires are on your car. Please note that the tire info on our table is based on what we could glean from various web sites, which dont always note if a tire is DOT rated.


Bias-Ply vs. Radial Tires:

 Bias-ply tire construction

Bias-ply tire construction

Bias-ply tires were invented back in 1898 by the Goodyear tire company. The tire is given strength by layers of plies (belts) that are embedded into the rubber. The plies are laid at an alternating diagonal pattern on the bias of the bead cord, creating a crisscross pattern.  In bias-ply tires, the tread and sidewalls share the same plies or casing, which mean the sidewalls are relatively thick when compared to radial tires. The strong sidewalls of bias-ply tires require less air pressure than radials.

PRO

  • Lower cost than radial
  • Cushioned, smoother ride than radials
  • All sidewall flexing is transmitted to the tread
  • Lighter steering feel than radials
  • Progressive break-away during cornering

CON

  • Higher friction compared to radials (resulting in higher fuel consumption)
  • Faster wear compared to radials
  • More sensitive to overheating
  • Will flat-spot after sitting for a while (goes away after a mile or two)
  • Prone to wandering
 radial tire construction

radial tire construction

Radial tires were pioneered by Michelin with their X tires in 1948. In radial tires, the ply cords radiate at a 90° angle from the bead cord, while the tread casing is strengthened by belts of steel fabric that run around the circumference of the tire. Generally radial tires require higher air pressure because the sidewalls are comparatively thinner than with bias-ply tires.

PRO

  • Improved traction due to flat stable crown & larger footprint
  • Lower friction due to better distribution of pressure in footprint (resulting in lower fuel consumption)
  • Longer tread life
  • Comfort & handling on the road
  • Less wandering, straighter tracking

CON

  • Higher cost than bias-ply
  • Faster break-away during cornering
  • “Heavier steering feel
  • Firm ride

We were surprised to find that the DOT has weighed in on the topic of bias-ply vs radial tires…”Radial tires provide better tread contact with the pavement since their sidewalls are more flexible in the lateral direction than bias ply tires. Accordingly, radial tires can generate about twice the lateral force as bias ply tires.  However, drivers get feedback from their tires and drive vehicles with different types of tires in different ways around corners.  [Bias-ply] tires provide more feedback to the driver by feel and noise that the vehicle might not negotiate a curve, and the driver can sometimes slow down and correct the situation before going off the road.  While radial tires generate more lateral forces, they do not provide progressive feedback to the driver and tend to lose traction without as much warning.  In essence, drivers have learned how to go around entrance and exit ramps, and other curves, on highways at a higher rate of speed with radial tires.  However, if the road is wet and their tire pressure is low, then they might have problems taking that curve at the same speed. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/rulings/TirePresFinal/FEA/TPMS4.html

So whats our recommendation? As youve read, theres no clear cut winner when it comes to comparing bias-ply vs. radial tires. It all comes down to what you want to do with your car. If you are going to vintage race, youll likely be required to use bias-ply tires. If you are going to drive the car a lot on the road, then radials are likely the best choice. Finally, if you are going to do car shows and originality is your aim, then you should probably have a set of bias-plies on your Allard.


Available Tires:

 avon turbosteel; radial

avon turbosteel; radial

 avon turbospeed; bias-ply

avon turbospeed; bias-ply

 blockley; bias-ply

blockley; bias-ply

 blockley; radial

blockley; radial

 dunlop rs5; bias-ply

dunlop rs5; bias-ply

 Excelsior stahl sport; radial

Excelsior stahl sport; radial

 coker classic / firestone blackwall;; bias-ply

coker classic / firestone blackwall;; bias-ply

 firestone cavallino; radial

firestone cavallino; radial

 michelin x; radial

michelin x; radial

 michelin pilote sport

michelin pilote sport

 Pirelli cinturato; radial

Pirelli cinturato; radial

 vredestein sprint classic; radial

vredestein sprint classic; radial


Owners Opinions:

I have had good experience with Bolckleys. I have gotten far more mileage out of them than the over-priced Dunlops. And, the Dunlops are not legal for road use everywhere because their side walls are so thin. The Blockleys have stiffer side walls, and they are far better than Dunlops in the rain.
D.B.
-------------
I too, run the Blockleys but 6.00X 16 all around. They look great, don't 'track' on road irregularities but do suffer from flat spotting if left for any period of time.I thought I had something falling off the car the first time I ran them! This problem goes away after a mile or so. They also whine on some road surfaces.
R-M-E
-----------
Blockleys feel much more 'planted' and far less nervous than the Dunlops when used on the road. I also forgot to say that I run slightly wider wheels on the rear with a tad more offset too, in order to use the 6.50 versions without them bulging too much or rubbing the inside of the arch.
I have never used radials on the J2X but have had reports that they can make the steering heavier, certainly on cross-ply tyres the steering on the car is delightful when under-way.
The flat spotting seems to get less with use and wear but they can be slightly alarming for the first mile or two especially when nearly new and if the car has sat for a week or so.
If you drive in a 'spirited' manner I can report that the Blockleys hang on well and then break loose gradually for a lovely drift. (I found this out on the track of course.... Cough, cough)
J.T.
----------
The Blockleys look great and have a lot more tread than the Dunlops. Dunlop tires are, frankly, a rip off. They have a monopoly for racing, granted by the FIA, so they get away with outrageous prices. Dunlops are actually cheaper in the USA than in the UK for this reason – more competition in the USA, as with most everything.
I have run Blockleys for racing but was not happy with them – more crown than with the Dunlops. But, the Blockleys would be a better road tire. Also, I suggest you look into the period looking tires made by Coker Tire Company. They look good in photos and are far less expensive than Dunlops and even Blockleys. I do not have experience with their performance.
D.B.
---------
Take a look at the Excelsior Stahl Sport Radial at Coker Tire - radial but bias ply look. I bought a set for my K3 but have not yet tried them (it is still being restored).
D.S.
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I fitted Michelin Pilote radials on my J2 rep FPN 300. They grip like hell and don't seem to wear out. They have the old Englebert racing tread pattern so look right as well.
T.B.
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The Avon Turbosteels are ideal if you want to go racing, they're very popular with the classic racing fraternity as they have a fairly soft compound that gets quite sticky when driven hard. They only come in 16" diameter but you probably have standard 16" wheels anyway. I have 15" wheels on  my car but if I had 16s I would definitely use them. I'm using Avon Turbospeeds on my K2 which are OK but not great for competition.
J.C.
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I have found cross-plies to "white-line" on the road. Even with front axle toe-in carefully set, the car will wander more without a doubt. Radials are, I think, better for road use. I bought a set of Vredesteins (they were cheapest! [in the UK]) and found the car to be much nicer on the road in general, but mainly because it felt less nervous at the front.  They will also last longer.  If you can afford them, Vintage Tyre Supplies reckons the Michelins are the best. You can still get the Avon Turbosteel in 16 inch...a bloody good tyre.
The Dunlop cross-plies look more authentic though. If you are circuit racing, I think the cross-plies are very good, though we tend have no choice for racing in the UK, as they are effectively the control tyre.
T.W.
--------
I've had Dunlop RS5’s on the L for ages now. Not too heavy on the steering, nice progressive characteristics if you push on.
Try not to be swayed by those who shout RADIAL at you!  I've run the car on both types and the car feels so much more ‘right’ on the crossplies that it was designed for.
J.T.
--------
In the UK we have to use these [Dunlop] for racing, and they are good grippy tyres, but on the road they follow white lines in a big way and cause the car to wander a fair bit. If I was just doing road miles I would go for a radial in similar size. They are not cheap (certainly in Europe anyway )!
T.W.


Tire Suppliers:

Coker Tire
Chattanooga, TN & City of Industry, CA, USA
Tel: 888-648-3361
www.cokertire.com

Britain West Motorsport
Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Tel: 519-756-1610
www.britainwestmotorsport.com

Lucas Classic Tires
Long Beach, CA, USA
Tel: 800-952-4333
www.lucasclassictires.com

Frisby Performance Tire
South Beloit, IL, USA
Tel: 815-525-7050
www.frisbyracetire.com

SASCO Sports
Alton, VA, USA
Tel: 434-822-7200
www.sascosports.com

Roger Kraus Racing Enterprises
Castro Valley, CA, USA
Tel: 510-582-5031
www.rogerkrausracing.com

Blockley Tyre (UK)
Gloucestershire, UK
Tel: 01386 701717
www.blockleytyre.com

Universal Vintage Tire
Hershey, PA, USA
Tel: 717-534-0715
www.universaltire.com

Longstone Classic tyres
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK
Tel: 0044 1302 714072
www.longstonetyres.co.uk

Classic Tyres
Beaulieu, Hampshire, UK
Tel: 01590 614972
www.classictyres.com

Vintage Tyre Supplies Ltd.
The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire, UK
Tel: 01590 612261
www.vintagetyres.com

Merry Christmas from the Allard Register

Since you've all been good boys and girls this year, we're giving you an early Christmas present...four actually. Click each of the drawings below to download a pdf of the corresponding file. We hope you enjoy!

J2 Chassis

J2 Assembly

J2X Frame Weldment

K3 Chassis & Body

Special thanks to Barry Burrell for sharing the J2 & J2X drawings and to Dudley Hume for the K3 drawing!

Smiths Gauges - 1952

Although we can't help you find replacement gauges for your K3, P2, M2X, or J2X...we can at least tell you what the correct part numbers are. While rummaging through our magazine archives, we found an original Smiths catalog from 1952! We scanned the Allard pages for your reference...click here to view them. Additionally, while roaming the internet, we found a guide (click here) on how to repair and rebuild your Smiths speedometer...if you're brave.

19 Cadillac Engine Tuning Tips

  1. The stock Cadillac ignition is NOT good enough for a tuned engine – or even hard use with a standard engine. You have to change to a high performance points/coil ignition, solid state ignition or use a magneto. Magnetos are period and pass muster for historic racing. This is the first thing you have to do.
  2.  One of the weak points in the Cadillac 331/365/390 series the fact that the outer ends of the fronts of the rocker shafts are not supported and tend to break under even moderately hard use. The solution is to fabricate stands for the ends of the rocker shafts, especially for the front. Better still; go to a larger diameter rocker shaft. We use 1950’s Chrysler shafts and after-market rocker arms. Even these shafts, fully supported, tend to fracture under racing conditions.
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Need a lift?

 

Attention home mechanics – if you are looking for a good safe way to lift your Allard (or other cars) and you don’t want to invest in a huge, expensive hydraulic lift, you should check out the EZcarlift. My dad just bought one for the K3 and it’s great. It lifts the car up to 26” off the ground and allows for plenty of unobstructed access to the undercarriage. All you need to raise and lower the lift is a 7 amp, high rpm drill. The EZcarlift is really well built, it can hold up to 4,400 pounds, it’s portable, and it can be stored away when not in use. The basic EZcarlift sells for $1,995, but if you mention that you are a member of the Allard Register, they will give you a special $250 discount. For more info, you can call 1-800-392-2754 or visit www.ezcarlift.com.

The story behind the EZcarlift is pretty cool. The lift was designed by Boytcho Manev. He had an auto engineering company in Detroit for 17 years before moving to Santa Barbara in '98 on a contract with GM at the time. However after a couple years that GM operation got sold to General Dynamics and he had a choice to either move back to Detroit or stay and collect the remainder of his 2 year contract and retire. At that time he was working on his Corvair and was having car lift frustrations similar to ours so he designed his car lift, with plans for it to be a one-off for his own use only. However, some of his car guy friends encouraged him to make some more. He works out of his house, most of the components are made by contractors, and he has a couple college students help him with assembly and shipping. He says he does about 200-250 per year, and feels that if he did much more he'd have to rent some industrial space.

Cadillac 331 Rebuild (UK – 1985)

[Jim Degnan has owned and raced his Cad-powered Allard K2 for the past 25+ years. He recently forwarded this article from the June 1985 Allard Owners Club newsletter. Roger includes a postscript at the end of this intriguing article.]

--------------- 

By Roger Murray-Evans

It’s never an easy task rebuilding old engines, especially when they’ve been obsolete for 30 years with the added complication of being of American origin. However in my humble opinion, an Allard should have a Cadillac engine, and as Jackie’s K-Type developed incontinence this winter, in its extremely loose flathead, and I had a similarly afflicted Caddy 331 lying around it seemed madness not to join the twain together, especially as the total rebuild of either engine would cost pretty much the same. That’s my excuse anyway!

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Allard Replacement Steel Wheels

Special thanks to Andy Picariello of the AOC for digging up an affordable replacement for Allard steel wheels. The “Gennie” style 2-piece steel wheels measure 16” x 4.5” wide and feature a 5 x 5.5” bolt circle with 2.25” back spacing (2.75" to the back of the rim). I did some digging and found that the wheels are made by Wheel Vintiques, which as it turns out are made right here in Fresno, CA! I stopped by their shop the other day and talked with Hector Moreno. Hector informed me that they sell direct and he will sell us primered wheels for $120/ea + shipping. To order, contact Hector at 559-251-6957 or email at hector@wheelvintiques.com and use part number 14-64255234. Wheel Vintiques will ship anywhere in the world.

        Please note the inside diameter will need to be increased to 3-13/16" (approximately 3/8") and studs must be added to mount the original Allard hub caps. We are working on a plan to supply wheels with these modifications, but nothing has been finalized yet. In the meantime, your local machine shop should be able to make these changes for you. Thanks to David Hooper for the drawing below. Click here or the image below to download the pdf

        The hub portion of the wheels are made from 7 gage steel (.175"), which is thicker than the original Allard wheels (low cost racing wheels?). They can also be balanced, whereas the original wheels could not.

        PS: We are also looking into making custom Allard hub caps that can be mounted to these Gennie wheels with no studs. In the meantime, you can order their #2005 ’40 Standard Baby Moon hub cap if you don’t want to add mounting studs for traditional Allard hub caps.

Tech Alert! DeDion Issue

After putting close to 3,000 miles on our Allard K3 since rebuilding it from a 'basket case', we experienced a frightening event. This past May on a trip to Paso Robles (120 miles from home) for a car show. A few weeks prior to that trip I had the car up on jack stands for its annual service and inspection. All bolts for the running gear and suspension were tight at that time as observed by the safety wires or, in some cases, cotter pins.

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