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4 wheel disc brakes with anti-skid

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Don V. View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21-July-2017 at 10:31AM
Reading the shop manuals for our '76 I came across the Sure Track, anti-skid option and I had never heard of it during this time from Ford. I came to the auto industry to work on ABS and thought I had thoroughly researched the history but this is new.
 
Unfortunately the information in the manual is thin at best. The manual just mentions it being computer controlled and says no more except for what models the computer modules are not interchangeable. Descriptions limited to, "the computer has a circuit which . . .," isn't really useful information.
 
The oddest thing I find with the system is that the "actuator" has a valve controlling the brake fluid but the valve is activated by power steering fluid controlled by power steering vacuum. Both a check valve and proportioning valve have power steering fluid on one side and brake fluid on the other. I don't remember hearing of anything like this before. This isn't about potentially mixing fluids in the reservoir, this is inside a system component deep in the system. There's no reference to any SAE data for this. 
 
There didn't seem to be an appropriate place to post this since it isn't year or model specific and crosses generational model lines but does anyone have any experiences with the Sure Track, anti-skid system or have any information they can add? Or, how effective was the system?
 
Don
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aquartlow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-July-2017 at 10:54AM
I know I have never really messed with or tried to use the Ford anti-skid control units from the 70's(kinda complicated for sure), just removed the associated parts for one reason or another to allow the rear differential or entire axle assembly installation in another vehicle. These anti-skid systems(with 4 wheel disc) were designed/designated to be used with hydro-boost brake assist, possibly the reason for the PS system/brake system correlation. 
BTW, Welcome to the forum Don. Sorry not to mention this earlier. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-July-2017 at 11:07AM
I think it was rear brakes only, and I do remember a C.B. radio WILL interfere with the system.
It used hydro-boost with 4 wheel discs with a bigger diff than a 9" because the 9" has a chatter issue that gave the sensors fits. the sensor controlled a solenoid in the hydro boost circuit to pulse the brakes.
It wasn't very good. Very much like G.M.'s "anti-stop" brake system from the late 80s-mid 90s. Some of the Mark IV, Vs had it, some didn't. Same with fullsize Lincolns and Mercurys.
The above post should be read in a "Grumpy Old Man" voice.
Almost forgot: "Get off my lawn!!!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aquartlow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-July-2017 at 11:25AM
Originally posted by Big Bird Big Bird wrote:

I think it was rear brakes only, and I do remember a C.B. radio WILL interfere with the system.
It used hydro-boost with 4 wheel discs with a bigger diff than a 9" because the 9" has a chatter issue that gave the sensors fits. the sensor controlled a solenoid in the hydro boost circuit to pulse the brakes.
It wasn't very good. Very much like G.M.'s "anti-stop" brake system from the late 80s-mid 90s. Some of the Mark IV, Vs had it, some didn't. Same with fullsize Lincolns and Mercurys.
 
Yes^^, definitely rear only anti-lock brakes. First vehicle I remember I saw this system on was a '75 or '76 Thunderbird, I was like WTH(what the heck) is all that stuff. FWIW, The T-bird had a 9", never seen a factory rear anti-lock/rear disc 9 3/8" rear axle assembly-only rear drums.
www.supermotors.net/22468
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-July-2017 at 1:07PM
It may have been started with 9" and moved to a different diff because of the chatter issue, don't remember all the details, but it was a crapulent system. Not all 4 wheel disc systems had the anti-skid.
The above post should be read in a "Grumpy Old Man" voice.
Almost forgot: "Get off my lawn!!!"
Randy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Don V. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2017 at 1:35AM
Thank you everyone for the information. I get to The Henry Ford every couple of months where Ford archives its engineering papers and this will definitely get some time if it's there yet.
 
I've done what research I can with SAE but my access is limited and I could find nothing on the problems associated with mixing the PS and PB systems. I also looked at some of the materials handbook's my father had from the time. There were O-ring and seal materials at the time that could be used with both functional fluids at the time but not together. The brake fluid requires tolerances that would deny the power steering fluid the ability to lubricate as needed in a PS system. Conversely the required fluid blow by for lubrication of the PS system would breakdown the seals and O-rings required by PB system. It would take time but this is the PS and PB systems. It's a ticking time bomb. There had to be something more to the actuator that isn't in the manuals.
 
There is also nothing in the manuals about the differences in heat the fluids can handle and how that is dealt with. I'm not surprised the system was referred to as crapulent but there had to be a plan for these problems the manuals leave out. I'd like to know what it was.
 
Don 


Edited by Don V. - 22-July-2017 at 1:36AM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2017 at 3:10AM
the two hydraulic systems operated completely independently. Basically the P.S. pump operated a hydraulic ram that replaced the vacuum booster, .
Think about how a Ford falcon/Mustang power assist steering system works. the steering box is independent of, and does not share fluid with the hydraulic ram that is the power steering assist.
The anti-skid system was part of the brake fluid system, a valve and solenoid on the rear brakes controlled by a speed sensor on the ring gear.
The above post should be read in a "Grumpy Old Man" voice.
Almost forgot: "Get off my lawn!!!"
Randy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Don V. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2017 at 5:17AM
Big Bird,
 
I don't know the system and what you wrote makes a heck of a lot more sense. What my 1976 Ford Shop Manual shows though is this. There are 2 schematic diagrams. One of the actuator in the activated position, Fig 8 and one of the actuator in the normal position, Fig 9. The schematic has hatch patterns through the fluid lines denoting the difference in fluids. There are 3 piston valves in the actuator with brake fluid on one side and power steering fluid on the other.  The schematic shows piston travel initiated by the fluids. In the activated position, the area filled by PS fluid to move the piston is called the power steering support chamber. The fluid comes from the power steering fluid chamber. The PS fluid flow between the chambers is controlled by a solenoid. The external diagram and photo of the actuator show the inlet and outlet for the PS fluid.
 
The fluids are separated by the valves but as I said, ticking time bomb. The mechanical properties of the 2 fluids demand different design considerations for the valves. The PS fluid will eventually come in contact with the PB fluid seals.
 
From the hydro boost: Be very careful to avoid getting even a single drop of fluid into a part of the system where it does not belong. Power steering fluid and brake fluid must not be mixed. Power steering fluid will damage brake system seals on contact. If brake fluid contacts power steering seals they will immediately be damaged.
 
Hydro boost that I've seen used either a lever or a diaphragm to separate the 2 fluids operating on separate pistons or valves. Nothing like that in the schematics.
 
I'm happy to defer to your experience with this system because as described in the manual, it doesn't make sense. I'd really like to see how this could make sense.
 
Don


Edited by Don V. - 22-July-2017 at 5:20AM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2017 at 11:33AM
The hydro boost by itself worked good. when they added the anti-skid, not so much. the wiring/electronics weren't shielded, so a C.B. radio (another option, by the way) would give it fits. The solenoid had a slow cycle time, so it was a special feeling driving in ice/snow. The early ones had a problem with ring gear chatter, as they added a reluctor wheel behind the ring gear and there was enough play in the 9" to screw with the sensor. A little more R&D/Attention to detail and it would have worked fine. Instead, Ford used the buying public as crash test dummies, I mean as test subjects
The above post should be read in a "Grumpy Old Man" voice.
Almost forgot: "Get off my lawn!!!"
Randy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Don V. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-July-2017 at 7:15AM
Bird Man,
 
It was 1972, I was a Jr. in high school with a green, 1970 Montego that allowed me to discover some special feelings. Fortunately putting on the brakes weren't involved.Star
 
A family story to compliment your experience and opinion of the sure track shortcomings.  
 
In 1964 my dad bought a car directly from FoMoCo off of what was called, "The Ford Lot." Cars on the lot were Ford Fleet cars and prototypes usually ordered by the Marketing Div. to be tested and rated by Ford Employees for potential production. These weren't concept cars but a testing of options already available expanded to new models that the options weren't offered on.
 
Anyway the car he bought was a 1964, 2 Dr, Fairlane 500 Sport with a 4 cam 289 and Hotchkiss drive with coil springs and a leaf spring arched toward the front of the car placed in front of the differential, 90 degrees to a rear sway bar. The cylinder heads were an early iteration of the dry deck crescent design which later became the Ford semi-hemi heads used on the Boss 429. I'm not sure of this but I think the heads came from Westlake as raw castings. What I remember the most about the car was bucket seats with no counsel. I thought that was just the coolest thing. Uncluttered and clean looking.
 
The weekend after he got the car there was a get together of about ten engineers from Ford, Chrysler, GM and one from VW. Not far from home was a dock where bugs came into the U.S. They came optionless and only painted with red lead primer. The cars were painted and options added here in the U.S. and the place had one VW engineer. He and dad got to know each other and were friends.
 
After they were done with playing with the car they "all" spent the afternoon talking with the German VW engineer about how the Germans and Japanese would own the U.S. car market if things didn't change. The poor quality of U.S. made cars was no secret even back then. Planned obsolescence was a strategy based on the belief based on the trust that most Americans will buy American. They talked about people that lost their jobs challenging this belief and people that left their jobs because they couldn't and wouldn't do it. Dad always believed, "Thank God for the energy crisis and air quality standards," because they saved the U.S. auto industry before it was too late. The mood of the get together became the same as the one that came out when they would talk about the war only this time I wasn't told to leave.
 
The engineers knew how to and could have built quality cars. They weren't allowed to. They all complained about the "Accountants."
 
About the car? Dad sold it in less then a year. The nearest garage that would touch it was about an hour away. There was also nothing routine with routine maintenance. About a year it was sold we were told it was totaled. Sometime in the 70's dad began saying, "Why did I ever get rid of that car?" Or something similar. He regretted letting it go. I remember it was one of two made. The other one was on the lot at the same time. It was white and ours was blue. 
 
Sorry for rambling on.
 
Don 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-July-2017 at 9:50AM
cool story! "bird man" LOL i love it ! funnyLOL
JOHN
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Don V. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-July-2017 at 1:38AM
Ooops, I'm sorry Big Bird.
 
Yesterday would have been dad's birthday so his story's were much discussed. He really disliked defending "engineering," with people who didn't understand how little of a say they had. He liked to remind people of the lesson in American engineering abilities Enzo got when the restraints were removed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Don V. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-July-2017 at 6:51PM
I was able to get schooled tonight on Sure Track. First of all, although Sure Track is often referred to an early ABS it wasn't. Because anti-skid was a byproduct function of Sure Track's purpose, tracking, it is often referred to as the primary purpose. The concept of Sure Track was to keep the rear wheels in line with the front wheels by "Tracking" brake ratios and wheel slip. Braking ratios was nothing more than dividing brake pressure at the pedal in to 3 sectors. This is similar to what is referred to as the variable valve timing used today. Variable valve timing is not really variable in the elusive sense people have been chasing for years. It's a combination of electronics and programming reacting to pre-determined RPM and load demands. It's not an instantaneous, continuously variable timing reacting to engine conditions and demands. Instantaneous and continuously variable antilock braking in conjunction with traction control wasn't realized until the ring laser gyro (RLG) was declassified in 94. The RLG is was made inertial navigation possible for the first time in jet fighters with the F 14's and 15's and controls the guidance in cruise missiles.
The inherent short comings of Sure Track were the disregard for steering angle and no logic function to determine which end of the vehicle was leading and which one was following. When working as intended the rear wheels will follow the front wheels even when that isn't a desirable outcome.  
 
The questions Big Bird and I were discussing about the incompatibility of PS and PB fluids as shown in the diagrams of the actuators is now easily explained by the diagrams not being functionally accurate. The actuators are actually dual chambered with the chambers separated by a diaphragm. With that information the actuators make sense.
 
The "why" to inaccuracies in the manual with both the diagrams and the written description is the manual intentionally presents nothing more than the minimum necessary to explain how the system works with respect to its function. The limited presentation of the system was a justifiable standard because the actuator was to Ford, Black Box Technology and not a dealer serviceable part. To Ford in the 70's, any part that isn't dealer serviceable is unserviceable to anyone. This was SOP at the time by all the manufacturers. Industry responsibility was to dealer support and what happens beyond supporting dealers was the responsibility and at the risk of vehicle owners. Changes in consumer law has ended this practice. Not that unserviceable parts are no longer used but that manufacturers have to offer 100% universal standard service support. The point to this is that today there are stringent proprietary requirements needing to be met for a manufacturer to deny support to aftermarket servicing or for a manufacturer to void a warranty because of aftermarket services. As long as accepted industry standards are met and maintained by the aftermarket industry manufacturers have to support the aftermarket industry. I'm sure most of us can write about past circumstances where what we did to vehicles was done with careful consideration of reputation and the effects of the work on warranties. 
 
I'm not use to working on classics and as obvious as it should be I'm often guilty of bringing my 2017 attitude to a 1976 car. They're not always compatible and we haven't even started the actual work on the car yet. It never entered my mind that an intentionally inaccurate diagram of a part would be put in a shop service manual. Considering how computers, computer protocols and programming were almost revered as magic in '76 it's not difficult to understand the approach to new technology or why things were done the way they were. Any attempt to thoroughly explain Sure Track would have probably been a waste of ink and paper for even the best mechanics. There's more to these cars than turning a wrench. 
 
Don V.  


Edited by Don V. - 31-July-2017 at 6:55PM
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