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Important brake system components -
and what you need to know about them


Hold-Off / Metering Valves are used in the front (disc) system of a disc/drum brake system. They provide a "hold off" function to allow the rear (drum) brakes to actuate first. This function is very important in making the system function in the correct sequence in a rear wheel drive car. The rear brakes are always actuated first. This function is built into most factory type disc/drum combination valves. Make sure you have a metering/hold-off valve in the system either as a stand alone valve or as part of a factory valve.

Proportioning Valves go in the rear brake system (disc or drum) and provide for control of the rate of pressure rise to the rear brakes -- just the rate at which it builds up. Sooner or later the rear brakes see full master cylinder discharge pressure. The purpose of this rate of pressure rise control is to compensate for the reduction of weight on the rear wheels due to forward weight transfer during braking. In short, it eases the application of the rear brakes to help prevent rear wheel lockup. Factory combination valves have these built in -- make sure you know what you're getting, too little rate of rise is as bad as too much. You may not need one of these valves depending on the compatibility of your vehicle's brake system components.

Adjustable Proportioning Valves allow for fine tuning of the rate of pressure rise to the rear brakes if you have a lock up problem. If you have a lockup problem, experiment with the setting of the valve to eliminate lock up for all but all out panic stops. Good luck!

Residual Pressure Valves are used in a both front and rear brake system as follows:

    • 2 PSI Valves - These valves are used in a disc brake system only and are required when the master cylinder is at, or below, the height of the calipers. It's purpose is to act as an anti-siphon valve preventing the brake fluid from siphoning back into the master cylinder when the brake pedal is released. Even if the master cylinder is even or slightly above the calipers, put one in anyway. If you don't and you park on a hill, fluid will siphon! These valves are cheap insurance - put them in!
      • NOTE: You will know if you need one of these valves if you had to pump the pedal twice to get a good pedal. See illustration for more.
    • 10 PSI Valves - These valves are used in a drum brake system to prevent air from being ingested into the hydraulic system when you release the brake pedal. Typical wheel cylinder seals only seal when there is pressure behind them. Rapid release of the brake pedal creates a vacuum in the system which causes the seals to relax and air is ingested into the wheel cylinders. Maintaining 10 PSI in the system at all times prevents this. Some disc/drum master cylinders have 10 PSI residual pressure valves installed internally, some don't. If you're not sure, call us and we can tell you how to check. Also, some new style wheel cylinders have cup expanders which negate the need for the residual pressure valve. Either way, if you are not sure whether you have one or not, put one in. They are not cumulative and it won't hurt anything if you have two. Don't worry about brake drag, it takes roughly 75 PSI to overcome the return springs.


Please follow the links below for illustrations on the topics noted:


 

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