Water cooled brakes

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Ratu
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Water cooled brakes

Post by Ratu » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:21 pm

During the holidays recently, a friend and I were discussing NASCAR and similar topics over beer and fries as you do. The topic came up of the 1965 banning of the 426 Hemi and Chrysler's plan B. The Chrysler fall back position was to race in FIA World Championship of Makes. This is endurance racing and placed them up against some formidable competitors running circuits with both left and right corners! They chose Daytona 24 hr as the first big endurance race to have a go at. They chose the Plymouth Belvedere as their race car and didn't bottle out by running a small block as others would perhaps have done. No! These Chrysler guys were serious. They had courage. They chose to run the 426 Hemi in their Belvedere! Most excellent! The car had the power and did OK. It certainly was not disgraced for a first timer by any means. All the car needed was development. They ended up back in NASCAR anyway and unfortunately let the endurance racing effort lapse. A pity they didn't keep up with it.

So we got to thinking about what ifs. What if the car had been further developed and run at Le Mans? I asked about brakes since slowing down from the massive velocities, attained at the end of the Mulsanne Straight and elsewhere about that track, would be a major issue. There would be no problem with the Hemi getting the car up to those high speeds and it would be necessary that the brakes would need to be pretty sound. I was very surprised when my friend started discussing water jacketed drum brakes. He reckoned these were the hot ticket around the mid '60s on, since they could get rid of the heat and did not rely on engine vacuum to boost driver effort. I asked him to explain more.

His description was that the drums were manufactured with water jackets. In other words there were voids in the drums through which water was circulated, just like in a conventional engine water jacket. The coolant would cool the drums and then flow out of the drum to itself be cooled (presumably by the passing air stream). I asked him about the details of the system. Was there a radiator or more than one? What about water pump/s? Or was it a system relying upon thermal syphoning or the rotation of the wheels? How did it all work and what were the details? Unfortunately he did not know all. He merely remembered the topic being discussed at a race drivers meeting in Australia prior to a Bathurst event one year.

Does anyone know anything about this subject? Please comment as I would enjoy learning more.

Thanks.

Ratu

lefty o
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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by lefty o » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:53 pm

it would seem to me to be very difficult to put a water jacket in a drum which is rotating and manage to circulate water thru it.

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by PackardV8 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:37 pm

Once disc brake technology got up and running, such gimmicks as water cooling drums became moot.

But no, I've never actually seen water cooled drum brakes.

And no, making a 4,000# 7-liter brick competitive at LeMans is only possible if the smaller, lighter more aerodynamic cars are displacement or fuel-consumption limited.

And yes, someone at the time estimated the Deuce spent more to win LeMans '66-69 than the total cost of all cars entered over the first forty years.
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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by tresi » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:37 pm

My dad told my about log trucks in Northern California having them in the 50's and early 60's but never in racecars. The water was sprayed on the drums and wasted rather recirculated.

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by peejay » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:31 pm

Audi played with water cooled brakes on the Sport Quattro E2 rally car. You can see it trailing a cloud of steam on some high speed rallies like Finland.

More recently, there was a documentary about Subaru's tragic 2006 WRC season, and at one point they fitted a water cooling system to Chris Atkinson's car, I believe in Australia or perhaps Japan. If they fit it to the car, it must be an approved variance, so they are still apparently being used...

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by Ratu » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:06 pm

Hi Peejay

The TWR Jaguar XJS raced at Bathurst used a brake cooling system like the one you referred to. They'd spray water on the disc brakes to cool them from the high temperatures generated (especially at the bottom of the fearsome Conrod Straight). The system was a once-through, full loss system. There was a reservoir of water that was gradually depleted as the water was sprayed out during a racing stint. It would be replenished at a driver change if necessary.

There is an interesting story about this. What occurred was that when the other teams first saw the TWR XJS (and already knowing that it was running at a much higher weight than were they, as it was in up-to 6 litre category and most everyone else was 5 litres and under, hence lighter), they expected that while the car was mighty fast and had excellent braking performance, it could not last at high pace for more than a few laps at Bathurst. They were banking on the brakes going away and the Jaguars needing to settle down to slower lap speeds for reasons of brake conservation. As if in confirmation, they were informed that TWR intended to change brake pads during the race itself.

Many old heads remembered Alan Moffat running his Mazda RX-7 at Bathurst years before and needing to make pad changes during the race. They remembered the drama of watching his struggling mechanics lying on the ground in the pit lane getting nasty burns as they valiantly fought to get the Mazda's pads changed out. It was a struggle that took many, many precious minutes and helped doom the Mazda team's chances. So, it looked like the Jags would be quick.... for a while.... and then falter.... and then.... chased down.

At practice before the Great Race, the Jaguars howled around the track at unmatched speeds. The late Tom Walkinshaw set fastest time and won pole. He later commented that he was not going quite as hard as he could since he was not fully familiar with the track (it was the first time he had raced there and it is a mighty formidable place to race, believe me). He wanted to preserve the car and he was not going to take any chances whatsoever. He was out to win the race outright for TWR, Jaguar and Jaguar Rover Australia. Nothing was allowed to get in the way of that, not even race driver red mist or ego. When asked how much faster he could have gone he opined it was in the order of several seconds. I do know that he was very conservative through the Dipper among other places and that he did not fully unleash the V-12 on the Conrod Straight. Still, he consistently put in a mighty impressive drive, lap after lap.

Below is a link to a youtube video of Tom's pole gaining qualifying lap during Hardies Heroes the day before the Great Race itself. Interestingly enough, one of the commentators you'll hear is Alan Moffat from Canada, the same guy who had run the Mazda RX7 at Bathurst some years previously (Alan has had a stellar race career at Bathurst and in Australia in general, being hugely successful with Ford- but that's another story for another day).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9I7GWllPFY

What is not visible on this video is the steam gusher issuing from the car whenever the brake cooling spray system is activated. It was quite evident when it was running and left a visible steam cloud behind the car. This clear evidence reinforced the received wisdom around the pits that the Jaguars would soon be slowed by brake maladies. The ominous steam clouds put the seal of solid confirmation on this opinion. Boy were they all to be surprised. Within six laps the Jaguars had put four seconds on the rest of the field and they showed no signs of reducing pace. The steam puffs continued, yet the cars continued to brake consistently.

Eventually it was time for the scheduled brake pad change. I well remember how we all watched the first pit stop where the pads would be swapped out. It took seconds. Car jacked up, driver change, tyre and wheel change, pad change, load of fuel, check and top-up fluids (including engine coolant!), screen cleaned, car dumped back on ground, all done and dusted as rapidly as a regular stop. Hard for people to recognise now just what a revolutionary big deal this was (in this day of routine in-race pad changes in, say, V8 Supercar racing).

THAT was the moment when everybody understood two things. Firstly, failing some mid-race incident, the Jaguars were going on to win the Great Race easily. They were about to not only dominate the race but crush the competition. Second, this race would never be the same again. The level of thought, detail, discipline, organisation logistics, strategy and preparation, not to mention racecraft (indeed all aspects), everything would need to be lifted to a far higher plane of performance in future. TWR set the new standard. They left nothing on the table.

Anyway, thanks for bringing up the water spray for cooling the discs on the Audi, it reminded me of some wonderful memories of some spectacular happenings.
Last edited by Ratu on Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by HiPer Express » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:16 pm

Race trucks still use them,water sprayed drums or discs. I have heard about liquid cooled brake calibers using engine coolant, helps prevent brakefluid boiling and maybe cools pads a little bit.

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by Ratu » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:23 pm

PackardV8

Clearly Chrysler, unlike Ford, were not seeking the outright win. They sought to compete in a class. Still, it is interesting to ponder how things would have developed had they stayed the course.

In the case of Ford, what kicked off their vast expenditure to secure the win at Le Mans was the snubbing they received from Enzo Ferrari himself. Ferrari considered Ford and his people as somewhat low class and even a bit crass. Ferrari was rude, often as not, and treated many others with indifference or even contempt. He bested Ford in business. Ford senior executives (especially Ford himself) never forgave old Ferrari for his actions, nor for the way he stuck it to them. Egos and disrespect, tempers and misunderstandings, class and breeding, perceptions and expectations, nationalism, lust for revenge- all led to some brilliant racing, great cars and wonderful engineering. What a cocktail. Excellent stuff.

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by j-c-c » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:53 am

To the OP, I think your friend. to be blunt, has been reading too many Popular Mechanics. And i think we all understand there is a huge difference between closed loop water cooling and water spray to remove braking heat. The amount heat a liquid water , system needs to heat, is huge, requiring huge air/water exchangers, pumps, hoses, ducting, and/or huge pressures, in that water doesn't like temps in excess of 212F, all weight intensive. With a crappy brake system, in a 24hr race using water spray, would add a lot of weight to the car, and the inherent other performance penalties of that weight further complicated by weight loss/balance issues as the race cycles thru pit stops before refilling. Granted water spray cooling, allowing for a phase change, absorbs significant more heat, one time. I doubt spending time with band aid brake solutions, ever got very high on the list for solving any brake issues in the first place, especially with the stage of development the 65 Beveldere was at. Additionally, Daytona with its pre back straight chicane not yet? introduced in 65, had nearly the same long straight speed potential as Lemans, and the braking required at the end of the tri oval turn into the infield.

I believe I attended the Daytona 65 2k, not 24 hr, don't remember the car exactly, which is odd, as I am a Mopar fan, did it dropout early, or was it in a support race?.

Myth busted, IMO :D

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by Truckedup » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:42 pm

Driving down a mountain road you could see trails of water on the road before the curves..Soon you would see a logging truck using water to cool the brakes...I don't think they do this anymore...
Motorcycle land speed racing... wearing animal hides and clinging to vibrating oily machines propelled by fire

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by Ratu » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:23 pm

Hi J-C-C

My friend is not the type to be fooled by the likes of Popular Mechanics. I doubt he has the time to bother reading such anyway. He is a successful engineer and has enjoyed racing over many, many years. An outstanding man and a technically literate professional, he is not someone who falls for hype or promulgates baseless myths. Given his pedigree I take his comments seriously. If he says something was developed and used, then it was developed and used.

With the luxury of looking back through history from the present day we understand that the disc brake was the superior approach. Disc brakes became universal throughout racing. We know that now. Nevertheless, that does not negate the fact that there were (and remain) alternatives which people were prepared to try at the time. Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s innovative people in the USA tried all sorts of solutions to various problems. It is fascinating to review some of their projects even today.

The carriage of water for brake cooling is not unknown. We know that the TWR XJS used a constant loss system (see above). It has also been mentioned that Audi used a system on their Gp B Quattro rally cars (that one I did not know about). Whatever the weight penalty and effect on weight distribution may have been, TWR and VAG clearly considered it advantageous to use it on their race cars.

I remain interesting in finding out what was previously tried in closed circuit cooling. One approach relayed by other contributors to the thread relates to closed cooling systems used on trucks wherein the coolant was shared with the engine. I can understand this would alleviate some of the complications you complain about. There would not need to be duplication of heat exchangers (radiators) and pump/s. Cooling the drums by including them in a closed circuit potentially could be undertaken using such a scheme. Was that how it was accomplished? I do not know. Hence my original enquiry.

Answering your question: The Plymouth Belvedere Hemi ran for 60 laps at Daytona in 1965. It was quite fast, circulating at around 2 minute 12 seconds, which surprised a lot of people. The car ended up suffering a catastrophic engine failure which occurred as the result of a major pit crew error. After that the car was repaired and raced again several times. During its life was configured in various specifications. For example, when raced at Daytona it had big drum brakes all around while at Sebring it featured discs (which warped and failed). It was rallied in Canada, Hemi and all, a single carburettor replacing the twin carb set-up used at the circuits (the Canadian experience taught that a cabin heater was an absolute necessity and really should not have been deleted from the car!). The car was even configured for street use at one point and lent out to automotive reporters. It ended up converted to a drag racing specification and survives today in that form.

There was a lot of experimentation going on and this car was an important part of it. Chrysler management were motivated and very annoyed that their new competition engine had been banned by Bill France at NASCAR. They had a serious commitment to their new engine and were not about to merely retire it on the say so of some race series promoter. Chrysler made statements at the time that they would seek other motorsport disciplines in which to compete as alternatives to NASCAR. Basically they delivered a public “stuff you” to Bill France (a case of irresistible force meeting an immovable object). Chrysler did exactly as they stated and started investigating Plan B (more than one Plan B it would appear). Apart from looking at alternative competition series for the Hemi, they also investigated putting that engine into series production and they did continue dialogue with Bill France and NASCAR. Hemi entered production and the rest, as is said, is history.

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by pdq67 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:38 am

Please school me??

What's wrong with engine braking?

My new '67 1st Gen. Camaro had terrible 4-wheel drum brakes so in a tight situation, I down-shifted! Sometimes it got kind of squirrely jumping up and down and my slappers reverse slapped which DIDN'T help the excitement!

pdq67

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by Geoff2 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:08 am

Maybe of interest. Many people credit Jaguar as being the first car [ in the 1950s ] to have disc brakes. Not correct. Chrysler offered disc brakes as an option on the Imperial in 1949........and they were 4 wheel disc brakes! They were so far ahead of their time that they sold poorly & were withdrawn after a couple of years.

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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by PackardV8 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:55 pm

Geoff2 wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:08 am
Maybe of interest. Many people credit Jaguar as being the first car [ in the 1950s ] to have disc brakes. Not correct. Chrysler offered disc brakes as an option on the Imperial in 1949........and they were 4 wheel disc brakes! They were so far ahead of their time that they sold poorly & were withdrawn after a couple of years.
The "disc" brakes Chrysler offered were an engineering dead end which didn't work well. What looks like a finned drum brake is actually the outer half of the disc-brake housing. Inside the spinning housing is a two-faced stationary disc with six rectangular friction pads on each side.

Image


The first production US car with spot type disc brakes was the Crosley Hotshot. Crosley and his chief engineer, Paul Klotsch, essentially created the Hotshot around two bulletproof essentials: the OHC engine and a set of disc brakes, both highly unusual at the time. Klotsch decided that the Crosley sports car needed a superior braking system. He'd read about spot disc brakes being used on aircraft, and he easily convinced Powel Crosley to adapt them for automotive use. Thus, in late 1949 and 1950, all Crosley cars and trucks, including the Hotshot and Super Sports, came out with Goodyear-Hawley "Hydradisc" discs at all four wheels.
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Re: Water cooled brakes

Post by HiPer Express » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:19 pm

https://books.google.fi/books?id=rgEAAA ... es&f=false

They are out of business so not a big success.

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