Brake Adjustment of the Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost
Later cars, fitted with rear axle brakes:
If the foot pedal travel becomes excessive, this can be taken up by simply turning the knob ‘clockwise’ located on the right-hand side of the chassis rail just below the door. The knob must be depressed to unlock it, ensure it clicks back after adjustment. You will see the foot pedal rise as you turn the knob. Make this adjustment when the brakes are cold and do not overtighten the knob otherwise in either case the brakes could drag when hot.
There are two other methods of adjustment:
Outside of the rear brake drums and inside the drums.
Outside of the brake drums attached to the axle, you will see four cables, two for footbrake and two for handbrake attached to levers which operates a shaft into the brake drum. Each lever is connected to the shaft by means of a Sprague Clutch arrangement which can be adjusted by twisting and unlocking the large thumb locking collar and separating the lever from the shaft with a large screwdriver or pry bar. By pushing the lever tight with the cable and at the same time turning the brake shaft in the ‘brake on’ direction you can take up any slack between the cable, lever and brake shaft. A movement of one tooth on the Sprague Clutch will all that is usually necessary to make the adjustment.
Inside the brake drums there are brake shoe linkage adjusters which only need attention after the brakes have been professionally re-lined.
Early cars, fitted with transmission brake:
This is a large and efficient brake that operates via the footbrake pedal. It operates on the outside of a large wheel fitted to the rear of the transmission and not inside a drum and is resistant to fading. However, when worn or out of adjustment it can be a cause of brake judder. Care must be taken in the use of this brake it is has been known to snap the gearbox shaft with fierce and constant braking. The adjustment is via a star wheel situated on the left-hand side of the assembly. Do not over tighten as the brake may not fully release when hot.
The handbrake operates drums on the rear axle in a more conventional way via cables and levers which can be adjusted outside of the drums.
In relation to modern cars, the brakes fitted to Silver Ghost can best be described as ‘adequate’ for the period. They were designed in a time when gentle, smooth motoring was the order of the day when most people walked, and the more privileged travelled by horse and carriage.
Should you be at all unhappy with the ‘adequate’ performance of your brakes then it is vitally important to seek professional advice.