By Ab Tiedemann, Geoff Fleming, Ken Daugherty and Jim Breazeale
Ab Tiedemann: In my opinion and it is shared by many, grease would be the preferred medium. 10,000 psi can be safely generated with a grease gun on the bench. Shop air at 85 psi is at the other endpoint of the safety scale and should not be recommended even though the manual suggests the technique. The pedal cluster that was suggested with brake fluid has a mechanical ratio of about 5 and is capable of generating on the order of 1000 lbs force [with the foot] and considerably less with the hand if such a set up is used on the bench with the cluster restrained [method free—like in racing]. With a 48mm caliper size about 6400 lbs force would be available for a stuck piston. With the grease gun, 28,000 lbs force. More than 4 times the force and much, much safer.
I think that AL Zim sells a kit with fittings just for this purpose.
I would rather clean up some grease than risk getting brake fluid everywhere.
By: Tom & John Lewis
The one job that I have always hated to do on my cars is removing pistons on the Ate Disc brakes. In the past, I have always used air pressure, and at times, it got pretty exciting, not to mention messy, with brake fluid everywhere. With some ideas from the forum, my son John and I rigged up a system that has turned a very unpleasant job into a "piece of cake" (almost!).
I had an old grease gun that I wasn't using anymore. We cleaned it out thoroughly and removed the grease nipple from the end. I have a swiveling vice with regular jaws and pipe jaws. We turned the vice to a horizontal position and lightly tightened the pipe jaws around the barrel of the grease gun with the hose on the bottom. Since my bridge pipes were pretty badly rusted, I took them off, sawed the line about a half inch from the fitting on both ends, and crimped the line coming from the fittings. These we used to plug the bridge pipe holes and the bleeder holes. We then split the calipe...
By David Jones, Dick Weiss, Alan Klingen
[Editor: Just installed new pads and your drum brakes squeak? Not sure about how to "break in" the pads? Here's advice from three experienced 356ers.]
David Jones: There are plenty of procedures written about breaking in disc brake pads and rotors but very little about drum brakes any more because they are not very common now. As I raced a car with drum brakes it was common knowledge that one could not go out with new brakes and expect them to work perfectly immediately so there was an established break in procedure and as I mentioned we always put a 45 degree chamfer on the leading edge of the shoe as Porsche also recommend for brake shoes, this lowers the propensity for brake grab and chatter. I would use the brakes early and lightly for the first few dozen applications so as not to overheat them and cause them to glaze over which can cause the squealing. Gradually increase pedal force over the first 500 miles and then they...
By Robert Harrington, Sam Cotten, Pat Tobin, Larry Dent & Edward Jedrziewski
Q: My Roadster has developed the world's loudest, squealing brakes you have ever heard. Instructions in the manual suggest cleaning or replacing the brake shoes. As I have done neither, does anyone have any helpful tips, and if they are able to be cleaned, what do I clean them with?
A: First DO NOT work on your brakes without proper masking and ventilation. Asbestos brake pads, especially on older cars, are very toxic. Paradoxically, the bigger "threads" of asbestos are more dangerous (harder to get out of your lungs once in there), but the dust is pretty nasty, too. Remember to mask-up when you're cleaning up after working on the brakes, just stirring up dust off the floor is hazardous.
Often, brake squealing can be taken care of by...
By Registry Member Jerry Wells
Yesterday I changed the brake fluid the same way as I have been doing for 20 years. Seems to work well and can be done with one person. Here it is:
Tools, Equipment & Supplies
2 large, clear glass jars (I use mayonnaise jars) 2 foot piece of hose that fits the wheel cylinder bleed tube (mine is the size used for a VW vacuum advance) "one cup sized" measuring cup small Crescent wrench
one or two large (quart) containers of brake fluid
Jack up entire car. Open the access to the master cylinder (MC) in front of gas tank on left. Clean the entire area so no loose debris fall into the open MC. Fill the MC using the measuring cup. Go to the rear right wheel. Fit one end of the hose over the bleed tube and dangle the other into jar #1. Crack open the bleed tube. Pump the brake peddle approximately 10 to 15 times. Examine the color in jar #1. Pour into jar #2. Repeat steps 4 t...
There's a lot of discussion about brake fluids. Should I use conventional DOT 3/4 or DOT 5 (silicone)?
Opinions vary widely on this topic. There's an excellent resource on brake fluids at the Vintage Triumph Website. The following text appears there:
"DOT5 does NOT mix with DOT3 or DOT4. Most reported problems with DOT5 are probably due to some degree of mixing with other fluid types. The best way to convert to DOT5 is to totally rebuild the hydraulic system."
Read the following posts from members of the 356Talk List and you be the judge.
Alan Klingen at The Stable wrote:
We have been very happy with ATE SL fluid, DOT 4. This is not a silicone fluid. It bleeds well, you will surprised how some fluids don't bleed well. It has been the factory fill till the last few years. This not the ATE Blue which is for racing. The problem with using a racing fluid is that they can lack the additives for long term use since they expect it to be changed all th...
By Rick Dill, Geoff Fleming, David Jones, Bud Osbourne, Al Zim, edited by Barry Lee Brisco
[Editor:] When new the 356 came with tires that required tubes, because that was standard at that time. Wheels back then did not have the "safety bead" that has been standard on wheels since the late 1960's. That feature was purported to reduce the chance of a tire coming off the wheel during a blowout (for the 1968 model year Porsche incorporated a "safety bead" on their steel wheels though the optional Fuchs alloy wheels did not get this change until 1972). The consensus among long-time 356 owners is that it is not necessary to use tires with tubes even though the original 356 wheels do not have the "safety bead". Below are comments from several of them.
Rick Dill: Now the real truth is that tubes will blow out at least 10 times as often as tubeless and that is what rolls over the SUVs and occasionally a 356. So even if the tire isn't as well contained because of no "safety bead" on the ri...
The Eternal Debate: More Rubber or Less Unsprung Weight?
One of the most frequently discussed issues on the 356Talk list is wheel size. One school of thought favors 5 1/2" wheels for their ability to put more rubbber on the road, while others prefer 4 1/2" wheels for their lower unsprung weight, original 165/15 tire size, and more nimble feel, especially at lower speeds. However, in the past few years, a number of 5.5" lightweight wheels have become available that are much lighter than any 4.5" wheel, negating that advantage. They are the "MgTEK" or "TECNO-Mg" wheel, a reproduction of the original "Technomagnesio" magnesium alloy wheel that for a time was sold by NLA, and aluminum billet wheels sold by West Coast Haus. (As of May 2008 neither of these wheel types were in production, but as of August 2010 a new version of the classic Technomagnesio is being sold out of Italy.)
In the chart below, drum brake wheels are listed first, lightest to heaviest, and then disc brak...
Based on contributions from John Audette, Stan Hanks, Linus Pauling Jr., Carl Swirsding, and many others
A frequently discussed topic is tires for our cars: what fits, similarity to original equipment, rim size, etc. Below is a list of tires that are used on the 356, and information on calculating tire size. If you have comments or additions, please email Barry Lee Brisco, Website Technical Editor, at email@example.com .
The 356 Registry is making this information available for your use and does not make any specific recommendations on any information contained here. Please read the Full Disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Comparative Tire Sizes
Sidewall Height (mm/inches)
% of Stock
4.5" or 5.5"
Michelin XZX (hard to find!), Michelin X Stop, BF Goodrich (3/4" whitewall), Dunlop D20, BF Goodrich Silvertown (2 1/4" whitewall), Nankang (Sears), ...
By Mike Robbins
One of the weak links on 356s is that of inadequate illumination of the instruments. Many owners have replaced the original 0.6 watt bulbs with 1.2 watt bulbs but they still leave something to be desired. One of our well known suppliers sold 6 volt LED units that fit the receptacles on the instruments but apparently sold out and discontinued them. I had purchased some of these and they really lit up the instruments. As evidence, at the Portland Porsche Parade in 2006, I returned to the parking lot one night with the top down and slowly passed a group of guys who were BSing. A couple of them saw my brightly lit instruments and called for me to wait. They were eager to know what I had.
Recently, in the course of making a change to other wiring to my instruments, I accidently grounded the power wire to the LEDs and blew all but one of them and also let all of the smoke out of the wires. After determining that the original source no longer offered them, ...