How To Convert To Electric Brake Boosters

Kugel 90-Degree Brake Pedal Assembly

By Ron Ceridono   –   Photography By Brian Brennan & Jason Scudellari

One of the best-known names in the world of hot rodding is Kugel Komponents. Its founder, Jerry Kugel, became well known for installing independent front and rear suspensions under hot rods, that is when he wasn’t chasing records on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

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02 Kugel Komponents pedal assembly kit with Wilwood master cylinders fluid reservoirs and optional mounting brackets
Our Kugel Komponents pedal assembly came with Wilwood master cylinders for the clutch and brakes, fluid reservoirs, and optional mounting brackets.

Early on Jerry worked with the legendary Ak Miller before opening his own shop, Jerry’s Garage, in 1969. Eventually, no doubt due to the combination of Jerry’s mechanical capabilities, business acumen, numerous magazine articles showcasing his abilities, and his understanding wife Judy, Kugel Komponents opened in 1977. Today Kugel Komponents is a family run business: daughter Jerilyn is the office manager, son Jeff is product manager, and son Joe is the lead fabricator.

Read More: Traditional & Timeless ‘32 Ford Roadster

03 Scudellari creating a firewall reinforcement from 1 8 inch steel for the Kugel pedal assembly
Scudellari fashioned a firewall reinforcement from 1/8-inch steel. The Kugel pedal assembly will attach to this plate via a fabricated mounting bracket.

Along with independent front and rear suspensions and other “komponents” Kugel offers some rather ingenious brake pedal systems. There are standard, through-the-firewall configurations as well as reverse-mount 90-degree and 180-degree configurations. The reverse mount assemblies tuck the brake master cylinder (and clutch master cylinder if used) behind the dashboard. This eliminates exhaust interference caused by under floor pedals and keeps the firewall clean as well. Reverse-mount 90-degree brake pedal assemblies are available with or without boosters and clutch master cylinders, while 180 assemblies are available with clutch master cylinders but use only manual brake master cylinders.

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04 Threaded standoffs made by Scudellari to secure the pedal assembly to the reinforcement plate
To secure the pedal assembly to the reinforcement plate Scudellari made threaded standoffs from tubing that will be welded to a second plate.

All Kugel Komponents pedal assemblies are made from laser-cut 10-gauge steel with 3/8-inch steel pedal arms. Pedal pivot points have Oilite bushings, bellcrank bushings use UHMW polyurethane bushings, and there are brackets for a mechanical brake light switch. It should be noted that these pedal assemblies will require some braces and or reinforcements to be fabricated as part of the installation.

Read More: Electric Parking Brake For Your Classic Car

05 Standoffs attaching to the Kugel mounting brackets with Grade 8 bolts
The standoffs will attach to the Kugel mounting brackets with Grade 8 bolts.

Another well-known name in the world of hot rodding is Troy Trepanier. Along with his late father, Jack, Troy opened the doors to Rad Rides By Troy in 1995. It didn’t take long for the shop to gain a reputation for being one of the best in the business. Building a string of high-profile cars, including the Goodguys Street Rod Of The Year, Ridler, and America’s Most Beautiful Roadster awards and a number of cars for George Poteet plus his Bonneville record-holding 1969 Barracuda “Blowfish” proved the point that Rad Rides by Troy was the real deal.

06 Test fit of the standoffs showing the space between Kugel pedals and the firewall mounting bracket
Here a test-fit of the standoffs shows the space between the Kugel pedals and the firewall mounting bracket.

Proving hot rodding runs through the veins of the Trepanier family, Troy’s son, Jack, heads up the Rad Rides Performance Parts division of the company. One of their products that caught our attention is the Tesla electric power brake system. These electric boosters have a sensor that recognizes the force applied to the brake pedal. That sensor sends a signal to the ECU (electronic control unit) that activates an electric motor driven screw assembly that helps apply pressure to the master cylinder.

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07 Threaded standoffs welded in place on the second plate for the pedal assembly attachment
With the threaded standoffs welded in place the second plate, which the pedal assembly will attach to, will be welded to the reinforcement on the firewall.

Electric power brake boosters are found on a variety of electric cars, such as the Tesla as well as some conventional internal combustion–powered vehicles. The Rad Rides crew were quick to recognize all the advantages of these units, specifically no external proportioning valve needed as the master cylinder includes an internal bypass that controls front-to-rear brake pressure. Additionally, no vacuum source is required. Rad Rides Performance Parts modify these units so only four wires are required (three power and one ground) and a machined 6061 billet reservoir that is hard-coat black anodized is added. As these electric brake boosters are extremely effective, only a 4 or 4.5:1 brake pedal ratio is required. So how good are these electric brake boosters? Jack tells people to wear a mouthguard if they want to try a normal pedal ratio.

Read More: Deuce 5 Window Coupe

08 Kugel’s master cylinder mount pedal assembly attached to the optional angle brackets and mounting plate
Kugel’s master cylinder mount/pedal assembly attaches to the optional angle brackets, which in turn bolts to the mounting plate. The critical concern here is to mount the pedal assembly in proper relationship to the steering column.

Recently we were able to catch the installation of a Kugel 90-degree brake pedal assembly with a Rad Rides’ electric power brake being installed in a 1932 Ford roadster. The result was a clean, simple, and extremely effective brake system, but it’s no surprise that when Kugel Komponents and Rad Rides Performance Parts get together something special is going to happen. MR

09 Multiple vertical holes in Kugel mounting brackets for positioning the master cylinders and pedals
The multiple vertical holes in Kugel mounting brackets provide options for positioning the master cylinders as well as the location of the pedals in relation to the floor.
10 Pedal assembly bolted in place with the brake master cylinder attached to the plate
Here the pedal assembly is bolted in place; the brake master cylinder will bolt to the plate with the large hole.
11 Pedal assembly with the clutch master cylinder mounted 180 degrees from the pedals
The pedal assembly mounts the clutch master cylinder 180 degrees or facing to the rear from the pedals. The linkage and 90-degree bellcrank for the brake master cylinder can be seen.
12 Wilwood 1 inch bore master cylinder used in this application with optional power brake boosters
In this application a Wilwood 1-inch bore master cylinder was used; power brake boosters are also available.
13 ¾ inch master cylinder supplied for manual transmission applications with a hydraulic clutch
For manual transmission applications with a hydraulically activated clutch, a ¾-inch master cylinder is supplied.
14 Brake and clutch master cylinders in place with swap able fittings for line connections
Here the brake and clutch master cylinders are in place. The brake master cylinder allows the lines to be connected to either side by swapping the fittings.
15 Kugel s slotted pedal types chosen for this installation
Kugel offers two types of pedals, slots or solid; we opted for the slotted versions.
16 Pedal pad located 7 to 8 inches from the floorboard
When properly located there will be 7 to 8 inches from the pedal pad to the floorboard.
17 Lokar pedal pads added as the final touch to the installation
A pair of Lokar pedal pads were the final touch to this installation.
18 Troy Trepanier’s Rad Rides Performance Parts Tesla electric power brake assembly mounted on the firewall
Troy Trepanier’s Rad Rides Performance Parts offer this very popular Tesla electric power brake assembly. In this case it is firewall mounted.
19 Sophisticated power brake units acting as a manual brake system when power is lost
These sophisticated power brake units with 11 to 16 V. If power is lost it will act like a manual brake system.
20 Rad Rides Performance Parts supplying stainless steel brake fittings for the master cylinder
Rad Rides Performance Parts supplies two stainless steel brake fittings for the master cylinder that accept -3 lines.
21 The effectiveness of electric power brake boosters requiring less pedal ratio than conventional braking systems
Due to their effectiveness, electric power brake boosters require less leverage—that is less of a pedal ratio than conventional braking systems.
22 Collaboration between Rad Rides Performance Parts and Kugel Komponents on pedal assemblies for electric brake boosters
Rad Rides Performance Parts and Kugel Komponents collaborated on creating pedal assemblies for electric brake boosters (on the right). Note the smaller bolt pattern.
23 Modifications made to the Kugel assembly bellcrank for the Rad Rides Performance Parts booster due to differences in pedal ratio
Due to the difference in pedal ratio and the relative location of the booster/master cylinder assembly, modifications to the Kugel assembly bellcrank were required for the
Rad Rides Performance Parts booster.
24 Pedal assembly with an electric brake booster in place with standard length brake pedals
Here a pedal assembly with an electric brake booster is in place. Standard-length brake pedals are used, the difference in pedal ratio is made up at the bellcrank.
25 Compact electric power brake master cylinder with reinforcement plate on the firewall of a 1932 Ford
The electric power brake master cylinder is extremely compact—the rear brake outlet is to the left (closest to the pedal), the rear brake outlet is to the right. Note the reinforcement plate on the firewall of this 1932 Ford.
26 Bellcrank on a Kugel pedal assembly for conventional brakes
This is the bellcrank on a Kugel pedal assembly for “conventional” brakes.
27 Bellcrank for an electric brake booster for comparison
For comparison this is the bellcrank for an electric brake booster.
28 Completed installation under the dash of a 1932 Ford roadster with simple wiring and a brace tying the pedal assembly to the lower dash structure
This is a completed installation under the dash of a 1932 Ford roadster—wiring is simple enough with only three wires required. Note the brace that ties the pedal assembly to the lower dash structure.

Sources

Kugel Komponents
(562) 691-7006
kugelkomponents.com

Lokar Performance Products
(877) 469-7440
lokar.com

Rad Rides Performance Parts
(815) 468-2590
radrides.com/shop

Wilwood Engineering
(805) 388-1188
wilwood.com

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Takin’ a Brake.

mr december 2023

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