Many enthusiasts upgrade the braking system on their rides by switching to disc brakes, or enlarging the size of the rotors and/or the calipers that clamp onto them. There are even disc-brake units designed to perform at a higher level than the factory units, yet fit under factory-sized wheels. With all the efforts to increase braking where the rubber meets the road, many enthusiasts don’t consider ever upgrading the source of all the pressurized fluid.
Baer Brakes offers its ReMaster line of billet aluminum master cylinders which are engineered to not only look great, but also provide upgrades to complement the entire system. The ReMaster master cylinder features a small, compact, one-piece body machined out of 6061 T6 billet aluminum. It is available in a variety of bore diameters to calibrate with your system’s pressure and volume needs.
The ReMaster master cylinder is compatible with manual and power-assisted brakes, including hydro-boost systems. An additional adapter may be necessary to allow for the longer rod on some power boosters and hydro-boost systems.
Does Size Matter?
We spoke with Baer’s Rick Elam about the ReMaster unit and how to decide which bore size would be best. “Normally, if this is to be used with our brake products, we have a general guideline,” he says. In most cases 15/16-inch would be for manual brakes, 1-inch for boosted applications (with good vacuum), and 1 1/8-inch would be specifically for hydro-boost applications. We might deviate from this a little in specific applications, but for most street driving this is consistent. If the customer has some other brake calipers on the car, the best thing is to get us the piston sizes and what type of power-booster system they are using and we can help with a recommendation.”
We typically lean to a smaller bore in most manual cases to generate a little more pressure and to allow for a little more pedal travel. Rick Elam, Baer Brakes
Why is a master cylinder’s bore diameter so important? Because both the volume of fluid transferred and the pressure at which it moves are both dictated by the bore of the master cylinder, if all other characteristics such as pedal length and leverage points remain unchanged. A larger bore diameter will transfer a higher volume of fluid, but it will do so at a lower pressure and vice-versa. What this means is that you’ll have to push the pedal harder to get the same braking. That is why systems assisted by hydro-boost or vacuum boosters can get away with a larger diameter master–cylinder bore.
If you can supply the proper amount of pressure, thanks to a booster, the larger volume of fluid transfer means the pedal doesn’t need to move as far to actuate the brakes. With the advent of single, double and everything up to six-piston calipers on the market today, it is vitally important to have the proper volume, as well as pressure.
If the master cylinder bore is too small, you may find there is plenty of pressure, but you need to pump the brake pedal to get enough fluid to move the caliper piston(s) sufficiently. If the bore is too large, there is enough fluid volume, but you’ll be standing on the brake pedal to stop. That’s why it’s so important to know the total piston area for your specific application and whether they are power-assisted or not.
You can even use bore size to blur the line between power-assist or not. Rick explains it this way: “Once total piston area is known, we typically lean to a smaller bore in most manual cases to generate a little more pressure and to allow for a little more pedal travel. In street car applications, customers that are not used to manual brakes (or drive over-boosted, daily-driven vehicles) are sometimes worried about the pedal effort and hard pedals. Going slightly smaller in bore size will help with this.”
Both Form And Function
Anyone who has wrestled the spring clamp(s) from atop their OEM-style master cylinder knows first-hand how messy (and painful) the experience can be. Plus, the ol’ cast-iron OEM master cylinder typically doesn’t win any style points on the show-field either. The Baer ReMaster not only considered function, but also clicks a few points on the form side of the checklist as well.
There is the option of two left- or right-side ports and a two-bolt mounting flange for Blue-Oval and GM applications. There is also a four-bolt flange version available for Mopar applications. Based as a modular system, there are provisions for a proportioning valve as supplied by Baer for use with its ReMaster master cylinder.
The ReMaster system can use either banjo-style fittings or inverted flare fittings (with included removable seats) on the outlet ports. If using a proportioning valve, Baer offers various hard line kits that tie the master and proportioning valve together. On the top-side, the ReMaster uses a sealed lid, which is retained using six Allen-head screws. Knurled caps thread into the lid to make checking or adding fluid a simple, pain-free exercise.
Many have tried to dress-up their OEM master cylinder’s appearance by painting or various other shiny surface upgrades. The ReMaster paints a pretty picture in a variety of colors, ranging from polished–aluminum to powder-coated in an array of colors. There are also color options for the lid and fill caps that are used to keep the fluid inside the unit.
In the end, the Baer ReMaster master cylinder brings application and fashion to any custom build. Speaking with one of Baer’s sales representatives will help you decide exactly which unit will look great under the hood of your ride, while also giving you the type of performance you desire to enjoy your car exactly how you intended. We often consider upgrading our rotors and calipers for looks and performance, but it’s easy to see how consideration for the proper master cylinder is just as important to build a properly-balanced system.