Test driving cars may seem like a lot of fun, but it serves a purpose as well. Driving supercars to their limit on a runway or taking a Land Rover through the world’s worst terrain can showcase a vehicle’s abilities, but what happens when standard systems fail?

Most automotive magazines run new cars through a gauntlet of tests in order to determine where they stack up against the competition. These include 0-60mph times, ¼ mile times, slalom, vibration & harshness, and braking. Most of these tests occur with little to no problem and the data is compiled to determine winners and losers. Most of the vehicles being tested are also essentially brand new. The manufacturer sends several models out to a proving site straight from the factory so that the media may drive them, take photographs, and compare them to the competition. Rarely does such a vital system like the brakes completely fail during one of these controlled test drives, but that is exactly what happened to Motor Trend’s crew while testing a Mustang Boss 302.

The brake failure was immediately taking under investigation by Ford and the vehicle was sent back to the factory to be taken apart and inspected. Ford has found no other discrepancies in their manufacturing line and no recall has been issued to the general public.

Hit the jump to read why this happened and how they got the car back in control.

The car was being put through the standard battery of tests when the braking distance test became the scariest one. After reaching the appropriate 70mph for the test it was time to put pressure on the brake pedal and bring the car to a halt in the shortest distance possible. Anyone who has been on a freeway and made a panic stop knows the feeling of having to stop fast, but may not understand what it is like, or what to do, if their brakes failed.

The test driver heard a snap somewhere in the linkage between the pedal and the engine compartment and realized the brakes were not being applied. The situation was akin to a truck driver burning out his brakes on a steep declining hill and essentially not being able to stop. Luckily the Mustang was a 6-speed manual and the driver was able to successfully downshift and slow the car until it finally stopped. Being able to stay calm under these circumstances and find another way to bring the car to a stop could save your life in a real world situation.

The team quickly found out that the pin connecting a rod that actuates the master brake cylinder had snapped off under pressure. This is not the only fail safe for brake systems on modern cars and the team wondered why this single piece would have had such a large strain on it. The brake pedal connects to a rod in such a way that pressure from the pedal is spread evenly over the surface. This system also acts in such a way that the master cylinder would still be engaged if the pin breaks. So what happened? The setup of this system had been installed on the wrong side and the pin was receiving an undue share of the pressure. That caused the piece to fracture under the heavy braking in the test. Lucky for the driver this did not happen during one of the real world road tests that had taken place just days earlier.

Source: Motor Trend

What do you think?
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14 comments:

  (401) posted on 05.24.2011

Actually, if you look at it, there really was nothing wrong with the car’s design. It was more likely due to an error in the mechanic’s part for not checking that one up.

  (429) posted on 05.17.2011

Well, I agree that this is not the first story of brake failure. And its a good thing that they have noticed this problem before they have released the car then later on they are going to ask for a recall.

  (378) posted on 05.17.2011

hmm. I think the most important things on car is the safety. And I’m thankful there is a test driver that is courageous enough to test the safety of the car.

  (780) posted on 05.11.2011

I think this is the most beautiful muscle car that I have seen. I like the combination of the black and red theme! The exterior really makes me drool especially those awesome tyres!

  (532) posted on 05.5.2011

OMG! I knew being a test car driver is somewhat dangerous, but I never thought it would be like this,tsk! Car lovers should thank the test drivers since they are the one’s who search for the things that should be improve for everyone’s safety.

  (449) posted on 05.4.2011

It seems that its the lucky day for the driver. Well, at least this thing happen during
the test driving and not when its already out in the market. I bet buyers will freak out when
that thing happens.

  (462) posted on 05.2.2011

The aerodynamic kit of this car is quite impressive and the exterior looks sporty! Muscle car really evolves during the past years.

  (648) posted on 05.2.2011

Definitely, but it is often due to the too much power they have in their engines that they tend to get out of control easily. Just like this one did.

  (600) posted on 04.29.2011

Honestly, though muscle cars doesn’t have a good performance still its styling really looks so cool and aggressive and that’s the reason why Americans love them.

  (619) posted on 04.29.2011

Well, that one just goes to show that it is really important to thoroughly check the vehicle before driving it. You never know what could go wrong.

  (579) posted on 04.29.2011

It seems that there will be recall news in one of this day. I can’t believe that after the hard work of the team creative all will be trash like this.

  (474) posted on 04.29.2011

Hey, I thought there were supposed to be thorough inspections of the car before they start the tests. But, come to think of if, that part might have been well within the car for them to notice.

  (553) posted on 04.28.2011

I like the color of this car especially the iconic stripe for muscle car! I really love it and I cant wait to have one of it.  

  (345) posted on 04.28.2011

Hahah! That one is definitely a terrifying experience. Too bad for the test driver he has to go through that. Good thing he came out in one piece.

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