Those of you who have been following me for a while now have probably noticed that I like data.  I prefer to measure, analysis, and calculate, rather than just guessing at things.  What can I say, it's an engineer thing!

With that in mind, an adjustable brake proportioning valve has been on my list of things to add for a while now, but the usual tuning method of "guess and check" didn't really appeal to me.  So, I built this simple (and yes, ugly) test rig to map the function of a Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve.  I have done the math to figure out what proportioning valve slope and knee point would be optimal for my brake setup, but that math isn't too useful without knowing for sure what the valve is actually doing! 

Proportioning valve bench test rig

Two 1000psi pressure gauges, a few plumbing fittings, the proportioning valve to be tested, and an old master cylinder / brake pedal.  By applying pressure to the pedal with my knee and watching the gauges I can easily measure the effects of the proportioning valve at various settings.  In that way, I generated the data shown in the chart below:


 Wilwood Proportioning Valve
Test Data 
# of Turns PSI In PSI Out
0   200 150
400 230
800 395
1   300 250
500 340
800 480
2   400 355
600 450
800 540
3   500 460
600 520
800 620
4   600 575
700 635
800 680
700 680
800 740


Graphing the data (and extending it to intercept the diagonal line) produces the graph below.

wilwood pv


Finally, the chart below shows the calculated slope and knee point for each of the first 6 adjustment points (0 turns through 5 turns).  The valve actually has a little over 10 turns of adjustment, but it is difficult to produce over 800psi on my test rig, so I only tested the first 5.


Wilwood Proportioning Valve
# Turns Knee Point Slope
0 95 0.42
1 189 0.48
2 305 0.48
3 422 0.53
4 538 0.55
5 650 0.60


Those values can then be plugged into the  calculator found at the end of my Brake Bias article.  For my setup, two turns would appear to produce near perfect bias, so that is where I will start.  Fine tuning on the car may still be beneficial, but at least I know I have a good starting point, and I know how much effect a given adjustment will have. It is worth noting that for a knee point of 305psi and a slope of .48 (aka, two turns), the bias calculator predicts that an input pressure of 600psi will produce an output of 447psi.  In my testing, I measured 450psi.  How cool is that?

For anyone else looking to use this data, I would urge a bit of caution.  Since I have only tested one, I don't have enough data to make any sort of predictions as to their consistency.  But would guess that they tend to be similar.


And here it is installed in the car, using the stock proportioning valve bracket from an ABS brake system, and a combination of ABS and non-ABS plumbing.  The valve I used is Wilwood part number 260-841.  I used 1/8npt to M10 inverted flare adapters from Technafit, to adapt from the valve to the stock brake lines and a T fitting from an MR2 stock rear brake line.  One warning on plumbing these, non-ABS MR2 plumbing fittings have an extended nose on the fitting that won't work with the Technafit adapter.  Plumbing from ABS systems has a shorter nose and will fit.

adjustable pv