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Brake Valve Guide: Metering, Residual, Proportioning and Combination

Tags: Tech, Brakes

The project is progressing nicely, and it’s time to move onto the stopping portion. Brake lines are no big deal, just bend to fit and you’re good to go. What about all these different valves you hear about though? There are four main types of valves you will see as you build your braking system. Using each of these valves in the correct manner is vital to the proper operation of your system.

Metering Valve

You will usually find this type of valve on a disc/drum setup. The way these valves work is by delaying the front calipers until there is between 75-135 psi in the lines, allowing the drums to actuate at roughly the same time. This promotes stability in the rear end and also extends front brake pad life. Metering valves will usually be found inline leading to the disc brakes.

Residual Check Valve

Just as the name implies, residual pressure valves will retain a small amount of pressure in the lines, usually between 2-10 lb. designations. The 2 lb. is used in a disc brake setup to prevent backflow of the fluid and creating brake drag. The 10 lb. variation is used in drum applications to help counteract return spring tension in a drum style braking system. Click here for an installation diagram or here to shop all residual pressure valves.

Proportioning Valve

These valves control the actual pressure applied to the rear brakes. Since disc brakes need more hydraulic force to operate, these valves even out the load so that both operate as expected under heavy braking maneuvers. Some proportioning valves are adjustable (via a knob) so that the the front/rear pressure bias can be custom tuned to your vehicle, while others have a fixed bias ratio. Click here to shop all proportioning valves. NOTE: These valves are not DOT compliant and as such should only be used in racing applications.

Combination Valve

You guessed it. This valve is a combination of mulitple functions, allowing proper bias between front and rear brakes. It is also adjustable to regulate rear brake pressure, as well as having a pressure activated brake light switch built in.

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