View Full Version : Hawk Wheel Bearing adjustment?

02-12-2007, 02:48 PM
OK, brakes 101, forgive me for asking but..... I am in the process of redoing my brakes on my 58 Hawk, and I have the left front almost done (three to go); I replaced the wheel cylinder, springs, had the shoes relined. Just finished reinstalling everything. I had a local shop install the new grease seal and new bearings in the hub after they turned it. Everything looks ok.... Now my problem is that when I put the drumback on,
it has resistance when I try to spin it. The shoes adjuster is all the way in... the manual says to "adjust the wheel bearings, and then reinstall the drum, then adjust the shoes". If I loosen the retaining nut the drum spin more freely but if I tighten it, the resistance comes back. I only have the nut on just far enough to get the cotter pin in. the manual does not address how to "adjust the wheel bearings". What is it that I need to do? any help appreciated.


John Kirchhoff
02-12-2007, 05:02 PM
If the bearing is loose enough that it doesn't have any resistance, it's certainly too loose. Tapered bearings need a certain amount of preload to operate as their supposed to. I don't have the shop manual with me right now to give you the torque value for the adjusting nut, but I usually tighten it by feel anyhow. I'm sure someone else out there will have a more accurate explaination of "feel", but lacking a torque wrench, I'd probably tighten the nut until the drum starts to drag, give it another quarter turn or so, rotate the drum a little, back the nut off and then tighten it an additional 1/8th turn after resistance is met. Tightening it initally makes sure the rear bearing race is tight against the shoulder.

Dwain G.
02-12-2007, 05:40 PM
You'll read or hear of various methods, using an inch-pound torque wrench, light contact plus so many degrees, tighten only with thumb and fore finger, etc. Use whichever method you want, but after you have seated the bearings and spun the wheels, the important thing to check is the preload against the washer behind the spindle nut. Using a screw driver and a twisting motion you should be able to move the washer side-to-side with moderate effort. It should not be difficult to move, nor should it float around easily.
You may want to get a couple 'Help!' kits from an auto parts store that contains a new nut and a separate castellated cap. This allows you to insert the cotter pin without having to change the final adjustment.

Dwain G.

02-12-2007, 06:27 PM
As you have already noticed, this is one of those situations where if you ask six different people you get six variations on the same theme. One point that hasn't been clarified is whether you do this with the wheel mounted on the drum or not. Personally, I prefer to do it with the wheel on. I find I have a better feel for things this way. With the wheel spinning, tighten the nut until things bind, then back off 1/4 to 1/2 turn, spin it again and retighten. Then, as hotwheels said, back the nut off no more than two notches. Spin the wheel again and it should rotate no more than two times at the most. When you use a screwdriver as Dwain suggested, you should have just a slight amount of play in the bearing. When the brakes are properly adjusted, you should hear the linings dragging lightly against the drum, and the wheel should rotate 3/4 to 1 1/2 turns when spun. The brakes should be readjusted after about 500-1000 miles.

02-13-2007, 08:41 AM
Thanks much, yes adjusting with the wheel on makes sense; more mass to rotate. After this ice storm gets out of here and assuming
we don't loose power, I'll get out to the garage and give it a shot. Tks,

02-13-2007, 10:58 AM
I am a little confused as to what the resistance you describe is. Dictator27 gives a good description of adjusting the bearings but you will want to make sure your brake shoes are centered and not the source of resistance. You can do this by just applying the brakes with ALL the drums in place. The shoes aren't locked to the backing plate so they can "float" with the drum. You could also tighten them up with the star adjuster once the drum is in place and then back them off again so there is no dragging of the brake shoes while you adjust the bearings.

Dwain G.
02-13-2007, 12:02 PM
By the way Joe, have you looked closely at all four of your front brake shoes? Is the lining shorter on two of them?

Dwain G.

02-13-2007, 01:17 PM
Looks like you have both secondary shoes on the same side.

02-13-2007, 01:37 PM
No I have not tried to center the shoes since I have the brake
line on this side disconnected at present. I hope to have it
reinstalled in the next few days; I have the new rubber line connected but I have been having a devil of a time replacing
the short hard line that goes to the stop light block; the
shortest piece I can buy is 8 inches which is way too long; I'm working on bending one correctly to fit.....

Now as to the shoes themselves; I took a photo of the brakes before I removed everything. (Both sides.. I also have the passenger side shoes removed but I have not started on that side yet)

.. I noted the manual mentions "secondary shoes" .... I don't understand that term exactly. Anyway, I did notice that one of the shoes (on both sides of the car) had an extra hole so that is the guideline I used to reinstall. The old shoes did have a difference in lining thickness - which the manual also addresses.... however, I failed to tell the shop that and when they were relined the shoes the thickness are the same for both shoes... I did not notice a difference in the length of the lining however... now I'm not sure what I may have done wrong.......guess I should have been more careful. I do know that on this side the left shoe did have that extra hole and that's how I reinstalled.... Any suggestions as to where to go from here? Tks,

02-13-2007, 09:28 PM
The secondary shoes are always the ones facing the rear of the car. The lining length is longer than the primary(front) lining and is often thicker than the primary lining. This is because Studes use what is called "self-energizing brakes" which simply means that the bottom of the shoe where the adjuster is is allowed to float on the backing plate. When the brakes are applied and the linings contact the drum, the linings try to rotate with the drum. The primary shoe forces the secondary shoe more tightly against the drum, increasing the braking force.

02-14-2007, 11:50 AM
ok, just to be clear, you are saying that the secondary
shoes (on both sides) are the shoes closest to the rear of the car?
Also, if (the shop that relined the brakes put on new linings of equal length, and equal thickness, (I have to cbeck to be sure, as soon as I get this ice cleared), what are the implications of me using them this way? If this presents a problem, I'll have to start over by ordering new shoes to make sure I have factory correct linings... What really ticks me off is the fact that I did mark the shoes as I removed them (with dabs of paint), but the shop made them all new and shiny by painting them, covering my markings.........
oh well,,.

02-14-2007, 01:53 PM
Yes, secondary shoes on both sides for both front wheels and rear wheels face the rear of the car. Having the primary lining the same length may cause the brakes to be a little abrupt. It is basically your call, leave them and see what happens - maybe nothing - or get them redone. On my 54 the linings are different lengths but are the same thickness. The secondary lining does get more wear because of the self-energizing feature. When it comes to marking shoes for reassembly after relining, the best way is to use a punch.

02-14-2007, 02:24 PM
dictator27; thanks for the info. yes, the punch method
would have been the thing to do.... live and learn. I'll
try these shoes as they are after I get the lines back together and am able to use the brake pedal to get them centered I hate to go to more expense for new shoes

02-14-2007, 08:33 PM
It is best to adjust the brakes before you bleed them. Turn the adjuster out until the wheel can't be turned by pulling lightly on it. This centres the linings. Then back the adjuster off about 7 notches (usually - nothing is exact doing this) and spin the wheel. It should rotate no more than 1 1/2 turns and you should hear the linings dragging lightly on the drum. If there is more resistance than that, back the adjuster off 2 or 3 more notches and spin the wheel again. If you've gone too far and can't hear the linings dragging turn the adjuster out until the wheel won't turn again and start over. One suggestion regarding the primary lining. Take a coarse file (wood rasp) and taper the top end of the lining. File the top edge down to about half its thickness so that viewed from the side the lining tapers from the half thickness to full thickness about 3/4 to 1 inch down the lining. This should eliminate any tendency for the long primary lining to apply abruptly. If you have a bench grinder you can hold the lining aginst the side of the grinding wheel to do this, but in either case wear a mask! The tapered part does not need to follow the curve of the lining, it can be flat.


02-27-2007, 04:05 PM
ok, I'm still getting some dragging; here's
what I have done since last post. I looked at the shoes closely and they are all beveled on the ends already.
I put the drums back on, adjusted the bearings and then worked the brake pedal several times to center
the shoes (I had to pump it up some since there is still air in the lines and I have not bled them yet..
spun the tires and still getting some drag, not a lot, but some. sound like the shoes.. but the
adjuster is all the way in..?? I'm afraid my problem is with the new linings... all of equal length.
Now, should I start over again with the correct linings or just not worry about it. Any
suggestions appreciated. tks,

02-27-2007, 08:41 PM
One possibility here is that the company that relined the shoes put thicker than standard linings on. By the time cars get to the age ours are, the drums will have been turned possibly several times. If the new linings aren't thicker than standard, you won't get a good pedal. I had this happen with a 1940 C**v when it was about 40 years old. Couldn't get the drums on over new linings. Used a drum mic on them and discovered they were still standard size! The linings were .060 oversize so had to cut them down to standard. Anyway, a little drag is what you want. Set them up so you get 3/4 to 1 1/2 turns of the wheel when you spin it and see what happens. As I said before, with equal length linings, they might - emphasis on might be a bit abrupt when you apply them, but there is only going to be one way to find that out. If that was my car I would be tempted to leave them.

02-28-2007, 08:34 AM
ok dictator27, that is the way I was leaning. When I get it back on the road, I'll try a nice slow test drive
on my road - which luckily, is seldom traveled and plenty of fairly flat. thanks for your help.


02-28-2007, 09:04 AM
The technically correct answer to the wheel bearing adjustment question is...
.001" to .005" positive end play when checked with a dial indicator.
This is for tapered roller bearings.
This is a bearing manufacturers reccomendations.
Now, having said that, the best position for the longest life of a dual tapered roller bearing setup is actually preloaded -.001".
Now, that is utopia, and we can not achieve that without some elaborate measuring tools, so the manufacturers recommend the +.001" as a minimum because that is the smallest number you can measure with a dial indicator in the field. (You can't measure zero, or preload, with a dial indicator....
So, on a Stude, you should tighten the castle nut until it is snug (and you should be rolling the hub and drum assembly as you tighten the nut to prevent bearing 'stack up' (a technical term meaning the rolling elements of the bearing are not fully seated and are holding the inner and outer race apart further than normal when rolling). After the initial tightening, you should back off the castle nut to the first available slot where the nut is not tight (in preload on the bearing).. Then rotate the wheel to see if there is any excessive end play. The proper procedure at this point would have the end play measurement checked But that is rarely done in the automotive world)..
This is better explained in a Timken tech tip:
While it is truck oriented, it is still a taper bearing, so the numbers apply.
This page has an index worth spending some time reading....'


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