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View Full Version : Rear Axle Bearings, Shims Revisited



wagone
12-08-2005, 12:38 PM
I've just read Chuck Savage's question on rear bearings, shims, etc and the kind responses from Mr. Biggs. My question is related to this issue. Sooner (as opposed to later, I imagine) I'm going to be working on these bearings myself (and possibly replace my Dana 44's tapered shafts with the newly available flanged types). I'm concerned about the present state of my axles and whether or not they are safe until I get around to replacing things. Questions are:
1.) When I jack up one of the rear wheels on my Avanti and attempt to move that axle shaft inward and outward by pulling and pushing on the wheel and tire assembly everything is tight. However when I raise the entire rear and then attempt to pull and push either side's tire and wheel assembly I get a fairly noticeable amount of lateral movement (which seems odd as it doesn't occur when jacking either rear corner alone)--the amount of play seems to be between a 1/32" and 1/16". Is this cause for concern?
2.) It appears as though someone in the past has attempted to separate the drums from the hubs. This increases my concern as to how long it may have been since the bearings have been repacked. Beyond this concern, is there reason for suspecting this separation of hub and drum from a safety point?
3.) What has been the experience of those who have used these newly available flanged axles? It seems as though some months back a comment has appeared on this forum that perhaps these axles have not been machined fully to make their installation merely a replacement of parts.
Thanks for your kind responses.
wagone and Avanti I

Roscomacaw
12-08-2005, 02:27 PM
Think about it - with one rear wheel on the ground (and the car sorta focusing it's weight on that ground-bound wheel by virtue of the jacked side tilting the car towards that wheel)any end play would be eliminated.
But with both wheels free of lateral tension, now the end play can be observed.(maybe easier to visualize if you think of both axleshafts as ONE and realize that their congregate "end play" is really the slop that they share between the bearing races at each end of the axle tubes.[:I])

1/32" would certainly be outside what's specified. And if you visualize it again, it means the bearing rollers aren't optimally riding their respective races at any time. Not a good thing.

Some folks HAVE resorted to having the drums loosed from the rear hubs to facilitate brake service. It's not right and therefor I wouldn't do it myself. My approach to such things is that if Studebaker engineered it to be like that, there must have been reasoning behind it. that said, I haven't HEARD of any problems from doing such. Fact is, a couple of old Ramblers I once had had that very setup fron the factory. While they had tapered axles and hubs, the drums were held to the hub by a couple of 1/4" bolts and the force of the tighten wheel when installed. It worked fine and made servicing the brakes fairly easy.;)
The wheel being mounted tightly is gonna hold the drum fast against the hub (given it's able to fit up on the lug studs, true and tightly), not unlike the flanged axles allow. What "evidence" do you see that makes you think someone tried to seperate them???[}:)]

It's possible for someone to grease the rear bearings thru the grease zerk holes just inboard of the rear brake backing plates. These holes have threaded plugs in them and use a slot screwdriver for removal to allow the installation of a grease zerk.
If zerks haven't already been fitted, you might wanna do so for future servicing.

As to the flanged axles, I can't awnser there. I haven't (as yet) had a chance to deal with them. BUT! I plan to - and soon!:D
Call Phil at Fairborn Studebaker and ask him. He's easy to talk to.[}:)]

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

wagone
12-08-2005, 03:01 PM
Mr. Biggs. Thanks again for your response. As for evidence of attempts to separate drum from hub, the drum shows grind marks (unusual in appearance) in the area where the studs pass through the drums. Not by itself sufficient to separate the two, but it would seem as the only logical reason I can see for the presence of the grinding--some uninformed person's attempts at separation. Also I've seen NUMEROUS mickey mouse and jury rigged repairs done to this (originally fine) automobile in the past to be suspicious of just about anything I run into (I believe I could write a book on the jury rigging I've seen on this car).
As to the one wheel being on the ground preventing any end play from being noted through pushing and pulling on the opposite wheel, yes, that would prevent movement of the axle on the side with the wheel on the ground but I would think that the end play of the wheel in the air should be noted. And with both rear wheels in the air I would think that the differential case (but I suppose there could be enough slop in the gears to permit movement) would prevent movement of the other shaft when the opposite side is pushed in and out and hence the same play would be noticed (movement of one axle, that side being pushed on) regardless of whether both wheels or only one is in the air. Comments?? But the end play certainly does look like a reason for concern--hence my questioning.:(:( One MIGHT almost think that the bearings and axles were assembled without any shims at all--but then that is likely an overreaction to some of the other things I've run into, as mentioned above.
wagone and Avanti I

Roscomacaw
12-08-2005, 03:34 PM
Remember - I said to think of the two axle shafts as ONE. This is because the inner ends of the shafts work against one another via a "thrust block" in the center (on TT rears, this thrust block is actualy two of them and they can fall out of their respective seats when a given shaft is removed). So one pushes against the other. The "end play" is the sum of motion of BOTH axles, not just one.;)

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

sasjdw
12-12-2005, 02:49 PM
I am fairly certain that my '55 Speedster has the Dana 44 rear end. However, when I removed the rear wheels, the brake drum was not attached to the hub. The drum was easily removed to reveal the brake shoes, springs, etc. Should the brake drums and hub on this car be 'one'? If so, how are they attached together?

Jim W

James D. Wilkerson

Roscomacaw
12-12-2005, 03:14 PM
Assuming you DO have the correct vintage type44 rear in your '55, the drums should be held fast to the hubs. This is achieved by the lug studs being swedged in place with the drum already in place on the hub.
There IS the outside chance that someone put a later, flanged axle 44 under the '55 at some time. It's been done with pre-64 Studes before.:D Does your rear have a big nut on the ends of the axles, or is it a recessed area on the ends?[?]

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

garyash
12-12-2005, 03:58 PM
There is some modification that can be done to the drums and hubs of the tapered axle shaft cars. The previous owner of my Wagonaire did something so that the studs were on the hubs. I could pull the rear drums and leave the hubs in place. He had put front disk brakes on the car, too. I later swapped to the correct 11 inch rear drums, so the old 10" set-up with hubs is out in the shed. I'll have to go look how it was done. Someone else here must know this trick.

Gary Ash
Dartmouth, MA
'48 M5
'65 Wagonaire Commander
'63 Wagonaire Standard
www.studegarage.com

Roscomacaw
12-12-2005, 04:26 PM
Sure, they just did away with the swedging that holds the drum in place and swedged the studs to just the hub. So long as the wheel's installed correctly, it holds the drum in place on the hub & studs.;)

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

sasjdw
12-13-2005, 12:15 PM
Well, it is definitely the tapered axle type rear end. Has the big nut on the end and the axle end is, well, tapered. Should I try to 'fix' it? If so, any ideas how to return it to original? Maybe more importantly, is there a good reason to?

Thanks,

Jim W.

James D. Wilkerson

Roscomacaw
12-13-2005, 01:41 PM
sasjgw,
The way to "fix it back like original" is to have new lug studs installed the the hubs and have the shop swedge them WITH the drums in place.
But, as I said, some folks go the route you have on your Speedster on purpose. I don't know that it's a really big problem so long as YOU know what you've got and insure that the drum seats well when you reinstall it and the wheel.[8D]

As I said earlier, I've owned several Ramblers that had this very arrangement. Well, save for the fact that there were two, little 1/4 inch screws that held the drum to the hub. The only real reason I can fathom that Rambler did that was so that a person wouldn't be distraught when changing a tire and were confronted with a floppy brake drum![:0][}:)]
But once the wheels reinstalled and the lug nuts tightened, it's the wheel and nuts that do the real work of holding it all together - not the two wimpy 1/4 inch screws.:D

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS