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Thread: 52 self-adjusters

  1. #1
    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
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    Angry 52 self-adjusters

    When I bought my 52 Champion some 45 years ago, the brake adjustment parts were missing from one side. Today I discovered that someone removed the self-adjuster parts from the 52 2R pickup I recently got. You would think that if a person didn't understand how a part worked they would find out instead of throwing them away. The front shoe can not be adjusted without these parts. I guess I am just venting.
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    "In the heart of Arkansas."
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    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.

  2. #2
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    I agree. If they don't understand how it works, then ask someone that knows. Luckily the missing parts should be easy to find.

  3. #3
    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
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    Years ago a person might have the excuse that he couldn't find the information, but that won't do today. If the rest of the parts didn't look so good, I would just put on later brakes instead of sourcing the adjuster pieces.


    "In the heart of Arkansas."
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    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.

  4. #4
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    From day one the Lockheed self adjuster system became problematic. It's rare that those of us who have owned cars with these brakes, not to have had problems. Almost all FLAPS had a card displayed, with a large washer with one flat side, which was designed to allow the owner to remove adjuster with it's hard metal core. Self adjusting meant to most owners, no maintenance and that's what they got, until it was too late and the core had dug deep into the drum.

  5. #5
    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    The self adjusting system always worked fine for me. But I agree that anything that requires periodic maintenance will rarely get any.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

  6. #6
    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hallabutt View Post
    From day one the Lockheed self adjuster system became problematic. It's rare that those of us who have owned cars with these brakes, not to have had problems. Almost all FLAPS had a card displayed, with a large washer with one flat side, which was designed to allow the owner to remove adjuster with it's hard metal core. Self adjusting meant to most owners, no maintenance and that's what they got, until it was too late and the core had dug deep into the drum.
    From the time I repaired my 52 Champion's brakes until I sold it, I never had any trouble. I guess in areas where the roads were salted they might have more trouble.
    The pin that extends through the shoe was softer (aluminum?) and should not have hurt the drum. Also, if it was properly trimmed to fit when installed, it should have moved back with the lining wear. I suspect most odd wear and/or noises were cause by installers not properly fitting the pins. The first time I did it it seemed wrong to file down a brand new pin, but if it is not done there is no adjustment left in the system. The shop manual is very clear, but my experience is that most "expert" mechanics won't read the instructions.


    "In the heart of Arkansas."
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    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.

  7. #7
    President Member BRUCESTUDE's Avatar
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    I've had a few Studes with these brakes and I always have discarded what was left of the self adjusters, then I placed a large washer over the adjusting cam; it then manually adjusted like the rear shoe. I found a box of these washers years ago, they were called "roller cams". I had several turned at a machine shop once, I may still have one around somewhere....

  8. #8
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    My 53' 2R6 came with all the adjusting parts missing. The brake system had 4 turned drums, new wheel cylinders, oversized linings, etc. I could never adjust them enough for any good braking (pedal always required pumping). I machined 4 oversized washers as in post #7, and found after a few adjustments (non-arced linings) that the washers would get "stuck" and become noisy and eventually return to excess pedal travel. I finally found all the necessary adjuster parts, installed them and I think now after several 100 miles the linings are just now settling in.

  9. #9
    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
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    Alternatively, I have wondered about using a rear cam on the front shoe to allow adjustment or changing the baking plate to other type. I might have some later parts around here to try.


    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.

  10. #10
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    Howard if you can use car style brakes let me know i got complete assys up stairs. Luck Doofus

  11. #11
    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
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    For those who might wonder how this turned out.....not many, I'm guessing ..........I found most of the parts I needed on a friend's parts truck. My brother also discovered some new pieces scattered throughout his parts stash as he was sorting for future sales. Anyway, the brakes should adjust now like they need to.

    Oh, for what it is worth, I found that the pins/plugs that extend through the shoe are ferrous metal. A magnet will attract them. I was sure that the replacement ones I had to file down years ago were aluminum, but they were after market replacements so who knows.
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    Last edited by 52-fan; 06-13-2018 at 08:51 AM.


    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.

  12. #12
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Glad you were able to find all the right parts. I'm sure the self adjust plugs should not be ferrous metal. I never checked mine with a magnet, but they sure look like a diecast aluminum or pot metal. I bought some NOS plugs off ebay a couple years ago, and they also look like a die cast metal.

    I bought some of those stamped steel 3 leg jack stands in the 60's, like your #4 picture shows. I threw them all away after one collapsed while I was doing a brake job back in the 70's. I'd buy the much stronger and more stable 4 legged stands with a cast iron ratchet center post. They are inexpensive at Harbor Freight.

    I just finished my 50 Land Cruiser brake job a couple weeks ago, and now that car has the most solid pedal I've ever had on any car. It's solid at 1" or less of pedal travel. For those who haven't adjusted this type of brakes, with the wrench pointed up, each one is turned away from the center of the backing plate. In other words if you had two wrenches on the 2 eccentrics for one wheel, and they were both UP, you'd turn the wrenches away from each other. I adjusted each wheel to lock, then back off just enough to free spinning.

  13. #13
    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
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    The parts truck was a very early 49. The plugs may have been changed later. The better used ones my brother came up with also are attracted to a magnet. These happened to be the correct installed length so I did not file them.
    The jackstands on the front are ones I bought many years ago. They are sturdy enough if they are set up carefully. The rear of the truck is on the heavier stands, but the only other pair we had here were too short. I always push and pull on a vehicle before I trust any stands.


    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the update, I wanted to know.

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    AAAAHHHH the joys of old car/truck ownership!!! Luck Doofus

  16. #16
    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doofus View Post
    AAAAHHHH the joys of old car/truck ownership!!! Luck Doofus
    Yep, and all of it self inflicted.

    Since I twisted off one off the lines to the master cylinder, now I get to redo that. One thing leads to another.
    On the bright side, after I cleaned a little goo out of the master cylinder, it looks like new.


    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.

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