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  • Frustrating brake mystery

    My '51 Business Coupe is giving me fits over what seems to be a left front brake that squeals and grabs way before my right front. I've tried to adjust them evenly...tried a fast, hard backward stop, and also tried not using the brake in reverse after an adjustment. No difference.
    In '99 when I bought the car, I went through the brakes completely with new lines, hoses, from shoes to Turner dual system m/c. Using 11" fronts and 10" rear drums.
    I don't remember what brought this problem on, or even when, but I'm totally stumped. I've replaced both cylinders since the bug began, then both hoses, thinking one may have collapsed within. No change. The springs are good and backing plates have no notches or worn spots. Shoes have equal skin on them and appear to be making good contact, but obviously something's up.
    I'm about to have my bride assist in an experiment where she gently pushes the brake, while I watch the action with the drum off. Am I risking blowing out the wheel cylinder in so doing?
    When I've bled the system, I always get a good flow of fluid, by the way, so I don't believe there's a blockage. Both front drums are good and smooth. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    Tom,

    I've never even been inside my Studebaker's brakes yet, so don't quote me on anything But, years ago I had an old F*rd truck that did nearly the same thing. I found out there were right and left self-adjusters on that thing, and someone had put a right on the left. So, everytime you stopped, it popped the brakes out a bit farther (instead of just when backing up). This has been 30 years ago and I don't remember much, just that replacing the star adjuster fixed the problem.

    I don't even know if Studes are setup the same way. If not something like that, I would surely suspect a hose collapsing--although you say you've already fixed that. Maybe a bad hose? Was it NOS or brand new?

    ________________________
    Mark Anderson
    http://home.alltel.net/anderm
    1965 Studebaker Cruiser

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    • #3
      Thanks Mark. The hose was new from NAPA and since it's doing the exact same thing the 'old' one did, I'm not very suspicious of it. The star wheel thing is intriguing but if I had it backwards, I'd not be able to adjust it through the slot. I think. ??

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      • #4
        Tom, I think Mark is right in that there are right and left adjusters for cars 63-66. You can still adjust the brakes but the star wheel would be turned the opposite way. Don't have my shop manual with me so can't be absolutely sure.

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        • #5
          "I'm about to have my bride assist in an experiment where she gently pushes the brake, while I watch the action with the drum off. Am I risking blowing out the wheel cylinder in so doing?"

          You sure do !!! The wheel cylinders apply considerable force. You need to hold a big lever against each shoe to ensure they don't push out. And even so, the bride has to apply the pedal VERY gently and be prepared to stop the moment you shout. I used this method years ago, and blew it (literally). Be careful, will ya.
          /H

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          • #6
            TOM- HAVE YOU CHECKED THE DRUM AND SHOES FOR FLUID OR GREASE SPOTS? ANY SMALL AMOUNT OF GREASE OR BRAKE FLUID WILL CAUSE GRAB, USE A GOOD BRAKE CLEANER AND DRY THOROUGHLY.
            GRAB CAN ALSO BE CAUSED BY A LOOSE SHOE; ARE YOUR HOLD DOWN SPRINGS/CLIPS ADEQUATE? ANOTHER POSSIBILITY IS THAT A SHOE HAS A DIFFERENT "ARCH", AND IS CONTACTING THE DRUM DIFFERENTLY THAN THE REST OF THE BRAKE SHOES.

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            • #7
              Quite often when someone complains that their left front brake is grabing, the problem really lies in the right front brake in that it is not actuating properly. My guesses for your problem include something on the shoe(s), shoes not properly contacting the drum and a drum that is not smooth and true.
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

              Comment


              • #8
                Another remote possibility is that your left front brake drum was turned significantly more than the right side...or, naturally, your left was turned and right not...

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                • #9
                  Having struggled throught a similar problem the past few weeks...
                  First off DO NOT actuate the brakes with the drum off. You will eventually expand the shoes soo far that fluid will blow through the cylinder caps. Been there, done that...big mess.
                  The shoe adjusters (the star screw) adjust the same way on both wheels. Insterting a screw driver into the adjustment slot, engaging a tooth on the wheel and then lifting the end of the screw driver expands the shoes on either side and both fronts and rears. Reversing the screwdriver (inserting it handle high and then downwards) narrows the spacing and loosens the shoes.
                  Make sure the block and shoes are not hanging up on each other preventing the shoe from moving freely and that the retainer is clean and smooth on the side contacting the block. Does it look like the shoes sit evenly or could they be warped so they contact edge first?
                  My problem was lazy cylinders, dirty blocks/retainers and making sure the shoes where spaced just right.
                  The shop manual says to adjust tight and then back off the adjuster eight clicks. I had to finagle that till they evened out. Took about 10 trips around the block...and 10 trips under the car

                  "Oh That? It's a STUDEBAKER!!"

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                  • #10
                    Thanks so much, everybody! I'll make a check list from this and get at it today.

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                    • #11
                      I thought the 51 had the center pin and wedge adjuster. The star/turnbuckle adjuster showed up in the early sixties?
                      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                      '33 Rockne 10,
                      '51 Commander Starlight,
                      '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
                      '56 Sky Hawk

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                      • #12
                        The star wheel was in use at least as early as '55, not sure if/how much earlier.

                        nate

                        --
                        55 Commander Starlight
                        62 Daytona hardtop
                        http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel
                        --
                        55 Commander Starlight
                        http://members.cox.net/njnagel

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                        • #13
                          My 51 Commander had the pin and wedge adjuster. Unless someone has replaced Tom's with later assemblies I would bet his aren't functioning properly. When new linings are installed they should include new adjuster center pins and all the little parts of the wedge mechanism should be very clean and treated with some antisieze.
                          Years ago, before I was doing my own work, I had the brakes on my 53 done at Midas and I had to supply them with the Studebaker shop manual. Not too many mechanics are familiar with the wedge adjuster and they canbe put together too tight to begin with. It's a perfect concept. The wedge adjusts for every micron of lost shoe but, a little dirt in there can prevent it from operating properly and the inside of a brake drum can be a dirty place.
                          "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                          Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                          Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                          '33 Rockne 10,
                          '51 Commander Starlight,
                          '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
                          '56 Sky Hawk

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