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self adjusting brakes on my '52 Commander

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  • RadioRoy
    replied
    Locking up is often associated with leaking wheel cylinders, or dirt/crud on the shoe.

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  • smithhn
    replied
    Wow ... There's a lot of info here .... My 49 Champion coupe left rear brake started to lock up. Removed rear drum per manual, and every thing looks per as discribed in the manual. The brakes are new, per previous owner. The pin is recessed a small amount below the new lining and is not touching the drum. Could this cause preadjustment?
    I initially thought the brake had been manually adjusted wrong at the lining install, but now after reading the comments, I'm not sure.
    Thanks for the info and your comments.

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  • BRUCESTUDE
    replied
    Also remember the self adjusters adjusted the forward shoe, the rear shoe needed to be adjusted manually. I had a set of "Roller Cams", like Hallabut described' and put them on in place of the self adjusters and they worked fine. I also had a machine shop make up a few sets that I have used on '51-52's over the years.

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  • TWChamp
    replied
    I bought some NOS Studebaker pins on ebay a few years ago, and I'm not sure of the material, but it may be zinc or some such soft material. I know they aren't steel or brass.

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  • Hallabutt
    replied
    Howard,

    The reason you see only the polishing action on the drum is because your self-adjusting pins is retracting as they should. If they were not you would began to hear the tel-tail scraping sound of metal on metal, which if ignored would result in the condition I described. Just to make it clear we have a 1950 Champion Starlight coupe which has a properly operating Lockheed self adjusting brakes as factory installed, which is working properly. I am not on a pilgrimage to destroy the credibility of the factory system, but I am not imagining the problem that I've seen, or the after market solution that was aimed at the problem.

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  • 52-fan
    replied
    I don't know what kind of pins may have been available from discount parts dealers, but the pins I have used were softer than steel. They would make noise if improperly installed, but just seemed to polish the drum where they traveled. Embedded material could also cause scoring I suppose.

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  • Hallabutt
    replied
    Brad,

    I don't know you or your level of real word driving experience back in the 50's and 60's, but I can tell you for a fact that brakes were not routinely inspected every year. By the late 50's> these were beater cars and they were treated as such. I can also atest to the fact that states with mandatory annual vehicle inspections are the exception rather then the rule. A quick check indicated that only seventeen states require a regular inspection. As for the hardness of the self adjusting core, I'm not a metallurgist, but what was obvious in the day, is obvious today, that the core is harder then both the lining and the cast iron drum. I am not making up a story when I tell you about trips to wrecking yards in an attempt to find a replacement drum, for numerous recently purchased cars, only to find that virtually all of them shared the same tel-tail deep score, right through the center of the drum's braking surface.

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  • 52-fan
    replied
    Originally posted by thom View Post
    So the "self adjuster" actually turns the cam that moves the front/leading shoe outward closer to the drum as the shoe/lining wears down? Correct? I think I will pull the wheels off mine and have another look. I'm not sure I trust the mechanic(?) that worked on the car before I got it. I've had one off and looked, but I think I'll look at all of them again. I'll repack the front bearings too. He had used a too small cotter pin in the one front that I checked, not a good sign.
    The cam is the initial adjustment when the pin is all the way out and the linings are new. the wedge and spring self-adjuster removes slack as it develops. Obviously being steel the parts can rust or stick from debris. This was never a problem with mine.
    I just replaced the parts on my 2R pickup because someone had removed them. The brakes now work as they should.

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  • bezhawk
    replied
    Hallibut, if your car had hard metal plugs on the adjusters, then there's your problem Originally they were zinc, and quite soft. The "wear groove" in the drums was from driving on dirt roads (quite common back then) and the dust, and lining material collecting in the contact plug hole edges. Bad brakes only happen if you drive until you have a problem. Back then brakes were routinely inspected every year. Now people drive their cars until something breaks.
    Last edited by bezhawk; 06-22-2019, 06:15 PM.

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  • rockne10
    replied
    Originally posted by thom View Post
    So the "self adjuster" actually turns the cam that moves the front/leading shoe outward closer to the drum as the shoe/lining wears down? Correct?.
    Oops! No! Sorry, I should have included the final page on the cam adjustment. I thought you were just asking about the self adjusters.
    The cams are on the backing plate, and should be backed off before pulling the drums. They are the primary adjustment when you first assemble the brakes, and must be physically set and locked for both shoes initially.
    The plug, lever and wedge do the self adjusting during driving operation.

    Click image for larger version

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    I think purchasing a copy of the shop manual is invaluable.

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  • Hallabutt
    replied
    As I've said before, for maybe the dozenth time, the system was problematic when nearly new and haven't gotten better with age. If everything is is moving as it should the system will work as intended. The problem is, as it was when new, many owners expected self adjusting to be akin to maintenance free, they were not. Once gummed up or rusted the self adjusting mechanism would not allow the hard metal core to contract as it was intended. The metal core would remain stationary. The result was the core would eat into the drum, like a machining tool. In the day I have seen a core eat almost all the way through a drum, and just try to get a drum off when this happens!

    In the day many auto parts stores had a card of large metal washers, with one side flattened. The intent was to remove the self adjusting mechanism and replace it with the notched washer. While not a perfect solution, they worked. I have a set on a 51 Champ, and that and with DOT 5, have made to little used car's braking system nearly maintenance free.

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  • doubledaddy
    replied
    I have a question.
    My 50 Land Cruiser came with no self adjusters. Someone has placed a bolt thru the shoes that contacts the adjuster. I am wondering if the self adjusting parts are interchangeable with the Champion? The ones I looked up in the chassis catalog show for use for both 9G thru 17A. I have quite a few Champion parts from 5 cars I have parted out, should have more then enough to set up the Land Cruiser.

    I had the shoes relined but have never been able to get them adjusted properly.

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  • RadioRoy
    replied
    The Studebaker shop manual has a good write up on how the system works. The MOTORS manual doesn't have much of a write up, but it does have a good line drawing of the mechanism that shows how it works.

    Oops. I see that it is figure 14 in the first picture of Rocne10's post

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  • thom
    replied
    So the "self adjuster" actually turns the cam that moves the front/leading shoe outward closer to the drum as the shoe/lining wears down? Correct? I think I will pull the wheels off mine and have another look. I'm not sure I trust the mechanic(?) that worked on the car before I got it. I've had one off and looked, but I think I'll look at all of them again. I'll repack the front bearings too. He had used a too small cotter pin in the one front that I checked, not a good sign.

    Leave a comment:


  • 52-fan
    replied
    What he said. The pin being pushed back as the lining wears takes out any slack in the system. The part that throws backyard mechanics, working without a manual, is the need to push new pins all the way out and grind or file them flush with the new lining. If the pin is not trimmed there will be no adjustment left in the system.
    My first 52 had pins that were not properly installed and the brakes begin to squeak as the lining wore down. The "mechanic" removed the self adjusters on that side and then there was no way to adjust the brake. The car pulled to one side when braking. I put everything back by the manual and had no problems for 40 years with them....except that they were undersized in the first place.
    Attached Files

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