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Rear brake drum removal on a '56 Golden Hawk

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  • Brakes: Rear brake drum removal on a '56 Golden Hawk

    I have removed countless Studebaker rear brake drums (as recently as a couple of months ago on my '62 GT Hawk). They have always been a royal pain,
    but I always got 'em off. Today, something new; I'm helping a friend with the brakes on his '56 Golden Hawk. The car hasn't been driven in about 15 or 20 years, but all four drums turn easily. We have been working with the usual 3 arm puller (and a BIG sledge hammer) for probably a total of 6 or 7 hours and neither rear drum appears to have moved. We have sprayed WD-40 into the area where the hub is on the axle (as much as we can get anything in there). I was thinking about heating with an oxy/acetylene torch, but I'm concerned about damaging the drum or the axle. Suggestions PLEASE!

    Thanks Howard
    Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
    '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
    '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive, Power steering - Running, but not yet driving)
    '62 GT Hawk (4 speed, A/C, Power steering - running and DRIVING!)

  • #2
    Different model but similar problem https://forum.studebakerdriversclub....ght=brake+drum

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    • #3
      Sounds like you are more than half way to ruining them already.. When a drum does not pop off, let it sit a bit.

      I have had the best luck when I Take the time to set the puller up so it is pulling as even as it can. This is important to make it pull straight. If you have one leg off just a bit, it will fight you all day.


      Let the pressure off of the puller. Set the puller back up so that the 3 lug nuts all make contact at the same time but do not tighten them. Spin the center pusher so it contacts the axle. Now tighten each lug nut just a tad, loosen the center pusher. Do this so that when you sit back and look at it, ALL 3 legs look to be all pointing in at the same angle. Tighten the center pusher some more .

      Now when this is all 'even' tighten the center pusher up and give it a few whacks. if it turns in and stops, give it one more whack and go polish the front bumper.

      After the bumper looks brand new, hit the center pusher dead square and then give it a few more whacks to tighten it. If it keeps tightening, keep whacking. If it stops- go wash the windows. repeat. If it locks up and just won't move , let it sit a bit longer.

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      • #4
        The above will likely work in time. I'd soak it in penetrating oil; liquid wrench something like that, I've never had WD40 work for such things. After soaking at least a couple hours I'd install the puller and tighten it up and smack it, if it doesn't come loose, then I'd heat it while the puller is loaded and smack the puller bolt. You shouldn't need to get crazy with the heat, just heat only the hub snout, not the axle, until it's good and warm, too hot to touch but not red. If it doesn't come loose, let it cool, soak it and try again. As long as you don't overheat things or maintain temps in excess of 500F you should have no problems metallurgically.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          I like (S)'s solution. I had same problem and let it set with great pressure and thoroughly soaked overnight. Couple whacks next day and it came loose.

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          • #6
            If you have not, you need to check the Parking Brake cable, if it is even close to tight, loosen it.
            Then loosen the service brake adjustments ALL the way.
            StudeRich
            Second Generation Stude Driver,
            Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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            • #7
              A friend recommended FREEZE-OFF by CRC, available at any auto parts store and it's the best I've found for loosening rusty nuts and such. I believe it helped with my recent drum extractions.

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              • #8
                FYI, I have a brand new never used hub puller (correct for connecting to the studs) for sale....$45. I couldn't find my old one so ordered a new one....you know where the story is going......I was literally taking the new one out of the box when the light bulb came on to remind me where I had put the old one....I can bring it to Mansfield but not sure which days I'll be there. Yes, it's made in china, but it looks to be good construction & was a decent brand name.
                Mike Sal

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                • #9
                  I am of the opinion that, assuming they were originally assembled dry, with no lubricant of any kind, as they should be, there is no lubricant or penetrating spray that's going to get in there anyway.
                  Heed Rich's advice to be certain all the brake innards are loose. And Mike's advice to see that the puller is exerting even tension all around.
                  And, as Ben mentioned, if you apply heat apply it only to the hub, not the axle. The purpose of heat is to expand the metal. And expanding the axle is only going to make it tighter.
                  "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.
                  sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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                  • #10
                    I've had one take around 4 hours until I heard a loud bang ! Take your time. Rushing will get you nowhere.
                    59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
                    60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
                    61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
                    62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
                    62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
                    62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
                    63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
                    63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
                    64 Zip Van
                    66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
                    66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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                    • #11
                      I think I have pulled off some of the worst, rustiest, frozen solid drums. I always get them off with the heavy duty puller, however sometimes the brake linings are stuck/ rusted to the drums.

                      Be patient, use an 6 point impact socket, 1/2 inch drive fixed (not ratchet) wrench with a three foot extender. (Round fence post pipe). I have found the two sided “wrench” that you hit with a sledge hammer mushrooms with heavy hitting and sometimes doesn’t work.

                      Also, when the tool is tight, which it on the end - towards the axle.

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                      • #12
                        I would recommend getting a puller like I have that I got from studebakerparts.com. It’s very heavy duty and pulls from all 5 drum studs, not just 3.

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                        • #13
                          When and if you finally get the damn things off invest in a fairborn axle kit and be done with that nonsense forever. Believe me you won't be sorry.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by E. Davis View Post
                            When and if you finally get the damn things off invest in a fairborn axle kit and be done with that nonsense forever. Believe me you won't be sorry.
                            Or just cut the swages that hold the drums to the flanges, and have pretty much the same thing. There will no longer be much need to remove the flange from the axle.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Don't use acetylene torch. You want to heat and expand the hub so apply propane torch to warm it up. I've had problems to and found patience is rewarded. Put all the pressure on it you can and walk away. Come back in a day and tighten puller up again. After a few days try heat. Be sure brake shoes are not stuck to the drums; that'll make removing drums a little harder!

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