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Help! No brakes

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  • Brakes: Help! No brakes

    Recently bought a 48 Champion. JUST barely got it home today after I went to hit the brakes and foot went all the way to the floor. NOTHING..
    Still learning my way around and I can't even find a master cylinder to check the brake fluid level.
    Anyone able to point me in the right direction?

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum.

    The master cylinder is under the floor, under the drivers feet. Lift the carpet and remove the round convex plug in the floor.

    You should buy the shop manual, the chassis parts catalog and the body parts catalog. They are all available from Studebaker vendors.

    If/when you rebuild the brakes, do not remove the self adjusters. They seem weird, but they work well and the shoes cannot be adjusted without them in place.

    Even if it seems unusual to you compared to other cars, don't decide to redesign the car. It will work fine as it is, once it has been brought back to factory specifications.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 06-26-2020, 11:08 AM.
    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

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Roy!!
      A little leftover fluid in it but basically bone dry..don't know if it's leaking, or just "used it all"..not seeing any leakage spots on the ground under the car

      Comment


      • #4
        Roy, btw..been searching online for a shop catalog...no luck so far. Having issues with the overdrive being temperamental too

        Comment


        • #5
          This is from Studebaker International - Two shop manual, body manual and chassis manual - on CD.

          Get those brakes working flawlessly and then start on that overdrive...

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks, ordered it!
            overdrive might be outta my skillset, lol...

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Dwc1298 View Post
              ... might be outta my skillset, lol...
              Everything is outta everyone's skill-set until they've done it once or twice.

              "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"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dwc1298 View Post
                Thanks, ordered it!
                overdrive might be outta my skillset, lol...
                When I was only about 5 years old, I was watching my mother as she cut out clothes using a pattern, and proceeded to make dresses, shirts, and pants using a treadle sewing machine. With intense curiosity, I finally blurted out, "How do you know how to do all these things?" She smiled, and in a very calm voice, said..."Son, if you will learn to read and follow instructions, you can do anything."

                She lived to be 98. (Passed last year.) But those calm words ring loudly in my memory to this day. So, if you will buy the shop manual, (and I think there's also a short manual dedicated to overdrives) and follow directions, you will be just fine. I have two vehicles with overdrives and they work great. Just remember that you can jack the rear wheels off the ground and safely support your vehicle to troubleshoot the transmission and put it through its paces without having to drive it. Then, after you have it working on a stand, you can test drive it on the road. Welcome to our Studebaker world.

                By the way...one of my overdrive cars is a '48 Champion Business Coupe. Unfortunately, (and you have reminded me) I also need to rebuild my master cylinder. They work much better pumping fluid than air.
                Click image for larger version

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                John Clary
                Greer, SC

                SDC member since 1975

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dwc1298 View Post
                  Thanks Roy!!
                  A little leftover fluid in it but basically bone dry..don't know if it's leaking, or just "used it all"..not seeing any leakage spots on the ground under the car
                  You are quite welcome.
                  It's leaking somewhere. Brake fluid should never run out. You will have to get a special hub puller for the rear hubs/drums.
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well crap, of course it's never as easy as JUST adding brake fluid. Now I've got to google how the hell to bleed brakes which looks like I have to pull the dang master cylinder off first!😡

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Before you waste time bleeding the brakes and then discover a leak, look for a leak first. Fill up the M/C, and pump the brakes a bunch of times. Then crawl under there and see if you see any drips. Start at the M/c and work your way forward along the brake line, and then back. If no leaks found, you'll have to remove the drums. The fronts come off by removing the big nut on each of the front spindles. As Roy said, you need to rent/buy/borrow a hub puller to remove the rear hubs/drums.
                      Skip Lackie

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Skip, just did that and saw a leak right at the master cylinder. Haven't narrowed it down to the MC itself or maybe a loose line, but was at least able to just pump the breaks alot to build up enough pressure without bleeding

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dwc1298 View Post
                          Well crap, of course it's never as easy as JUST adding brake fluid. Now I've got to google how the hell to bleed brakes which looks like I have to pull the dang master cylinder off first!😡
                          Not necessarily...(yet)...but, eventually you probably will. Here's a little more detailed process of "on the car master cylinder bleeding." If you are just in the getting familiar mode, and not planning on any major driving, you can top off the master cylinder and do a minor bleed with the cylinder in place. I do this mainly for yard driving but not for major excursions. And...not even for yard driving unless my hand brake is properly working and adjusted so that you can use it to stop if the brakes fail.

                          But, in place bleeding the master cylinder takes some delicate work and patience. Before opening the master cylinder, clean the outside so that you don't knock dirt inside. Once you have the cylinder filled, leave the cap off, and operate the brake pedal by hand while observing the air bubbles in the cylinder. Push in the brake pedal, and slowly release. Air bubbles will rise from the bottom. As you repeat the process, the bubbles should begin to decrease. As that happens, the pedal travel will also decrease. Continue the press and release procedure until no more air bubbles are seen. At the end of this process, with no air bubbles, if you release the pedal too fast, brake fluid will shoot up out of the cylinder, so take it easy when releasing. This process should bleed the master cylinder without having to remove it and if there is not a complete failure of the internal components.

                          After you have the master cylinder bled and working, you can do a bit of yard drive testing. If the brakes continue to need pumping up...then you move to the wheel cylinders. A tell-tell indicator for leaking wheel cylinders is fluid stains on the inside tire walls as the fluid leaks out from the backing plate onto the brake drums and down the inner tire walls. Air...anywhere in the system will cause the brake pedal to extend its travel and be sketchy.

                          Regardless, unless you really know the background and history of this 72-year-old car, you will need to do a complete brake system overhaul anyway. As has already been mentioned, you will need a hub puller for the rear, and don't forget that the left side wheel lug nuts are left-hand threads. So...keep these things in mind as you tinker, learn, and familiarize yourself with the car. A lot of these "quirks", when compared to today's cars, are not unique To Studebaker. Chrysler corporation cars used tapered rear axles requiring a hub puller. Similar brakes were used on Kaiser vehicles, and Jeeps of the era. However, as the technology of those days fades away, so does the familiarity of the required mechanical processes. To me, the attention, tinkering, and maintenance required is part of the fun of keeping these machines around. They require you to be personally involved. They were never two-year lease and dump 'em cars of today.

                          As you can see from the responses...lots of us are cheering for your success in getting the car up to speed. (an intentional FREE pun.)

                          I hope you dive in, enjoy, and never get discouraged. Sometimes, I just like to go to the shed, get in, sit awhile and meditate.
                          John Clary
                          Greer, SC

                          SDC member since 1975

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            When pulling the rear brake drums, be sure you use a hub puller, which pulls on the wheel studs, and not a gear puller, which pulls on the perimeter of the brake drum. A gear puller is 100 per cent guaranteed to destroy the brake drum.

                            To pull the rear drums, take the crown nut off the end of the axle, and install in backwards so it is flush with the end of the axle. This will prevent the end of the axle mushrooming from the force of the centre post of the puller. This also increases safety in case the drum suddenly pops free.

                            Check every bit of your brake system. Old brake lines are likely to be corroded, so when in doubt, replace. Wheel cylinders are likely to be corroded, stuck or leaking. Rubber parts of the cylinders may be old, hard or cracked.

                            If the master cylinder is working properly, I see no reason to remove it from the car to bleed the brakes.

                            If the cap on the master cylinder is hard to remove, use an 8-point socket. I only install the cap finger-tight, as I find it tightens by itself.

                            I think the brakes on my 1947 Champion have had more maintenance and repair work than anything else on the car.

                            Bill Jarvis

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                            • #15
                              I was delivering a rebuilt car radio to a friend for his just obtained, nice 48 Champion convertible. His "mechanics" were going to do a brake job in his driveway. They were in the process of pulling the rear drum with a drum puller. I told my friend that they were going to destroy the drums, but he had confidence in these guys.

                              So I said something like, "after these guys destroy those drums, and you find and buy some new ones, if you want the job done right, call me".

                              So a month later he called me, I did the brake job correctly, and he drove that car all over the mountains and flat lands for the next several years.
                              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

                              Comment

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