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5 lugs in the rear, 4 in the front?? 51 Champion

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  • Rear Axle: 5 lugs in the rear, 4 in the front?? 51 Champion

    51 Champion 6 cyl. April 51 build date. Big hole in the garage that you throw money in
    Previous owner said he replaced brake shoes, wheel cylinders and master cylinder. Master cylinder looks new, I pulled the front drums in April and brakes looked new.
    Went for a drive Saturday and pedal got mushy and low, MC was near empty and right rear wheel cylinder is leaking so I doubt that he did the rear.
    To my surprise, the rear axle has 5 lugs, where the front is 4 lug pattern. I haven't pulled the drum yet, (my son is going to let me borrow My axle puller) but already ordered two 7/8" wheel cylinders.
    Is this normal or has my rear end been changed? 9" drum.

  • #2
    Jerry, I'm pretty sure that the '51 Champions had 5 lug wheels/drums, so it may be your FRONT DRUMS that have been changed. Let's see when some other folks (StudeRich, for example) that are more familiar with the early postwar Champions see this and respond.
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


    • #3
      Should be five lugs front and rear.
      And April '51 would not be an early built model.
      "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


      • #4
        On these 70 year Old Cars, it is impossible to know what "Others" have done with them.

        I would check those front Backing Plates for the TWO Lockheed Type '47-'53 Adjustment Eccentrics for Primary and Secondary Shoes, to find out if they "Forward" changed the Brake Setup to 1954 and "Backwards" changed the Drums to 1950, 4 Lug or just WHAT they did.

        If the Right Side lower "Web" between the Right Axle Tube and the "Pumpkin" have raised numbers "44" those Rear Brakes could even be 10 Inch Commander V8 instead of Champion 9 Inch, totally upsetting the System Balance!

        Also check the Rear backing plates for Eccentric Adjustments or Starwheel Type.
        If in doubt, Check EVERYTHING per the Studebaker Chassis Parts Catalog!
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner


        • #5
          I Borrowed a puller from Advance Auto Parts ($105 Deposit), got the drum off easily. They are 9 X 2" inch drums, same as fronts. lucky I was close to home and tested the brakes to find the leak at a stand still. Looks like the shoes didn't get saturated. I believe the PO did change shoes and maybe hardware, but the wheel cylinder was maybe a rebuild kit, seals look newer than the cylinder.
          I read a H.A.M.B. post that Studebaker went to 5 x 4.5" pattern in 51 due the V8 introduction. My build date March 25, 51. Could they have used up the 4 lug fronts on 6 cylinders??
          This was a one owner car from 51 to 2018 when the grandson brought it from Washington State to Michigan. Guess i won't be rotating the tires properly
          Any trick to changing these wheel cylinders?? They look pretty straight forward. Jerry


          • #6
            Your rear brakes look like standard '51 Champion brakes. Somebody replaced the front drums with '50 or prior front drums. Studebaker would not have let a car leave the factory with 4-lugs wheels on the front, and 5-lug on the back.
            Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


            • #7
              Changing the hubs is not a hard task if you can find the correct parts. If not, you could use an adapter to go from four lug to five lug wheels. Or, tires are so good now they rarely need changing. As a practical matter it might not be that much of a risk to go without a spare.
              Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.


              • #8
                Definitely get rid of those 4 lug front brakes. You can bolt on 54 and newer V-8 brakes and your car will stop just like a real car.

                Whoever put the 4 lug drums on the front must have been desperate for parts. And not telling you about it when buying the car was inexcusable.
                Last edited by RadioRoy; 07-28-2020, 01:58 PM.
                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


                • #9
                  I have a set of fronts for a 62 Hawk available. I went with Turner disc.


                  • #10
                    That picture of the Right Rear, looks from what I can tell like, the Short Shoe is Forward like most Cars, but the Self Adjusting Type Lockheed Brakes get the Short Shoe in the Rear.

                    The re-liner who re-lined these, may have made both Linings the same Length, I guess if that is the case there is nothing you can do about it, most re-lined Shoes nowadays may be incorrect.
                    Last edited by StudeRich; 07-28-2020, 10:33 AM.
                    Second Generation Stude Driver,
                    Proud '54 Starliner Owner