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How can I remove the rear brake drums on a 1948 Commander that are stuck?

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  • #16
    If it was my car, once I got the hub/drum off, I would have the axle magnafluxed to reveal any cracks in the axle. Forcing the key too far can cause cracks.

    I have had an axle break coming down a winding mountain road. You instantly lose any possibility of slowing down the car. Definitely a brown pants moment.
    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

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    • #17
      I have tried everything I can think of and everything I've seen posted on all of the forums. I am to the point where I think I will need to somehow cut the rear drums off of the axles. Or maybe even have to install a different rear end in the car. If it comes down to a different rear end I wonder if a chevy or rear end with a better brake system would fit in the 1948 Commander? Geez.

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      • #18
        you might find drum / hub set ups used with 5 lugs......

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        • #19
          I am thinking about cutting the studs off the hubs and then carefully grinding down the swage (?) that holds the studs to the drums. Then remove the drums and use a grinder to cut the hubs in half to remove them. Then remove the axle shafts and have them checked for cracks because I have used so much force trying to get everything apart. Geez, I can sure screw things up.

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          • #20
            Before i swapped out that rear axle, i would install my puller tight as i could stand then call a buddy/business with a portable oxy/acetelene torch rig. hub needs to be heated right at the point where the hub/flange junction is.BTDT. Luck Doofus

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            • #21
              I agree with post #20. Though you can possibly warp things with good heat, I had to do this 1 time in 40 years on a Champ truck......cherry red .... then ...pop !

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              • #22
                I have had to use heat once before on one. Usually I just tighten the puller as tight as I can then take a 10lb sledge or maul and hit the end of the puller and Usually a couple of good Click image for larger version

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                • #23
                  Thanks everyone. I have tried the torch bit. Although I didn't heat it to cherry red. I will try it again and getting them to cherry red this time. I bought a propane torch from Lowes to heat it up. If it turns out I can remove the drums and hubs will I need to remove the cover from the rear end and do anything inside the rear end to remove the axle shafts? I do have the Studebaker maintenance manual but it isn't very specific about the axle shafts. After all of the hammering on the puller I want to be sure the shafts have not been cracked. This is a learning experience for sure. Oh, and I also tried melting parafin wax over the shaft hoping it would leach itself between the hub and the shaft and help it loosen up. I think I somehow forced those hubs too far onto the shafts when I assemble it a few months ago.

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                  • #24
                    Had the same problem on a Ford years ago. Propane won't heat it hot enough or fast enough. Like jwitt said when you get it hot whack the puller hard. Don't be afraid to hit it hard. Sometimes you have to treat 'em rough to get results.

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                    • #25
                      Thanks to this forum I was able to get both rear drums/hubs off. I used the propane torch for about a half hour on each one and then just whacked the heck out of them until they popped off. How much trouble will I get into pulling the axle shafts out to have them magnafluxed? It kind of scares me that I abused them so much getting the hubs off.
                      Again, my sincere thanks for all of the good advice in this thread.
                      Dennis

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                      • #26
                        Give Russ Ware a call @ Studebaker parts dot com, He has a good one for the 5 lug, he may also have one for the 4 lug. His (formally Chuck Collins design) worked great for me on a 58 Packard hawk, had both drums off in about 15 minutes! and they had not been off for at least 20 years!

                        Jim
                        "We can't all be Heroes, Some us just need to stand on the curb and clap as they go by" Will Rogers

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                        • #27
                          Remove the whole backing plate assy, it is also the bearing retainer. now you can coax the axles out. i have a puller attachment that hooks under the axle nut and bumps out yhe axle and bearing. pay attention to shims behind backing plate, the set axle end play. also if this a Twin Track unit you may "Lose" a thrust block at this point. Luck Doofus

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                          • #28
                            Thanks doofus. Since I've only driven the car around the block once since I've owned (the brakes locked up) I don't know if it is a twin trac. I appreciate your input.

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                            • #29
                              in order to determine twin trac, you'd have to pull the diff cover and look. It's basically a positrac unit. I doubt a 4 lug 48 would have it, but stranger things have happened.

                              at this point, I would pull the diff cover and inspect anyway, since you are probably pulling the axles.

                              like said above, if you pull the axles, be careful to keep the shims together for each axle side. they set the end play.

                              while we are on the subject of Brakes. how old is your brake hydraulic system? Anything older than 20 years, i would suspect and be ready to replace every-single-thing that touches fluid.

                              I recently did a 73 Nova that had original brakes and ended up replacing ALL lines. Hoses and wheel cyl. In addition I replaced the MC. Found a bent axle while I was there, and it all morphed into an LS front brake conversion with hydraulic booster. in the rear was just a full rebuild. It went from a scary ride, to stopping like an 02 Camaro without antilocks. Lots better.

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                              • #30
                                Guys, it's a 48 Commander. That's FIVE lugs and no twin traction.

                                It's narrower than the 53 and newer rear ends. People tend to not mess with 48's like they do with 53's and newer, so it's very likely still stock.

                                A lot of the information you are giving is causing confusion.

                                47-50 Commander axle shafts are the same.
                                Last edited by RadioRoy; 03-11-2021, 05:57 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

                                Comment

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