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rear end backing plate shims?

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  • Brakes: rear end backing plate shims?

    I have a 63 Lark, front disc brake car. I removed the backing plates on the rear end on both sides of the car and dismantled everything for cleaning. I know there are different shim thicknesses behind the backing plate but can't remember where they were originally. When I reassemble the backing pates, how do I know which shims to use where? Is there a measurement from the bearing or the rear end housing to the end of the axle shaft or something like that that would tell me? Thanks

  • #2
    The shims are used to set the axle end play. You will probably need a dial indicator to measure the setting. I think it is one thousandth to 5 thousand is the suitable measurement but don't take my word for it. One of the experts on this forum will chime in and give us the right settings if I am wrong.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by studefan View Post
      I have a 63 Lark, front disc brake car. I removed the backing plates on the rear end on both sides of the car and dismantled everything for cleaning. I know there are different shim thicknesses behind the backing plate but can't remember where they were originally. When I reassemble the backing pates, how do I know which shims to use where? Is there a measurement from the bearing or the rear end housing to the end of the axle shaft or something like that that would tell me? Thanks
      Jeff, if you don't already have one, you need a copy of the '59-'64 Shop Manual. The procedure on setting the axle endplay is described in detail in the manual, with pictures. Besides hard copies of the manual, I believe there are versions on CD available also.

      You may also try checking on Bob Johnstone's great Studebaker tech site (https://www.studebaker-info.org/ ) , there may be a step by step writeup on his site also.
      Paul
      Winston-Salem, NC
      Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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      • #4
        I once had a veteran Studebaker mechanic tell me “Install shims until they are flush with the bearing race, them add .010 more.” This, presumably was to allow for some compression of the shim pack plus give required end play.

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        • #5
          r1lark, I appreciate the information. I have a shop manual and looked at it 4 times under the Group 2 Brakes section finding nothing. I just went back and looked further and now see something under Group 4. The Figure 3 image in my book showing the 0.006 measurement is so bad, I can't even tell what they are measuring. Oh well.

          I checked the links above and Bob Johnstone's pages to no avail. I searched other posts on the forum here and can determine that the driver's side has no shims. Given this, I suppose I will do what studebakeroforegon suggests with the shims above on the right side. Hope that will work.

          Any other tips or comments would be appreciated.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by studefan View Post
            r1lark, I appreciate the information. I have a shop manual and looked at it 4 times under the Group 2 Brakes section finding nothing. I just went back and looked further and now see something under Group 4. The Figure 3 image in my book showing the 0.006 measurement is so bad, I can't even tell what they are measuring. Oh well.

            I checked the links above and Bob Johnstone's pages to no avail. I searched other posts on the forum here and can determine that the driver's side has no shims. Given this, I suppose I will do what studebakeroforegon suggests with the shims above on the right side. Hope that will work.

            Any other tips or comments would be appreciated.
            Jeff, take a look at these videos on setting the rear axle endplay in early Jeeps. The early Jeep uses a Dana axle, same as a Studebaker. Rely on the Studebaker Shop Manual for the specifics like the end play range, but these videos may help you understand the process described in the Manual:

            First one, not the best quality film but imformative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlTGsTecswg

            Second video, much better quality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ih1qw8B7yeY
            Paul
            Winston-Salem, NC
            Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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            • #7
              Shims are usually on one side only. There only purpose is to adjust axle end play. Folks who have done a lot of them can tell by feel when they are close enough. I don't know how critical it is to have exactly one to 6 thousands movement but doing it by ear that would be a very slight movement when you jiggle the axle. Some say if it "clunks" it is too loose and if just "clicks" it is about right. These are "shadetree" specs. LOL

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              • #8
                I set mine so that I can barely feel the end play and that is about 5 or 6 thousandths.

                It has to be loose enough so that the bearing does not overheat and tight enough so that the bearing does not pound itself to death.

                Both rear wheels must be off the ground. It seems obvious, but a few years ago someone tried to set end play with one rear wheel on the ground.
                RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.


                10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon

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                • #9
                  An old timer advised me to set the end play with no bearing grease, then pack and install....... If you had a good, quiet, functioning R/A before disassembly, I wouldn't mess with your existing shim pack. I'd guess depending on mileage it could be on the loose side by a few 1000'ths... That's better than tight....

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                  • #10
                    Jack is exactly right. A slightly loose bearing will run longer than a slightly tight one.

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                    • #11
                      Excellent tips and information by all. Thank you

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