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1941 Champion Rear Axle not Turning very Easily

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  • Rear Axle: 1941 Champion Rear Axle not Turning very Easily

    Last year I tried to move a 1941 Studebaker Champion that sat for a long time with the emergency brake engaged. The rear wheel on the drivers side dragged & would not turn easily or not at all. Before that the car was driven not often and not that far with no noticeable problems. I've replaced the brake cylinder & even with no brake shoes at all on the car this wheel doesn't turn very easily. I don't expect it to spin like a skateboard or roller skate wheel but I would think it should turn much more easily and freely rotate a turn or 2 by itself if you were to spin it while the car is jacked up. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated

  • #2
    Have you checked the outer axle bearing?
    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


    • #3
      Is there an easy way to check the rear axle bearing? Does the wiggle test you do on more recent cars work? I guess the fact that the wheel doesn't turn easily even with the brake shoes off is a pretty good test


      • #4
        sounds like outer axle bearing lockup. Can you get the diff cover off and check there as well?
        A somewhat easy temporary remedy (temporary Testing Remedy to be exact) is to take PB Blaster (better than WD40 IMHO) and spray it in using the little tube stuffed thru the axle seal. OR if you have a grease fitting at the top of the axle tube at the outer bearing, try there. If it loosens up, then you've got a bearing job to do most likely.

        A good test to check which side is to simply put it on jackstands in Neutral. grab a wheel and turn. it should turn the driveshaft easy enough, then do the other side. The hard side to turn is usually the culprit.

        if one side turns easily and the other side turns backwards, while the driveshaft stays immobile and Vice Versa when you check the other side, then the culprit maybe in the driveline, transmission or Differential.

        Dumb question: where is the Emergency/Parking Brake? Transmission, or Rear Brake drums?


        • #5
          E-brake is on the rear wheels, I agree with the previous posts that it probably has a boogered up axle bearing. If no grease fittings were installed these have a tendency to get neglected and long sleep might have been all it took for it to rust up. The tests above should narrow it down.


          • #6
            Update: this 1941 Champion does have grease fittings on the rear axle. I was able to grease the drivers side rear wheel and it turns easily again! This time last year that wheel dragged and then turned with great difficulty with the car on stands. The passenger side rear wheel fitting did not take grease so I sprayed it down with pb blaster and I'll try again sometime soon. thanks for the help!


            • #7
              Unless just turning the wheels for moving into the garage or port, without any immediate plans for service, I'd suggest repacking the bearings and installing new seals. I believe the current grease for bearings etc, will outlast the car/driver and will render the zerk fittings moot. Squirting grease creates the ability to get to the brake linings


              • #8
                I'm with Jack. Always a good idea to pull the axle shafts and eye-ball the bearings. If they look and roll okay, repack them by hand. Cheap insurance to replace them given their age and you'd be better off having a shop press the new ones on.


                • #9
                  When you grease the rear wheel bearings, the grease goes into a small vented cavity, when the cavity is full the grease will appear out the vent hole. If the small nipple won't take any grease then replace the nipple with a new one. They are usually not left on the axle and the threaded holes are covered with a metal clip this is a means to control over greasing. My car was 40 years old when I bought it, now it is 68 years old and the axle covers have only been off once. When first removed they appeared as part of the axle housing, with considerable wire brushing the started to appear, there was almost no chance of over greasing.