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Drum brake springs

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  • Drum brake springs

    I have new break springs from a vendor. The old springs have 28 coiling-turns. The new springs have 21 coiling-springs. Net result is the new springs are shorter by 1/8 th to 1/4 quater of an inch. The car is a 1955 president . The new springs are too tight for me to put on! Do drum brake springs length vary through the years? Could I have the wrong springs befoer or are the new ones wrong??[?][?][?] Any coments are desired.

  • #2

    I do not have a parts book handy to answer your question on the springs, perhaps someone else does. If they are too short to work and the others seemed to do the job, I would take the old ones to a good local auto parts store (NAPA, etc.). They typically have several drawers of springs and can probably match them up for you.


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    • #3
      The important parameter is the tension of the spring when installed -- you need to have enough pull to retract the shoes, of course. And the length needs to be such that you can install it so that it has the right amount of pull. The odds that the factory-correct springs were still on it are pretty small, because there are a zillion possible brake springs. A spring that's close enough will do the job. If you're using a brake spring tool, and you really can't get them on, probably they're too short. But they can be a bear to get on there, causing loss of limb, life, and property when the tool slips.


      • #4
        A lot of these brake springs are color coded for identification of the spring tension and length. Most of the brake parts suppliers carry a listing (in some case by "actual" size, meaning laying your old spring on the picture in the catalog) chart in their "Illustrated Buyers Guide" catalog. Take the old springs to your FLAPS, mabe he can help you "match em' up. BTDT. Hope this helps.

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        • #5
          IIRC a '55 should use two "green" springs and one "black" spring per wheel, the Wagner numbers are on my web site.



          55 Commander Starlight

          55 Commander Starlight


          • #6
            Also here's the easy way to install the springs. Forget about a brake spring tool, on a Studebaker there's an easier way. Install the black spring over the star wheel, set the shoes in place, and install the hold downs. Then take the two green springs, hook one on the shoe, take a long flat blade screwdriver with a narrow blade, hook the spring on the shaft of the screwdriver, set the blade of the screwdriver on the opposite side of the anchor pin. Stretch the spring by levering it against the anchor pin, the hook of the spring will slide down the screwdriver and snap into place. Repeat for the other spring. works like a champ (no pun intended)

            good luck,


            55 Commander Starlight
            55 Commander Starlight


            • #7
              NAte, thanks for the information. Your site is now bookmarked.