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1949 Champion - unsticking the rear axle

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  • Rear Axle: 1949 Champion - unsticking the rear axle

    On our 49 Champion, the rear axle appears to be frozen.

    What's my best bet for getting it rolling? We aren't worried about being able to stop just yet. We just want to be able to push it into and out of the shop. Should I just spray it with PB blaster? Try to break it free? There's no brake fluid. The lines have been disconnected long ago. Should I run air through the brake lines? Any crazy ideas, I'm willing to try.

    In other news, I found some 4x4" wheels from a 77 Astre at pullapart, so now we have 7 good wheels total! (It came with 3. One was missing. I got four more for ~$7 each)

    I'm still looking for at least one more 4x4" wheel. If anyone has one for sale, PM me.

    --buddy

  • #2
    Do you think the rear wheel is stuck due to binding of the rear brake, or do you think the axle itself is seized? If it is the brake shoes seized to the drum, you could take the mounting screws (bolts) out of the wheel cylinder and knock it inward to see if that will free up the wheel. A few good whacks with one of those heavy plastic dead blow hammers might help without breaking anything.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC

    SDC member since 1975

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    • #3
      It sounds to me from your description that the brake shoes are against the drum. If the drum will not come off with a suitable puller you can unbolt the wheel cylinder from the backing plate and try pushing it further inside the drum. This will sometimes let the shoes retract enough to free them from the drum. Most likely the wheel cylinder pistons are frozen and won't let the shoes retract enough to be able to roll the car.
      Frank van Doorn
      Omaha, Ne.
      1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
      1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
      1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jclary View Post
        Do you think the rear wheel is stuck due to binding of the rear brake, or do you think the axle itself is seized? If it is the brake shoes seized to the drum, you could take the mounting screws (bolts) out of the wheel cylinder and knock it inward to see if that will free up the wheel. A few good whacks with one of those heavy plastic dead blow hammers might help without breaking anything.
        I'm not sure, honestly. The others turn somewhat freely (there's some resistance, but nothing too great).

        I just know that it's stuck. My first thought was that it was related to the brakes, but it could be the axle.

        --buddy

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 41 Frank View Post
          It sounds to me from your description that the brake shoes are against the drum. If the drum will not come off with a suitable puller you can unbolt the wheel cylinder from the backing plate and try pushing it further inside the drum. This will sometimes let the shoes retract enough to free them from the drum. Most likely the wheel cylinder pistons are frozen and won't let the shoes retract enough to be able to roll the car.
          I've been looking at other threads about the pullers. Is it something I could rent at a local parts house? If not, it seems that I could make one with a hub from a suitable donor. There's a 77 Astre with the same bolt pattern. I could return to the junkyard and take one of it's hubs to make the tool if it would help.

          --buddy

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          • #6
            You'll want something like this:
            http://www.kaiserwillys.com/product/...ts-accessories

            I've seen some homemade ones that work. It depends how much pressure you have to put on it to get the hub pulled. I looked around where I live and couldn't find a place that rented one. The auto parts stores rented smaller ones for FWD cars that won't fit. I ordered the hub puller above to service the rear brakes on my Willys (also a Dana 44 rear). It's made in the USA, great quality. I just mounted it on there, tightened it up, and with a couple blows of a hammer to the puller it came loose. You'll thank yourself after buying one of these, and undoubtedly you will probably end up using it again.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nullset View Post
              Is it something I could rent at a local parts house?
              O'Reilly Auto Parts will rent a puller. Part number 67032. $22, refunded if you bring it back in 48 hours. If not, you keep it and they keep your money. I kept it. They kept my money. I can tell you I abused this thing severely and it held up. Click image for larger version

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              Not sure if it will fit on your hub, since you have a smaller bolt pattern, but this has slots, so it may.

              Tip: cut the pointed tip off the center lead screw. Make the end flat. If you use the pointed tip it will deform your axle. Put the castle nut on your axle on backwards (funny shape towards the hub) and make it flush with the end of the axle. Then place a 1/4" x 1.5" x 1.5" flat plat between the puller tip and the nut. Install lugs nuts, leave about a 1/4 of room on threads. Tighten the lead screw down as tight as possible. Tigthen lug nuts as tight as possible. Smack the lead screw head for all you are worth with a BIG HAMMER. Repeat as necessary.
              Rob in ND
              \'53 Commander resto-mod (work in process)

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              • #8
                Time for an update. We rented the hub puller and a slide hammer from O'Reilly, and got the hub off. We cleaned off the rust and put it back on, and the Stude is now rolling. This'll make working on it much easier…..

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                • #9
                  Interesting that nobody has mentioned the problem I had with my 2R11 Timken full-floaiing axle. It turned out the OE linings had been run way past the rivets, severely grooving the drums. New linings had been installed without turning the drums. As the linings wore in, they conformed to the drum grooves. 20 years sitting outside the corn crib on a MN farm rusted the linings firmly to the grooves. A 6-lb drilling hammer, heat, penetrating oil etc didn't break them free (I had pulled the axles so the impact torque didn't smash up the differential gear teeth and bearings). I finally found an extra wheel, burned two holes through the rim @ 180 degrees so I could use a 6 foot bar from a post hole digger as a breaker bar, a long pipe wrench with cheater for reaction torque, and holding constant torque on the drum by hand, and the drilling hammer for impact, managed to break the drum free from the shoes. Once the drum was free to rotate, I could turn it with the breaker bar while prying the drum over the ridges between grooves. A lot of work, but I did get both drums off. BTW, turning the drums got an almost groove-free surface at 0.090" O/S, which was the most the brake shop was willing to do, event if the shop manual allowed 0.125" O/S. All's well that ends well.

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