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Wheel Cylinder Questions

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  • Brakes: Wheel Cylinder Questions

    I plan to do some brake work to my 59 Silverhawk this weekend (I have a new master cylinder that I will put in) and I am pretty sure the wheel cylinders are shot from sitting for the last 15-20 years. I called for prices at the local auto parts store and they said there are two different types for my car? They said there is a heavy duty wheel cylinder as well as a standard one. My car has a V8 would this mean it uses a heavy duty wheel cylinder? Also, are rebuild kits universal to all types of stude wheel cylinders?

    Thanks in advance,


  • #2
    If you need them today you can find a NAPA store. They have new wheel cylinders available- sometimes later that day. The fronts are 1 1/16" and the rears are 7/8". If I were home I'd give you the part numbers. Of course there are plenty of Stude vendors on-line as well who could help you out. Anymore it's easier to put on new and save the old for cores-less time involved and it's fresh! Good luck!
    Rob in PA. ( actually FL. )


    • #3
      Thank you! I may stop by Napa tonight. I believe there is one somewhat close to where I live.


      • #4 always has the right parts and ships them very quickly.
        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


        • #5
          Originally posted by evilhawk View Post
          They said there is a heavy duty wheel cylinder as well as a standard one. My car has a V8 would this mean it uses a heavy duty wheel cylinder? Also, are rebuild kits universal to all types of stude wheel cylinders?

          Thanks in advance,

          Studebaker did not offer heavy duty vs standard, they had one part number. That number was used 54-66. I would find another source as I would be afraid I would not get the correct cylinders. I would not go with the Dorman type cylinders, I would go with the Wagner reproductions. Any point of failure in your system means you loose your brakes, so I would go with good quaility products even thought they are a bit more money. The wheel cylinder kits vary by the size of your cylinders, as indicated above 1 1/16 for the front and 7/8 for the rear. Again, please buy good quality parts. I would suggest you price the kits versus the cylinders, you may find the cylinders are not that much more and would be a better long term investment in your brake system. I would also suggest you replace the 3 hoses. I have gone to silicone in my seven studes and am very pleased with that.

          1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
          1961 Hawk 4-speed
          1967 Avanti
          1961 Lark 2 door
          1988 Avanti Convertible

          Member of SDC since 1973


          • #6
            OK, yes some parts are available new from outside vendors. I know because I just installed two rear cylinders from NAPA.

            Here is the story...

            I got the cylinders and found that they were not pre-charged so I filled them with fluid. When I went to tighten the bleeders I found they were NOT the same size wrench. One was 1/4 inch and the other 6mm. OK, so that was really close.

            Both cylinders were 7/8 inch and did bolt in to the original brake backing plates. The first cylinder (1/4 inch bleeder) fit perfectly into the alignment hole (a bit tight due to rust) and I bolted it down. The one I put on the other side (6mm bleeder- bought at the same time) went into the alignment hole loose... I set it up as straight as I could and bolted it down TIGHT.

            The brakes shoes, etc, were remounted and fit OK. I connected the fluid lines and that went OK. I remounted the drums and started bleeding the system. Needed two wrenches... even the nipple size was different.

            After it was all said and done I got it all working so then I checked the boxes I got the cylinders in and even they were not the same. It seems a lot of the stuff ( and I say this with emphasis) coming from China is not manufactured to the same spec. Different plants will make different parts but you and I will buy them under the same part number.

            I got my brakes to work, but I will now think more about sourcing any more parts I get in the future from a North American manufacturer, if I can.

            Good luck with that!!

            Who said that?


            • #7
              Yeah I also question the quality of Chinese made parts. Are the cylinders listed on rebuilt parts or are they new? I just wonder because I would like to avoid Chinese knock-offs if I can.


              • #8
                Evilhawk, call Chuck & ask him. He & his wife are great people & honest. They wont steer you wrong. The phone number is on his website.
                59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
                60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
                61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
                62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
                62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
                62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
                63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
                63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
                64 Zip Van
                66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
                66 Cruiser V-8 auto


                • #9
                  About limited production, "Rare Parts". They are getting to be harder and harder to find by the day, as U.S. Mfg's. close North American Plants and send the high volume work overseas.

                  So you will often find our "American Co." Parts having only ONE source if ANY, because they really do not want to "Tool UP" in India, China, Korea for low volume parts.

                  The exceptions are the Parts liquidators like Rock Auto who buy left over, obsolete warehouse stock in limited quantities, which could be a bit old, but probably U.S. made.
                  That is probably why you are getting "mixed" Parts, suppliers are in a transition mode from North American to Offshore Mfg.

                  Unfortunately this is just Life in 2015. Better than the alternative!
                  Second Generation Stude Driver,
                  Proud '54 Starliner Owner


                  • #10
                    Since you have the old ones off, I would suggest you disassemble them, hone them and see what they look like. You may end up putting them back on some day.
                    When I did the brakes on my 49 2R16A, I had to rebuild the old cylinders. I was shocked at how little I had to hone them to get a good finish. I am 100% certain that the quality of the metal is much better than anything I could have bought as a replacement. Although, I couldn't even find replacement cylinders for my truck. Just as well as far as I am concerned.


                    • #11
                      I agree with Lynn and have been able to hone all of mine for reuse. Even if they are too pitted, there are places that bore and install stainless liners.


                      • #12
                        I tried the stainless route on my truck once..... They blew out the rears and I lost my brakes only a block from the SNM (Note here: when coated with fluid, the rear E-brake doesn't work).... long story short, I made the show after topping off and driving 20miles an hour and carefully cleaning up the mess...

                        I immediately bought and installed a set of original types from a vendor at the show after opening them up and inspecting them. I didn't want NOS as the cups can be rotten. but NOS can be easily rebuilt.


                        • #13
                          Yes, I have also have rebuilt many sets of wheel and M/C's. I have 2 honing sets in my toolbox. I don't like the sleeve route as I too have had a sleeve blow out and send me into a ditch when trying to stop at a tee intersection. Not fun.

                          My point above was both cylinders I got were in NAPA boxes and marked "made in China" but the boxes were different (not the same size box) and the bleeder nipple was a totally different animal, so you just never really know what you will be getting...

                          I will be ordering a couple of rebuild kits on my next order to one of our Stude vendors.


                          • #14
                            I think Im going to pull the wheel cylinders off this weekend and see if they are rebuild-able or not. If so, I may just go that route.