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50 Commander Brake dragging... causes and cures?

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  • #16
    I would remove the brake shoes on both sides and rebuild the wheel cylinders. Most of the time I can just hone them and replace the rubber cups that push the pistons out.
    On all my old cars I like to give them a complete brake job and use DOT 5 silicone brake fluid.

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    • #17
      Have you tried opening the brake bleeder on that wheel when the brakes bind? If the wheel turns freely when that is done you need a new flex hose.

      Terry

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      • #18
        OK, if the piston is stuck, your brakes have failed. They are not having a problem, they are the problem. All the adjusting, drum swapping, hose replacing WON'T fix it. You need to do a brake job, rebuilding or replacing the wheel cylinders. You're talking about trying to jury rig something that's job is to keep you from slamming into me when on the road. Think about it, is a couple hundred dollars in repairs too much? What's your car worth to you? You just bought aftermarket wheels, what did they cost? Don't take chances or short cuts when dealing with brakes. Fix them properly.
        Sorry to be so blunt, but I don't want your next post to be from a hospital bed after being in an accident because your brakes didn't work......or worse.
        sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
        1950 Champion Convertible
        1950 Champion 4Dr
        1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
        1957 Thunderbird

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        • #19
          I agree with thunderations-by checking with the Stude vendors, or on line stores like Rock Auto, you can get all the parts you need to do a COMPLETE brake job for a reasonable price, the only other cost is your time and labor! I don't rebuild hydraulic parts anymore, I just replace them. These old cars sit and brake parts do deteriorate over time.
          If you've never done any major brake work, be sure to solicit tips from the folks on the forum, as there is always something that will frustrate you!

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          • #20
            I guess I wasn't relaying all I was thinking to the page. Yes, I am ordering parts to either rebuild or replace the wheel cylinder. But fixing that does not tell me why the drum will not turn. That is what I was trying to figure out, and why I was going to try fitting the other drum to it, to see if there's any difference. You don't just replace drums for no reason.

            Anyway, I did open the bleeder while pushing the pedal, and I got brake fluid coming out, so I will eliminate the hose as a possible problem. I am thinking if the two drums act the same on the hub, then my left brake shoes are just out of alignment, which I will work on after I change out the cylinder. Thanks all.
            sigpic

            1950 Commander Starlight Coupe
            Regal Deluxe Trim
            Automatic transmission
            46k original miles, 4th Owner

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            • #21
              What you have had is a warning sign. Just replacing or repairing that one wheel cylinder may fix it for awhile. The pressures the system make will seek out the weakest part of the system and be your next problem. Fixing this one cylinder will give you a strong point. Where will the next problem be, and when?
              If it were mine, I would replace or rebuild all wheel cylinders and the master cylinder. Flush the old fluid, replace with new and replace the rubber flex hoses. At least check all of the steel lines, replace if any question. That way you know that the hydraulic side of the system is good.
              Once the stuck piston is fixed and the piston can retract, the drum will, most likely, turn freely again. Once that is done drive the car and apply the brakes hard. If you feel a pulsation in the brake pedal, you have one or more drums out of round. If it's not too bad, you may be able to live with it. If not, hopefully the drums can be turned.
              Of all the systems on a car, the brakes are the most valuable and the least maintained. Usually they are not even thought about until they fail in some manor.
              sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
              1950 Champion Convertible
              1950 Champion 4Dr
              1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
              1957 Thunderbird

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              • #22
                Always replace brakes and brake parts, front & rear suspension parts, bearings and shocks, even tires(a matched pair)on both sides of the car even though the other side appears to be fine. It is just safer to do this from a safety & wear standpoint. They may be within wear tolerances but it doesn't cost that much more to do both sides.

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                • #23
                  I think your drum is too tight because the brake piston(s) are corroded and sticking tight in the bore. The only safe thing to do is hone the cylinders and clean the pistons and replace any worn rubber parts. Flush the entire system and use DOT 5 silicone and you can drive without worrying if you can stop. BTW, after a brake job it is wise to brake easy for the first 1000 miles until the drums and shoes seat together. Hard braking can cause grooves in the drums. This information comes from many years of Motor's Manuals.

                  If you do your own work, the complete brake job shouldn't be too expensive. If you don't need new shoes and drums, you can often get it done for less than $50. But, don't worry about the cost, just do it right.

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                  • #24
                    Thanks for the replies. I figured out what the problem was. I was looking at the brake shoes the other day, and realized that, yes, one of the shoes is just slightly further out from the cylinder than the other -- maybe an 1/8 of an inch. I had looked at it several times before, and yet, never saw that. So once I rebuild that cylinder, that side will be good.

                    Okay, so I have all my parts and supplies now. Just have a couple of further questions. I got some bearing grease, and just wanted to run it by you guys, before I open and use it. I saw several brands and types, but some said they were for disc brake bearings, tractors, etc -- anyway, I ended up with Lucas "red n tacky #2", multi purpose ep grease. Is this okay to use, or is there some other brand/type that you guys recommend?

                    Also, I don't see in the shop manual, how to get the inner bearing out of the drum. I have viewed some not Studebaker specific youtube videos that mention putting the large nut back on the spindle and then pulling the seal that way. Not sure if that is a standard method or not.

                    Lastly, I watched these wheel bearing videos and the guy that did them seemed to know what he was talking about. Just thought I would pass along for others interested...thanks much.

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL1IhSX3VwQ
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5tTCBLHRFg
                    sigpic

                    1950 Commander Starlight Coupe
                    Regal Deluxe Trim
                    Automatic transmission
                    46k original miles, 4th Owner

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                    • #25
                      Your red grease will be good to use. I usually use something like a 1/2" diameter brass rod and hammer to remove the inner bearing and seal. Brass is safer than steel for your eyes and the parts. I know of two guys that lost an eye by using a steel punch and hammer to remove bearings.

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                      • #26
                        I used to use an old wooden broom handle to remove the inner bearings. Learned that from my father who learned it from my grandfather who owned a garage in the 20's & 30's. Short length of 2x4 flat to install a new grease seal. Never had one leak.

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                        • #27
                          Just because you get fluid out of a bleeder while pushing the pedal does NOT confirm the hose is good!

                          The hose can develop a check valve type problem, where fluid will get to the wheel cylinder, but will not allow the fluid to go back to the master cylinder when you release the peal. Very common problem. Just think of this, you push on the pedal and lots of PSI are available (from your foot/master cylinder mechanical linkage) to push fluid past a partial blockage. But, when you release the pedal, a lot less PSI are available to push the fluid back to the master cylinder, as just the springs supply the force.
                          Frank DuVal

                          50 Commander 4 door

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                          • #28
                            Thanks all. Back to this after some delays.... Right now I am working on getting the brake shoe springs off so I can access the brake cylinders to rebuild them.

                            So what is the tool or trick you guys are using to get that top spring off? It is super tough. I tried to pry it off with some needle nose pliers but no luck. I saw a guy on youtube using some kind of spring spreader tool, and that looked like the perfect thing but can't find it for sale anywhere. Any ideas or tips are most welcome.
                            sigpic

                            1950 Commander Starlight Coupe
                            Regal Deluxe Trim
                            Automatic transmission
                            46k original miles, 4th Owner

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                            • #29
                              You need brake spring pliers similar to the one in this kit. It is http://www.harborfreight.com/3-piece...kit-97804.html

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                              • #30
                                You need a common, universal Brake Spring Tool is make the job a lot easier.
                                StudeRich
                                Second Generation Stude Driver,
                                Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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