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50 Commander Brake dragging... causes and cures?

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  • tim333
    replied
    Nice looking car, my first driver a at 16 was a a 51 4dr.

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  • deco_droid
    replied
    Well, everyone probably forgot about this thread, but I did get all the brake maintenance done and the wheels back on last week. It was a great learning experience and I appreciate all the help. It took me a long time, but I was only able to get much done on the weekends so the time got spread out. Hopefully I will not have to tackle it again for quite a while, but I'll be able to do another brake job a lot quicker next time, that's for sure.

    Anyway, it all worked out well. The main issue was just the wheel cylinder getting stuck. I may have to post a video of the new wheels I'm so happy with now! Thanks again...

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  • RadioRoy
    replied
    Originally posted by BILT4ME View Post
    Thanks you for clarifying my ignorance. I'll be quiet now...........
    Please don't be quiet. The rest of the post was great. Good advice.

    You are probably just used to 54 and later brakes. the 47-53 brakes are a different design. They are pretty good on the Commanders, but inadequate on the Champions, IMHO.

    The 54 and newer brakes were much better, IMHO.

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  • BILT4ME
    replied
    Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
    the brakes on a 50 Commander are different. there is no star wheel. The forward facing show is unique and has a plug type self adjuster.

    Thanks you for clarifying my ignorance. I'll be quiet now...........

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  • RadioRoy
    replied
    Originally posted by BILT4ME View Post

    Make sure you install the shoes in the correct location on the backing plate. You MAY have one short pad shoe and one long pad shoe. They are in a specific location for a reason.

    To adjust the brakes after installation, the manual tells you to install adjust the brake shoes tight to the inside of the drum, then back them off 8 clicks. Do this on all 4 wheels with both wheel of the same axle off the ground at the same time. This will insure even braking on all 4 corners.

    Good luck!
    the brakes on a 50 Commander are different. there is no star wheel. The forward facing shoe is unique and has a plug type self adjuster.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 01-11-2016, 05:07 PM.

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  • BILT4ME
    replied
    Glad you are replacing the wheel cylinders. I had one on my 59 Lark that had the SAME issue. It tended to kick out the FRONT brake shoe and caused it to slip off the wear pads and get hung up between the wear pad on the backing plate and the interior of the drum, causing it to drag. Turns out that the front shoe had worn enough and the drums were worn oversized enough that all the extra open tolerances added up to too much slop and I had to install new shoes that filled the gap (I also trashed the old shoe because it got stuck and I drove it for about 300 miles and it ground off one edge of the shoe.

    The drum being tight/loose/tight/loose is an indication that it is warped or out of round. It may still be within spec, but you cannot feel that when turning it by hand. I can feel that my front drums are out of round by hand, but when I apply the brakes now that they are set up properly, I have NO pulsations in the pedal.

    Replace all the wheel cylinders and master cylinder.

    Do NOT use DOT 5 brake fluid unless that was in there from the previous owner and you can confirm that is the case. Mixing DOT5 and DOT3 is a problem. Your car was factory supplied with DOT3. In order to use DOT5, All the wheel cylinders and master cylinder MUST be replaced, the brake hoses must be replaced, AND all the brake lines all the steel lines must be flush with rubbing alcohol multiple times (or replaced). Many people that have switched to DOT5 then complain because their brake system continuously leak.

    Flush your brake fluid every year or two to remove the moisture that gets in through the MC.

    The MOTOR manuals are VERY good! Otherwise, get an original (reproduction) Studebaker manual.

    Make sure you clean the wear points on each of the backing plates and smear a light coat of lithium grease on the contact points. Be careful to NOT get the grease on the shoes or the drums.

    The Lucas RedNTacky #2 is fantastic wheel bearing grease and I use it in all of my vehicles. Make sure you smear a light coat of grease on the seals and sealing surfaces of the wheel bearings when you do the install so you are less likely to cut a new seal.

    The screwing on the nut to pull the rear inner wheel bearing and seal is the easiest method.

    X2 on the brass drift and hammer for removing the inner races from the hub. Only replace the wheel bearings if they MUST be replaced. Replace in pairs. Do not re-use the inner wheel hub seal.

    Replace all your brake hoses. Should be (3) minimum. It may be more with the hill holder, I'm not familiar with those.

    Use the two-person method to bleed the brakes, it is the most effective, most reliable, and the least hassle in the long run. Remember: brake fluid EATS paint!!!!!! Even one drop must be immediately washed with Dawn dish washing soap and lots of water immediately.

    Only use new, unopened bottles of brake fluid. If you have one that has sat on the shelf for 5 years, throw it away and buy new. You can recycle brake fluid at your local FLAPS.

    If you have any wheel lugs that are tough to get on/off due to dented or damaged threads, now is the time to chase the wheel studs and the nuts with tap and die. Clean up the threads so you don;t break off a stud.

    Properly torque your wheel lug nuts. If your new wheels are shank style instead of acorn (tapered) style, then your torque will be LOWER with the SHANKs.

    Are you using the brake spring pliers in thee correct manner? The pointed straight part of the pliers digs into the shoe material on the OUTSIDE of the shoe, while the small hook end hooks into the large loop on the end of the spring on the bottom of the shoe (not the end on the pin) Look at the video below:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZXJvgDuyAQ

    Make sure you install the shoes in the correct location on the backing plate. You MAY have one short pad shoe and one long pad shoe. They are in a specific location for a reason.

    To adjust the brakes after installation, the manual tells you to install adjust the brake shoes tight to the inside of the drum, then back them off 8 clicks. Do this on all 4 wheels with both wheel of the same axle off the ground at the same time. This will insure even braking on all 4 corners.

    Good luck!

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  • deco_droid
    replied
    Thank you all very much. I found a set of brake spring pliers at Autozone, but they were a cheap no name brand and I can't get it to pull the spring off. I think maybe the end is too thick and it's more of a u-shape instead of a coil shape like the Snap-On tool that Roy referenced. It slips off the spring every time I squeeze the pliers. I don't mind paying more for a good tool as long as it will work for these springs. Is the Snap-On with the coil shaped end what you guys are using, or does a u-shaped end plier work? I will wait a while for replies and see what the consensus is, since an ebay purchase will take a while anyway.

    Also, thanks Roy, I will look into getting a Motors manual. I see a few of those on ebay as well. The Stude shop manual is great, but a lot of the steps are not very detailed -- I assume because back then, working on your car was a lot more common so it wasn't necessary to spell out every step.

    As far as the hoses, I think you all have me convinced. I will go ahead and change out the hoses as well. They look fairly new, but I can't find a date code on them. I have only had this car for about two years, but I don't know what the previous owner replaced or when. The car hasn't been sitting though. I was driving it fine up until this issue came up a month or so ago when I THINK one of the brake cylinders seized up. Thanks again...

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  • rkapteyn
    replied
    Heed the advice in post#27.
    New brake hoses are cheap compared to fixing the crushed front end or paying huge insurance premium cost increases after an accident
    You keep refering to the anti creep but they only work on the rear brakes.
    It sounds to me that your brake drum is warped due to overheating caused by the the brake lining not retracting due to the stuck wheel cylinders.
    Robert Kapteyn

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  • RadioRoy
    replied
    Brake spring pliers are sold in almost all auto parts stores. They look like this.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/SNAP-ON-Brak...944657&vxp=mtr

    You should get a MOTORS manual that covers 1950. They are great for showing how to do things. Chiltons will do, but they are not as good as MOTORS.

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  • 52 Ragtop
    replied
    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.

    You stated that neither you or the previous owner had done any brake work. How long has it been sitting? Check the brake hoses, there "should" be a date on the hose as well as a manufacturer in a white stripe. IF there is NO date, replace ALL the hoses, if the date is older than 5 years, replace ALL the hoses! go to the Raybestos website, they "recommend" that rubber brake hoses be replaced every 3-5 years. Either way, if it's been sitting for a long time, and since you do NOT know when the last time the hoses were replaced, spend the $75.00 or so, and replace them. While your at it, just replace ALL the wheel cylinders and the M/C with new.
    As has been stated, the brakes are one of the TWO most important systems on your car, the other being steering!
    How much is your safety worth?? as well as everybody else out on the road. Fix it right the first time!

    Jim

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  • thunderations
    replied
    Check with your local auto parts store. Many of them rent, "for free" tools needed to work on different areas of the cars. The deposit is usually the cost of the tool. Take it back and get your money back. Keep the tool and they consider it paid for.

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  • StudeRich
    replied
    You need a common, universal Brake Spring Tool is make the job a lot easier.

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  • Mikado282
    replied
    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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  • deco_droid
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Frank DuVal
    replied
    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.

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