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  • Brakes: Emergency brake cable

    I am presently restoring a 1951 Commander. Before I got the car, somebody converted the brakes front and rear to a 1955 system. But they never hooked up the emergency brake cables, and it did not come with the rear cables. Since the rear brake cables are different for '51 vs '55 , does anybody know if a ’55 cable system would fit, and in case which one the sedan or the C/K/Landcruiser cables. I imagine I might have to do some modifications. If anybody has done this I would appreciate your input.

  • #2
    I think it would have more to do with the wheelbase length then the year of the parts. My vote would be for the 51 Commander rear cables, but measuring the distance from the lever at the front to the rear brake drum might be wise.
    Hopefully someone that has done a similar swap can chime in.
    Originally posted by stude21 View Post
    I am presently restoring a 1951 Commander. Before I got the car, somebody converted the brakes front and rear to a 1955 system. But they never hooked up the emergency brake cables, and it did not come with the rear cables. Since the rear brake cables are different for '51 vs '55 , does anybody know if a ’55 cable system would fit, and in case which one the sedan or the C/K/Landcruiser cables. I imagine I might have to do some modifications. If anybody has done this I would appreciate your input.
    sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
    1950 Champion Convertible
    1950 Champion 4Dr
    1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
    1957 Thunderbird

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    • #3
      I did a very similar swap a few years ago; '56 Hawk brakes to a '52 Commander Starlight. I kept the Hawk rear cables (which were too long due to the Hawk's longer wheelbase) and used cable shorteners to effectively reduce the length. It worked fine then and still is. I hope this helps.
      Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
      '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
      '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive, Power steering - Running, but not yet driving)
      '62 GT Hawk (4 speed, A/C, Power steering - running and DRIVING!)

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      • #4
        That basically answers my question. But what is a cable shortener? I thought I would have to cut and splice the cable to make it shorter. Did you need any new brackets for the cable. I know the '52 is about identical to '51. I have a '54 hdtp, and I thought I saw some extra bracket for the brake cable on that one. Anyway, I will order a Hawk brake cable if not somebody would think the sedan brake cable would fit better

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        • #5
          The "shortener' is just a little aftermarket device for stretched or too long cables like a clamp to use up the slack, it may be on the bubble Pack "HELP" rack at your Local Auto Parts Store.

          I would be more careful though about "Guessing" the length to be a 120 Inch W/B Hawk and ordering.

          We do not know what body Type you are working on for sure here, but most '47-'52's were 115 Inch IIRC, and there are 116 Inch '54-'58 Sedans closer to that, which should work.

          The reason why a '51 does not work is the backing plate hookup is different on the '54 Type "Bendix Style" Wagner Brakes.
          Last edited by StudeRich; 04-22-2016, 12:59 PM.
          StudeRich
          Second Generation Stude Driver,
          Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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          • #6
            Thanks Rich. You probably know which car I am working on, 51 cmd conv. As far as I can determine from the parts books is that from '53 to at least '58 it was only 2 brake cables, C&K and Landcruiser was one and all sedans the other. So BRNGARAGE swap would be the same as mine. But looking at the routing and brackets for the cable I am not sure I can only go by wheel base. Making a very rough measurement from the equalizer in front to the rear axle, it was about the same for my 54 K car and a 51 parts car. But it also looks like I will need a small bracket on each side on the frame to clamp the cable where the cable "sleeve" starts.

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            • #7
              Sure Odd, I do know the Car, we have also worked on the light Green one from Bellingham.

              I see it is a bit more complicated, partly because it is a Convertible maybe.
              But the '51 Chassis Parts Catalog should be a big help with that
              StudeRich
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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              • #8
                If anyone is looking for NOS parking brake cables, Studebaker of Australia is showing NOS cables for 1930 Studebakers up. See them on Facebook. To quote them, "Sorting through N.O.S. Hand brake cables tonight. Most car & truck cables available from the late 1930's onwards."
                Bill L.
                1962 GT Hawk

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