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Thread: 1949 Commander Front Wheel Cylinder Mystery

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    Question 1949 Commander Front Wheel Cylinder Mystery

    Hello All,

    I am new to the forum and have just got my 2nd Stude-mobile. Its a 1949 commander regal and am in the process of completely overhauling the brake system.
    My big question is where can I locate a set of front wheel cylinders for the old gal? Will a set of same year champion brakes work? I have the rears on order already.
    I have been researching this for the last number of days and am at a total loss - have spoken with Studebaker Int and Studebaker parts to no avail. Thank you in advance for any advice, I am so excited to get this one back on the road!

  2. #2
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    The 1947-1949 Commander front wheel cylinders are Studebaker part number 521568, they fit both left and right. Vendor Stephen Allen has these on their website at $150 ea. new old stock (NOS) with new cylinder kits.
    Dan Peterson
    Montpelier, VT
    1960 Lark V-8 Convertible
    1960 Lark V-8 Convertible (parts car)

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    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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    Thank you dpson & Radio Roy.

    I made a number of calls and found the cylinders. Will post once shes moving & stopping like a champ!

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    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youngstudedude View Post
    Thank you dpson & Radio Roy.

    I made a number of calls and found the cylinders. Will post once shes moving & stopping like a champ!
    She'll stop like a Commander - much better brakes than a Champ.

    Be sure to replace the flexible brake hoses. One in the rear and two in the front.
    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
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    Heck ya!

    That is funny, yes new hoses and a new set of brake lines as well - the ones that were there were totally rotted out.
    Should have confirmed here before ordering a few days ago but I found this set on Ebay and specified the hill holder unit.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/All-Metal-b...72.m2749.l2649
    Does this look like a good choice? Will be pulling wheels and hubs over the next few days to see how the insides are and getting prepped for all the new parts to go in.
    Anything in particular I should be looking over/concerned about?

  7. #7
    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    You should have a Studebaker shop manual and at the very least a chassis parts catalog. Take the time to read the chapters that refer to your task.

    Do you have the correct puller for the rear HUBS?

    The self adjusters work fine if they are clean. And use new plugs if you install new shoes. Don't try to leave them out as you will not be able to adjust the brake shoe free play without the self adjusters in place.

    Many people have reported problems with sealing hill holder after they took it apart. You might leave it assembled, but take it off the car and clean it with alcohol.
    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

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    Very cool thank you Radio Roy,

    Hoping to keep the brake shoes but will see where they are at. Is it possible just to swap the orientation if the loaded side is well worn?

    I do have that Manuel so will study up as much as possible.

    I ordered this puller: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Will that do the job or will I need something else for the rear?

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    That's the right puller for the rear. You don't need a puller for the front. The beauty of these brake line kits is that they should have the right length lines will good double-flare ends. Like Roy said, you should try to clean out the hill holder with alcohol. You might want to buy a cheap tubing bender. Not saying the cupro-nickel lines are hard to bend, but a simple hand-held bender will make more professional-looking bends.

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    I agree with what Roy said in #7. When I went through the brakes on my 1950 Land Cruiser a year ago I had trouble finding the rear brake hose. After a few trips back to the large brake shop here in the Twin Cities, I finally found out they had the perfect hose, but it was 1" longer than the original. Well, that was even better, as it wouldn't put strain on the ends when I go air born topping the hills at high speed. LOL

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    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youngstudedude View Post
    Very cool thank you Radio Roy,

    Hoping to keep the brake shoes but will see where they are at. Is it possible just to swap the orientation if the loaded side is well worn?
    No, you cannot swap the forward facing and rearward facing shoes. The self adjusters are on the forward facing shoes only. Read and understand the shop manual and look at the diagrams in the chassis parts catalog.

    Don't take any short cuts with the brakes. The brakes are your life.

    These brakes and their self adjusters work fine, but are not like the brakes in brand X cars, so they may not be like what you are used to seeing.

    When you install the self adjusting plug, it must be flush with the surface of the brake shoe when the plug is fully extended. Make sure all the parts are there and clean and rust free. If you leave any part out, the self adjusters may not work, or the brakes may be noisy.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 06-04-2019 at 04:36 PM.
    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

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    This has been great information!
    Manuel definitely shows why they cant be swapped. Have been as prudent as possible with this part of the car and am hoping with a new brake system and tires she will be rolling along safety once again. Definitely not worth skimping out on.
    Engine runs great, gunna swap out the oil, coolant, gear oil - gearbox and OD, rear diff, get some fresh grease in the joints and back on the open road!!

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    When I go through the entire brake system on my old cars I always switch to DOT 5 silicone brake fluid.

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    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    If you have to have the shoes relined, I wonder if you can get softer brake linings? The new/current stuff is pretty hard. If the shoe re-liner understands that an antique car will only be driven a little every year, he/she might have some sifter stuff that will respond better to pedal pressure.



    Quote Originally Posted by Youngstudedude View Post
    This has been great information!
    Manuel definitely shows why they cant be swapped. Have been as prudent as possible with this part of the car and am hoping with a new brake system and tires she will be rolling along safety once again. Definitely not worth skimping out on.
    Engine runs great, gunna swap out the oil, coolant, gear oil - gearbox and OD, rear diff, get some fresh grease in the joints and back on the open road!!
    Make sure you use the correct transmission and overdrive oil which is NOT GL-5. Lots of previous discussions on this subject, so it's time to learn the search function. You will be glad you did.

    BTW, there are more than 20 zerk fittings in the front suspension. Probably none of them have had grease since Eisenhower was in office.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 06-05-2019 at 01:26 AM.
    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

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    I agree with TW Champ. Use DOT5 if you replace everything. While you're at it might as well replace the master cylinder. Me, I would go ahead, give Turner Brake a call and put in a Dual Pot MC, a lot more work, however.

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    You want GL-1 which is mineral oil, with no EP additives, which over time will destroy the soft metal parts in the OD. You can get in reasonably small quantities by ordering it through NAPA.

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    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    The only scary thing I see about those pre-made Brake Line Kits is, I don't see an option for the WHEELBASE and Body Type!

    All '47 to '52 Studebakers are NOT equal!
    They show it fitting 2 Doors, 4 Doors, and Land Cruisers, and there are even 2 W/B's of Commander Land Cruisers, '47-'49 and 1950!

    Unless when you click BUY, all those questions/options are asked about, there is NO way the lengths will be correct.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




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    Howdy All,

    So I got back to town and back to work on the brakes. Still waiting on the hub puller and BMC but the fronts came in before everything else!
    I was able to get the front wheels off and get behind the drums. Here are some photos of what I found and a photo of the car:
    IMG_2089.jpgIMG_2092.jpgIMG_2094.jpgIMG_2095.jpgIMG_2036.jpg

    The brake shoes look in pretty good form to me but the wheel cylinders were very corroded. I did notice the new ones don't have the notch that's found in the originals and am wondering if there will be any issue with the
    top of the shoes and alignment. Also the "c" washers look a little worn as well as the lock clips for the hoses so will order new ones.

    Any particular thoughts on what is here/not here? Have done some research on the Brake fluid type. I plan to drive this quite a bit and it seems like the standard Dot 3 may be best in that situation. Would you agree? I have no
    problem getting under the car and bleeding the system once a year. Radio Roy you weren't kidding about the grease, used a tube and a half to get the front and rear back in order including leaf springs.

    Also I gave them the specific model, year and hill-holder configuration for the brake lines so here's hoping they got it right!
    Last edited by Youngstudedude; 06-06-2019 at 03:48 PM.

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    Go thru the entire system. Replace everything that touches fluid.
    The original shoes don't look bad to me.
    The baling wire for the shoe-stop is a no-no. I'm like WTF?
    Leads me to suspect anything safety related in that car.

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    Hello Mrs Corbin,

    Thanks and will do. The bailing wire is to help pull the spring and wasn’t in the drum before.

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    This may be a little nit picky but while I do agree with sticking to the original DOT 3, if you are not going through the whole system, you might consider DOT 4 instead of the original DOT 3. If you have ever experienced brake fade with one of your old cars you will understand why.

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    Thank you everyone. Have definitely had that issue before. Will it be safe to put Dot 4 in hoses designed for dot 3?
    Everything from the BMC to the wheel cylinders will be new so can definitely put in whatever is best.

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    All hoses will tolerate all types of brake fluid. The issue is that DOT 5 will not mix with the other types, and most manufacturers recommend replacing all rubber parts when converting, so there's no residual old fluid hanging around. If all new components are new, then you can use any type fluid you want.

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    Copy that, I’ll go Dot 4 on the new system. Is the conversion to a dual bowl very difficult? I did some research and cant find a commander from 49 with it installed. Would much rather have that safety feature and peace of mind than not. This model mounts on the inside of the chassis and the attached link shows one on the outside for a much later model (could be a totally different conversion)

    http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...akes-questions

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    Finally got the BMC, hoses, and lines in yesterday and have been going at it the last two mornings. The front end is done! Had to re-cut the passenger side line down to size as it was about 7" too long and was getting far to close
    to some of the moving parts. I'm also going to make a new line going from the BMC to the rear T-fitting as the line that was provided came in two parts which seems like another unnecessary place that a potential failure could occur.
    It took some real gumption (a ton of PB blaster and torch work) to get the bleeder screw off of the Hill holder unit but right now its looking pretty good and attaches well to the BMC. I flushed with copious amounts of alcohol to get the grime
    out of the system.

    Big Question #1: For the bench bleed would it be best to have the Hill holder unit on for the initial fill? Or is a separate bleed necessary and then the combo?

    Big Question #2: Another thing worth mentioning, the auto adjusters on the front brake shoes are a bit worn and not quite engaging. It looks like they have been bypassed for a good while. Would it make sense to just adjust by hand using the eccentric pin as needed? There is good material on the shoes but the contact plug looks tired. Something to change when the shoes are K.O. or a must fix asap?

    Thank you in advance for any thoughts/advice!

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    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
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    #1 I have never bench bled a single master cylinder like you have. I guess you can, but it never has been necessary.

    #2 You can't really "bypass" the automatic adjusters and get the brakes to adjust properly. I have had two Studebakers that someone had left out some of the adjuster parts and they both had problems. The system is really simple after you study it a bit. I recommend placing the parts on one of the shoes and playing with it a bit. How it works will become clear. The parts are out there. I recently did the fronts on my 52 pickup. Most cleaned up just fine although I did replace a few pieces with new.
    Attached Images Attached Images


    "In the heart of Arkansas."
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    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
    1952 2R pickup

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    Thanks for the advice 52 Fan,

    I spent more time with the adjusters and was able to get everything moving pretty smoothly again.
    The contact plugs are definitely a bit lower than flush but will engage once they wear down a bit more.
    Was able the get all the new lines made and hubs removed this morning. Looks like tomorrow will be the first test run!

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    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
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    The plugs will contact the drum when they slide forward. They just won't have as much adjustment as a new one. Unless you drive the car enough to wear the shoes thin, you will probably never know the difference.


    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
    1952 2R pickup

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    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youngstudedude View Post
    Thanks for the advice 52 Fan,

    I spent more time with the adjusters and was able to get everything moving pretty smoothly again.
    The contact plugs are definitely a bit lower than flush but will engage once they wear down a bit more.
    Was able the get all the new lines made and hubs removed this morning. Looks like tomorrow will be the first test run!
    Did you install NEW plugs, or are you using the old ones?
    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
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    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    Howdy Radio Roy,

    After opening up the hubs to install the new wheel cylinders I saw that the shoes were in pretty decent shape. That said the self adjusters were pretty gunked up (bypassed in my previous post - ie.not moving)
    Took 52 Fan's advice and fiddled around in there getting everything back and moving. Since they were the plugs that were already installed I assume they were redone previously w/o putting in new ones.
    I did a 20 min cruise around the neighborhood and after carefully easing in on the new brake system I am happy to say it is working well and holding good pressure.
    The brake lines ordered off of ebay were not the right size, some too long some too short but with a pipe cutter and double flare tool + some practice everything fit just swell.
    Tomorrow will be the bigger test with a longer drive. I have a big ole stone on the petal overnight to let those hidden bubbles make their way out.
    Last edited by Youngstudedude; 06-17-2019 at 11:34 PM.

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    Brakes are working great, drove all over the city yesterday and today. Even the brake-light switch is functioning and the system is running the DOT 4.
    Changed out all the old gear/OD/Rear diff oil with the recommended Gl-1 90 weight. Have to do a troubleshoot on the Overdrive as it isn't kicking in as of right now. The freewheel is working
    without any clatter but am only getting the standard 3 gears. Gonna check the fuses and luckily have the shop manual to go through the massive troubleshoot sequences.

    Thank you for all the help!

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    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    The differential needs hypoid additive. GL-1 is for the transmission and overdrive, but the differential needs the hypoid additive that the transmission does not. Better change the differential fluid before you gall the gears.

    Do you have a shop manual?
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    OOf ok! Yes just checked the manual and it does say Hypoid. I thought the GL-1 was for everything. Thank you Radio Roy for catching my mistake I'll take care of it before heading out again.

  34. #34
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    If the overdrive relay hasn't been closing the contacts for a number of years, the contacts may need to be cleaned. That was the case on the 1950 Commander I bought in 1969. The old lady that owned the car said she only drove it to church and the grocery store once a week, so the overdrive was never used.

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    Howdy All,

    Rear diff has been taken care of. Considering how dirty the new GL-1 oil looked we'll just call that a flush, thanks Radio Roy. Had a real nice drive today and now she is fully registered. Tried some trouble shooting on the OD and no real luck as of yet.
    First note is the kick-down switch is non responsive, on the lark once you engage the switch the engine stalls and the OD kicks out.
    Step #1 swap the switch? The fuse is good but haven't been able to ground the governor wire yet to see if the issue is deeper. Most (80% at least) of the wiring harness is original. Most of it is good but am not sure where to begin.

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