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Rear Brake Drum Removal

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:01 am
by newpack110
My daughter and I are new owners of a 1940 Packard model 110 sedan. I need to do a complete brake job on this car as the brakes are not functioning at all. I have pulled the front wheels and drums to inspect the brakes, however, upon removing the rear wheels, I am unsure how to proceed to remove the brake drums. Most of the cars I have worked on had studs on which I attached a puller to remove the drum. This Packard has bolts that go into the hub past the brake drum, so that type of puller would not work on this car. I was tempted to use a large copper hammer, or try to pry the brake drum off with a crow bar, but my daughter thinks I might damage the brake drum. Any suggestions? Do I need a special tool to remove the rear drums?

Thanks for your help,

Re: Rear Brake Drum Removal

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:04 pm
by Dave Czirr
The type of construction you see is typical of Packards from 1955 and back, Chrysler products, and many other cars of the era. The end of the axle shaft is tapered and fits to a taper machined inside the hub of the drum. You require a drum puller to remove the rear drums; I'll see if I can find a picture of one but they are common-enough - look thru the various Packard service manuals if you need to see a picture. All you'll succeed in doing with a pry bar is to break the drum.

Remove the lug bolts and fasten the three arms of the puller back to the drum with the lug bolts so that the center screw of the puller is located over the axle stub. Loosen but don't quite remove the large axle nut, and screw the center screw of the puller against the end of the axle. It will often require extreme tightening to pop the drum off and the end of the puller screw usually ends in arms with hammering heads. It will take quite a bit of force, and sometimes the force needs to be left applied overnight to loosen the drum. Once the drum loosens, you remove the nut (which you left loose to keep the drum from falling off and from damaging the threads on the axle).

When reinstalling, DO NOT grease the tapered end of the axle shaft or the internal taper on the drum, fit must be dry, clean and tight, tight enough to take the force of the engine driving the wheels. The keyway and key alone are not sufficient for this. Torque on the nut is significant, check your manual but is usually in the range of 200 pound-feet or more.

EDIT: The puller enclosed is available from MSC Supply in Harrisburg, PA for about $140, their catalog is available on-line, but you should be able to borrow one easily.

Re: Rear Brake Drum Removal

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:29 am
by newpack110
Thank you, Dave Czirr.
The hub puller I have is very similar to the one you have pictured, so it should work. I was hesitant to try it because looking at the lug bolt holes through the drum, it looks as if the drum was separate from the hub (I have a 1957 Buick where the drum and hub attach to each other by the lug bolts and two smaller bolts). But since the drum does have the hub as part of it, as you state, I will proceed as you said.
Thanks again,

Re: Rear Brake Drum Removal

Posted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:35 am
by JWL115C
BF, a word of caution. When pounding on the hub/drum puller only pound on the ears of the puller. Do not pound on the shaft that is against the axle. Pounding on this will put extreme pressure on the axle bearings and damage them. Just pound on the ears.

Re: Rear Brake Drum Removal

Posted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:39 pm
by Siggie
I have a 54 Clipper and I am having the darndest time tring to get the rear brake drums to come off. I have a puller on them with all kinds of pressure on the puller. I am afraid if I put anymore on it, I'm gonna break something. HELP!!

Re: Rear Brake Drum Removal

Posted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:10 pm
by Dave Czirr
I assume the hand or parking brake is released? And the nut backed off a few turns? After that, keep the tension on the puller, and a little bit of heat on the drum hub would help. Otherwise it's just a matter of patience. I've occasionally encountered a stubborn one that finally came loose during the night while the tension was still applied.

Re: Rear Brake Drum Removal

Posted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:17 am
by Adam

I agree with all of Dave`s advice, above. But in my experience, whilst the drum should move readily with the puller, I have known them be really rusty and tight when they have not been removed for a few decades. On the worst one I have encountered, a 1948 22nd series, I had to leave tension on with my hub puller (a Sykes Pickavant hydraulic one), then heat the outside of the drum where it fits over the taper of the axle shaft, with the oxy-acetelene cutting torch. Only when the taper was approaching dull red heat did the drum shift with a loud bang and flew across the workshop. After that, I always keep the axle shaft nut on a few turns to prevent the drum escaping.

So it is quite possible that yours is that tight. Leave the puller under tension overnight, or heat the taper and it will shift, without damage. That is the only way to remove them.

Please let us know how you get on.


Re: Rear Brake Drum Removal

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:40 am
by JonQAdams
Good information .... It is good to know I am not alone in my fight to remove the rear drums. Do you know if anyone has a puller I could rent rather thatn buy? $140 for a one time use is steep.

Re: Rear Brake Drum Removal

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:55 am
by Dave Czirr
Jon, as regards loaning a puller, the reason there is a space to add your location in your user profile is exactly for situations like this, I have no idea where you are located. The puller is a very heavy item to ship, probably round trip shipping is about the same as the cost of the puller. But if you're near me.....

Re: Rear Brake Drum Removal

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:28 am
by 40clubcoupe
I initially balked at buying another puller different from the big 3-claw puller I already had, but being the tool whore that I am, I figure having the right tool at hand is always best. It minimizes destruction to both the tool and the object of the force. I found a nice new-old-stock Made-in-USA puller on ebay for $90 +shipping. Not cheap, but now I have it for the next time. The rear drums on my '40 110 came off with relatively minimal opposition, but later I will be doing some stuck drums on my '40 120. They drag around the yard with no signs of releasing whatsover, so I anticipate a major struggle on that one. The good part is that my garage is well away from anyone's earshot, so my stream of profanity will not likely be heard.