Rear Wheel Hub Removal, Part I

This evening I started removing the rear wheel hubs so that I can clean-up and re-build the rear brakes.

I started by simply pulling the brake drums off. With the wheels removed from the hubs, there was nothing mechanically holding the drums in place. The drums were aluminum and finned.

Here is the hub after the drum was removed. On the right I began to pull the brake shoes off. They are spring-loaded and I first tipped on shoe forward and off its mounting point.

Then I freed the other end of the shoes from its mounting point and popped the shoe assembly free.

Here is a shot of the hub after the shoes were removed.

The hubs have a backer plate that bolts directly to the rear axle. I removed the four bolts that make this connection using a 1/2″ socket.

With those bolts removed the hub came free, with the half-section of axle attached! Apparently the wheel hubs need to be backed off the inner end of the axle.

Both the hub backer plate and the end of the axle case had shim/gaskets on them. Below left the rear wheel bearings are visible up against the backer plate.

I will need to have the bearings pressed off in order to get the brake assemblies off the axle. That is something for another day.

Emergency Brake Arm Removal

This afternoon I removed the emergency brake assembly from the rear of the differential and then gave the diff a second cleaning. The e-brake assembly consisted of an arm that spanned the two rear brake drums and would apply pressure to the brakes if the lever in the car was pulled. The e-brake cable, attached to the handle in the car, attached to a bracket on the right side of the differential. I began at the wheels and worked my way in.

Starting on the right side, I unscrewed the Philips head screw that held the spring tensioner to the brake cylinder.

With the screw loose the small tab could slide outward towards the wheel hub, relieving the pressure on the spring.

On the right side the arm was attached to the brakes by a pin which had a cotter pin through its bottom. I pulled the cotter pin and then worked the retainer pin up and out of the arm.

This allowed me to disconnect the right e-brake arm from the wheel hub.

On the left side was a similar set-up. I loosened the spring screw, and removed the spring from the hub. Then I removed the cotter pin and tapped the retaining pin free using a nail-set and mallet.

That freed the left e-brake arm from that hub.

Just right of center, the two arms that activate the left and right rear brakes came together on a pivoting arm; this is where the emergency brake cable came in. I removed this mechanism next. First I pulled out the cotter pin below the mechanism and pulled off the retaining washer.

Then the piece slide of a bracket mounted onto the differential case.

In order to slide the assembly off the differential, because the left arm fed through a small loop on the diff. I had to remove the spring assembly from that end in order to pull the arm back through the loop. I removed the mounting screw and then pried the retaining bracket back to get the spring piece off the arm.

Then I removed the rubber cushion from the inside of the loop an order to slide the left arm through the loop and off the differential.

The center linkage for the e-brake mounted to a bracket on the differential. I removed this by taking out the two bolts using a 1/2″ socket.

After removing the emergency brake linkage from the rear wheel hubs and differential, I spent another hour cleaning the differential. More Simple Green and a good scrubbing with some #2 steel wool pads made it come remarkably clean.

Differential, Clean-Up

This afternoon I pulled the differential out of the garage and started on it. It clearly was in need of a good cleaning. My plan for the rear end is to leave the differential gears alone and just address the rear brakes, grease seals, and wheel bearings. This afternoon I spent around an hour cleaning off much of the years of dirt, grease, and grime.

Here is the differential as it was when I pulled it off the frame:

I removed the hard brake lines that connect to the right and left rear brake cylinders from the junction with the soft rubber line above the center of the differential. I used a 7/16″ open wrench to loosen the hydraulic fittings after spraying on some Liquid Wrench. The lines came off without much trouble.

I removed the line on the left side in the same manner.

Here are the brake lines removed.

Then I spent a full hour cleaning the differential and axle case. I used some Simple Green, a wire brush, and a lot of scouring pads. Much of the dirt came off and revealed that the black paint on the differential is actually in pretty good shape. There are some surface rust areas, but nothing to be overly concerned about.

Front Brake Caliper Disassembly

This morning I took apart the hydraulic cylinders from the front disc brake calipers. The cylinders mount on each side of the caliper and hold the brake pads, which they squeeze together on the rotors in order to slow the wheels.

Here are the assembled calipers prior to taking them apart.

Each cylinder was mounted on the caliper by four bolts, one at each corner of the cylinder. I removed these bolts using a 3/8″ socket in my socket wrench. The bolts were not torqued down very tight at all.

With the bolts removed the cylinder was still attached, so I used some persuasion in the form of a few taps from the rubber mallet and some prying with a Flathead screwdriver.

In short order the first cylinder came free.

The brake pad had a groove from the center out to one of the narrow edges. A pin on the cylinder slid up into this groove to hold the pad to the cylinder. I slid the pad off.

Then I repeated the same operation to remove the cylinder on the opposite side, beginning with the bolts.

On the rear edge of the caliper was a keeper plate that I removed. It was held in place by a single bolt, which I removed using a 10mm socket and wrench. I then just slide the plate back and off the caliper.

The calipers I plan to clean-up, address any rust, and re-paint using a high-temperature caliper paint. The cylinders I will have re-built. I am thinking of sending them off to Whitepost Restorations in Virginia, who will completely sandblast, refinish, re-sleeve, and replace hydraulic components in brake cylinders. They quoted me a price of $80 per cylinder to fully overhaul each one, which adds up for four brake cylinders. But hey, stopping is pretty important. Whitepost also offers a lifetime guarantee, so I would never have to pay to have my cylinders re-built again. I haven’t completely decided to go that way, but I am leaning pretty heavily in that direction.

Separating Hubs from Rotors

This weekend I didn’t have much time to work on the car, but I did spend some time separating those stubborn front wheel hubs from the rotors. The pieces bolt together, but I had already removed the four bolts on each hub when I disassembled the calipers last week. The whole thing was an exercise in using controlled force. I needed to use a hammer to break the two parts free, but didn’t want to mar the edge of the hub. I needed to use tools to pry and force the halves apart, but didn’t want to scrape either mating surface.
The first thing I did was to soak the assembly with PB Blaster. I sprayed some on the bottom of the rotor.

Here is a close-up of where the hub and rotor mate. I sprayed this area thoroughly with the PB Blaster.

I allowed the hubs to soak overnight to give the spray time to work its magic. This morning I gave the hubs another spraying and a few careful taps with the small sledge hammer to jar the pieces hopefully apart.

The hammer seemed to help and I started to work my putty knife down into the joint between hub and rotor. By tapping the knife with my rubber mallet I eventually got it down between the two parts.

After working my way all the way around the hub and working the putty knife into each of the four joints between hub and rotor, I had enough daylight to start my small Flathead screwdriver in between. Again, I tapped the screwdriver with the mallet, carefully working it down and towards the center of the hub, its increasing width forcing the two parts apart. I worked around the hub several times until the screwdriver easily bottomed out on the center of the hub.

Next I used my pickle-fork, which is a tool typically used for removing ball joints. Its tapered ends were just right for tapping down into the widening gap between hub and rotor.

Victory! The hub came off the rotor after I turned the fork sideways and gave it a final tap with the mallet.

Here are some shots of the top and bottom of the hub.

Next I repeated the same process on the other hub and rotor. After working the fork down to the center of the hub, I once again turned it sideways and pounded it through, forcing the hub off the rotor.

Currently I’m working on obtaining a new pair of rotors from Down Under. I am also planning to replace the inner and outer wheel bearings in the hub, and get new seals as well.

Front Wheel Hub Disassembly

This afternoon I disassembled the front wheel hubs, which included the axle and wheel bearing assemblies, the brake rotor and wheel hub assemblies, and the brake caliper assemblies. The hydraulics in the brake cylinders will certainly need attention. I actually tried to do this work last weekend, but didn’t get anywhere as I was unable to get enough leverage to break loose the large bolts that mount the calipers to the wheel hubs.

Here is a picture of the wheel hub as I left it after I removed it from the car, during the front end disassembly. Note the odd shape of the assembly; neither side is flat and the piece is designed to rotate, which made gaining leverage to loosen bolts very difficult, even with a breaker-bar.

In order to lay the hub flat, I stacked up some 2x4s so the disk (on one side) and caliper (on the other side) could rest at different heights. This enabled the axle to sit up off the floor and the inside of the hub to rest relatively level. In order to get the leverage I needed, I used my new impact wrench, bought on sale for half price at $40 from Harborfreight this week.

I used a 3/4″ impact socket to loosen and removed the caliper mounting bolts. The caliper was still tight on the rotor, so I used a 3/8″ socket in my socket wrench to loosen the four cylinder bolts.

The caliper assembly was still firmly in place, so I flipped the hub over to loosen the four bolts on the other cylinder.

That allowed the caliper assembly to come loose, but I noticed that I’d missed a bolt that attached the hub plat to the small junction block where the rubber brake line feeds the hard line at the caliper. I removed this bolt using a 1/2″ socket and 1/2″ wrench to hold the nut while I loosened the bolt.

This enabled me to slide the caliper assembly free from the hub.

Brake fluid reaches the caliper via a rubber brake line, that attaches to the hard (steel) brake lines further upstream toward the brake pedal. Stomping on the brake pedal forces a plunger into the master cylinder, mounted on the firewall, to push brake fluid into the brake lines and down towards the calipers. This fluid flows through the rubber line and back into hard lines that directly feed the wheel cylinders mounted on either side of the caliper. The fluid forces the wheel cylinders (and brake pads) to clamp down on the rotor, which slows the vehicle.

There were two separate hard lines on the caliper assembly, one feeding fluid to each of the cylinders. I began by removing the line that fed the external cylinder from the internal one. I used a 7/16″ wrench to removed the fittings.

After loosening the fitting on the external cylinder, the short section of brake line came free.

Then I flipped the caliper over and removed the fitting from the inner cylinder. This enabled me to remove the hard line, soft line, and junction block assembly from the caliper.

This left the caliper-cylinder assembly. I plan to remove the cylinder, perhaps have them re-sleeved, rebuild the hydraulics, and clean up the calipers, but not today.

Next I returned to the wheel hub. The rotor and hub are pressed together. On the inside of the hub is an arm assembly that connects to the upper and lower ball joints, which bolt into the suspension arms. This arm assembly has the short front axle length that feeds through the rotor/hub piece and wheel bearing. The wheel hub and rotor spin on this axle and the car’s wheels bolt to the hub. There are four inner hub bolts that I removed using a 5/8″ box wrench. I had to tap the wrench with a mallet to break some of these bolts free.

I then pried off the outer axle cap using a flat-head screwdriver. It came off without much trouble after prying in different spots around the edge.

Through the “castle bolt” on the end of the axle was a cotter pin, which I straightened and removed using needle nose pliers.

I was able to remove the castle bolt without using my 1 1/8″ socket, because it was loose enough to turn by hand. Hence the reason for the cotter pin, which prevents the hub and wheels from flying off the car!

With the axle bolt off I was able to separate the hub assembly from the axle arm assembly. I slide the wheel bearings out of the hub.

There is a retaining plate on the inside of the rotor which bolts into the axel arm. The plate is connected by two sets of two bolts, with locking plates that have tabs to prevent the bolts from backing out. I pried back these tabs using a flat head screwdriver and then loosened the bolts using a 9/16″ socket.

I removed those bolts, one of the short and one of them longer, and then removed the other pair of bolts above those.

Then I removed the plate from the axle assembly, freeing up the arm onto which the steering linkage mounted. Below right is a close-up of the axle assembly with the upper and lower ball joints attached.

On the face of the axle was a mounting plate for the caliper. With all of the bolts out I could tap this plate off using a screwdriver to wedge between the two pieces.

I spent a bit of time doing a first cleaning of all the parts, which were some of the most greasy I’ve pulled off the car. They will need another cleaning prior to giving them a new finish, replacing the wheel bearings and seals, mounting new rotors, and rebuilding the cylinder hydraulics.

Rear Brake Line Removal

This afternoon I removed the hard brake line that feeds brake fluid to the rear brakes. The brake line was composed of three sections: a front section that curved upwards into the engine bay; a straight middle section that ran from the front through the “X” cross brace of the frame; and a rear section that ran up over the rear axle to a soft rubber line.

I began by removing the front section of brake line from the mid-section. I used a 7/16″ wrench and a 9/16″ wrench to unbolt the coupling that held the two lines together. The midsection of the brake line ran the length of the frame, just inside the main frame member on the passenger’s side of the car.

The middle section was held to the frame by several clips, which could be bent down to free the line, and terminated at the beginning of the rear section of the brake line.

I removed the mid-section from the rear section of the brake line where they met through a bracket welded to the frame. To remove the coupling that held the mid-section to the rear section I used a 3/4″ wrench to hold the coupling and a 7/16″ wrench to loosen it.

The middle section went through the frame in some very narrow spaces between the main frame front-to-back member and the X brace. The gap between these was so small that it was impossible to pull the middle brake line section out due to the size of the couplings on either end of the line. So I resorted to cutting the middle section in order to pull it free. I will be fabricating a new middle section of brake line at a minimum.

The other end of the rear section connected to a soft line that fed brake fluid down to a splitter mounted on the differential. I freed the front of the rear section from the frame bracket by removing the clip that held the coupling to the bracket. The rear end of the rear section I had removed from the soft line several weeks earlier, in preparation for removing the body from the frame (in retrospect that was not necessary at that time).

With the front and rear of the rear brake line section free I just pulled it through the grommet in the frame to get that section of line off the frame.

I then removed the top of the soft brake line (the one that the rear section of hard line was previously connected to) by removing the clip and bracket that held it to small metal bracket welded to the frame. These pieces I just removed by prying with a screwdriver.

This enabled me to remove the top section of the soft (rubber) rear brake line.

The bottom of the soft line connected into a splitter that fed brake fluid to the drum brakes on either of the rear wheels. I disconnected both of the outbound hard lines from the two sides of the splitter, using a 7/16″ wrench.

Next I removed the bolt that mounted the splitter into the differential, using a 1/2″ socket.

The hard lines that went to each of the brake cylinders on the rear wheels were held in place with some more clips.

Those lines then connected to the rear brakes via some 7/16″ couplings, which I left connected for the time being.

I will leave those remaining hard brake lines in place on the rear axle, which I will remove all in one piece.

Odds & Ends, continued

This morning I continued what I began last night, removing more of the hard lines the connect controls on the body to the power train and/or frame.

I started with the brake lines. Hard (metal) lines connect the master cylinder to the wheel area, where soft (rubber) lines connect to the brakes themselves. As the hard lines are connected to the body, the point where they join the soft lines is an ideal spot to eliminate this union. I used a 7/16″ box end wrench to loosen the coupling on the hard line and a 5/8″ wrench to hold the coupling on the soft line from turning. I had to use some Liquid Wrench and a lot of persuasion to get the couplings apart. On the left side there was actually a different upper coupling and I used a 9mm wrench because the 7/16 was a bit too big.

I took the caps of the master cylinder brake fluid reservoirs to allow the lines to drain more freely. You can see how dark and dirty the brake fluid was!

Then I moved on to the rear brake lines. Actually there is one hard line that goes back to the center of the car, and then connects to a soft line that connects to another hard line that runs side-to-side on the car, feeding brake fluid to each wheel’s drum brakes. I disconnected this first point where the hard line meets the soft line. It was not easy to access.

I jacked-up the rear of the car and put jack stands under the frame on the right and left sides. Then I slid under the car just ahead of the left rear wheel. Even when using jack stands I am always careful to prevent putting any body part under part of the car that could fall to the ground.

Below are two pictures of the connection I was working on. In the first you can see the leaf spring in the foreground. In the second one, which was shot after I sprayed on some Liquid Wrench, you can see the differential in the background.

I used a 7/16″ wrench on the top coupling, attached to the hard line, and a 3/4″ wrench on the bottom coupling attached to the soft line. I had to use a pair of vice grips to break the top one loose. Eventually it came off after a lot of turns.

Next I moved on to the clutch line. The master cylinder had a steel line that I followed down below where the oil pressure line connected (see post dated #2 July 2005#). You can see the clutch line below left, it is the dirty connection below the already-disconnected bronze oil pressure line. I disconnected the clutch line similarly to the brake lines, using a 9/16″ wrench. I reached in from below to access the coupling because I couldn’t get at it from the top. Still, my view of what I was doing was obscured by the frame.

As I did with the brake lines, I used a small drip container to catch the draining fluid. The clutch cylinder drained entirely.

I also disconnected the emergency brake cable at a connection about midway down the car on the passenger’s side. I disconnected the lower, front cable from the assembly using a 7/16″ socket to remove the outer nut and a 7/16″ wrench to hold the longer inner nut from spinning.

Then I unbolted the longer inner bolt using the socket. I used a 1/4″ box wrench to hold the flat portion of the cable-rod from spinning as I removed that nut.

I believe that takes car of the hard connections between the body and the frame.

Odds & Ends

I spent the rest of the day removing some parts that connect the body to the frame or pieces mounted to the frame.

There is a small plastic tube that runs from the engine bay back into the interior under the dash and up under the cowl. I assume it is for windshield washing fluid, though I’m not sure if it is original. Anyway, I pulled it out and will replace it if I find out it is a necessary piece. Here are a couple of pictures of the run of this tube, from the engine bay through the firewall under the dash.

The tube then runs up through the body into the cowl area and splits off in two directions, terminating at silver nozzles on the body.

This is a shot of the y-shaped tube removed altogether.

After having removed all of the wires from the dash harness and the cables from the interior, the last remaining piece that communicated through the firewall was a metal line that (I believe) operates the oil pressure gauge on the dash. This metal line feeds through the firewall and around with the brake lines down to a soft line into the engine block. I disconnected the hard line from the soft line to break that connection.

Here is the hard line inside the car and then on the other end where I traced its path down to beside the engine block.

I disconnected the soft line by turning the coupling on the hard line using a 1/2″ wrench and holding the coupling on the soft line steady using a 9/16″ wrench. I then unbolted the soft line’s coupling and removed the soft line from the bracket that is mounted to the body and popped the soft line off that bracket. I reconnected the coupling to the soft line.


There are still some components remaining inside the car that need to be removed and cleaned up before the car’s body is painted. I am working on the wiring harness, but I took a break from that to remove the pedals.

The gas pedal is bolted directly into a post that goes through the firewall and is connected to a mechanism that operates the throttle cable in the engine bay. I removed the pedal by loosening the nut with a 9/16″ socket and then sliding off the pedal, spring, and washer. The brake and clutch pedals are mounted on longer metal brackets that bolt through a coupling (so they may swivel) high under the dashboard.

I removed both nuts using a 3/4″ socket and wrench to prevent the whole bolt from rotating.

Both pedals are spring loaded to keep them in the forward position until foot-pressure is applied. The springs mounted on the pedals and connected to the body just above the steering column. After removing these springs I was able to pull the pedals down a bit and work on the connections to the pedals’ respective cylinders. Both the brake pedal and clutch pedal were attached through the firewall to master cylinders. I removed the pin that held each pedal to the y-shaped bracket that goes through the firewall into the cylinder. Then I was able to pull the pedals out entirely.

Up against the firewall there were some cardboard pieces in each footwell and in the center. I removed these by removing the screws and eyelets that held them in place. The pieces had been wet in the past and one of them was damp when I removed it. These pictures show the cardboard that was on the passenger side and the firewall beneath it.

Finally here is a shot of the firewall after the pedals were removed. There are only a couple of items remaining!