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This is a story of two fixes which were deceptively simple.

After installing the replacement PS hoses I saw that I could not accept the leaky steering box anymore. The leak is coming from the column port of the box and probably looked worse that it really was but in any case it was so embarrassing. That said I'll be sending my spare steering box to Lares Corp for a rebuild. Until that is done though I purchased a bottle of Lucas PS Stop leak, just to see if it would help any. For those who have never seen this product let me just say I was astonished when I tried to dump it into the reservoir and discovered it's like 80 wt oil for the power steering. Whoa. I thought I was going to have to spoon it out of the bottle. But it did work, and provides a temporary fix while I get my parts together.

So now I've been using the old girl a little more and finding myself unpleasantly annoyed with all the rattles from the passengers side. What with all the pot holes on my street, getting out of the neighborhood is enough to give one a headache. So I finally decided to see what I could do.

There were three issues in this fix. First, and most simple, the metal shelf on top of the door upholstery had come loose. I didn't realize this since I'm never on that side of the car. Tightened two screws and cured most of the problem. Next the window rattles in the back window track. Most likely the felts inside the track are deteriorated and gone. I wedged some foam pipe insulation into the groove until I am ready for an interior and can get the track out for repairs.

Last was a issue that I have put off since I owned the thing. The door on that side was out of alignment at the rear edge. This resulted in the chrome strip being misaligned with the rear quarter panel strip by close to a 1/2 inch. I did nothing about this for decades because I always thought I'd have to adjust the hinges. And I didn't want too touch those bolts cause you need a large point size Phillips head socket. For whatever reason, I did not realize all I had to do was adjust the latch. So after a few trys I managed to get the door to an acceptable alignment. It is amazing how such a small adjustment can make such a big difference.

56_side_4_24_14_original.jpg

After dinner I took it out for a ride. After 14 miles at country side speeds I snapped this picture of the gauges. That temp is right where I like to see it. Of course it was a cool evening, in more ways than one....

56_dash_4_24_14_original.jpg

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A local restoration shop did an admirable job of straightening the door, but the frame of the door was twisted. The hit bent the door skin in so much that the Window won't work. Just last weekend I finally got another door. Maybe that we be the push I need to do a fresh paint job. Don't mean to hijack your thread!

Keith

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Will do, when it happens, which might not be for a while. I've promised that since I'm now semi-retired, I'll get to work on her '68 Wildcat. Trouble is, I seem to be so busy doing other things!

Keith

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  • 1 month later...

Recently I sent my spare 56 steering gear to Dan Lares of this forum, who rebuilds steering boxes. After disassembly it was determined that my spare gear was not salvageable. Dan's staff found another gear which could be rebuilt and after getting approval from us, they had the gear restored within a week. They did a wonderful job communicating with me, and discussing alternatives and then met every goal we agreed to.

Today my friend Adam ( a terrific mechanic) and I installed the rebuilt gear. After we were done I took the car for a 40 mile test drive. No problems were detected, and the steering was much better than the setup that was in there. And it was so nice to approach the car and not see a huge puddle of oil underneath. Next up is a persistent engine oil leak. But that won't stop me from putting some smiles on my face this year.

Thanks Dan, to you and your team. Great job!

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LOL. Took her for the annual inspection today and when we opened the hood I looked down at the box and thought holy crap, it's leaking oil. But turns out it was just the shiney surface. The unit was dry as the desert. We even determined it was just the oil pan gasket that's leaking and tightened it up to see if it will stop. Been driving that car all day. It's the first time in 39 years I pulled out of a parking spot with no leftover telltale sign that this car was ever there.

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  • 1 month later...

On the way home from the Caddy Meet this past Thursday I had a chance to push the 56 a bit. Monitoring the temp gauge and the GPS Speedometer, it was run above 65, and mostly 72 MPH for 45 miles on the highway. It ran above the N position which I figured was close to 195 to 205 degrees. The temp gauge never crossed into the red zone at all. And it was in about 85 degrees out but with low humidity.

A few weeks ago I found a service tech bulletin where-in the engineers said when the temp gauge is half red, then the engine should be at 205* . Previous testing with my thermometer led me to believe that area is 209* in this car. So all in all I was pretty happy.

When it cooled I pulled that filter screen and discovered quite a bit of debris and scale. Indicators that the run stirred up the status quo. A quick flush and when I had it out today it was running solid below the N around town. I'm gonna miss that car while attending the National.

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  • 9 months later...

Finally, today I had no excuses to put off looking at the horn issue in this car. I had been having some problems before changing the steering gear last year. The horns worked intermittently and they sounded fuzzy. I pulled the horn ring and contacts and cleaned up everything and it was only marginally better. So I suspected the wire running up the steering shaft to the horn button/ring. Then, when we changed the steering gear, the horns stopped working altogether. I determined it had to be in the column cause grounding the wire to the column connector caused the horns to ring clearly. So I again suspected the wire in the steering shaft.

With a mirror I was able to see the brass ring around the column, and where the wire in the column connected to it. It appeared to be in good condition, but just a bit dirty. But after a wipe down, the horns still would not work. I began to suspect the one part we changed when we installed the steering gear, the rag joint. There is a copper coil attached to the rag joint which obviously forms a bridge from the end of the steering shaft to the steering gear side of the rag joint. I figured that was not making contact with the steering shaft.

Today, after some testing with jumper wires I quickly discovered the rag joint was not the problem. So I went back to the connector and the brass ring. Grounding the connector itself to the bottom of the dash worked. Then I tried a jumper wire from the tip of the connector to the brass ring and the horns did not work. After cleaning a spot of the brass ring with some 2000 grit wet/dry sand paper, the horns worked with the jumper wire to the brass ring.

I proceeded to clean the rest of the brass ring. It was then that I noticed that the connector was set into a 2 inch long bracket, and it appears that the connector was not hitting the brass ring when installed. Even though there is an oblong hole cut into the steering column for this horn connector, there is no adjustment to this bracket, just a pair of screws holding it to the opening in the column. I flipped the bracket and installed it with the connector towards the steering wheel side of the opening ( as opposed to the floor board side). The horns worked great. But I soon found out that the shifter was hitting the connector and I could not shift out of park.

So I pulled the bracket off again and did my best to take some measurements. It was obvious the connector had to be installed towards the floor board side of the oblong hole. And it that position it seemed like the connector was not hitting the brass ring at all, but was instead riding on the black plastic insulator that is under the brass ring. Somehow the brass ring shifted and rode up on the steering shaft towards the steering wheel, losing contact with the connector. I wedged the brass ring back into position with a small screwdriver and some light pressure and now the horn is working again. But I suspect this will only be a temporary fix and that the brass ring will eventually ride back up the shaft.

If anyone knows how that brass ring should be secured I would appreciate the information. Right now I am thinking when/if I have to go back in there, I would use some silicone adhesive to hold it in position. But it's obvious that is not what they did at the factory.

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The rubber sleeve and brass ring are an interferance fit and should be difficult to relocate while in the column. If I recall correctly, the brass sleeve should not be able to slide down the rubber sleeve to expose the rubber, I think the brass sleeve is slightly crimped on the upper end, it also has the notch stamped in it for the wire to be soldered to. Your alternative might be to loosen the column and slide it downward to better align, not positive about that because the 56 design has rag-joint and the 55 shaft is captured in the steering box. At any rate, if you could re-position the brass sleeve that easily without damage it is obviously not tight enough. These observations are based on my experience with the '55, I have not had a '56 apart.

I am assuming your contact is patterning above the sleeve, if below the brass then column would need to be pulled upward to align.

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Thanks John, I believe you're right. Yes, the 56 is different from the 55. Sounds like the parts are reversed here, as the brass ring rode up towards the steering column. And there is some sort of step in the steering shaft that I was able to use as a block to wedge the brass ring towards the steering box. I don't think there is any repositioning of the shaft inside the column, but it was the tiniest bit of repositioning that made the horn work.

Since we installed the steering gear without loosening or removing the steering column, I am inclined to believe the shaft got pushed upwards and now I need to adjust the steering box that fraction of an inch towards the front of the car to let the shaft resettle into it 's normal position.

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  • 1 year later...

Since a week before  Allentown I have been avoiding today's project figuring it was going to turn ugly.  Since a week after Allentown I have not driven this car because of this issue.  So yesterday and today I finally tried to start so that hopefully I can get a few more rides in before the winter. Here's the situation.

 

In anticipation of having company in the car after Allentown I decided to adjust the brakes.  It always stopped for me, but it was taking two pumps to get the pedal high enough off the floor to get my other foot under it. While adjusting the fronts I heard a click as the tire rotated. So I pulled the wheel bearings and found this:

DSC04020.JPG

 

    This is not the first bad wheel bearing I've had in this car but I was really disappointed to find this.  Since I had a commitment for the week after Allentown I grabbed the outer bearing out of one of my spare drums, cleaned it, packed it, and put it in as a temporary fix. Willie gave me a link to a in depth article on bearing failures, which I read in entirety two times.  The document goes into wear patterns on the race surfaces that gives a clue to what happened to the bearing.   If none of the wear patterns applied, then the only explanation for this was debris in the grease.  What with a previous wheel bearing failure I figured that must be it.  So I got a replacement set of bearings at Allentown and figured I'd just clean everything and repack the new bearings.   I also discovered that my wheel cylinder here looked like it was leaking.  So I expected to just change that and the bearings and go on my way.

 

But then I heard from some mechanic friends that I needed to source some old style wheel bearing grease.  Well, that's a needle in a haystack for sure.  In the end I could not find any and decided to go with Red n tacky #2 grease.  Then I sourced all 4 wheel cylinders.  The last three springs I have had to add quite a bit of brake fluid, and I installed the current set in 1988 or thereabouts, so I figured I'll just change all 4 now. 

 

When I started to get it apart I then thought, Maybe I better do the flex lines too?  So now I'm waiting for them to show up.  And then I thought, what about the brake retaining and return springs, after all these are 60 years old.  So Monday I plan to order those.   Oh man, here we go, the car is on the jack and stands and now it's gonna be laid up for a week!  But what the heck. In the end I'll know the job is done for pretty much the remainder of my time with it, right?  But it doesn't end there.

 

Today I started the clean up process to really take a good look at those races to see if something else did happen besides debris.  Now this bearing may have 4000 miles on it at the most, and probably less than that, so I was not sure what I'd find.  But what I did find was this:

DSC04033.JPG

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So now I need the shoes relined.  And I have the car in the garage in a manner where I cannot access the passengers side to get those shoes off.  Plus I found that the inner race for the bad bearing is shallow.  My spare drum's comparable race is shown below:

 

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x56 brake job 9 14 160003.JPG

x56 brake job 9 14 160002.JPG

x56 brake job 9 14 160004.JPG

 

 

Edited by JohnD1956 (see edit history)
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Alright, it seems that maybe the short race was causing my bearing problem?  But I don't just have another race.  Besides I still did not have another set of brake shoes so that both fronts can be relined at the same time.  So into the corner I squeeze.  Now those who have seen me know that's a lot to squeeze into a tight corner.  But I wanted to get the spare brake shoes off the spare spindle that this spare drum came from.  So in I go, harvesting the spare brake shoes.  Now I find that the spare brake shoes are not the same size as my brakes. 

 

The spares came off my Roadmaster.  But when I got this Super, there was a huge trailer hitch on the back,  possible a class three lever receiver hitch, so I had  always assumed the previous owner had upgraded to the bigger brakes.  Apparently, not so! 

 

So the current situation is: over the next day or so, grease the old bearings, reassemble all the old parts, then back the car out of the garage so I can get to all my spare parts.  Pull the spare parts I need from the pile, and then turn the car around and back it into the garage so I can service both front axles at the same time.

 

Sweet biscuits! 

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Didn't the new bearings that you bought come with the races?  Re-using the same worn race could explain the persistent bearing failures at that wheel.  Also, carefully inspect the inner bearing and race.  That bearing is larger and carries more load.  A problem there could possibly stress the smaller outer bearing.

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1 hour ago, EmTee said:

Didn't the new bearings that you bought come with the races?  Re-using the same worn race could explain the persistent bearing failures at that wheel.  Also, carefully inspect the inner bearing and race.  That bearing is larger and carries more load.  A problem there could possibly stress the smaller outer bearing.

Right.

Is the the race fully seated?

Originally bearings and races carried separate part numbers and a part number for the 'set', but it is always a good idea to change as a 'set'.

Also be sure the races are not turning in the hub.

While waiting for shoes:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050890.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.X909065+bearing.TRS3&_nkw=909065+bearing&_sacat=6000

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050890.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.X909062+bearing.TRS3&_nkw=909062+bearing&_sacat=6000

Willie

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11 hours ago, First Born said:

 "Sweet biscuits"?  

   Is this on of those slippery slope moments, John?  Wonder why the difference in the depth of the race. different part #?

 

  Ben

No slippery slope for me Ben.  I am thinking of trading in the 2013 Regal GS cause it had no damage on it up to one week ago and it was driving me crazy to take it anywhere.  I was just constantly afraid someone was gonna ding it or scratch it.  Then I hit a tall speed bump and gouged the lowere right side of the front valance.  I now have no plans to ever fully paint any of my cars!  I want to drive em  in peace as long as possible.

 

10 hours ago, EmTee said:

Didn't the new bearings that you bought come with the races?  Re-using the same worn race could explain the persistent bearing failures at that wheel.  Also, carefully inspect the inner bearing and race.  That bearing is larger and carries more load.  A problem there could possibly stress the smaller outer bearing.

The outer bearing and races in the hub I was using, the Super's hub,  all came as a package.  I'm sure I bought this at NAPA.  Just cant recall what year.  Last year I managed to put 2500 miles on the 56, so I am guessing the bearing set did not have more than 4K on it altogether. The inner bearing set on the Super's  hub matches the one in my spare hub. My spare hub(s) came from my Roadmaster, which I acquired in 1973.  I never changed the bearings in my Roadmaster so those are from sometime before 1973.  When I cleaned the Roadmaster's inner races and inspected them it was clear that the bearing wear pattern was in perfect alignment and very light.  So I am leaning towards installing the Roadmaster brakes and related parts now. But I did use the outer bearing, and it's cone, from the Roadmaster spare hub, on the Super's hub,  but for no more than 100 miles.  The cleaned bearing and cone shows absolutely no sign of a problem.  So I am confident of just reinstalling that bearing in the Roadmaster hub it came from.  Also the inner bearing on the Super hub shows perfect wear alignment too, so I believe the problems was all contained to the outer bearing and races.

 

8 hours ago, old-tank said:

Right.

Is the the race fully seated?

Originally bearings and races carried separate part numbers and a part number for the 'set', but it is always a good idea to change as a 'set'.

Also be sure the races are not turning in the hub.

While waiting for shoes:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050890.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.X909065+bearing.TRS3&_nkw=909065+bearing&_sacat=6000

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050890.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.X909062+bearing.TRS3&_nkw=909062+bearing&_sacat=6000

Willie

 

I did check and all the races are fully seated, and there is no evidence any one of them spun in the hub it's in.  I was considering removing the cup from the Roadmaster hub and installing that in the Super's hub, but, when I looked at the brake shoes from the Roadmaster it was plainly evident they are still good. So going with the Roadmaster parts would include doing something to clean up the Roadmaster backing plates, and acquiring a spring kit and moving forward.  Even though I have never had any issues stopping the car with the narrower Super brakes, What the heck?!  I saved these parts all these years for what?  Moved them three times in the process.  If they are good, I am not going to worry that they are 40 years old.

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A new approach.  After finding there is only one alternative for having my shoes relined, and it's 2 1/2 hrs from me, plus the estimate was $30.00 per shoe, I checked with local parts houses.  NAPA had a 2.25 wide set for $17.00.  So for $17.00 I decided to give em a try.  This meant changing the cup for the outer bearing from the Roadmaster hub to the Super hub.  That gets me rolling on the 2.25 inch brakes and hubs.   I am now just waiting on spring kits for the brakes and to pick up the hoses from the other parts store. And I am also looking to back fill a supply of spare bearings for the future. 

 

I have also made sure the bleeder valves open on my current cylinders so that once they are off, I can rebuild them for the future too.

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Drivers side was done, and was able to back it out and turn it around so I could address the other side. The brake pedal seemed low and looking at the manual I began to think I had a right side adjuster in the left side.  So I would reopen that side when done with the pass side and change that.  Then as I looked at the passengers side I realized I made a mistake on the hold down springs and forgot to grease the platforms on the drivers side.  So I'll have to go back into the drivers side before moving it again.

Got the passengers side front mostly finished this evening. Tomorrow I clean and repack those bearings, plus that side needs a coat of paint.  As an aside, when I disconnected the metal line at the flex line joint, the metal line pulled back a bit and rested on the inner fender.  I did not see any gravity flow from the open pipe and I thought that was strange, but when ahead with the rest of the project.  A short while later I saw dripping which looked like the line had broken back inside the cavity under the engine. I was not expecting that to happen. 

After I got the hardware all mounted  I checked to see where the break was.  And I found it was nowhere.  I did not notice earlier that the fitting on the open line was actually resting on the inner fender, so the fluid was running the short distance down to the frame and then the fluid path wrapped under the frame to the point of exit.  Tightened up the fitting and was back in business.  Can't believe how much I missed hearing that car run this last month.

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Finished the front two today.  Turns out I had a bad inner bearing on the passengers side too.  But I had one of those in stock.  So while waiting on anoter set of return and hold down springs for the rear, I managed to get some time behind the wheel.   I was totally happy with the brake action!  The brakes grab well, stop smooth and can still put you in the steering wheel.  I did have a problem with getting the joint at the flex line and hard line to seal on this side.  Must have gotten a piece of dirt in there to begin with.  After opening the joint and blowing the pieces with compressed air, I did finally manage a dry connection around 9 PM last night.  Whew!  Really did not want to replace that brake line again.  It was just done in 2003.

 

56 front brake replacement 9_30_160002.JPG56 front brake replacement 9_30_160003.JPG

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15 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

It was just done in 2003.

 

John, I had to chuckle when I read this, but i know exactly what you mean!  Tempus Fugit!   :lol:

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Did the rear shoes and cylinders today. It took a while cause I really do not have the space to work in my garage.  But when I took it for a test drive I immediately saw what others were talking about with hard to stop!  I may still have some air in the lines although I did have a firm pedal where I could just get my toes under it.  I also need to go back over the shoe adjustments, as I did not have the time to play today.  But as soon as I pulled it out of the garage I did not think the car would stop at the end of the driveway.  I felt like I was pushing the pedal through the floor!  That's some scary stuff!!!

 

But I just went around the block and exercised the brakes as much as possible.  By the time I got back it did feel better already.  But it's gonna rain tonight and our chapter has a tour tomorrow, so it will be next week before I can get back to it. 

 

If nothing else I do have the four old pairs of shoes if I need to ship em out to be relined.  But I'm holding off till I can get some miles on these to see if things change for the better.. 

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