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1955 Buick Special Parking Brake Struts?


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I finally got to around to taking my left rear brake apart.  And noticed that the right rear strut is a different design than the left rear, I would expect them to be the same design, just mirror images of each other.  One has a broad V shape indentation to go around the hub while the other is a straight off set.  Both have the curled down end where the spring fits.  The one with the v shape depression fits very tightly above the hub and doesn't like to move, the other has no issues moving when I pull on the parking brake cable.  Which one is correct?  If a modern strut is the right length, can it be substituted? Or do I need to search for the 55 Special strut?

 

Mark

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I have a right and left for 54, if you are interested.  I'm pretty sure they are the same between years.  Maybe someone can confirm before I have a chance to check my parts book later tonight...

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I checked my shop manual and as you say it shows the brake setup with strut, but it only shows the strut edge on so I don't see the top view.

 

Fr. Buick - I would be very interested in that pair of struts if confirmed the same as the 55.

 

Mark

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Here is the photo of my two struts, the top is the right rear and the bottom is the left rear.  I think they should be the same except mirror image.  I started with the right rear and didn't realize this was the wrong shape, it has been very hard to get this side altogether and I could not get the shoes not to contact the drum even with the adjustment wheel turned all the way in.  After I opened up the left I saw the major difference and the left was much easier to reassemble.  As always, the right bits make everything go together better!

 

Fr. Buick - If you have a pair, I will take them!

 

Thanks to all,

 

Mark

20201203_125144.jpg

Edited by M1842 (see edit history)
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Oh I see which struts you are talking about. The one in the top of the photo looks bent. I know it probably isn't but the struts in my 56 look like the strut in the bottom of your photo. Which one works better for you or doesn't foul?

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1 hour ago, Smartin said:

I have to wonder how that got bent like that...wow!

I don't think it was bent, I think it is from a different car.  This is the first time I have opened up the rear brakes.  The angle of the cut out to fit the lever is all wrong too.

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That's what's making me go hmmm...is the notch that is off at an angle.  I can't imagine any braking system in the world that would have that sort of offset shoe-to-parking brake lever setup.

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I have examined the strut in question some more and I think I have a theory.  The bent strut is about 3/8" longer than the straight. It is also thicker and wider than the straight.  I think the curved strut was an improvised attempt to replace a lost or broken strut.  They grabbed another strut, possibly from a truck, that was too long and  tried to get it to fit, they bent the strut to reduce the overall length.  This explains why there was so much more brake dust than the opposite side, the shoes were held too close to the brake drum and were "arched" through driving.  It will be a walk through the park to put it together now compared to what I have been enduring.

 

Mark

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Success!  I reassembled the right rear drum brake this afternoon with the new strut and all is good.  I was able to mount the drum and bolt it down to the axle flange and it still turned freely.  Now to put the left together and start the adjustment process.

 

Mark

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