Brakes questions 52 early FHC (was valve adj thread)

I reposted in new thread start…from Maddy, on the 1952 FHC:
While I wait for parts I dove into why the front wheels won’t turn. Brake shoes seemed an obvious choice to investigate. The left front was stuck on but got it off with minimal effort then cleaned the drum surface and adjusted the shoes to be recessed completely. The drum went back on with no binding.

The right front was a whole different story. I could not get the drum to move with a plastic mallet like the left front. I had to get the 5lb sledge and tap the drum off. When that was t working I resorted to heating the drum then worked the drum off. I adjusted the shoes to be recessed like the other side and cleaned the brake drum surface.

Maybe someone has encountered this problem before, where the shoes are recessed fully and the brake drum still won’t go on without binding. Knowing better than to hammer it back on, what needs to be done to bring the shoes away from the brake drum even more that the adjusters will allow? Is the wheel cylinder fully extended? Perhaps I need to take that apart? Examine it. The brakes haven’t been used for some 20 years, there could be multiple things to look at. Thanks.


She probably has these adjusters.
Make sure they are backed off.
You can also remove the nuts on the backing plates holding the wheel cylinders and it might give you a little more wiggling room.

Where I would delve into the brake shoe problem I find that I am able to push the car so what binding there was it seems to be minimal.

I would like to bleed the brakes. What size bleeder wrench is needed? I have tried 3/8, 10mm and 11mm none of them fit. I will buy what I need but need the size first.


7/16" across the flats.

Okay Rob thanks. I couldn’t get my line wrench to fit. I’ll try again.

There was is a special wrench for brake bleed screws. Without it you may round off the screw.
Pat H

My 7/16 wrench fits, but it could be 1/4 BSF which is slightly more than 7/16".

Ah yes, here it is.
tools 019
But if your bleeders haven’t been touched in many years, you might want to get a deep 1/4 BSF socket and a set of BSF wrenches, you’ll need them for the carbs, fuel lines and gearbox.

Looks like I’ll need that as advised. Thanks.

If a set of brakes has not been used for 20 years It seems to me that the entire system should be disassembled, cleaned and evaluated before any shoe adjustments are made. Brake fluid absorbs water and corrosion occurs on the cylinder walls and steel pistons, usually to a point of locking up the cylinder. The same occurs in the master cylinder and the answer is to either buy new components or have them sleeved and replace all the rubber seals.

If your brake system is still holding fluid after 20 years of nonuse then that simply amazes me. In the interest of safety, I certainly recommend disassembly and inspection of the components before trying to bleed them.

Tom Brady

While not disagreeing with Tom…and the quite likely possibilities he suggests…and with your goals for the car in mind…(get it to run and move and see what you have)…no harm in trying the brakes out once you have the wheels turning, and some adjustment done, and a long bleed that will replace most fluid (use Dot 4…and by the way…I have a good supply of Castrol LMA Dot 4 for you…I had to buy a case of it). Try em first…plenty of time to dismantle and send out then if you have to …or just want to. (Tom–there are some lonely straight flat roads by Maddy for a cautious test…and Maddy’s driveway is long enough for the first 2 tests).

on my March 53 car, 7/16 wrench fits exactly. It is always possible that prior owners may have replaced bleeder valves. Nick

I just checked my Mark V, and it takes a 1/4 BSF.
So as you say there are probably different sizes about.