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55 Plymouth making nasty noises
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westaus29
Posted 2021-02-07 9:13 AM (#608598)
Subject: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises


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Location: Mandurah, Western Australia
I posted this about a week ago on Facebook but haven't found a solution yet or had a suggestion that fits the facts. I have had suggestions all way from tires to uni joints, diff, torque converter, speedo and fan.

Two weeks ago we were driving in the annual Busselton Rally in the 55 Plymouth Suburban, 259 with 2 speed auto. All was going smoothly at about 60 km/h (35 mph) with about 5 km to go, when a rumble developed that rapidly became a regular thump .. thump .. thump (more like a clank - clank - clank). I stopped and checked tires, no problem. Tried again, same noise, seemed to be at faster rate than tire rotation, maybe prop shaft. Stopped at a level spot by a farm gate and jacked up a rear wheel, checked prop shaft and joints, felt ok. Spun the rear wheel, no problem, tried the other side, no problem there either. Started and put into gear, while jacked up, no thump. Jacked up front wheels, no problem found. Tried driving, thump is still there, getting louder and nastier. Called for backup trailer.

Now at home on hoist, clunked all way from front yard to shed. Prop shaft feels fine, back wheels and drums off and nothing obvious, Tires near brand new and look it. Put drums back on and tried running in gear before pulling prop shaft out. Exercised brakes and park brake, no change, no noise.

Removed prop shaft, boots and joints are fine, slight wear in front joint. Took covers off front joint, looks fine, filled with correct amount of clean moly grease. I think I'll strip it anyway as have spares (there is another story to that).

Turned park brake drum by hand, no problem, gearbox output bearing feels ok. Turned diff by hand feels fine, no clunks or undue play.

Time for a rethink. When I first jacked up the left rear wheel on the side of the road, I noticed the drum was badly out of round and binding. I didn't take much notice as there is a story behind that as well, but now I am wondering if it could have been the source of the problem, by binding / releasing and creating a backlash in the transmission with resultant clank. I am in process of addressing that best I can with the plan to road test it and see if the noise has gone away. If not, the next step is to drop the diff out for inspection.

I have had the wagon for over 6 years now, with the aim of keeping it on the road while slowly repairing years of neglect (my main project is a 7 passenger 38 Plymouth body off restoration). The story behind the rear end is that in a previous life someone replaced the original axle assembly which would have been an 8-1/4 3,54 unit with 11 inch brakes, unique to the v8 wagon. They substituted a complete 3.9 ratio assembly from an Aussie Plymouth, with 10 inch brakes. In the process they modified the drums to be removable from the tapered hub, and it looks like they used a sledge hammer and an axe. At the time, rather than try and fix it properly, I replaced the dodgy wheel cylinders then started looking for an original axle unit, without success so far. It may have come back to bite me.

I have now taken both the drums off and gently massaged the bent and buckled centre flanges with a 5lb sledge hammer to a point where they now feel pretty good when I spin them and adjust the cams up. A bit agricultural but I figured I couldn't make things any worse. One of my new wheel cylinders is weeping so I will hone and put new cups in it, and the rear wheel seal is leaking so I will replace that also, fix up the prop shaft, adjust all the brakes using an appropriate tool, and take it for a drive.

Until then I am just guessing.
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58coupe
Posted 2021-02-07 11:11 AM (#608601 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises



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When one of my daughters was away at college she would call me with car problems. It is very difficult to diagnose a problem long distance. That said, you have checked many of the things already I would have checked. My thought is if the previous owner did such a poor job with the brake drums, I would be suspicious of the diff. If you have a good axle puller it is not too hard to remove.
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Powerflite
Posted 2021-02-07 11:44 AM (#608602 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises



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So it sounds like this noise only occurs when the car is under load, or when it is rolling on the ground? Up in the air, there is no noise, correct?
If so, the most likely sources of that noise are:
1. Tire issues (go over them very carefully, but it sounds like you have ruled this out)
2. Ball & trunion worn out
3. Brake parts not connected properly (sounds like you are sorting this one out so probably OK)
4. Bad axle bearings or play.
5. Bad yolk bearing in differential (This is usually more catastrophic when it occurs)

These are the only ones I can think of that would turn quietly while up in the air, but have issues on the ground. The next thing to do is to find out if it clunks while going in reverse and rolling in neutral as well.

Since you have ruled out most of these, I would suspect the axle bearings. Make sure you check the housing to make sure that the inner diameter of the housing isn't galled or worn.
By the way, I just removed that axle from my frame and can get rid of it now. BigM could probably get you what you need too.
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Mopar1
Posted 2021-02-07 4:15 PM (#608616 - in reply to #608602)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises



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Powerflite - 2021-02-07 10:44 AM

. BigM could probably get you what you need too.
he's in Oz.....
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Mopar1
Posted 2021-02-07 4:17 PM (#608617 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises



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Is the Axle in there now a modern axle? If so I'd keep it after checking the insides.
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westaus29
Posted 2021-02-09 9:19 AM (#608663 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises


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Location: Mandurah, Western Australia
The axle is from a P25 Plymouth produced in Oz from about 1954 to 1956. I have pulled off the drum, hub and backing plate from left rear to get at the outer axle seal which has been leaking slightly. It is marked "OUTER 1402443" which is correct for 55-56 Plymouth but has not been sealing on the axle as there is about 1/8" gap. At first I thought it was designed to seal on the drum hub but inspection ruled that out. Then I thought maybe it sealed on the bearing inner hub, but have never seen one like that in all my years. I googled 1402443 and it crosses to National 6241S which is a conventional seal with 1-3/8" ID which matches the shaft. So my seal apparently has lost 1/8" of its lip and it is amazing it only leaked a little. Tomorrow I will buy a couple of seals so I can do both sides while the car is on the hoist. The bearing looks fine on this side so won't take the shaft out at this stage..

The wheel cylinder looks a bit sad with rusty deposits at both ends, despite having been replaced with new about 4 years ago. I guess I should have disassembled and relubed them before I put them in as whatever they did in the factory was rubbish. So I will redo both sides while I am at it as have new cups left over from the 38, assuming they will hone up ok. The job keeps getting bigger. I don't want to put too much effort into this axle but safety comes first.

Edited by westaus29 2021-02-09 9:21 AM
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westaus29
Posted 2021-02-09 9:31 AM (#608664 - in reply to #608601)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises


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Posts: 124
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Location: Mandurah, Western Australia
I too had a daughter at college with car problems, a 1974 Passat. It is making a noise at front, she said. I got her to drive it home, about 60km, and when she arrived the problem was obvious -- there were only two wheel nuts on the left front and they were very loose. The noise quietened down once I hit 100 km/h on the freeway she said. Needed a new rim as the bolt holes were all worn oval. To be fair, my three daughters are normally pretty good at diagnosing car problems, but thankfully they have all now upgraded to more reliable transport.
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58coupe
Posted 2021-02-09 11:33 AM (#608670 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises



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The axle bearings are packed in grease with an inner seal to keep the oil in and the outer seal to keep the grease in and water out. Not surprising it did not leak much.
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westaus29
Posted 2021-02-14 9:27 AM (#608890 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises


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Posts: 124
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Location: Mandurah, Western Australia
I have often wondered why some guys complain about how hard it is to get drums off these tapered axles. I have a 29, a 38 and a heavy duty puller I got for $20 at a swap meet, and have never had an issue before. The left rear was a bit hard and took a couple of blows with the 5 lb hammer but the right side resisted all efforts. Soaked in penetrating oil for 24 hours, applied lots of heat with the cutting torch, and still could not budge it. I finally heated it again, put an 18" shifter on it and applied the 5 lb hammer as hard as I could. It slowly moved out, the shifter handle moving about 1/2" each blow. Eventually after about an hour of hammering the drum was out about 1/2", with its inner edge about level with the backing plate rim, and it let go. From there I still had a struggle to get it off, took another 10 mins of tapping. Seems the key was jammed in real tight - it had been butchered as can be seen from the attached pics. I have a lot of admiration for the 18" Chinese shifter (cost $30) which showed no sign of the abuse it received.





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Attachments
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Attachments pic1.jpg (245KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments pic2.jpg (225KB - 4 downloads)
Attachments pic3.jpg (170KB - 3 downloads)
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samstrader
Posted 2021-02-18 6:06 PM (#609046 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: RE: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises


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I replaced my rear bearing seals about 10 years ago just because I had the drum off. I added a little grease to the bearings while the seals were off. There is a plug for a zerk fitting on the axle that you can use to add a SMALL amount of grease to the bearings but I think it is easier to get the right amount of grease in there when the seal is off and you can see what you are doing. This rear bearing greasing instruction is in the service manual.

I have a 1955 Plymouth Savoy 259 V8 with a 3 speed manual transmission and the original rear end. I don't know if it is 10 inch or 11 inch. But the seal I used is shown in the attached picture and it fit good and worked good.

Hope not to add any confusion and if you got the seal number off of your seals, that is best. Just wanted to show you this for consideration. The seal I used is the same seal number as yours.

Edited by samstrader 2021-02-18 6:14 PM




Attachments
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Attachments Rear Wheel Seal.pdf (238KB - 8 downloads)
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westaus29
Posted 2021-02-22 8:40 AM (#609152 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises


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Posts: 124
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Location: Mandurah, Western Australia
Thanks for the info on the axle seals. I got replacements locally at the right price but they were a little wider at 1.375". I rounded off the inside corner a little to make sure they were a snug fit in the backing plate and they went in ok.

The problem with getting the hubs off was caused by someone who had abused the keys. One key I threw away and replaced with one from my 38 spares, the other I filed back into shape so now they go on and off smoothly.

I cleaned up and painted the backing plates, installed the new seals, honed the crap aftermarket wheel cylinders and installed new cups, cleaned up the linings and put them back in right way round with small lining at rear, adjusted them using the "patented" P15-D24 tool. Checked the front uni joint and it had all its needles and look ok so reinstalled the prop shaft as-is.

Put the wheels back on and took it for a run .. the nasty noise is gone for good. And the brakes are 100% better. Now I need to upgrade the front shocks to reduce the dive when I brake hard. Suggestions welcome.



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Attachments pic4.jpg (233KB - 1 downloads)
Attachments pic5.jpg (183KB - 0 downloads)
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Powerflite
Posted 2021-02-22 10:33 AM (#609155 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises



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Nice job, I like that tool you made. I recommend KYB shocks for the front, made for the '57 Chevy, KG4550. You'll have to open up the lower mounting tab, but otherwise a direct replacement.
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westaus29
Posted 2021-02-23 3:59 AM (#609180 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises


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Posts: 124
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Location: Mandurah, Western Australia
Thanks Nathan, I cross referenced those shocks to Gabriel 69625, available on ebay aus for $A119 the pair, (about $US90) not as cheap as USA but free local postage from Sydney. They fit a number of local cars including 55-57 Chev, Corvette 63-82 and Toyota Hilux. Will see how they go!
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58coupe
Posted 2021-02-23 11:30 AM (#609182 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises



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So Jim, was the nasty noise caused by the brakes?
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westaus29
Posted 2021-02-28 5:41 AM (#609342 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises


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Posts: 124
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Location: Mandurah, Western Australia
That is my conclusion as I didnt find any other issues and didnt change anything other than overhaul the rear brakes. My guess is that the out of round drum on the left rear caused the shoes to lock up briefly each revolution, then release with a bang that travelled thru the transmission system. It certainly sounded loud and potentially catastrophic. Why it chose that time to do it I am not sure. I had just reversed about 100 yds so my navigator could read the name on a farm gate we had passed, part of the rally sheet questions. Maybe that triggered it as up till then had done many hundreds of trouble-free miles.
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westaus29
Posted 2021-02-28 5:42 AM (#609343 - in reply to #608598)
Subject: Re: 55 Plymouth making nasty noises


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Posts: 124
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Location: Mandurah, Western Australia
That is my conclusion as I didnt find any other issues and didnt change anything other than overhaul the rear brakes. My guess is that the out of round drum on the left rear caused the shoes to lock up briefly each revolution, then release with a bang that travelled thru the transmission system. It certainly sounded loud and potentially catastrophic. Why it chose that time to do it I am not sure. I had just reversed about 100 yds so my navigator could read the name on a farm gate we had passed, part of the rally sheet questions. Maybe that triggered it as up till then had done many hundreds of trouble-free miles.
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