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All About Studs For A GM 14 Bolt Axle Disc Brake Conversion

If you’re going to do a disc brake conversion on your 14 bolt axle, you will need to remove the studs from the hub to install the rotor. Depending on the weather where the truck lives, this might be easy or challenging. Here are a few tips for this job.

Bolts

Image Credit: Joe

Preparing Studs to be Removed

Whether they look rusty or not, apply your favorite penetrating lubricant to both ends of the studs and to the seam between the drum and hub. Then let the hub sit for a half hour.

Removing the Studs

There are several different ways to remove the studs. The first items on this list use tools that you most likely already have. Later items on the list involve tools you may need to borrow.

The First Step

thread nuts

If your lugs are rusty, an impact wrench can help you spin the lug nuts into place. Image Credit: Joe

The first step is the same for every method. Take a lug nut and thread it on so that it sits flush with the end of the stud. This helps protect the threads.

A Dead Blow Hammer & A Block of Wood

Hammer

We’d suggest using a block of wood to protect the lug stud and nut. And if you don’t have a dead blow hammer, any hammer will do. Image Credit: Joe

That would make a good name for a song. Country or Blues? This method is pretty simple. Set the hub and drum on a flat surface. Hold the block of wood on top of the stud. Hit it with the dead blow hammer. If the stud won’t come out after a few good whacks, it’s time to add some heat.

Torch

Make sure there is no excess grease on the hub or drum. Use the torch to heat the drum and hub. Don’t heat the stud directly. You are trying to get the drum and hub to expand a bit, but you don’t want the stud to expand. Keep the flame away from the center of the hub, so as not to damage the bearing seals. (If you use a torch, it is a good idea to repack your wheel bearings.) Then use the block and hammer.

Ball Joint Tool

Removal tool

This isn’t a GM 14 bolt axle hub, but this picture does show how to use a ball joint removal tool to pop out the studs. Image Credit: Tacti’s Garage

A ball joint removal tool can be used to remove studs, but only if the drum is off the hub already. So this works with if you’ve got slide on drums, but won’t work if you’ve got pressed on drums. Using the tool is pretty self explanatory. Just remember to lube the threads on the tool before using it. (Note that we are not talking about a pickle fork ball joint tool. We are talking about the type of tool that works like a pliers in reverse.)

Stud Removal Tool

Some auto parts stores will let you borrow a stud removal tool. It resembles a sturdy C clamp. Similar to the ball joint tool, this will only work if you’ve got slide on drums.

Hydraulic Press

Press

Use a couple of sockets to support the hub in the press. Image Credit: Speednik

A hydraulic shop press will make easy work of this job. It’s important that the hub and drum be sitting perfectly square to the press ram. The studs can be bent if misalignment occurs.

Need new studs?

You should inspect the studs carefully before you put them back in. Some times the threads were damaged even before you started to remove the studs. Also look for signs of stretching in the threads. This usually happens because a shop somewhere used an impact wrench to install the lug nuts, and they went a little overboard. Reusing bad studs is not worth the headaches they will cause, and new studs don’t cost very much.

Yes, I Need New Studs. But How Long?

If you need new studs, just get standard OEM studs. For most of our kits, the rotor is only about 1/8″ thicker than the drum, so OEM studs will still work well. If one of our kits requires studs that are longer than OEM studs, we provide them in the kit.