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Budd Wheel Socket Kit: Big Tools For A Big Bus

Updated on September 11, 2014

Restoring A 1955 International School Bus

My loving partner and I have been restoring a 1955 International school-bus-house conversion, that we saved from over ten years of abandonment in a forest just outside Glacier National Park. We have spent the past summer of 2013 trying to get her road worthy for our upcoming travels. Restoring a massive, antique school bus has came with a lot of unexpected tool purchases, because, if you didn't own a big rig or an auto shop, you pretty much don't have tools big and strong enough just laying around.

This Budd wheel socket kit, was my first of many unexpected big tool purchases for the bus this summer, and it has proven to be invaluable in measure of how helpful it has been. We didn't realize at the time of purchase of the socket set, that we would actually need all of the sockets in it, we were just looking for the 1-1/2" socket. (The largest in the set) However, once the wheel was off, it became clear that nearly all of the sockets in the set were required in order to complete the brake restoration process on our antique bus.

The wheels on our bus are 9.00x20 split rim, dually tires on the back, and 9.00x20 steering tires on the front. They are antique, and pretty hard to find. They are basically old semi tires that are out of production. If you have any ideas for replacing these, please leave me a comment below. The brakes are Wagner severe duty. This Budd socket kit is a necessity for the ongoing maintenance of a 1955 International School Bus.

In the photo gallery below I have included a pictures of one of the tires, alone and next to a one gallon jug. (that's really not a quart) It's a great comparison of size. Looking back, I could have took a self portrait picture with it, but that didn't strike me at the time. I did put a picture of Norma Wanderlust (that's my bus!) for you to admire. Wanna know more? You can follow our bus adventures at .

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Big tires.All Jacked UpA Comparison. That is one gallon of oil.
Big tires.
Big tires.
All Jacked Up
All Jacked Up
A Comparison. That is one gallon of oil.
A Comparison. That is one gallon of oil.
AMPRO T71797 1 1/4-Inch to 3 1/2-Inch Disc Brake and Engine Cylinder Hone
AMPRO T71797 1 1/4-Inch to 3 1/2-Inch Disc Brake and Engine Cylinder Hone

These brakes are not in production anymore for many reasons. So, getting a honing tool and learning just how to do it is necessary to the brake restoration process.


This Budd socket kit is an absolute necessity for the ongoing maintenance of a 1955 International School Bus.

BRAKLEEN Brake Parts Cleaner, 1lb. 3 oz. can, Case of 12 (05089F-C)
BRAKLEEN Brake Parts Cleaner, 1lb. 3 oz. can, Case of 12 (05089F-C)

Not just one bottle of brake cleaner, the whole case! Possibly two by the time the whole restoration is done.


Tips For Restoring Your Old School Bus Breaks

We have learned, sometimes the hard way, that we suck at preparing. So, learning from our mistakes, we now practice smart planning before we remove pieces and parts from the bus. Here are some of the recommendations I have before starting your bus brake restoration process.

  • Get a lot of brake cleaner. It does more than clean brakes. It also kills wasps.
  • Do not waste time with a tiny tire iron that you used on your personal sized truck. It will brake. So will the other two you have lying around if you do not buy an industrial semi truck tire iron.
  • Know how to use the tool you are buying.
  • If available, get a manual for your vehicle. It took me almost three months, but I have finally ordered mine and it should be here this week. Its not easy to find a manual for a 55 International R180 Model. It was listed as an antique book, non automotive.

Ken-Tool 34645 Mount/Demount Tire Iron
Ken-Tool 34645 Mount/Demount Tire Iron

Do not bother with anything smaller. Get the biggest semi tire iron at the best quality you can find.


I hope you found my review of the Budd socket tool kit useful,informative and inspirational. I would love to hear what you think of the restoration project!

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