Power boost drum brakes vs. disc brakes??? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:59 PM
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Power boost drum brakes vs. disc brakes???

How well would original style drum brakes (Ford/Chevy pickup 1948-57) beefed up with a brake booster work compared to a disc brake swap?

I don't plan on crazy driving but I would like to be safe without the hassle of a major disc brake upgrade.
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodscavenger
How well would original style drum brakes (Ford/Chevy pickup 1948-57) beefed up with a brake booster work compared to a disc brake swap?

I don't plan on crazy driving but I would like to be safe without the hassle of a major disc brake upgrade.
Drum brakes work fine one time.
Disks are better for repeted hard use.

IMHO
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:04 AM
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If you're going to use drums get the biggest ones that will fit, specially the front. Then do some research to find the best brake shoes, I don't know if they are making ceramic type shoes or not but a booster can't hurt.

Back in the day I remember some guys used to drill a few 1/2" holes in the backing plates for air circulation......but that got spooky in the rain.
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:03 AM
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Drum brakes

I have a Bucket with Drum brakes 72 Ford rear and 50 ish ford front and they work very well with a booster Master off a 94 Civic. I saved Mucho bucks by going this way as I bought the booster MC at a wrecking yard for 60 bucks and the plumbing was easy. A lot depends on the weight of the vehicle as my Bucket only ways about 1700 LBS.
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Old 08-07-2007, 02:07 AM
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My 56 F-100 has the stock drums (everything rebuilt or new) on it. I have a power booster and dual master under the floor. They work fine. I have had no issues with them fading (so far). I have even made a couple of emergency stops (idiot old people around here).

I am not saying that disks are not better. They are just an expense I cannot afford for a long long time.

I do not drive hard, since I have the original drivetrain. 55-60 is top speed on level ground.
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:57 AM
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Drum brakes stopped cars for a long time before the across the board application of disc brakes. You just have to know the limitations.

First, drums do not give up their heat as rapidly as discs. During repeated or continuous application (going down a long grade, for example) the drums will actually get hot enough to reduce the coefficient of drag to the point that the vehicle will not stop. Brake fade. You have a high hard pedal that basically does nothing. I experienced it on a 68 Suburban. The drums were slightly beyond the maximum allowed inner diameter. I was hauling my drag car on a trailer which did not have the brakes hooked up. It was 108 deg. outside. I was throwing it in low, standing on the pedal with both feet, pulling on the steering wheel with both hands. And my wife was worried about me driving the drag car!

Water, particularly deep water, say 1 - 2 feet deep, can create a similar situation. The drums fill up, the water drops the coefficient of drag, and you have brake fade.

So, if you know the distance required to stop and adjust your driving habits accordingly and pull over occasionally to let the brakes cool down or dry out, you should be fine.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
pulling on the steering wheel with both hands.
It never helps, does it? Been there, tried that, nor does screaming like a little girl, cursing or praying. The more weight you pack, the better the brakes should be. Woods, you should be fine with your set-up. Dan
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:24 AM
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I popped for 4 new drums and hooked up the trailer brakes after that.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:25 AM
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I'd go with a booster on drums, and next would try to get P/S.

P/S & a brake booster makes any old truck a dream to drive.
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:03 AM
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Drum brakes working at the designed usage, works fine. Even with out power assist. If the peddle ratio is correct. At least 6-1. A lot of times they will stop better than disk. Disks come to there own, after repeated hot use. Parking lot racing, ect.
Some of the so called KIT's have stopped very badly, after install.
Also if you have a lot of cam, you will not have enough vacuum, and the booster will be useless.
This advice comes after 100s of installs. Disk brakes biggest benefits: cool looks, and less fad, after repeated use.
Also less critical adjustment, for pull.
Dave Tallant Hot Rod Shop KC Mo
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:44 AM
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I have power drum brakes on my 69 mustang i have thought about drilling them and adding cooling ducts.javed
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:08 PM
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After doing a disc swap on my 64 Bonneville I noticed the big 11" aluminum drums stopped faster but always pulled to one side during a panic stop. I never had any brake fade trouble and with out terrain that was amazing.
The discs stop straighter but don't pull the car down as powerful as the drums did.
I have 11-3/4 discs up front and 11" drums in the rear with a adjustable proportion valve and a metering valve.

Now that I'm running 2.5 / 3 positive caster and a Lee 12 to 1 steering box I ofter wonder what those old front drums would behave like.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pitts64
After doing a disc swap on my 64 Bonneville I noticed the big 11" aluminum drums stopped faster but always pulled to one side during a panic stop. I never had any brake fade trouble and with out terrain that was amazing.
The discs stop straighter but don't pull the car down as powerful as the drums did.
I have 11-3/4 discs up front and 11" drums in the rear with a adjustable proportion valve and a metering valve.

Now that I'm running 2.5 / 3 positive caster and a Lee 12 to 1 steering box I ofter wonder what those old front drums would behave like.


( The good thing is, they will get a little better as they wear in. The alignment of the front end will have no effect on braking efficiency.) And the answer is, the old drums would be good. But it takes a lot better adjustment to keep them from pulling. That said, disks can pull as well.)
Dave Tallant Hot Rod Shop KC Mo
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Old 08-08-2007, 02:07 PM
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Dave, I have been noticing that they seem to be getting better with more miles.
Thanks for the info.

On the GM front drums, the anchor pin adjustment made a big difference in pulling. Trouble for me was the aluminum drums didn't have the feeler gauge slot like the iron drums.
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