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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My buddy has 2 Chevys, a '57 Bel Air and a '49 Fleetline. Both have 4 wheel drum brakes, recently rebuilt. The brakes are well set-up, the cars both brake well, as well as these OEM brakes do... He does not want to move to disc brakes, it does not look right to him and the Bel Air would require new, 15" wheels... So here is our question:
Are there brake shoes available with a better quality material, which would "grab" better and resist fading better? Or if the material is available alone, it is also possible to attach it to the steel parts of the shoes. We are thinking maybe people racing their old cars in categories that require stock brakes (Carrera Panamerica, maybe?) have better material?...
Any ideas? Thanks!
 

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gm upgrades

check to see if corvette used wider drums. shoes and different lining material. I remember one friend switching to olds drums on his chevy, but that also switched to 5 on 5 wheels.
 

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I would Google brake shoe reliners. This is what I did and the guy I spoke to said a lot of brake shoe lining are just to hard. He relined them for me with a softer lining and it made a big difference. I am in the UK but would have thought that there are places that side of the water that could do the same for you.
 

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Call Raybestos and talk to someone in the Technical department.

Whad a drag application, footbraked, where the stock rear shoes wouldn't hold well enough at the starting line. I happened to talk to a Raybestos Rep at the Super Chevy show at my local track and he gave me a part number for a shoe that would have more cold grab. It fixed the problem right up.

I'm pretty sure they could point you to a better shoe compound. Likely to be semi-metallic, which means it will wear the drum much faster and likely require drum replacement at shoe service point later on just like semi-metallic brake pads eat front disc's, but you will get increased brake force and greater resistance to fade as the trade off.

'63-64 Corvette had a metallic shoes option on 4 wheel drums, but the drum diameters were a lot different than normal passenger car sizes. 1965 I believe was first year for front disc in Corvettes.

EBC Brakes may be another place to call, they have several grades of disc pads, maybe they do shoes also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would Google brake shoe reliners. This is what I did and the guy I spoke to said a lot of brake shoe lining are just to hard. He relined them for me with a softer lining and it made a big difference. I am in the UK but would have thought that there are places that side of the water that could do the same for you.
We are in France, so an idea from the UK is good to take! Thanks!
 

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I looked at my NAPA ProLink page and this seems to be the best listed.....Looks like they were used on the police cars. This is in Ontario, Canada



Part: FNU FT228
Product Line: NAPA Ultra Premium Friction and Kits
List price 71.84
Your Cost


Features & Benefits
Consistent performance in the most extreme conditions (including towing, hauling heavy loads and police pursuits).; Noise dampening characteristics that meet or exceed OE.; Highest quality formulas engineered for maximum brake shoe life.
Features and Benefits PDF
Attributes
Brake Shoe Friction Material Attachment: Bonded
Brake Size: 11" x 2"
Hardware Included: No
Hardware Kit Included: No
UNSPSC: 25171712
Warranty
Warranty PDF
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
There is no MSDS for this item
 

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I actually love drum brakes. They are stupid simple and reliable with better stopping power then disc.
Being simple you can modify them easily.

1/4" of pad thickness increase will make a large difference in stopping power. When you spread that 1/4 over 12" you end up with stopping power of an additional disc break. There may be larger rotors you can use or you may be able to machine your rotors to add a larger 1/4 pad.

Mustang hydro boost and larger wheel cylinders will allow you to stuff those larger pads harder against the inside of the drum. Having hydro boost will let you have constant pressure and a clean firewall. But if he wants it to look original then the larger wheel cylinders and larger pads will make a noticeable difference.

Good chance you can do the above with a collection of factory parts from different models allowing you to avoid the situation where a conversion kit is no longer available.

I would look at truck parts to start with. Drum brakes don't care much if they are on the front or back and you ay be able to use larger rear truck wheel cylinders and drums on the back and front pulling the entire 15" assemblies off and mounting them on to your axle with modifications being done with a drill press and maybe a lathe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So, I have done some research: between Kevlar shoes and ceramic shoes, what do you think for street use?
 
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