How To Tell If Your Drum Brakes Need Replacing – It never ceases to amaze me how persistent myths can be, even when there is an abundance of authoritative evidence to counter them.

A recent, otherwise informative and enjoyable article in a magazine I receive highlighted a classic four wheel drive vehicle from the 1960s. In describing the mechanics, the writer noted that the brakes were drums on all four corners – still perfectly common in those years (my 1973 FJ40 came with drum brakes). While acknowledging that this is outdated technology, the writer still went on to say (I’m paraphrasing), that drum brakes are less likely to get loaded with road debris and stay cooler than disc brakes.

How To Tell If Your Drum Brakes Need Replacing

How To Tell If Your Drum Brakes Need Replacing

The claim that drum brakes are less likely to become loaded with debris—for example, mud during a trip through a muddy pothole—might seem logical on the surface, since the rotor of a disc brake is completely exposed to the elements and is immediately sprinkled with whatever comes. her way It is more difficult for gunk to get past the backing plate of a drum brake and into the mechanism. (No less an entity than Toyota Motor Corporation co-opted this line to excuse its parsimonious decision to keep rear drum brakes in the current Tacoma.)

Most Common Brake Noises: Causes And How To Fix Them

Until you disassemble and clean it, a time-consuming job. Ask me how I know. A disc brake might squeal initially when mud hits the pad and disc, but it will quickly clear itself and if there’s any left, a quick flush will take care of it. Drum brake shoes move away from their contact surface on the drum, allowing debris to become trapped between them.

The other claim, that drum brakes stay cooler than disc brakes, happily ignores basic physics. Stopping a moving vehicle requires converting its kinetic energy into heat energy. Period.

Warms up fine — my FJ40, which now has four-wheel disc brakes, stops no shorter than when it had all the drums the first time you do it — they are significantly worse at

The heat they absorbed. On a long, winding road towing the 21-foot sloop we owned back when the 40 still had stock brakes, the pedal became progressively softer and less effective as the brake fluid boiled into gas to the wheel cylinders of the system where the drum brakes. they retained huge amounts of heat. Converting to disc brakes solved the problem because their rotors, exposed to the air, dissipated this heat more quickly.

Warning Signs For Replacing Your Car Brakes

Tip: When using “Search” if nothing comes up, reload the page, it usually works. Also, our “Comment” button is on strike thanks to $#@$! Squarespace. Please email me with comments!

Overland Tech & Travel brings you in-depth overland gear tests, reviews, news, travel tips and stories from the best transportation experts on the planet. Follow or subscribe (

CLICK HERE to subscribe to Jonathan’s email list; we post once or twice a month, usually on Sunday mornings for your weekend reading pleasure.

How To Tell If Your Drum Brakes Need Replacing

Overland Tech and Travel is organized by Jonathan Hanson, co-founder and former co-owner of Overland Expo. Jonathan went from a misspent youth almost directly to a misspent adulthood, cleverly sidestepping any chance of a normal career or secure retirement by becoming a freelance writer, working for Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and nearly two dozen by other publications. He co-founded

Symptoms Of Bad Or Worn Brake Shoes & Replacement Cost

2007 and was its executive editor until 2011, when he left and sold his shares in the company. His travels include land and sea explorations on six continents by foot, bicycle, sea kayak, motorcycle and four-wheel drive. He has published a dozen books, several with his wife, Roseann Hanson, winning several obscure no-money prizes, and is the co-author of the fourth edition of Tom Sheppard’s Landing Bible, The Rear Brake with integral hub and brake drum. The riveted lining on the front (rear) shoe is positioned off-center in the direction of wheel rotation.

Check the drum brakes at least once every six months, at 6,000 miles or 10,000 km, or as recommended in the car’s normal service schedule. Look for worn brake linings.

Later cars often have an inspection hole plugged into the rear plate. On other machines you have to remove the drum.

Gaskets can be riveted or glued to the brake shoes. With studded insoles, replace shoes long before the insole wears down to the rivet heads. Exposed ends damage and destroy brake drums.

Weird Rubber Thing On Rear Drum Brakes

A front brake with a separate drum from the hub. The hub stays in place when the liners are changed.

Shoes with bonded insoles should, for safety, be replaced when the insole is worn to & 1/10 in. (3 mm) thick, even though a minimum thickness of 1/16 in. (1.5 mm) is mentioned in the car manual. .

Always renew the brake shoes on both wheels of an axle, even if the lining on one wheel is less worn than the other. Renew both wheels and if a seal has been soiled by oil or brake fluid. Otherwise, the braking will be unbalanced.

How To Tell If Your Drum Brakes Need Replacing

Only buy brake shoes that have a well-known manufacturer’s name clearly marked and written correctly on the box. Dangerous fakes are common, they often have names only slightly modified from a well-known brand.

How To Avoid Violations With Regular Brake Maintenance

If you have to get under the car to look through the inspection hole in the rear plate, for example, raise the car and support it on axle stands, not just jacks.

Work on the rear brakes must be done with the handbrake off – make sure you block the ground wheels firmly on both sides.

When removing the brakes, have a pencil and paper ready to draw the sometimes complicated way parts fit together.

Vital details include which way the brake shoes fit; the holes in which the springs fit (there may be several similar holes next to the correct one); which direction the bows go (the ends are often not the same length); position of retaining pins and self-adjusting parts; and the order in which washers are fitted.

Some Vintage Drum Brake Basics

If the brakes are manually adjusted, loosen them (see Brake Adjustment) before removing the drums. With self-adjusting brakes, loosening is usually neither necessary nor possible.

A few machines have a hole in the drum through which you can use two screwdrivers to lift the ratchet on the adjusting ratchet wheel and turn the wheel back.

Tread depth indicator. Liners should be renewed when worn 1.5 mm above the rivet heads. Use a ruler to check the thickness of a bonded insole by measuring from the front of the shoe to the top of the insole. Replace shoes with worn insoles up to 3mm thick.

How To Tell If Your Drum Brakes Need Replacing

Remove the center cover with a screwdriver if you can; lever evenly around the edge—if it gets crooked, it will stick.

Restoring S Cam Performance For Drum Brakes

If the cap doesn’t have a lip to give you leverage, drill a hole in it, insert a self-tapping screw, and drive it out with a claw hammer. Plug the hole before replacing the cover.

If all else fails, pop the cover with a hammer and chisel – new covers are cheap.

Under the cap may be a crenellated nut or a crenellated cap over a plain nut held by a pin. Straighten the legs of the split pin and pull it out, starting with a hammer if necessary.

Examine the nut carefully to see if it has a left-hand thread. It is tightened to a precise torque that varies widely from car to car. Before refitting, check the figure with your local dealer or car service manual.

Help! Rear Tires Making A Metal Dragging Noise/ Grinding. New Brakes And Drums

For very tight nuts, have a helper apply the brakes while you unscrew the nut using a length of pipe over the socket wrench handle to provide extra leverage.

With the nut removed, pull the drum by hand if possible. It will come complete with bearings. Spread a cloth on the ground to catch any bearings that might fall.

With the nut removed, you may be able to pull the drum and hub by hand. Spread a clean cloth on the ground – sometimes a bearing falls free as the hub comes off.

How To Tell If Your Drum Brakes Need Replacing

If the assembly is stiff, try remounting the wheel and pulling it. But do not handle the lip of the drum or you may damage it. In severe cases, you may need a hub puller, which you can rent if needed.

The Main Causes Of Drum Brake Failure

You may also need a hub puller if the inner race of the inner wheel bearing stays stuck on the axle, as sometimes happens. Place a round hose clamp on or behind it to give the puller legs a good grip.

Remove the screws or bolts that secure the drum. Tap the stubborn set screws with a center punch, offset from the slot, in the direction of unscrewing. Or use an impact driver.

Alternatively, the drum may be held by a spring clip on a wheel pin, or there may be no attachment at all.

To be able to refit the drum in the same position, paint a mark on a pin of the wheel and the hole in the drum that it fits through.

Front Brakes Vs Rear Brakes (differences, Faqs)

If the wheel has been balanced on


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *