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Old 02-15-2017, 11:16 PM   #1
chewychevy67
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How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

I am restoring a 67 gmc 1/2 ton swb and I have all my front and rear drums completely new Springs shoes and cylinders. All the suspension and frame is complete and powder coated. I will never tow anything but some day I'd like to do the power tour so that would be a longer trip for the truck. I am wondering how many have left their front drums and do they regret it or not an issue. I guess vehicles all had them this way till the late 60's . This truck will never ever be lowered by me. I'm at the point where I either need to do a disc swap or leave my front drums.
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:31 PM   #2
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

i myself would leave them drum if i was going to use it on summer weekends and not a daily driver. i guess it comes down to how original you want it.the way your truck is going either will be nice on that truck. so much detail wow.
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:58 PM   #3
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

Im amazed there are any drum brake trucks left. How they survived without constantly crashing is a mystery haha!

I say leave it, sounds like a cool truck, and well taken care of.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:00 AM   #4
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

I bought my truck, a 1970 this past spring with worn out brakes. I rebuilt the brakes at all 4 wheels this summer. Parts were cheap, and that was replacing everything. I didn't know how to redo drum brakes, but figured it out after looking on the web. I did add a power booster to the braking system, and that seemed to make a big difference.

Honestly, for the light weekend driving I do with this truck, you can't tell that it has drums. Drums work great, but can heat up if you work them too hard. If you are just doing "normal" driving (not racing or towing) the drums will work fine. Ever look under a semi? They have drums...
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:07 AM   #5
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

Yeah I guess semis still have drums. I should add that I have power brakes as well and they were stock on the truck. My only concern is if I drive the truck for a couple days straight like the power tour doing normal driving I will have issues. Especially far from home where repair becomes harder to do.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:07 AM   #6
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

Hey Chewy
The drum brakes will work great.
As long as you have new drums.
If you had the drums turned the shoes won't last as long as it would with new drums because it will hit the rivets in the center of the shoes before you get the full life of the pad.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:11 AM   #7
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

I have new drums on the front. The rear I had to turn because finding Dana 44 6 bolt rear drums is next to impossible. They are dished 1/2" in the center.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:15 AM   #8
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

I don't know why there is so much interest in disc brakes. I have drums all around and it stops just fine. At one time I thought I would like adding a booster, but now I have grown to like manual drum brakes. I drive both an SUV with power disc brakes and the Chevy truck with manual drum brakes. When I first got the Chevy truck, I felt the difference between the two. But now that I'm used to it, I don't notice the difference any more. I don't think I would bother with plain disc brakes. I reserve the right to change my tune, but for now I'm happy. If I were doing an upgrade it would be specifically to get anti-lock brakes. Anti-lock is a significant technical improvement.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:21 AM   #9
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

Wow. that is awesome. You will not have any problems.
The front brakes do 70 percent of the work.
You will have total contact of front shoes.
I would trust your setup better than Computer braking stuff.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:32 AM   #10
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

Drums will be fine. Main issues are fading/heat soak during long stops, and when people do not have worn drums turned with new shoes. Amazes me how often I hear people say drums never need to be turned. Run a dial indicator across them when on the lathe. They can & do wear unevenly. No way you will have full braking potential when new shoes do not make full contact with a non-parallel drum surface.
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Old 02-16-2017, 01:06 AM   #11
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

My 70 C20 has all the original stuff. Drums on the front and all. I bought the rig for hauling wood. I have come off the mountain with a cord of semi wet oak (about 4000lbs) with out issue.

Drums brakes where made to stop a lot of weight, just look at a Semi. Yeah if you drag your foot on them they will fade a bit. I did not have any problems.
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:39 AM   #12
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

My 69 still has the drums. I rebuilt the whole setup last summer and they work great. I added a power booster and it helped a bit. I have only driven it about 300 miles since though. I had a 66 in high school that was all drum still and I drove the wheels off it. I would compare it no different than my 74 with manual disks up front.
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:41 AM   #13
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

My '67 still has drums. Stops just fine.
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:19 AM   #14
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

My 100% original 1970 C30 has manual drum brakes and she stops just fine, even with a load of wood in the back. It does help that it has a 4 speed.....
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:42 AM   #15
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

As for the comments of "semis have drum brakes" they also have much more weight to counter act the self energizing action of drum brakes and not lock up.. when loaded

Nothing wrong with running drums, but you did say power tour.. are you able to keep enough room between you and all the other vehicles that will stop in 1/2 the feet at same speed without ending in their trunk??
That is a problem even todays econo boxes stop on a dime..
It seems at least 1 every year on the p/t end up wrecking many times it was they could not stop and rear ended a vehicle.. and had drums ..
What was safe in the 70's and stopped as good as most everything on the road doesn't mean a thing today.. When everything can stop 40-60 feet faster..
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:55 AM   #16
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

Quote:
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Drums will be fine. Main issues are fading/heat soak during long stops, and when people do not have worn drums turned with new shoes. Amazes me how often I hear people say drums never need to be turned. Run a dial indicator across them when on the lathe. They can & do wear unevenly. No way you will have full braking potential when new shoes do not make full contact with a non-parallel drum surface.
X2 on the fading. drums are pretty much fine in most cases, but I've had a couple times comming to a long stop with cargo and it's pretty scarry when they fade to nothing and you're standing on the brakes. thats when I pull it to a lower gear to help my stopping. It's funny to think how when I was a youngster I never thought about it because most my vehicles were that way..
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:09 AM   #17
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

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It seems at least 1 every year on the p/t end up wrecking many times it was they could not stop and rear ended a vehicle.. and had drums ..
What?

So you're saying you've seen data somewhere that these vehicles rear-ended someone BECAUSE they had drum brakes and that accident WOULDN'T have happened had they had disk brakes? I don't buy that at all.

If I'm doing 55mph in my 1970 C-10 (with drum brakes) and nail the brakes "panic stop" style, all four wheels will lock up in plumes of tire smoke. Obviously that would be the wrong way to operate a non-ABS vehicle, but my point is, how would me having disk brakes in that example make me stop any sooner? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that disk brakes may be very slightly easier to modulate so they DON'T lock up, but frankly if you're following someone close enough that the slight benefit in modulation is the difference between smashing into someone or not, then you're following them WAY to close.

I'm no expert, but I'd be willing to bet a few dollars that 99% of the accidents on a cruise event like the Power Tour are the result of grown men acting like 16 year old boys in vehicles that have much more horsepower than they came with from the factory. I think the usual excuse is, "I didn't do anything wrong, it just GOT AWAY FROM ME."

Yes, if you are towing, racing, or driving in mountainous terrain, then disks are the way to go, but as long as you don't drive like and idiot, then the original drum brakes will be more than adequate.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:14 AM   #18
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

Lots of guys still run drum brakes , It's called not over driving your equipment . Your truck made it 50 years with those old drums I'd be willing to bet they'll continue to work just fine , So many seem to forget these are 50 year old TRUCKS dropping them on the ground , adding 500 hp , 4 wheel discs , low profile tires and then asking why it leaning ? or why is the fuel mileage so bad ? It's still a 50 year old truck that wasn't designed for the "normal" driving conditions of today . I keep reading threads about guys suggesting to add an extra spring pad or drop block to correct lean , That's not correcting anything your frames still tweaked your just correcting appearance not the problem . So many of us grew up driving MANUAL DRUM brake equipped cars and trucks But the young guys never did and when they first experience 50 year old brake technology it can scare the *&#% out of them . A ground up restoration has that designation for a reason ...
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:18 AM   #19
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

So, do drums work? Yes they do. Do disc brakes work better? Yes they do. I'm all for some originality, but upgrading your brakes in my mind is a no brainer. People have mentioned semis using drums, well a lot of the newer ones now have disc brakes. Even the MRAPS in the military have moved to disc brakes. They work better and they're easier to work on. So your drum brakes will definitely work. I mean, they have for all these year, but the truck may be more enjoyable with disc up front. At least it has been for me. Someone above already said it, even economy cars now stop a lot faster than what they did 40 years ago. I wouldn't wanna end up in the back of one of them.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:34 AM   #20
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Talking Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

I plan to leave the drums on my Ramp truck for now. In a few years I may add the disc.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:54 AM   #21
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

A rear-end collision is the fault of the driver, not the equipment.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:57 AM   #22
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

I don't trust 50 year old brake parts. I recomend replacing everything so why not upgrade?
One of my original drums exploded going down the highway in a panic stop situation a few years ago.
I tow and haul often and drive my truck in rush hour traffic so the upgrade was a no brainer for me.

That being said, there's nothing wrong with drum brakes but disc are better.
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:21 AM   #23
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

The trucks I've restored that had drum brakes I restored with drum brakes. I never had an issue with them, never felt they were insufficient. The few trucks I converted were customized high performance trucks, mostly to say I did disc brakes along with all the other list of performance upgrades.

Anyone who thinks disc brakes stop you in half the distance must have no hands-on experience and, for that matter, have been hearing or reading some bad info. Also, whether you have disc or drum brakes you follow the same safe distance. Maybe those rear-enders in the Power Tour are bozos who think they can follow closer because they run disc brakes.

I know expert traditional hot rod builders who can make a little roadster stop flatter and faster matching up drum brake equipment than a 4 wheel disc car.

Are drum brakes bolt-on better brakes? Yes, and they are a cheap way for automakers to improve brakes. The military likes them for off road use that is the nature of the beast. On deep water or mud crossings the disc brake system is open and retains no debris, requiring no follow-up maintenance.
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:50 AM   #24
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

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What?

So you're saying you've seen data somewhere that these vehicles rear-ended someone BECAUSE they had drum brakes and that accident WOULDN'T have happened had they had disk brakes? I don't buy that at all.

If I'm doing 55mph in my 1970 C-10 (with drum brakes) and nail the brakes "panic stop" style, all four wheels will lock up in plumes of tire smoke. Obviously that would be the wrong way to operate a non-ABS vehicle, but my point is, how would me having disk brakes in that example make me stop any sooner? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that disk brakes may be very slightly easier to modulate so they DON'T lock up, but frankly if you're following someone close enough that the slight benefit in modulation is the difference between smashing into someone or not, then you're following them WAY to close.

I'm no expert, but I'd be willing to bet a few dollars that 99% of the accidents on a cruise event like the Power Tour are the result of grown men acting like 16 year old boys in vehicles that have much more horsepower than they came with from the factory. I think the usual excuse is, "I didn't do anything wrong, it just GOT AWAY FROM ME."

Yes, if you are towing, racing, or driving in mountainous terrain, then disks are the way to go, but as long as you don't drive like and idiot, then the original drum brakes will be more than adequate.
Most times it's not the person in the drum braked vehicle that drives like an idiot, but Don't matter if they changed lanes and then stop to turn and you can't..

Most that live in the boon docks with no traffic have no issues with a vehicle that can't stop like todays vehicles..
And will say till the cows come home that they are fine..
Those in areas with traffic and drivers that will fill a hole if their car might fit, know better..
The power tour fits this.
There has been post on forums about rear ending another car, on the p/t on the hot rod page, bang shift, car craft. etc..
I'm not claiming drums don't work.. but fact is they are not safe if you drive with others on the road that can stop 30-60 feet before you, and you can't keep the space between the car in front of you as someone will fill it..
The insurance don't care nor does the police officer, you rear ended the other vehicle you are at fault.. 99.99% of the time..
I've driven all drum non power and power vehicles, and try as I might to keep enough space a vehicle slides in and fills it.. and will keep doing so.. so unless you pull over and wait till no traffic, you can't keep an extra car or 2 lengths in front of you as a cushion ..
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:55 AM   #25
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Re: How many have restored trucks and left their front drum brakes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by palallin View Post
A rear-end collision is the fault of the driver, not the equipment.
Oh, sure, now drive equipment in traffic areas, that you can't build a safe cushion of space as a vehicle will fill it as soon as you make it..

Not everyone is out in farm land with only 2 cars on the road for miles, some have to deal with traffic and people that don't care that your equipment can't stop as fast as theirs, not their problem it's yours.. when you hit them..
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