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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I sometimes get conscripted to work on other peoples vehicles.They pay me a meager amount for pain and suffering and mental anguish and I usually fix their stuff.Then I swear off fixing other peoples cars until I need money...Anyway I look at some of the designs and I wonder "how in gods green earth did we first come up with this design instead of something simpler.Case in point: I was fixing the rear brakes on my friends chevy tracker.Drum brakes with lots of springs,and levers,and cables,and detents...How the hell did we come up with drum brakes with all their inherent complexity when disk brakes are several orders of magnitude simpler  than a drum brake.I spent hours trying to figure out how the drum brakes went back together because they fell apart after I removed one of the retaining pins for the shoes.Then after all that work turns out it was the front brakes that were worn down and making noise so I got to replace those on a different day.Remove 2 17 mm bolts,caliper comes off,pull out pads,push in caliper piston with c clamp,install new pads,reinstall bolts,done.Yet disk brakes a fairly new invention in the world of cars,and drum brakes have been around since the days of the horse drawn buggy. Carburetors are immensely complicated compared to a fuel injector or even mechanical fuel injection, and yet carburetors came first...
 

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well the band brakes on them buggys was around before electricity , I was around when transistors first allowed a " pocket" radio for the first time , at the time called "a transistor radio " NO tubes!!    then came "chips " ... so the big stuff Bosh used for fuel injection got smaller under the seat of 70's VW's .... brakes ? aircraft first use discs , then gm started with a whole line of auto's with doubble cartagin u joints in the early 70's ( CV ) my '66 Barracuda S had 4 piston Kelsey Hayes disc brakes ,( FROM THE FACTORY ) but not untill the 70's did they get used much elsewhere , seatbelts ? '64 saw them as an option ( lap belts only ) ...  the advent of computer's innards made stuff possiable , and as a kid , I had to wait for my car radio to warm up before it'd play , only 2 shows were in color on tv ..... when I was 8 ..... now you got "blue teeth " and why fie ..... ? LOL  btw  the hip 6 piston disc brakes of today ? well at first calipers were bolted together , multiple pistons , caliper bolted on , only pistons moved , they jammed alot  , we went to single piston floating calipers now your hip stuff ( wildwood?)  is my old style .... LOL
 

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Nothing complex about drum brakes. Pretty simple.
 

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always put the shorter shoe forward
 

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automechanics 101 would say if you don't know what your doing at least take pics so you have an idea where things are suppose to go. sometimes a couple pics could save hours of screwing around and getting frustrated. as far as drums go they are pretty simple if you know what your doing. some of the newer ones are a bit trickier than the old ones but all work similar. i adjusted the rear drum brakes on my sisters car a couple weeks ago. only crappy part was the adjusters that needed a but more lube but at least they were not seized.
 

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Drum brakes are pretty simple.  Never work on something if you don't at least have a shop manual for it, or take pictures as was said above. 
 

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With the old manufacturing capabilities, drum brakes were tons easier to make, the disks. only big machine work on a drum, is the drum itself, and the wheel cyl. A disk, easily has ten separate operations on the caliper, the caliper adapter, the spot where the adapter mounts. and several operations on the disk.
 

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Don't forget, they were also cable actuated/lever, not hydraulically in the beginning.
The drum breaks evolved from the old pad against the face of a wagon wheel, and was then inverted for cleaner less contaminated operation (Can't imagine wagon brakes working well in mud, can you?).
 

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lol mud / brakes ... in mud ya gotta pull no ? ... yeah old autos had a band that squeezed around a drum on the trans tail shaft , it was an emergency brake that actually worked , by '61 Chryslers were a internal drum there , and the wheels each had 2 wheel cylinders , upper / lower , really each was 1/2 of todays wheel cylinder , an eccentric adjusted each shoe up/down for wear , each shoe has a short side ....  think todays are a pita ? ha ...
 

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Plus don't forget your lubrication points and proper adjustment.                                                                               
                                  And when your getting parts you get the good stuff the cheaper stuff is usually already warped or warps out in no time flat. I had some cheap AutoZone brake drums laying in the garage flat on a shelf for a year-and-a-half. When the time came to put them on the wife's vehicle. I did Wheel cylinders ,shoes Hardware lubed everything properly new SS lines and flushed the brake fluid. Guess what those cheap drums were warped , as soon as I went to adjust them I knew they were warped. sucked had to cut them anyway.        But yeah drum brakes are really easy to do it's one of the next steps after changing oil or doing a tune-up.
                        Having the right and proper tools to do the job helps alot and also some little trick tools to get in there .    Like the tool in the picture below makes short work of pain-in-the-ass Springs.                         
                I've got all kinds of brake adjusting spoons that I've made for all the different vehicles that I work on just to make my life easier cuz sometimes you get a vehicle and you go to adjust the rear brakes and you're like how the hell is this going to happen without taking the wheel off. While lying on the ground. Make the tool to do the work and the tool does the work. Eh whatever I'm rambling
 

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  Oh yeah I almost forgot you take one side apart first so you can look at the other side so you know how it goes back together .there are also some left and right only parts.
 

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Back before cameras in the phones it was hard to get picture quickly.
My old friend, who taught me a lot about cars, told me to make a drawing on the ground with chalk right next to the axle end I was working on.
Worked great!
 

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chalk makes a great birthday gift for older kids , I gave my youngest ( 40) multi colored packs made just for cement floors , I'm thinking he was confused though .  ::)   
 

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RedneckInTraining said:
…Anyway I look at some of the designs and I wonder "how in gods green earth did we first come up with this design instead of something simpler…

….How the hell did we come up with drum brakes with all their inherent complexity when disk brakes are several orders of magnitude simpler than a drum brake….

….Carburetors are immensely complicated compared to a fuel injector or even mechanical fuel injection, and yet carburetors came first...
Disc brakes, and fuel injection, were introduced around the time of the automobile, so they were around for a pretty long time. But I think that the reason why you didn't see manufacturers use disc brakes or fuel injection, until more recently, probably had to do with cost. Drums and carbs aren't really that complex. They may seem complicated because of all the parts they use for them to work, but the basics of their systems are simple and good enough for the average consumer. As well as being a lot cheaper to produce. About the only real advance in cars in the last 20 or so years has been the integration of the microprocessor. We now have ABS and fuel injection operates electronically.

Ed
 

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I'm fine with technology right up until CAN-BUS.  That bullshit is still half-baked nonsense that wasn't ready to be put out into the real world.  A lot of "new" tech is like that in the automotive world but usually it only deals with one system, CAN-BUS has the potential to completely ruin an entire vehicle and leave it a useless pile of plastic and metal on the side of the road.
 

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LOL yeah , the name/terms may be different , but International , mid 90's , large truck ( semi size ) had ABS brakes, now abs brakes when they FAIL , you have regular brakes with out abs , BUT the multiplex wiring used the same "path" for the abs AND the engine's sensors TO the puter , BUT the abs system had "priority" , when abs failed
( snow/ice/tone ring/sensors everyday occurrence) that "line" was tied up/busy after a few hours of "no report" from engine sensors ( temp oil press etc ) the thing went into "limp home "

what blew my mind .. switch packs , rocker dash switches , like 6 switches , but ONLY 4 wires ....... HUH ?  too much LOW voltage/ thin wires ....extremely sensitive to ANY corrosion ...
I don't like anything that takes over steering and or brakes , unless it does it ALL ALWAYS ... then I ain't riding in it.
 

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    2005 chevy equinox ( Chinese POS Chevy). Picked this vehicle up for free had a blown head gasket ,typical. It was in perfect condition at the time except for the engine.                    I put an engine in it, it needed an alternator it was under charging.  AutoZone was the only one that had an alternator at the time in stock. So went and got the alternator ,ask them to test it before I left the store they didn't have the right cable or something to test it and said it's brand-new it's fine. I was like yeah right.  So got the alternator in .went for a couple test drives everything fine.  3rd test drive loss of steering, loss of braking, not total loss but very scary .laser light show on the dashboard everything flashing.                                 
                      Turns out the alternator was overcharging defective broke when delivered also burned out the daytime running light resistor and almost killed me. Overcharging I think it screwed with every system in the vehicle .Long story short f**k technology.
 

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Elwenil said:
I'm fine with technology right up until CAN-BUS. That bullshit is still half-baked nonsense that wasn't ready to be put out into the real world. A lot of "new" tech is like that in the automotive world but usually it only deals with one system, CAN-BUS has the potential to completely ruin an entire vehicle and leave it a useless pile of plastic and metal on the side of the road.
Yup. thats the new take on "Planned obsolescence"….I don't see any of the new cars today, being on the road, 10 or 20 yrs from now simply because I can't see automotive computers lasting that long.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
How new is "new"?My 2005 dodge grand caravan seems to be fine.no warning lights or other weirdness.My 93 dodge dakota seems to work pretty good,my 1984 Nissan 300zx works fine but I removed some of the various engine idle/emissions control systems because they are problematic and cause weird issues when they fail.Now it needs to warm up a bit before you can drive it and it surges a bit when you are coasting without any throttle, but its better than one of those systems failing mostly open and causing a no start condition.
 

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THE problem is going to be like this , we can "pull rabbits outta our hats" and repair / remake the mechanical / electrical  stuff on a '53 dodge , but when the micro processors fail , the "we" dealing with those parts have been well trained to diagnose/replace parts , not repair / remake micro processors .... so when they become obsolete that's going to end "restored"  auto's . Example of training / knowledge is found way back by now , even the "complete " repair manuals like the fsm's dropped how to repair starters and alternators , an old '93 book simply says , REPLACE starter / alternator after confirming it has failed , so when they are no longer available ( brake boosters?) what then ..... a hydro booster is not a restoration....  seals and diaphragms are but.... 
 
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