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Suspension Questions Chassis, Brakes, Springs, Shocks, Swaybars, Tire, Rims Etc Suspension Questions Chassis, Brakes, Springs, Shocks, Swaybars, Tire, Rims Etc

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Old 06-18-2017, 10:11 PM   #1
57driver
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Default High performance front DRUM BRAKES for a 57 wagon

I am wondering if any one knows of a heavy duty/high performance front DRUM brake option for my 57 wagon. I will not be changing to discs. I do not want to change my wheels to be able to keep a stock appearance in order to use my full wheel hubcaps. Also, all the other costs and changes are not in the cards right now. Did some maintenance today and see that my front shoes which have just under 20,000 miles on them are starting to show some really big cracks. Need to change them out before any really long drives this season.

Is there any larger drum retrofit from a different model chevy or does anyone make a heavier finned drum with some good Heavy Duty shoes that can take a little more punishment than the stockers?

Driver.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:13 PM   #2
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Look into late 60's or early 70's Chevrolets with wider drums... maybe 71/72 El Caminos? or ??

Maybe someone here has done a swap like that. If it works, I think it's a good idea..
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:20 PM   #3
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The Camaro/Chevelle/Nova drums, while wider, are only 9.5" diameter compared to the original 11", so no benefit there.

The easiest way to upgrade stock trifive drum brakes without changing to disc is to use the metallic shoes from what used to be called Praise Dyno Brake in Rockwall, TX. They have a new name now, someone will chime in with that info.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:25 PM   #4
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Driver...Check with Muscle Car Brakes:http://www.musclecarbrakes.com/

MCB all new technologically advanced Matrix Ceramic Brake Shoes will outperform any over the counter brake shoes 2 to 1. MCB Matrix Ceramic Brake Shoes are less detrimental to the drums, require less pedal effort and less fade giving a more positive braking result in shorter stopping distances. For maximum performance and stopping power, order both front & rear. Stage-I is a direct replacement and is sold per axle set (2 wheels).
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:16 AM   #5
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There was a hot rod magazine article written back in the 60's about Buick aluminum finned drum brakes on a 55 Chevy. 2.5" wide 12" diameter. If that don't stop a trifive I don't know what will.
I'll see if I can find the article.
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:20 AM   #6
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Dragsix was trying out some new shoes, he`ll report back once his had a chance to test them.

I too have 4 X drum if you adjust them I find I have good brake pedal, just a pain to keep them adjusted.
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:42 AM   #7
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Yep, I am in the middle of installing the Musclecar brake shoes as we speak. The normal organic pads I had on the car (new out of the box Bendix) were not stopping the car all that well. I chalked this up to the lack of asbestos in the shoe material. I almost put on a used set of shoes I have from the late 70's/early 80s that are GM shoes a friend took off his car when he swapped to discs oh so many years ago. Then a couple of the fellas here suggested the Muscle Car brakes. I called them on the phone and spoke to the boss (Don) who was apparently a former head engineer for Raybestos brakes. He told me that his cermaic matrix shoes will make a big difference, as long as you break them in properly. 30 mid pressure stops, couple of minutes cool down, and 200 miles or so of driving to get them properly seated but that they would get better and better as the break in progressed.

Rears are done, pass side front is done. Still need to do the driver's side (if I can get a clear weekend), bleed the brakes and start the brake in process.
Here is what I can tell you from just the install, just running my hand over the brake material you can feel the difference in the material, aggressive is one way I could describe it. So I have high hopes.

Also trying to change over to a dual master this year in time for the Nationals in August (going kicking and screaming out of my single master set ups that I have run on the car for the 40 years that I have owned it) but my boys want to drive the car so while I myself am comfortable with the single, I am not comfortable with them driving it that way. See my thread "Dual Master Conversion" in the stock section as I am sorting out master cylinders, distribution blocks and residual pressure valves to make the set up work at its best. I will likely test out the brakes on the single just to get the process started and hopefully time will allow me to finish up the dual master changeover in time. I will post back as to what I think about the Muscle Car brakes once I have a chance to drive a bit on them.

Mike
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:03 AM   #8
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My thoughts on drum brakes your mileage my vary.

If the wheels will not lock up @ 40 mph the brake system needs service.

Brake hoses: Rubber products deteriorate over time = install new hoses.
Braided stainless steel brake hoses are worth the $$

Wheel cylinders: Rebuild them, if any pitting in the bores that will not clean
up by honing replace them.

Backing plates: Brake shoes slide on the backing plates & will wear grooves
in them. If the plates have grooves remove the plates,
lay them on a flat surface to insure they are not bent.
If ok weld the worn areas & grind the welds smooth.

Brake drums: They wear out. They need to be machined (cut) to insure
that they run true. They wear out out round and/or
bell shaped + they get hard spots in them.
If more than .060 oversize replace the drum.

Brake shoes: 40K + mileage brake shoes are hard & lack good initial
bite. Cheap shoes have a softer compound & have good
initial bite. If you live in the mountains, tow a trailer etc
consider metallic shoes.

Shoe to drum
fitment: This is important!!! The shoes must fit the drum radius.
Lay the shoes in the drums If they rock end to end they
need to be arched to the drums. It takes many thousands of
miles for shoes to “wear in” to fit the drums in the
meantime stopping distance is compromised.

Brake springs: They get weak over time = old springs need to be replaced.

Brake fluid: Standard brake fluid collects moisture. You stock Tri-5
master cylinder has a vent hole in the cap = the system
is open to the atmosphere. Suggest synthetic brake fluid
such as Valvoline 3-4. Suggest avoiding silicone brake fluid.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:06 AM   #9
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Dragsix, did you buy the kit with new wheel cylinders also? They are larger to give more pressure to the shoes. But the one drawback, and I don't know how noticeable it will be, is increased pedal travel. I'm not interested in doing the swap, just curious how it works out.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:18 AM   #10
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The phrases "drum brakes" and "high performance" shouldn't be used in the same sentence. Just sayin'.....
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