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Technical Anyone Ever Swap Disc Brakes To Drums?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Flat Six Fix, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. Flat Six Fix
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,236

    Flat Six Fix

    Hey all,
    So many in the name of safety, ease of parts and maintenance swap out drum brakes to discs.
    Have any of you swapped back to drum brakes?
    What reasons would you swap back to drums, period correct, dont like or cant get disc brakes to work well or any other reasons?
    I know someone who did just this on a vintage truck and found it unusual.
    Joined: Oct 12, 2019
    Posts: 244


    I'm in the process of swapping out some Versailles rear disc for drums mainly for looks and the lighter pedal effort.
  3. 210superair
    Joined: Jun 23, 2020
    Posts: 614

    from Michigan

    I also find it unusual, but not surprising. Lots of guys like um as close to factory as possible. I had an ot 68 c10 all drums bitd, and it stopped pretty good. Not as much control as discs, but it worked fine. I generally drive specialty cars extremely defensively. I only had to stomp on my drums once to attempt to avoid a Collison, which I did. The drums locked up and the pickup went 180 on me, and into a ditch, but it was a way better option than going into the teenage blonde idiot that pulled out in front of me. She didn't stop or anything, took off. Luckily I drove the truck right out and home, no damage. I was amazed.
  4. uncleandy 65
    Joined: Jan 14, 2013
    Posts: 3,319

    uncleandy 65

    Not unless you have a death wish.
    hemihotrod66 likes this.

  5. Flat Six Fix
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,236

    Flat Six Fix

    I take it you prefer disc...
    Not sure I totally agree. Lots of depends on the topic I suppose.
  6. Flat Six Fix
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,236

    Flat Six Fix

    Yes pickup light assend and spin out. Or front and rear drums not balanced as they should be.
  7. "A death wish"... Thats funny stuff
  8. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,254

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    A lot of racers did this in the later 60's, early 70's. In the early days of the "big three", new disc brake era, the pistons were not very good at retracting back into the piston bore. With the pistons keeping the pads with light pressure on the rotors, the tires weren't able to spin freely.

    I knew several. both weekend and NHRA class racers removing the disc brakes from their Chevys and putting drum brakes on the front. Since the drum brake were still the most sold as the standard brake assembly, they were easy to come by in the wrecking yards.

    Krash Vegas and Flat Six Fix like this.
  9. I swapped discs to drums a lot when I was in Mexico. We lived in the rain forest so lots of off roading and mud and crap. The drums lasted better and had less problems than the discs. You had to remember to touch the brakes for a minute when you came out of a mud hole or river to dry them out.
    X-cpe, VANDENPLAS, adam401 and 2 others like this.
  10. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,409


    Death wish haha. Im more of a badass than I thought. Awesome bro
  11. I could understand on a fender less car where you can see the brakes and your going for a more traditional look.
    Or taking off a disc set up that’s inferior or parts are hard to get or obsolete.
    A car that was street rodded at some point and your restoring it

    if your driving something where the brakes are hidden, parts are easy to get and it stops good, then I don’t see the point.​
    Mopar Tony likes this.
  12. We're tough. I started driving cars (legally driving) with drum brakes in 1968. Somehow I am still alive. Oh My.

    Oh My.gif
  13. In the early days of disc brakes on grocery getters mother MOPAR normally sold big block cars (the dart sport being an exception) with drum brakes.

    I probably would not change the discs on the wife's 05 silverado, but my 84 Silverado had 12" drums on all 4 corners. My '84 was a purpose built vehicle. I think the option of brakes is there and you have to think of many things when you are building, not just looks.

    Here is an odd thought and more information than I should divulge. I have a close friend that I have raced with for almost 20 years. he has an AD truck for a daily driver that has 4 wheel discs. He also has a low 10 second street strip 27 T roadster that has 4 wheel drums. Just an odd thought. has very l;ittle to do with the thread but now its in your head and out of mine. Thank you very much. o_O:D:D
    hotrodjack33 likes this.
  14. oldtom69
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 532

    from grandin nd

    was done on drag cars[pre trans brake]discs would not hold the car on the line against the converter-the self-energizing action of the drums would hold better,Had to do it on a front engine dragster with only rear brakes-too many red lights
  15. TCATTC
    Joined: Oct 12, 2019
    Posts: 244


    I guess no one was safe until the late sixties then
    Flat Six Fix and Tman like this.
  16. I used to cut the floor boards out so I could put my feet down. :D
  17. On any early hotrod I would ONLY run drums. Even on my old 54 Chevy the drums worked fine here in our extremly steep terrain
    3banjos likes this.
  18. Flat Six Fix
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,236

    Flat Six Fix

    You know it Barn, oh oh sorry I mean
  19. TA DAD
    Joined: Mar 2, 2014
    Posts: 319

    TA DAD
    from NC

    As mentioned it was pretty common on drag cars. Plus on the early Chrysler stuff with a 4 inch bolt pattern you could put a Ford drum on it and get the 4.5 inch pattern. I done a couple decades ago.
  20. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,247


    I pulled the rear discs from my avatar T and replaced them with drums. Looked better and gave me an excellent working hand brake setup. The change was made along with other upgrades that improved overall brake performance of the car. Even with the "advantage?" of 4 wheel discs she was far from a happy stopper its hard to judge that particular change when several items were worked on during the refit. The end result was a win though.
    guthriesmith and Flat Six Fix like this.
  21. no55mad
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 1,870


    When in the USAF in the early 70's (when several towns in Calif had drag strips), the early Camaro factory discs were heavier than drum brakes so drag strip drivers were swapping to drums. Funny how builders upgrade Mdl A's with 40 brakes, 40 Ford builders upgrade with F1 or F100 brakes or Lincoln self energizing brakes or really go hi-tech with finned aluminum Buick drum brakes.
    inaford30 and Flat Six Fix like this.
  22. After finding out how quickly I wore out a set of rear pads on my new daily, I am about ready to convert it back to the original drums. I have never had on older car with more than front disk brakes and am pretty sure that is good enough. I see no reason for disks on the rear.
    Hackerbilt and Flat Six Fix like this.
  23. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 2,872


    In the process of taking my '28 highboy roadster back to the 1963-65 period the crappy disc brake conversion is being replaced with early Ford drums. I also replaced the small block Chevy/TH350 with a 324 Olds/4spd Hydro, and the Chevelle rear end with a narrowed '60 Olds. Call me crazy but I'm thinkin' it will be a better car for the changes.
  24. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,508


    I looked at this one with serious thoughts of buying it a few years ago and one of the deciding factors against buying it was that I would have to swap out front brakes to have the right look. The second is that the car was owned and painted by a local legend of a painter in the 70's and the car was so connected to him that some people would have a fit if you changed it.

    Like several others I knew serious stock class racers who swapped out disk for drum brakes on their early 70's cars because of weight and drag but mostly pad drag on the rotors. It wasn't the best idea if you were racing at Temple Acadamy aka Little River in Central Texas then though. Brake fade after making three passes in a row and going part way out the gate before it would stop wasn't the greatest excitement one wanted.
    210superair and Flat Six Fix like this.
  25. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 592


    My uncle's 1969 Z/28 was an ex-drag car; when he bought it, someone had swapped out the discs for drums, probably for that very reason.

    On the other hand, my Dad used to have a 1967 Pontiac Catalina that had manual drum brakes, and he used to haul a camper with it. Never had any problems with stopping it that I can recall.
  26. long island vic
    Joined: Feb 26, 2002
    Posts: 2,191

    long island vic

    It's ok as long as the car in front of you has drums also
    Chili Phil, uncleandy 65 and Blues4U like this.
  27. Flat Six Fix
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,236

    Flat Six Fix

    You mean in the "drum lane" don't yah?
  28. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 311


    Maybe we all need to back to mechanical brakes....Oh and on the rear only like the T model....Discs work better and have less parts....The only reason I didn't use them on the rear of my car was the expense and I already had the rear brake setup...
  29. Flynn's_57
    Joined: May 10, 2002
    Posts: 924

    from Nor*Cal

    Since disc brakes work so good why not upgrade with ones from a semi-truck?
    Joined: Feb 16, 2016
    Posts: 87


    Because you would need an air compressor on board........
    210superair and Flat Six Fix like this.

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