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Technical Drum brakes,,, need advice please

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by deadbeat, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. deadbeat
    Joined: May 3, 2006
    Posts: 482


    Hi Fellas.
    When my wife goes for a drive in her 63 Thunderbird the front left wheel almost locks up. It will pull hard to the left etc. It will only do it once and after she rides the brakes for a few hundred feet they seem to go back to normal. I have re adjusted them many times only to have it still do it. I did a complete brake rebuild a while back and although it doesn't get driven much it does this I would have thought they would have settled down. New shoes were radiused to the drums, new wheel cylinders etc.
    I will pull them down again and have a look inside but before I do is there anything that I should be aware of or look out for? I searched many threads on drum brakes, especially Hotrodprimer thread on his brakes but no info resembling this issue. I'm frightened it will cause her to lose control when summer comes around.
    Thank you in advanced for any info, cheers
  2. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,603

    from Quincy, IL

    Even though you have installed new brake wheel cylinders, I would suspect fluid leakage.

  3. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,859

    from Alabama

    Grooves in the backing plate is the first place to look. Light grooves can be filed flat. Deep grooves need to be welded and ground flat.
    The rubber hoses could be culprit.
    Check the brake hardware.

    The right side may be the problem. Consider that too.
    When you get both wheels up, check adjustment.
    deadbeat likes this.
  4. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,457

    V8 Bob

    Are the shoes properly installed-short linings to the front?
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  5. deadbeat
    Joined: May 3, 2006
    Posts: 482


    Thanks guys I will check all of the above on the weekend. I welded up the grooves years ago and filed flat, but didn't really have a good look last time I did the brakes, so thanks for jogging my memory. In regards to the hoses I will check for softness etc? I will also check wheel cylinders and anything else (shoes) etc. Cheers and will update this weekend.
  6. Don't even fart around with the hoses, if you got no clue how old they are, change them. Possible as mentioned the shoes are hung up on the backing plate.

    One of the last checks I do before putting the drums on is to rock the shoes to and fro to make sure they are free. Pull on the star wheel as well just to make sure the shoes aren't hung up on something else. Make sure they are on the anchor up top.

    Other things that cause a pull are shoes on backwards (usually on 1 side), brake fluid or grease on the shoes. Always replace the springs, they are really cheap.
    deadbeat and Truckdoctor Andy like this.
  7. Look at the actual lining on both sides and make sure they are all 4 made out of the same product. I had a customer do his own brake job and had no idea there were different kinds of linings. He did notice 2 of the shoes seemed to have some what he described as brass chips in them. He thought it strange but just paired up the ones that looked alike on each side. Big mistake. Once installing all 4 new matching shoes there was no more Brake Steer.
    deadbeat likes this.
  8. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,567



    When we first got the second 40 Ford Sedan Delivery, I drove it home and it ran fine, the road handling was really good and nothing happened until the following week. Driving down a city street, I had to step on the brakes a little hard. The car tended to go to the left for no reason. Then a few blocks down, it did it again. of course, I checked everything possible on this new purchase.
    The topper was that my wife liked driving the 327 powered 40 sedan delivery, but when it did the same thing to her, she drove the red 65 El Camino until I could get the problem fixed.

    My brother came up with many diagnostic solutions, but with me doing the work checking the pads, cables, hoses. drums, pedal feel,etc, everything looked fine. But, in the back of my mind, it was a “used” car when we bought it. So, I took it to an alignment/brake shop that had the best technician in So Cal at the time. I needed an alignment anyway so, he disassembled everything and came up with the following:

    The drums needed truing, not obvious to the naked eye, the pads needed adjusting and replaced the ones I bought with what he said were better shoes. Then he checked the whole system for leaks and found a minor one in the back. But, he said that would not be the cause. He replaced the master cylinder, put on new lines, checked for leaks or proper fitting of the connections, added new wheel cylinders, and adjusted the brake pedal distance to the floor when engaged.

    Once he did all of the new brake parts, checked and double checked everything, he balanced the wheels on the car and aligned the front end. (He also put on new shocks, too.) When I picked up the car later, the sedan delivery drove like it was on rails, handled so much better than when we bought it. When I put on the brakes, no noise and instant stopping power, straight ahead. I went for a longer test drive and there was no swerving or pulling to the left or right. (Just straight ahead driving and stopping.)


    Did the cost justify the problem? Yes, as it needed to get done, our time was valuable, since it was not just an afternoon fix it job. My friend was an expert brake, alignment, balancing guy and he knew his stuff. The original flathead, 1940 sedan delivery during the teenage years and the 58 Impala, and the 65 red El Camino, all got his treatment when he was in his LA shop. When he did our 2nd sedan delivery with the brake pulling oddity, he had moved to the OC and was a lot closer to our house.

    Sometimes, there is an expert that needs to be brought in for the final solution, instead of fiddling around, too. Oh, by the way, it may not have anything to do with the brake problem, but he had our tires trued and it made them “round.” (Tires aren’t round?) Watching the truing made a believer out of me, despite all of the rubber shavings on the floor. Round tires are a misnomer.

    Our guy is retired, now and someone else has taken over his old business. But, in every city, there is someone with a fantastic tire/brake shop that has a technician that just does excellent work. Ask around in your neighborhood.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    deadbeat and Hnstray like this.

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