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 Consistently bad new brake drums.

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Posts : 21
Join date : 2010-06-29

PostSubject: Consistently bad new brake drums.   Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:22 am

FYI, I have found out the hard and expensive way that new brake drums for our cars can no longer be trusted arrive balanced. I rebuilt my rearend over a month ago. While I had it out I decided to replace all of the drum hardware, cylinders, drums and hoses. After putting it all together I had a pretty good thumping problem at about 50 MPH and up. I've now spent a month tracking it down.

First thought was "F***, WTH did I do wrong with the rebuild. But before going and redoing that job I systematically checked what it seemed like. I got my wheels rebalanced first. I pulled the driveshaft, reinspected the ujoints and reinstalled it 180 degrees from where it was. I checked and rechecked the brakes and adjustments. Each time I went for a road test and it reliably thumped pretty good. I then bought a set of Centramatic balancers. Things improved noticeably with the balancers but it still was not right. I figured that the out of balance condition might be more than the light weight Centramatics could fix. I then bought new brake drums and now the thumping vibration about 90% gone. The car goes 85 without feeling like it's going to fall apart and at times it's nearly perfectly smooth. At this point I think the new drums are really close to what the centramatics can balance out.

Moral of the story... Currently you can't rely on the drum manufacturers to sell you balanced drums for our wagons.

The first set of drums that I got were Aimco brand from Rockauto. They were on closeout. Aimco is owned by Raybestos and they even use the same product pictures as the Raybestos ones. I noticed that there are no balancing weights welded onto the drum and no areas ground away. Do they cast them that perfectly now?

For the second set, I didn't want to gamble on the Raybestos branded ones and possibly just pay a premium for another set of identical bad drums. I ended up getting Bendix branded ones from Amazon. It's funny that their picture shows a drum from when they were still made in Canada and it has a balancing weight welded on the face of it. I received new stock, which as I expected, is made in China like the AIMCO ones. I think they come from a different plant than the Aimco though as the sand casting is coarser and it actually has "China" cast in the face. These Bendix ones also lack any balance weights or any area ground off. I seriously wonder if any balance test is even done. The boxes that the Bendix ones come in appear to be really generic low grade foreign cardboard with a bendix part label added on one edge.

Unfortunately I had already recycled my old drums which I now believe were of much higher quality than these new ones. They probably had plenty of life left but I thought I was doing things right by starting with new stuff.

So after going through all of this, and it still not being 100% right, I'll be converting to rear disks in the near future. I can say that if you have to replace your drums, don't expect them to be balanced. Be prepared to try many drums before you find ones that are acceptable or be ready to balance them yourself.
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Fred Kiehl


Posts : 4889
Join date : 2009-11-13
Age : 70
Location : Largo, FL 33774

PostSubject: Re: Consistently bad new brake drums.   Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:01 am

I will be collecting a few spares from the local junk yards. I will look for the ones that have balance weights, and do not have much wear, or are on lower mileage cars.
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Posts : 1149
Join date : 2011-01-24
Age : 35
Location : CFB Bagotville, QC.

PostSubject: Re: Consistently bad new brake drums.   Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:25 am

Several years ago, when I found out Wagner was moving production to Asia, I picked up a few drums made in North America that were still lying on the local parts store shelves. I have never had to change the actual drum yet.
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Posts : 3138
Join date : 2013-02-20
Age : 49
Location : Marion,NC

PostSubject: Re: Consistently bad new brake drums.   Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:28 am

Just throwing this out there,arent the Astro/Safari drums an option for us as well?
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Fred Kiehl


Posts : 4889
Join date : 2009-11-13
Age : 70
Location : Largo, FL 33774

PostSubject: Re: Consistently bad new brake drums.   Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:49 am

If the Astro/Safari drums are the same, you will get the same part from the dealer.

Did anyone check for OEM availability?
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Posts : 1491
Join date : 2010-04-24
Age : 50
Location : phila. pa

PostSubject: Re: Consistently bad new brake drums.   Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:39 pm

astro drums are smaller 9'' i believe. they will actually fit inside the wagon drums
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Rev Bob

Posts : 237
Join date : 2016-05-24

PostSubject: Re: Consistently bad new brake drums.   Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:06 am

""Did anyone check for OEM availability?""

PN 1244646. Still listed as available, but limited quantity. Should be around $100 each.
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andy caprice

Posts : 48
Join date : 2013-04-23
Location : Finland

PostSubject: Re: Consistently bad new brake drums.   Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:01 am

Damn... I have another drum out of round, and have been considering new ones.
I guess I have to add the balancing job to the cost.

I'm interested in the centramatics.
Did they fit without spacers? Do you have stock steel wheels? What's the outside diameter of them roughly?
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Consistently bad new brake drums.
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