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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,
I want to consider opinions on drum brakes vs. disc brakes. Personally I can't see any reason for going to disc brakes if you can balance your front wheels using drums. It isn't like we have ABS systems on our older Galaxie's. I figured if I can lock the front wheels up with drum brakes how much farther than that can you go. Jim
 

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+1.

David

PS: You're not racing or towing or anything weird, right?
 

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From my experience the down side to drums are heat fade, pulling to one side or the other, water wash out and pre-mature lock up.
If none of these are a problem, don’t change.
 

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on my 64 comet,doing the granada swap, with brand new parts except the spindles, IMO was the top two or three mods ever. Nothin like a smooth straight fast stop from 90 mph.Still its a personal decision if you like em keep em.
 

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If its a daily driver get the discs.
 

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Guys,
I want to consider opinions on drum brakes vs. disc brakes. Personally I can't see any reason for going to disc brakes if you can balance your front wheels using drums. It isn't like we have ABS systems on our older Galaxie's. I figured if I can lock the front wheels up with drum brakes how much farther than that can you go. Jim
Huh?

Sounds like someone who doesn't drive much, or very hard.

Drums have several deficiencies:


  • Difficulty of modulation/tendency to lock up (self-servoing drums)
  • Heat rejection/fade/warping tendency
  • Grabbing/pulling/inconsistent behavior (and inconsistent self-adjusting)
  • Poor wet-weather/puddle performance
  • They're just nasty to work on
The first point is not a problem with drum brakes generally, there are a few (very few) drum designs that use a two-trailing-shoe layout that are (on paper at least) as progressive and linear as drums. But most typical drum designs are designed to 'self-servo' - that is, the rotation of the drum tends to make one or both shoes 'wrap up' against the drum. This was intended to be a feature (reduces pedal effort in manual brake systems) but it's really a bug (it makes braking force non-linear and prone to wheel lock.)

Drums retain heat more than discs. You can get lining materials that are quite fade-resistant, but the drums themselves will tend to 'bell' (expand more at the open side than the closed side) and warp more than is typical with rotors, which leads to yet a different flavor of inconsistency.

Further, almost all disc systems are 'self-adjusting' in that the pistons move outward as the pads wear, and it's normal rotor runout that establishes pad-to-rotor clearance in operation. Drum shoes are mechanically retracted, and must be adjusted to maintain proper clearance to the drums. Mechanical self-adjusters that use a cable and pawl to 'automatically' adjust the brakes tend to behave inconsistently. If you get rid of the self-adjusters then you're in there adjusting the brakes every 2K miles if you want consistent behavior.

Because of their 'closed' nature a drum may be somewhat more resistant to, say, mud and dust than a disc, but if you get enough standing water or water spray in the drum to affect braking it's also very difficult for it to get out; you may experience a 2-3 second 'WTF???' upon attempting to brake.

And finally, working on drums - and all the springs, clips, retainers, and lining dust associated with them - is just nasty.

So...sure, if you care about originality keep the drums. And I have to admit that the drums on my '64 were never as bad as the drums on Falcon/Mustang-chassis '60s Ford product I'd owned and driven.

But otherwise, on a driver they're the first thing I'd get rid of. The only vehicle I've ever owned on which four-wheel drum brakes were not a serious limitation was an old VW Beetle (fairly light vehicle and heavy rear weight bias) which worked pretty well, though they were still not as consistent in the wet as I'd have liked.
 

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Disc brake is one of the best upgrades I have ever done. As stated by others, no fade or pulling and they stop! After my first high speed panic stop to avoid a collision with a blind driver, I knew it was the right way to go. If this upgrade is in your budget I say, do it. If it's not in your budget, get it in it as soon as possible. In my experience locking the front brakes is a recipe for disaster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys, I'd forgotten the directional pull with the 57 Fairlane I had during sudden braking. I changed to disc brakes on it because I couldn't get the wheels balanced at high speed. That was back in 2005 and it took the wheel pull out of it like you said. I'd completely forgot about getting excited during sudden stops back then.
The brakes on the 63 Galaxie don't pull during sudden stops and the drums are new which might be why the wheel balance is good. I think I'll wait to the end of the summer to see if another @4000 miles might change my mind.
I don't plan on going back to 14" wheels on the Galaxie anyway. I'm making a list for what I plan to change on the Galaxie this fall. So far I've got cam ICL and cast headers, disc brakes if need be. Jim PS Something else I remember now was the adjustment on the rear drum brakes on that 57 had a big influence in the directional pull on the front during sudden stops. After I put disc brakes on the front I've never had to play with the adjustment on the back. I've never had front brake directional pull since. But, I put a dual master cylinder and porportional valve on it when I put discs on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Huh?

Sounds like someone who doesn't drive much, or very hard.

Drums have several deficiencies:


  • Difficulty of modulation/tendency to lock up (self-servoing drums)
  • Heat rejection/fade/warping tendency
  • Grabbing/pulling/inconsistent behavior (and inconsistent self-adjusting)
  • Poor wet-weather/puddle performance
  • They're just nasty to work on
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JEM,
It does sound like I've got a trailor queen doesn't it. You ought to sell Disc Brakes. I was thinking of the $1100 dollars I had in the conversion of the 57. But I had to buy power brake booster, dual master cylinder, porportional valve and the disc brakes. And then after I was done I found out my wheels didn't fit over them. It did make a whole new car out of it. You gave a very good post on disc brakes. Since the newest car I own is a 63 Galaxie, I'll plan the swap. Wish I'd done it sooner now, wasn't thinking. Jim
 

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I did the ebay power disc conversion on my 61 and it works great. Not racing spec but hauls the big Gal down from speed very well. Well worth it in my opinion.
Mike
 
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