You should install new drums instead

January 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


This pertains to Michael Sporrer’s problem about brakes pulling left or right (September Mechanic on Duty). I had the same problem on my 1961 Studebaker Hawk. The drums were well oversized and the standard size brake shoes would rock in the drums. The parts store quit handling oversize brake shoes so I used the standard size, which made the brakes pull to one side or the other when they were applied.

I drove the car like that until I read in the service manual that when you turn the drums you need oversize linings and the linings need to be re-arched to match the drums. I found a brake and clutch place that does brakes for big rig trucks and they fixed my problem.


My only objection to using oversize shoes and re-arching brake linings to match drums that have been machined considerably larger is that brake performance and, in some instances, safety, may at times be compromised beyond the point that I’m comfortable with.

Passenger car drums (as opposed to heavy truck and other commercial vehicle drums) that have been machined to the point that oversize linings are required are usually thinner than they

should be to effectively handle the heat that braking generates and are more susceptible to cracks and warping.

Whenever it’s possible to install new or good used drums instead of ones that are excessively machined that is what you should do.