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Hit the brakes!!

Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
Thanks: 51
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Hit the brakes!!

We were stuck in heavy slow moving road work traffic over the weekend. with both directions affected (near the Black Cat roundabout reshaping on the A1 if you know it)
I was sitting there idly watching the cars going slowly past in the opposite direction <as you do> when I became struck on how many even new cars still have drum brakes fitted to the rear wheels.
Of all nationalities and manufacturers.
Personally I don't recall having a car with drum brakes since a Y (prefix) Fiesta, although a couple of early Sierra's might have done afterwards.
Given that disc brakes:
are more efficient
easier to manufacturer
self adjusting
don't suffer with unreliable self adjusters (especially as they get older)
are better handbrakes
easier to service
and, cheaper to manufacturer
I wonder why car manufacturers still fit drum brakes at all.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
10 REPLIES
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Registered: 14-04-2007

Re: Hit the brakes!!

I was interested to note that my 06 Focus has drum brakes on the rear but discs on the front.
I thought that disc brakes would have been standard fit these days.
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 08-01-2008

Re: Hit the brakes!!

I'm not convinced that disc brakes are cheaper to manufacture - looking at spare parts prices for my own car the rear drums are similarly priced to the disc equivalent from other variants of the same model range, the shoes are similarly priced to disc pads but the wheel cylinder/mechanism is a lot cheaper than a disc brake caliper (I had been looking at the possibility of converting mine from drum to disc).  The fact that manufacturers put drum rear brakes on the cheaper/lower performance versions of many models and discs on the sporty versions suggests that disc brakes are more expensive (they're not going to add unnecessary cost to the cheaper models).
I also don't agree that disc brakes are better for handbrakes - remember the Citroen Xantia several years back that was reported on Watchdog for rolling off sloping driveways and similar because the handbrake worked on the (front) discs and would loose grip as the discs cooled down (made worse by the angled mounting of the handbrake lever, better suited for right-hand drive), I've never knows drums to 'loose grip' when cooling down.
Other than that I do agree that disc brakes are generally better (and shouldn't be more costly).
Call me 'w23'
At any given moment in the universe many things happen. Coincidence is a matter of how close these events are in space, time and relationship.
Opinions expressed in forum posts are those of the poster, others may have different views.
Kremmen
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Registered: 13-04-2013

Re: Hit the brakes!!

Not only the Xantia but a few other makes as well. I had a Xantia but being an auto the 'P' position held it firm. What made me chuckle was the recall fix was that they changed the ratchet so to get the handbrake onto the first notch you needed Rambo's muscles.
My Lexus IS200 had all round discs but the front wheels also had a small drum setup for the handbrake, quite a good solution I thought.
Let's be careful out there !
Community Veteran
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Registered: 23-09-2010

Re: Hit the brakes!!

I had a Fiat many decades ago with discs all round.
Great braking but a terrible handbrake.
I've avoided rear discs ever since.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: Hit the brakes!!

But you still have drum brakes on many cars ,!Even though you have disk brakes on all 4 wheels.
Check how your handbrake works ?
I Did have a VW that had some sort of arrangement where the handbrake worked through some type of lever system to clamp on the disk brake but it was not very efficient and tended to seize up.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 23-09-2010

Re: Hit the brakes!!

Quote from: gleneagles
handbrake worked through some type of lever system to clamp on the disk brake but it was not very efficient

That was the Fiat way.
As a safe alternative I often had to use the handbrick. Smiley
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Hit the brakes!!

Quote from: Kremmen
I had a Xantia but being an auto the 'P' position held it firm.

You should be very wary of that when parking on steep hills, the pin in the auto box to form the parking lock is only in many cases 1/4 inch in diameter, and known to shear off, use the hand break as well. The auto box is in neutral otherwise when in Park.
Well, that was what I was told by an auto box repair specialist anyway.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
PowerLee
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Registered: 12-03-2013

Re: Hit the brakes!!

Xantia handbrake was on the FRONT axle due to the car having Citroens hydropnumatic suspension system fitted.
Front discs contracting as they cooled was the reason for the handbrake recall.
Community Veteran
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Re: Hit the brakes!!

I had a women park her car behind mine on a hill when she went to visit neighbours. We were disturbed by her knocking on our door demand we moved our car because it had rolled (uphill) into hers.  She had a Citroen and could comprehend the concept that she'd not had sufficient brakes applied to prevent her car rolling down on to ours.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
PowerLee
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Registered: 12-03-2013

Re: Hit the brakes!!

I've had car's with rear disc brakes in the past where the handbrake mechanism worked directly on the calliper piston, awful set up & prone to going wrong.
I've also had cars with the rear disc set up with the small drum built in for the parking brake, better handbrake but more maintenance required.
I much prefer a rear drum brake, its not much hassle to whip the drum of once a year, give the brakes a clean out & then grease up the self adjustor.
Rear discs are fine for high performance applications but for run of the mill cars a rear drum would be more then adequate.