Impalas.net banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Brakes pull to one side

Hello... I have a 67 Impala, 4dr, ht, with 4 wheel drum brakes. I've had no issues with braking so don't care much to spend the extra cash in swapping to disc. Anyway, about 3,000 miles ago I had all my brake shoes swapped by an independent mechanic shop; just last week I noticed my car pulling to the left when I brake so I took it in to the local suspension shop. They found out that my brake shoes were put on backwards (the big shoe was on the front, and small shoe was on the back). Both front wheel shoes were cracked so I had to replace those, and the rear were fine so we just swapped the bigger shoe to the back and smaller to the front. The brake shop told me the left front drum has hot spots, however they said it doesn't look too bad so they're gonna put it back on and I should be fine (not sure why, but they said they'll put the drum on the right front side this time). They also said put some miles on the car and come back so they can re-adjust the brakes after I've driven around a bit (he mentioned I have self adjusters but he doesn't like relying on those much). I drove around and the car braked fine (no more pulling to the left), but about 5 miles into driving I noticed the car pulling to the right when braking.

My questions:

Would this drum cause my car to pull to one side when braking?
if so...
Can I have it re-surfaced, or do I need to replace it?
if replaced...
Do I need to replace all 4 or can I just replace the one with hot spots?

Could this just be a simple brake adjustment issue, which is why they told me to drive around for a few weeks and then come back so they can re-adjust the brakes?

I know there are other factors but they checked for leaky cylinders yesterday, and I checked again after the problem occurred as well... didn't find any.

Is it really a problem to have the bigger brake shoe in the front, and smaller in the back, along with the cracked brake shoe? Or should I have just left things as they are and not wasted my money?

I'm going to call them this morning when they open so thought I'd get more info before doing so.

Thanks!

Just a few more questions:

Could driving with this issue cause any damage to my car other than just being kind of annoying?

Could it mess up my alignment or any other components?

It feels like anytime I take my ride anywhere to get anything done I always have issues! Only time things work out good is if I get the time to do them on my own. Can't trust nobody with your ride these days!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,079 Posts
My questions:

Would this drum cause my car to pull to one side when braking?

Yes it could cause your problem. The most common cause of a car pulling to one side or the other on braking is improper front end alignment. You have verified that is not the problem.

if so...
Can I have it re-surfaced, or do I need to replace it?

That depends upon inside diameter of the drum as measured by a micrometer. The minimum size is cast into the drum. This is to prevent the drum cracking from brake heating the cast iron up on stopping. If it can be safely turned to remove the hot spots then that is your first course of action.

if replaced...
Do I need to replace all 4 or can I just replace the one with hot spots?

You can replace one drum at a time with no ill effects on your car's braking performance. I caution against buying cheap "Off Shore" brake parts. In terms of drums from China they have little to no native Iron ore and depend upon scrap iron to make things and because the scarp iron has contaminates in it (Copper and other trace elements). The other problem is master cylinders and wheel cylinders from India and Pakistan that use scrapped ocean going ships for their iron. Besides the contaminates the internal parts are suspect and generally fail prematurely (I have had them leak during the bleeding of the brakes).

My customer never had a problem because I sent the Cheap Parts the customer wanted back and bought the more expensive American made Bendix parts at my expense. this is because I wouldn't put something that would kill them on a car for twenty dollars difference in parts price.

Could this just be a simple brake adjustment issue, which is why they told me to drive around for a few weeks and then come back so they can re-adjust the brakes?

The self adjusting brake mechanism works if you know how to use it. It is designed to tighten the brake upon applying the brake as you back up. So to adjust the brakes you have to back up and tap the brakes to get them to work. Most don't back up far enough to give the mechanism chance to work.

Is it really a problem to have the bigger brake shoe in the front, and smaller in the back, ...

Drum brakes are self actuating, that means they will lock up with very little line pressure. The desire of the brakes to lock up is so strong that the springs that pull the shoe off the drum is very strong (which you would know if you ever tried to install the retracting spring without the proper tool). When reversed they are no longer self actuating and you have to apply more effort to stop the car.

... along with the cracked brake shoe?

A cracked shoe implies to me inferior materials. I will wager that is an off shore product from India or Malaysia. I prefer riveted linings over the newer bonded shoes that are held in place with epoxy glue.

Just a few more questions:

Could driving with this issue cause any damage to my car other than just being kind of annoying?

You could wrap it around a power pole, but the drums would survive as they are harder at the hot spot than the drum shoe lining.

Could it mess up my alignment or any other components?

No not likely.

It feels like anytime I take my ride anywhere to get anything done I always have issues! Only time things work out good is if I get the time to do them on my own. Can't trust nobody with your ride these days!

A lot of your problem is caused by lack of experience. Putting the shoes on backwards is inexcusable. As there are many cars on the road today with rear wheel drum brakes.

Today's ASE certified mechanics depend upon a computer to tell them what part to replace. When the computer doesn't tell them they have to rely upon personal experience. In that regard an older mechanic is going to be the better mechanic as he will have more on the job experience (this assumes that he wasn't a white collar worker who had to become a mechanic after being forced out of the work place by his age).
A hot spot is caused by a panic stop normally. In your case it was probably caused by the shoes being on backwards which requires more pedal effort which forces the smaller brake pad to work harder creating more localized heat. A hot spot is a area of the drum that has gotten hot enough to melt the cast iron. It is evident by the bluing around the hardened iron.

Big Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
A hot spot is caused by a panic stop normally. In your case it was probably caused by the shoes being on backwards which requires more pedal effort which forces the smaller brake pad to work harder creating more localized heat. A hot spot is a area of the drum that has gotten hot enough to melt the cast iron. It is evident by the bluing around the hardened iron.

Big Dave
Dave, thanks a lot for all that info, it really helped out! So today I took my ride back to the shop that put on the brake shoes and had them replace the drum that was bad. I drove off and had no problems braking, however after driving a few miles I noticed the car still pulls to the right just a little (not as much as it did with the bad drum). If I don't brake too hard it doesn't pull, however if I need to brake like I normally do (normal daily driving braking) I notice it pulls to the right a bit. Funny this is, as you mentioned, this all started happening right after I got my car aligned (same place I got the brakes).

I've tried reversing and tapping the brakes a few times today but didn't have much luck.

Now I brought it up to the alignment specialist that the car started pulling as soon as I finished getting it aligned but they said alignment would have nothing to do with that (I knew they would say that, but it's my car and I drive it every day so I can tell if something is different). The guy who test drove my car today after the brake job said the alignment seems fine. I'm kinda in a bind cuz I don't know how to align a car, plus it's my word over theirs; I'm gonna try calling them again tomorrow and work something out.

Please let me know if you can think of anything else, or maybe some verbiage I could tell the alignment shop to get them to re-alignment the car (or atleast look into it).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,915 Posts
Front drum brakes are notorious for pulling to one side or another. Make sure your front suspension is in good shape. Worn bushings and steering components will cause a pull to one side or another. Also when adjusting front brakes, the side that's pulling may need backed off a little or the other side tightened up some. It takes a while to get it where its acceptable. Make sure the drums are round, even new ones can be out of round and need turned.
As Dave said about mechanics and what I have found is a lot of the younger mechanics know very little about our older cars unless they own one. Most cant do a alignment on a 67 Chevy because there spec sheets don't go that far back and they have never done one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Front drum brakes are notorious for pulling to one side or another. Make sure your front suspension is in good shape. Worn bushings and steering components will cause a pull to one side or another. Also when adjusting front brakes, the side that's pulling may need backed off a little or the other side tightened up some. It takes a while to get it where its acceptable. Make sure the drums are round, even new ones can be out of round and need turned.
As Dave said about mechanics and what I have found is a lot of the younger mechanics know very little about our older cars unless they own one. Most cant do a alignment on a 67 Chevy because there spec sheets don't go that far back and they have never done one.
Hmmm... the guy who did the brakes turned all the drums (the new one I provided, as well as the 3 that were already on there) prior to putting them back on so we can cross that off the list of problems. You may have a point about the suspension; I had the suspension shop check out the suspension and they said all the components look fine, they even greased everything up. I have a squeaky noise coming from the front passenger side coil spring (or at least the suspension shop and myself think it's coming from the coil spring after playing with it for some time). They said it's all safe to drive, however they did notice that the passenger side of the car sits just a small bit lower than the drivers side. I believe this is because the coil springs are old (possibly the originals). The rear passenger side has been sitting lower than the rear driver's side for quite some time now (I installed air shocks in the back to give it a bit more support) - I plan on changing out all 4 coil springs soon but for now don't want to spend money on buying new ones.

After trying what Dave said a few more times - reversing and tapping the brake - I think it may have adjusted a bit more (or maybe it's just in my head haha..). Either way, I think it's at a more acceptable place now - especially given the fact that it's an old car and playing with it may do more damage than accepting that it just ain't gonna run like my newer mustang.

Thanks for the info!

FYI about the alignment: 99.9% of the shops here can't align my car, however this particular one does manual alignments without a computer system - they have older cars there all the time. Even if I wanted to try another shop I couldn't, cuz this is the only one that does it for my year.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,079 Posts
If you take the alignment specs published in the Chassis Service manual, or the Fisher Body Repair manual for your year car to any front end shop they can align the car so long as their equipment can attach to a fourteen inch rim.

They have an octogenarian still working the front end alignment machine at my Tire Rack DOT com distributor (called Tire Kingdom where I live). He only works three days a week, but he can get a perfect alignment using forty year old Bear equipment provided all of the suspension parts have little wear on them so that they are tight. He knows all of the alignment specs for Chevy and Ford cars so he rarely goes to the paper manual he has on top of his tool chest.

Inside the Assembly manual is a set of dimensions that allow you to align the front end with a tape measure and a couple of long (need reach across in front of and behind the front tires, as well as a third straight edge to span the height of the tire) straight edges. They do not put cars on an alignment machine when building them they used fixtures that allow the line technicians to adjust and align the front end quickly with just hand tools.

Big Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
If you take the alignment specs published in the Chassis Service manual, or the Fisher Body Repair manual for your year car to any front end shop they can align the car so long as their equipment can attach to a fourteen inch rim.

They have an octogenarian still working the front end alignment machine at my Tire Rack DOT com distributor (called Tire Kingdom where I live). He only works three days a week, but he can get a perfect alignment using forty year old Bear equipment provided all of the suspension parts have little wear on them so that they are tight. He knows all of the alignment specs for Chevy and Ford cars so he rarely goes to the paper manual he has on top of his tool chest.

Inside the Assembly manual is a set of dimensions that allow you to align the front end with a tape measure and a couple of long (need reach across in front of and behind the front tires, as well as a third straight edge to span the height of the tire) straight edges. They do not put cars on an alignment machine when building them they used fixtures that allow the line technicians to adjust and align the front end quickly with just hand tools.

Big Dave
Thanks, Dave.... Been driving for a few days and looks like the brakes adjusted themselves - I no longer have the issue :)
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top