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Ranger50 UltimaDork
4/27/20 4:20 p.m.

Yes, old cars suck. Especially when they are broken.

Case in point, I had a no starting 65 Ranch wagon with a simple as E36 M3 289. Previous trip netted a new set of points and condenser. Still no start. New coil this trip, still not starting up. Fight with it some more including pulling out a reproduction shop manual for ideas. Reset the points again and bam it runs. Bastard. Drive it around the circle drive and whoa... What a boat. Bigger tires and probably wrong offset wheels rub the fenders either while it rolls over to the outside while turning or trying to stop on the 4 manual drums! Oi vey.

Which then brings me to the 62 Galaxie with the 650hp big block up front. Shifter doesn't want to go into park worth a crap. The steering has a bind in it that cavatates the pump just past center only going right and only in that one spot. Oh well that's for another day... Don't need funky steering when going straight tho...

Scared both kids with some quick drops just going around the driveway.... laugh

ShawnG UltimaDork
4/27/20 5:01 p.m.

Don't worry, when you're 50+ years old, you'll have issues too.

The points thing was probably from a piece of grit stuck between the points, not letting them close. It's happened to me more times than I care to remember. It stopped when I stopped using sandpaper to clean the points and bought a point file.

bearmtnmartin GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/27/20 5:06 p.m.

My Lr3 caused me to replace a perfectly good fuel pump and crank sensor while chasing what turned out to be a bad connection to one cam sensor which resulted in a random no start with no codes. Made me start to look for a nice old Blazer with HEI and a dummy proof electrical system. Newer certainly does not mean fewer irritating glitches unless you have warranty, which is something I have never had in my personal transport. 

barefootskater SuperDork
4/27/20 5:30 p.m.


Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/27/20 6:03 p.m.

I'm sorry, did you say something? I couldn't hear you over the awesomeness of that wagon. 


Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/27/20 6:14 p.m.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this frustration.

While I understand, I am sure that I'm just one of many here that are distracted from the message by our envy after seeing these cars.

Take it from an old guy. It's almost always the points.

Ranger50 UltimaDork
4/27/20 6:20 p.m.

In reply to Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) :

Picture makes it look good.

Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
4/27/20 6:35 p.m.

My dad had a big old "98" 455, 4-barrels of premium 10mpg gas. Power and torque and 4 wheel drums I hated.  The rear window had a blower that hurt your ears and never cleared it.   

I still like old cars.  

NOT A TA SuperDork
4/27/20 7:39 p.m.

I've had several 4 wheel drum cars. If the brake system was properly designed, and they are well maintained, they work just fine. If they scare you......Sumting wong.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
4/27/20 7:50 p.m.

Well, yes and no on the drums.  I had them on an old CJ.  They worked great when dry.  Now you’d ford a creek or some deep water on the trail, not the kind of wet you get simply driving in the rain, hit the brakes a few minutes later and wham! — a quick dart to the left or right because one side was wetter than the other.  In an old Jeep with no power steering it could be a white knuckle event if you weren’t expecting it.

buzzboy Dork
4/27/20 8:05 p.m.

4 wheel drums were fine on my ACVW after I got them all adjusted right.

4 wheel drums on my Comet were terrifying and I could never get them right. I once had to panic stop(car stopped in road after blind corner) and when I hit the brakes I almost left the road.


NOT A TA SuperDork
4/27/20 8:12 p.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

And after the first time you learned to dry the brakes after crossing rivers. Right?

ShawnG UltimaDork
4/27/20 8:46 p.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

Wrong brake lining.

Molded linings are less tolerant of water than woven linings.

Get those shoes re-lined with old-school riveted, woven lining and the wet braking issue will stop. 

BrianC72gt (Forum Supporter)
BrianC72gt (Forum Supporter) New Reader
4/27/20 8:52 p.m.

I seem to have misplaced my violin.  If  you're bothered, I sure you could swap out the points, condenser and whatnot with an under the cap electronic ignition setup with change from $100.



ShawnG UltimaDork
4/27/20 8:58 p.m.

There's a lot more to drum brake service than stuffing new shoes in and cleaning up the hardware.

Most of the cars I get in at work have had multiple new shoes installed with no improvement, hardly anyone ever looks at the condition of the backing plates.

There are pads on the backing plates that the metal part of the shoes ride on, those pads get notches worn in them from the brake shoes. Over time these notches get deep enough to hang on to the shoe and keep it from moving properly which will case an "incurable" pull.

The fix is to clean out the notches, weld them up and grind them flat again.

Another thing folks don't realise is that the anchor pin on a lot of drum brakes is adjustable. If you look on the inboard side of the backing plate and there is a big nut on the back side of the anchor pin, then the pin is mounted on an eccentric and can be adjusted. Just loosen the nut and rotate the anchor pin with a screwdriver in the slot or a wrench on the flats.

You need to adjust the anchor pin to center the shoes in the drum as close as possible. Some drums have a slot in the outboard edge that will let you slip a feeler gauge in to check the shoe clearance, 0.005 - 0.010 is good. Moving the adjuster and anchor pin to get them as close as possible is the trick. Usually I find that cranking the adjuster out until there is a fair bit of drag, then moving the anchor to remove the drag, then going back to the adjuster and back to the anchor pin until you can't remove any more drag with the anchor before making the final setting with the adjuster usually does the trick.

Also, when turning the adjuster, run the shoes up tight as you can with the adjuster and then back it off to set the drag. Don't just run the adjuster up to get your setting or you can end up with uneven brakes.

Hope that helps. Proper drum brake setup is a lost art these days and a lot of people blame poor performance on "crappy drum brakes".

When you do the math regarding frictional surface area, drums win. Drums lose when it comes to getting wet or getting hot.

Any drum system can be set up so you run out of traction well before you run out of brake. I set up cable, rod and hydraulic brakes on a regular basis.

frenchyd PowerDork
4/27/20 9:12 p.m.

In reply to ShawnG :

Good points.  I also hope someone has explained the need to re-arc the shoes to the new diameter of the drum after turning. 
as well as the need to ensure one of the wheel cylinders needs to slide to effect the dual servo effect drum brakes have. I clean it up and use anti sieze on the sliders. 

frenchyd PowerDork
4/27/20 9:21 p.m.
NOT A TA said:

I've had several 4 wheel drum cars. If the brake system was properly designed, and they are well maintained, they work just fine. If they scare you......Sumting wong.

I race my MGTD with drum brakes.  I never have a bit of trouble with them.  I'll stop just as fast as a lot of disk brakes cars. 
Never have a bit of fade on the race track that is hardest on brakes in North America, Elkhart Lake.   Trans Am and Indy cars fit their biggest air scoops for that track.  
yes you need the right linings and best brake fluid freshly flushed after each track session. 
The real secret is wire wheels.  That and the front fenders open to the air stream. Lot of air moving past those drums and with wire wheels heat radiates  through those wire wheels very easily.  

pirate HalfDork
4/27/20 9:29 p.m.

Old cars do suck! They are often not reliable, practical or cheap. However, on those days when you are driving down the road with the windows rolled down, no A/C, no power steering, no power brakes, radio turned off it just feels so right  and simplistic that you hate to think about going back home. 

frenchyd PowerDork
4/27/20 9:35 p.m.

In reply to pirate :

What are windows?  Are those like side curtains you dig out of the back used in a vane  attempt to keep out rain?  
I know what A/C is, that's when you fold the windshield down to let the breeze blow your hair back. Isn't it?  
What  is a radio?  
Do you start your car with a hand crank?  Or are you one of those sissy boys who use a battery?  

Daylan C (Forum Supporter)
Daylan C (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
4/27/20 9:56 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Thanks for reminding me why I like my Miata so much. 

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
4/27/20 10:29 p.m.

Reading some of these comments, I guess there’s a reason Enzo wouldn’t give up on ”freni a tamburo” for so long.

Appleseed MegaDork
4/27/20 11:05 p.m.

You think chasing down brittle broken wires on a 16 year old Focus wagon is any less E36 M3ty? Broken cars always suck more than running ones.

Feedyurhed UltraDork
4/28/20 5:06 a.m.
Appleseed said:

 Broken cars always suck more than running ones.

This just about sums up the car collecting business. You don't own collector cars, they own you. Oddly I still want more.

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/28/20 9:17 a.m.

Points are some of the easiest things to upgrade. Who would want to run them?

jfryjfry (Forum Supporter)
jfryjfry (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/28/20 9:26 a.m.

Thanks for the education on drum brakes. I never knew about adjusting the pivot. 

I adjusted the drums on my old bronco to perfect and then put the wheel on and they jammed up.  I assumed it was something with the drum but now I wonder if it is the pivot.  (Which isn't really a pivot but semantics...). 


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