It's not often these days that you hear about any kind of advancement in drum brakes. It's pretty clear where automotive brake technology has gone, and it doesn't seem to be rolling in the drum brake direction. Most new cars on the road have big rotors and calipers to ease their stopping ability, not to mention ABS. So where does that leave us guys that don't want to fork over the big bucks for an up-to-date, big-brake conversion kit?
One thing's for sure, if you live in or around a big city with all its traffic, you may want to consider spending for those big disc binders. Have you tried to stop a two-ton vehicle with four-wheel drum brakes behind a new truck equipped with 12-inch rotors at freeway speeds? If that doesn't wake you up to the need for good whoa power, then nothing will. That's what happens to this '67 Chevelle station wagon every day. Now, even though we have made it out of some tight spots without a scratch, this just won't do. Obviously the factory brakes will stop this beast, just not as fast as every other car on the road. This, and the "money factor," is why we chose to add Praise Dyno Brake's new semi-Kevlar-lined Stage 1 brake kits.
To put Praise Dyno's brakes to the test, we hooked up a G-Tech performance meter from Summit to find out exactly how many feet the wagon needs in order to stop from 60 mph with the factory drum brakes.
To make a long story short, the factory brakes (with everything in great condition) took 194 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph. This was the first run. The second time out the distance increased to a staggering 237 feet, and so on...like we said, this just won't do. After Praise Dyno's Stage 1 kit was installed-which included new shoes, springs, cylinders, and hoses-our stopping distance improved greatly. With the new brakes, the behemoth went from 60-0 mph in 145 feet. What a difference! After the first run, we only gained another 10-15 feet on the next three tries. Nice!
While the stop-ability of any drum brake compared to disk brakes is considerably less efficient, the results we compiled, and the affordability factor make Praise Dyno's new semi-Kevlar-lined shoes a smart option. So with this in mind, the next time we're flying down the freeway at 75 mph and have to slam on the brakes to come to a complete stop, over and over again, we'll have the confidence that the binders will work. So far, so good!