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  1. #1
    Elite Member
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    Oct 2003
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    3,166
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    the Steernbos (Holland)
    Tractor
    Zetor 3011, Zetor 5718

    Default Disk or drum brakes ?

    I need an unbiased opinion on brakes:

    They told me that disk brakes, though having the weight advantage (lower weight, more payload) have little mass to dissipate the heat into.
    This may result in exploding tires, especially on smaller sized brakes and 13" light duty axles.

    At the company i work, we use 9 ton BPW axles for the heavy trailers. BPW is Europe's leading axle manufacturer, and they told me that disk brakes dont work under low deck trailers that get off the road from time to time to load or unload equipment on a construction site, because a disk brakes open construction makes it prone to dirt contamination. And that sand is very abrasive if it grinds between the pad and the disk.

    Then i asked an independent brake manufacturer when i had them on the phone: Knorr sells brakes to various axle manufacturers. The Knorr guy told me that BPW is biased in their advice, because they produce their own drum brake, and buy a disk brake from a subcontractor, which means that they can earn more by selling their own drum brakes, and also because drum brakes have more wear parts to be replaced every few year....

    Hmm... who should i believe ? Can anyone draw a clear line between the application areas of disk or drum brakes, or is it just not that easy ?

  2. #2
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    2,531
    Location
    Clarksville, TN, USA
    Tractor
    NH 1925

    Default Re: Disk or drum brakes ?

    Disc brakes are far superior, assuming you are running a hydraulic brake.

    Disc's Worse in off-road conditions? As the latest funny qoute I saw said, is that guy smoking crack or what?

    Go look at a current competition offroad machine and tell me how many drum brakes you find.

    As too dissapating heat, you must be kidding, discs dissipate heat far better then a drum. A drum in effect, is one large heat sink floating out there. That dog don't hunt either.

    Oh, and on edit, are there drum brakes "sealed" against dirt coming in. I have never seen any that are, and it is harder to get out as well.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member BTDT's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
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    2,209
    Location
    North Texas
    Tractor
    IH M Farmall-propane powered, H Farmall (father-in-laws), Ford 1300 diesel

    Default Re: Disk or drum brakes ?

    Disc setups have far fewer moving parts, are the only way anti-locks would work, and are far easier to service/work on.
    Praise is not something you do to get closer to God, praise is a response to God being close to you.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Sep 2001
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    1,771
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    Kansas
    Tractor
    Kubota L3000DT

    Default Re: Disk or drum brakes ?

    Quote Originally Posted by BTDT
    Disc setups have far fewer moving parts, are the only way anti-locks would work, and are far easier to service/work on.
    My Ranger pickup has anti-skid brakes on the rear only, which happen to be drums. No anti-skid on the fronts and they are disks.

    FWIW, the most heavily loaded vehicles (class 8 trucks) on the road use drum brakes. Probably not because there is anything inherently superior about drums other than they work better when using air brake systems. Disks require a LOT of operating pressure because they are not self-actuating like drums. Also, a parking brake is easier to incorporate into drums.
    Meetings: If more than two people are there, at least one's time is being wasted.

  5. #5
    Elite Member DieselPower's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
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    2,761
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    Fairfield, PA
    Tractor
    JD 3020, JD 4230, JD 7410, JD 2440, MF 750, NH LS170

    Default Re: Disk or drum brakes ?

    Go with the disc if you have the option. They have far superior clamping force when compared to drum brakes and are easier to work on with less moving parts. They do run hotter since they do not have as much metal to disipate the heat as a drum does. That's one reason you need high temperature grease on disc brake wheel bearings and not on drum brake wheel bearings.

    cp1969 - Many Class 8 trucks can be purchased with air disc brakes but at a much higher price than drum. Disc brakes are getting much more common on Class 8 trailer brakes. One downfall of disc on a heavy truck is the repair expense. I can do a 4 wheel brake job including new drums on a drum brake trailer for what it would cost to do a 1 wheel brake job including a new disc on a disc brake trailer.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Mickey_Fx's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    1,131
    Location
    Vancouver Wa.
    Tractor
    Yanmar Fx24D, Cub 3204

    Default Re: Disk or drum brakes ?

    If the disk are of the vented design, they will cool a lot better than drums as they work like a turbine fan when turning. Disk brakes work with almost zero clearence between the rotor and the friction pad. IMO much less likely to get dirt between friction and disk/drum surfaces. When brakes get hot, drums expand away from brake shoes and disks expand into the brake pad.

    YMMV
    Yanmar Fx24D,
    Koyker 155 loader,
    RSB-1300 tiller
    Cub 3204, 48" mower
    Bolen 1257 GT with tiller

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Jun 2003
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    581
    Location
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Tractor
    1998 JD 770 & 2004 Toro LX417

    Default Re: Disk or drum brakes ?

    One advantage of disc brakes not mentioned is their superior stopping ability in wet weather. Because they do have closer contact between the pads and the discs, they tend to dry faster. Also, centrifugal force on we drum brakes throws the water into the drums whereas it throws the water off the discs.

    High performance cars all have disc brakes.

    The metro trains in use throughout the country almost all have disc brakes. This has been true on the Washington D.C. system since its inception in the early 1980's or late 1070's.

    When Jim Hall in the early 1960's came out with the Chaparral race car with an automatic transmission, he used disc brakes (not that common on American race cars in those days). He said it was because the drum brakes could not handle the 1,100 degree temperatures generated by the car since it had little transmission braking due to being an automatic. As a side note, I believe the transmission was a modified Powerglide 2 speed, although I might be wrong on this.

    cp1969's ranger has drums in the rear simply because it was cheaper to put on a truck in the compact size where profit margins were lower and anticipated stopping weights were also lower.

  8. #8
    Super Member kenmac's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
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    5,480
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    The Heart of Dixie
    Tractor
    yanmar 3110D

    Default Re: Disk or drum brakes ?

    I think you are talking about disc. for trailer brakes. If so, when I was checking around to swap out my electric drum brakes for hayraulic disc. I found out that the disc. on trailers don't have as much stopping power ( or apply as much pressure )as do hydraulic drum brakes & the best set up would be to have electric over hydraulic drum or disc. It's been a long time, but I believe I was told that some states ( depending on the weight of the trailer) require elec over hyd.
    Last edited by kenmac; 06-24-2007 at 06:09 PM.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Jun 2003
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    Location
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Tractor
    1998 JD 770 & 2004 Toro LX417

    Default Re: Disk or drum brakes ?

    I have a friend that just bought a 37' 5th wheel RV and specified disc brakes. They are hydraulic brakes with electrical connections from his truck to the trailer that activates a hydraulic system to work the brakes. He said they REALLY stop the trailer well. I don't know exactly how they work whether its a "pump" or if an electrical actuator pushes on the equivalent of a brake pedal/master cylinder system to active them. The latter I believe. I don't know how much that cost but he's happy with it so it wasn't too much for him.

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    South Central OK
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    Kubota Grand L-4610HSTC

    Default Re: Disk or drum brakes ?

    I was trying to think of an advantage for drum brakes and finally did. They can be used to build a DIY forge or hibachi and discarded rotors can't. I did use discarded rotors to weld to the end of a pipe driven into the ground onto which I put a metal plate to hold a large A/C unit. The Mercedes Benz rotors spread the load well.

    Pat
    Never wrestle with a pig (however titled) as you just get dirty and the pig has all the fun.

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