Posted On: Wednesday - January 30th 2019 1:51PM MST
In Topics:   Internets  Humor  Cars  Artificial Stupidity
While perusing an older post, DIY Tire Repair with Cheap China-made Crap recently, I noticed that it had a note about another humorous story about cars to be coming at some unnamed time. That's now.
This quick story is about drum brakes on cars and the advantages of some of our new Artificial Stupidity, which (can you tell?) has been often bad-mouthed on the Peak Stupidity blog. Let's give some credit where credit would have been due, had we had much of an internet, and any cheap digital cameras, in the mid 1990's.
Drum brakes are still around on older cars, and even on some of the low-end new cars. Disc brakes are simpler, and provide more stopping torque. They have replaced most drum brakes for this reason, but there was probably a reason they didn't come around until to be used in autos until the 1950's through '60's. The drum technology continued from the old band brakes, and possibly the ability to contain the higher hydraulic pressure needed by disc brakes was a factor. (See, the drum brakes are MORE ingenious, as lots of things were in the past. The arrangement of the "shoes" to have one for forward and one for rearward motion set up to where the friction force vector helps force the appropriate shoe into the drum keeps the pressure and/or piston size required lots lower.) Here's a quick comparison of these 2 types of auto brakes.*
This ingenuity just mentioned is part of the story. I had the car jacked up, the one wheel off, and the brake apart, with all of the pieces seen in the picture - they all seem pretty similar - on the ground. I had my new brake shoes ready to go. As I tried to get this thing back together, my memory being not photographic (more like pornographic), I was not sure of the placement of all of the three springs, and maybe another small part or two.. That's where a digital camera would have been really nice, right? Take one picture, or even one at every step, and view them during re-assembly.
Nah, but the auto parts store was just 1/4 mile away. The one jacked up being my only vehicle, I proceeded to walk there, get to the right Chilton's book (remember there was nothing on the internet of note, not even Peak Stupidity). Rather than pay the $20 for the book, I just perused it, took a long long at the picture of the innards of these brakes, and walked home. At home, I worked for another 1/2 hour before realizing that, no, my memory really was not that good, and I didn't have it down. I know what you're thinking: "look at the other wheel, moron!". See this is where a jack-stand would have been nice, but this was not a time of plenty for this blogger. Yeah, I could have used a cinder block, but I decided that I'd leave the other brake together, and walked back to the auto parts store.
I took another look at the Chilton's book, which was starting to get rather greasy, on that one page. Back at the house again, I almost had it together. I wasn't sure though. I made a 3rd round trip to the auto parts store, and really, really, had a picture of the drum brake assembly in my head!
Now, I suppose this is why you do see people looking at their phones all day long. A smart phone that was on-line would have been nice. I'd have settled for bringing a lap-top computer outside and working like that, no, just going back-and-forth into the house to look at that 15" CRT monitor would have been better, had I a computer at all!
Next time I'm back in the mid-90's working on something complicated, I will at least spring for the book.
* Note that the ease of incorporating the emergency/parking brake in the drum systems is an additional plus for them.