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Buick brake drums

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  • Buick brake drums

    Lookin for any info about the buick drums. I'm thinking about adapting them to my f1 brakes (Ithink thats what I have). Does anyone know any tips or tricks?

    Also do they space the wheels out farther? most that I see have a real wide stance and I LOVE it. My front looks kind of narrow to me. Spacer?

    And most importantly, if I spend the money is this going to actually stop? I wanted the more period correct drum brakes, but I'm wondering if discs would be worth the sacrifice seein's how the rest of my front end is all new speedway stuff? Any thoughts? More pics in projects under "29 Dodge new guy"
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Buick drums are 12 inch and your truck brakes are 11 inch. so they won't work. Some guy on the **** posted how he turned the Buick drums into "covers" that went over the truck 11 inch drums and sort of gave the appearance of having a Buick set up.

    Several ways to go. Wilson welding is making a terrific backing plate, brake shoe, hub set up that allows you to run Buick drums. Trouble is, they are a little pricey, and when you find Buick drums they are not cheap either any more.

    Bottom line, you have to use the truck drums that came with your set up, or switch to some other brake set up (stock '40-48 Ford, or Wilson Welding) to be able to use the Buick drums. And yes, you do pick up a little bit of tread width, especially on the Wilson set up.

    Here are the ones I am running on my T and my '27 ( '40 brakes and Buick drums) and also the Wilson Welding ones my Son is running on his '29.


    PS: If you run a wheel with a little bit of a reverse offset it will give your setup a little more width too.

    I also want to comment I like your setup all the way around. Straight forward and well built. Great foundation for your rod.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by donsrods; 03-30-2007, 04:49 PM.


    • #3
      well I guess in the world of brakes bigger is better. So the 11" brakes probably arent very good stopers?


      • #4
        No, just the opposite. Your F100 brakes are superior to the '40 Fords I am running, and were an old hot rodders trick to get better brakes. What makes them better is the design. They are self-energizing, like modern ones, where the shoes "wrap" into the drum when applied to increase stopping power.

        You actually have a very good braking system there, it is just that the Buick drums are a different diameter. I have a set of the same brakes you have hanging up waiting for some future project, and I bought them just because they are good and traditional.

        Just thought you should know they are pretty good.



        • #5
          Look up the Hot Rod Shop in Nampa Idaho, They have all the trick stuff to go totally with Buick drums and backing plates, The hangnail is you need 58-60 Buick backing plates, to make it work , but they will haul you down as good as discs, and Look a ton better.
          Are you gonna eat that?


          • #6
            I agree, the ones on my '27 stopped on a dime.

            As a sidenote on brakes, I have been watching these on Ebay for a few days, just to see where they would end up. If you think this old timey stuff isn't starting to go through the roof, check this out:

            Winning bid: US $341.43

            Make no payments for 3 months Apply
            Ended: Apr-02-07 12:51:54 PDT
            Shipping costs:
            US $123.50

            Item location: Ventura, California, United States
            History: 15 bids
            Winning bidder: rob_se( 11Feedback score is 10 to 49

            These were a complete set of front '40 ford brakes, as pictured below. That's $ 465.00 with the shipping.!!!!

            I just scored a set for Son pulled his off of his '29 to put on the Wilson Welding setup, and I got his old ones. :D I don't think I will tell him about this Ebay set. :eek: :eek: :rolleyes:

            Attached Files


            • #7
              I would say that 11" diameter drum brakes are fine for all but the heaviest of cars (like those behemoth Buicks were).

              Most mid-sized cars of the sixties weighed in between 3000 and 3500 pounds and ran 11" or smaller drums. Chances are your hot rod is lighter than that.

              Drum brakes work excellent as long as they are in good condition and adjusted properly. Self-energizing brake shoes are generally pretty easy to adjust properly.

              The Buick aluminum drums look cool, but many of them have been machined so many times that they are out of spec. When they are too big, they're not only thin enough to worry about cracking, but the diameter no longer matches the curvature of the shoes either...which results in poor brake performance. The fella on the **** board used a pair of Buicks that were machined too big to be of use for anything but covers like he did. Here's the thread, which is definately worth taking a look at:

              I think there are some Pick-up truck backing plates that would work too. Many light trucks had 12" diameter drums, so you may not NEED to hunt down Buick backing plates. The truck backing plates are usually flatter too, which makes them easier to adapt to early spindles.

              Here's a list of threads from entering "buick drums" in the **** search:



              • #8
                thanks don and john,

                Thats the type of info I needed. Too bad I had to sign up elswhere to read all about it. (if ya know what I mean)

                SO......... I guess I'm looking for a pair of out of spec 45 fin drums. Any body got some hangin around collectin dust?

                PM me if needed. Thanks everybody.


                • #9
                  These Buick drums are getting real pricey. Last nice set I saw on Ebay were at $ 400 for the pair. I don't feel too bad about getting that '40 Ford brake set from my Kid, because I gave him a perfect set of '59 Buick drums I had been saving for about 20 years, so he made out ok too.

                  I feel sorry for the poor guy who has a '59 Buick and finds out his drums are no good, and just wants to do a brake job. Bet he can't figure out why they have gotten so expensive. :D

                  What's the old adage........"speed costs money, how fast do YOU want to go?" I guess that pertains to old cars too.



                  • #10
                    One other thing you might want to consider...depending on the weight of your rod...

                    Some, but not all, GM Metric intermediates (Malibu, Cutlass, Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Regal, etc..) from 1978-1987 and some Camaros/Firebirds 1982-around 1990 had aluminum rear drums that are about 10" diameter. The Metric backing plate is a little weird, but most GM rear backing plates from 1964-1987 will fit those aluminum drums.

                    The drum will also fit 1964-72 Intermediate front drum brakes, but the rear drum shoe width is a bit narrow compared to the front shoes. I've actually run a rear drum on a front hub, in a'll physically fit, but part of the shoe will have no drum to brake against.

                    Just throwing it out there, as maybe it would be a low-buck alternative to the now hard-to-find Buick 12" drums. Size wise, it might look more appropriate on an open wheel car I always kind of considered the Buick drums to be a bit of "overkill" for a 30's rod.

                    BTW, the GM metrics use the 4-3/4" bolt pattern.

                    I found this list of GM vehicles which had original aluminum rear drums, on another site:
                    '83-'84 Blazer/Jimmy (S/T models)
                    '80-'84 LeSabre
                    '85 Buick (rear wheel drive)
                    '78-'81 Century
                    '78-'87 Regal
                    '81-'85 Riviera
                    '82-'92 Camaro
                    '86-'89 Chevy (passenger)
                    '72-'82 Cutlass
                    '82-'92 Firebird
                    '78-'85 Grand Prix
                    '78-'81 LeMans
                    '78-'81 Malibu
                    '78-'81 Monte Carlo
                    '80-'85 Olds Delta 88
                    '80-'81 Pontiac
                    '83-'85 Bonneville
                    '86 Parisienne
                    '82-'85 S-10/S-15
                    '78-'81 GMC Sprint/El Camino
                    Last edited by john56h; 04-03-2007, 01:56 PM.


                    • #11
                      This might interest some of you guys: