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Old 07-18-2014, 07:45 AM   #1
EvanVanVan
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2002 SC2
Default Rear Brakes: New OEM shoes vs aftermarket? Keep Drums or replace? Convert to discs?

I noticed my brakes groan when I release them. I also noticed it happens when I release my e-brake so I've narrowed the problem down to the rear drum brakes.

I asked a similar question a few years ago, and was advised that OEM shoes can last forever. My car is at 95,000 miles and when I took apart the brakes back then the shoes were thin (not that I really know how thick a new shoe is). But the grinding and what now, I'm ready to replace them. OEM shoes are only $20 each. At that price and the fact they last, I'm thinking they're preferable over aftermarket shoes?

The OEM drums I see are discontinued. The last time, I used a dremel to take down the almost non-existant rim. Do I do something similar now? Should I take them to NAPA to have them check "out-of-round"? Or replace them with an aftermarket solution?

Or my last option, is to convert to rear disc brakes, Of course I'd have to find a saturn with rear discs first.

Any suggestions or recommendations?

Thanks

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Old 07-18-2014, 07:54 AM   #2
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Default Re: Rear Brakes: New OEM shoes vs aftermarket? Keep Drums or replace? Convert to disc

Rear drums last longer, as you mentioned. At 194K, I've adjusted them once (at roughly 185K) and replaced the wheel cylinders - I've done nothing else to them.

Luke (a previous poster) once stated that he had over 500K miles on his original rear brakes. Of course, it was mostly highway miles.

The only advantage I see to disc brakes is that they are easier to work on only because more people have experience with it. There is always the 'performance' issue (disc is suppose to be better), but we aren't driving race cars.

My two cents.

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As of 09/30/17: 223,751 Miles - SOLD
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:45 AM   #3
EvanVanVan
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Default Re: Rear Brakes: New OEM shoes vs aftermarket? Keep Drums or replace? Convert to disc

Thanks, when you say "drums last longer" are you referring to just the drums? Can and should I replace the shoes or do you mean the drums and shoes last longer and replacing just the hardware should do it?

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Old 07-18-2014, 08:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Rear Brakes: New OEM shoes vs aftermarket? Keep Drums or replace? Convert to disc

i have always found that i will replace the front brake pads 3 times for every once of the rear shoes, and i normally get 60 to 80,000 km out of the front pads, rear shoes about 180,000 km, Wagner still makes new drums for them, and there is the aftermarket off shore drums , about 1/3 the cost..

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Old 07-18-2014, 09:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Rear Brakes: New OEM shoes vs aftermarket? Keep Drums or replace? Convert to disc

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanVanVan View Post
Thanks, when you say "drums last longer" are you referring to just the drums? Can and should I replace the shoes or do you mean the drums and shoes last longer and replacing just the hardware should do it?
I meant the entire rear brake assembly. As stated, I've only adjusted them once and replaced wheel cylinders because they were weeping a bit - even though I was not losing any brake fluid.

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As of 09/30/17: 223,751 Miles - SOLD
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Rear Brakes: New OEM shoes vs aftermarket? Keep Drums or replace? Convert to disc

Another vote here for "stay with the drums".

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Old 07-18-2014, 11:39 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rear Brakes: New OEM shoes vs aftermarket? Keep Drums or replace? Convert to disc

Unless you have open wheels and need the performance look of rear disc's, the way GM designed them sucks great horny toads.
Yes they're easier to work on, but you'll be tearing them apart at least every 6 months to re-grease the pins (or at the very least springtime).

Should have been designed more like my Outback's, the caliper is a caliper and has nothing to do with the parking brake. The parking brake is a drum setup using the rotor as the drum. Somehow makes the shoes easier to replace too, not sure why.

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Old 07-18-2014, 03:47 PM   #8
hholbein
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Default Re: Rear Brakes: New OEM shoes vs aftermarket? Keep Drums or replace? Convert to disc

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Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
Unless you have open wheels and need the performance look of rear disc's, the way GM designed them sucks great horny toads.
Yes they're easier to work on, but you'll be tearing them apart at least every 6 months to re-grease the pins (or at the very least springtime).

Should have been designed more like my Outback's, the caliper is a caliper and has nothing to do with the parking brake. The parking brake is a drum setup using the rotor as the drum. Somehow makes the shoes easier to replace too, not sure why.
I believe with all the hoodoo involved (new e-brake cables, hub work, etc.) with swapping in the Craptastic GM rear discs, your shorter stopping distance from 100kph/60 mph is something like 5-7 feet. Maybe if you raced it, the brake fade improvements would make you appreciate the rear discs, but not too likely in the real world.

And agree, the discs on my Toyota are a LOT easier to work on! Complete pad change in <35 minutes!

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Old 07-19-2014, 12:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rear Brakes: New OEM shoes vs aftermarket? Keep Drums or replace? Convert to disc

I just replaced my rear drum brakes last week (including wheel cylinders) due to a moderate brake pedal pulsation. All the parts I purchased are Raybestos Professional Grade from Rock Auto.

The drums, shoes, and wheel cylinders appeared to be very good quality parts. Fitment was perfect for everything. Wheel cylinders are leak free. The shoes had some minor surface imperfections, but I was able to clean them up and smooth them out just fine.

The spring hardware was okay. The only gripe I have is that the paint on the springs was quite lousy (patchy). And the top front spring had less tension than the original one I removed. The adjusters would not unthread until I put one end in a vice and used a pliers on the other.

However, once I got everything together my brake pulsation disappeared. Braking is nice and smooth.

So I will go ahead and recommend Raybestos Professional Grade drums since you state OEM is no longer available. If you're planning on replacing the hardware, I recommend a different brand.

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Old 07-20-2014, 10:38 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rear Brakes: New OEM shoes vs aftermarket? Keep Drums or replace? Convert to disc

Quote:
Originally Posted by hholbein View Post
I believe with all the hoodoo involved (new e-brake cables, hub work, etc.) with swapping in the Craptastic GM rear discs, your shorter stopping distance from 100kph/60 mph is something like 5-7 feet. Maybe if you raced it, the brake fade improvements would make you appreciate the rear discs, but not too likely in the real world.

And agree, the discs on my Toyota are a LOT easier to work on! Complete pad change in <35 minutes!
i don't believe there's any difference in stopping distance. the sole reasons for changing when in a race environment are 1) more pad compound choices, and 2) ease of maintenance when you do change pad compounds.

drums will last pretty much the life of the car. my son has the original drums on his 99 sl1 with 250k miles and he treats that car like a red-headed step child. my 96 looks 10 years newer...


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