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Crazy question about finned brake drums

 
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Old 07 Aug 2012, 01:20 am
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Default Crazy question about finned brake drums

Okay, has anyone wanted these on their PT, and if so, has anyone found a way to do it?

Many hot rodders have mounted Buick finned drum brakes on their rods, -they're both stylish and practical, and apparently they were once in good supply. I want to move my 2006 PT Cruiser more in the direction of a hot rod style; I'm not really interested in making it a 'modern' street machine, such as by converting to rear discs. After searching online, I've come to 2 conclusions:

1. Finned brake drums aren't as common as they appear, and they appear to be mostly conversions to the actual Buick (or replica) hardware
2. Apparently I'm the only one who thinks there may be a market here .

Another thing I found was that there ARE finned brake drums that appear to come close to fitting a PT - they were on the 1998/99 Dodge Caravan - Chrysler Town & Country minivans. They have the same bolt pattern and diameter, and have fins along the base of the drum, but unfortunately they are about 1 1/4" deeper than the PT Cruiser brakes (which would seem to make them a bit better at slowing it down, with the larger friction surface ). I'm wondering what it would take to convert a PT to these brakes - could it be done by replacing the rear hubs and mounting the entire brake assembly from the minivan? (of course, the Buick drums are much better looking, as shown in the attached pic).

The 'easy' solution would be if anyone makes affordable custom brake drums. Or, even easier, like the disc brake dust covers that are on the market, a thin aluminum shell, with fins, that could be mounted between the existing drum and the wheel without adding more than about 1/8" of additional offset.
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Old 07 Aug 2012, 05:18 pm
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Default Re: Crazy question about finned brake drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ptrope View Post
Okay, has anyone wanted these on their PT, and if so, has anyone found a way to do it?

Many hot rodders have mounted Buick finned drum brakes on their rods, -they're both stylish and practical, and apparently they were once in good supply. I want to move my 2006 PT Cruiser more in the direction of a hot rod style; I'm not really interested in making it a 'modern' street machine, such as by converting to rear discs. After searching online, I've come to 2 conclusions:

1. Finned brake drums aren't as common as they appear, and they appear to be mostly conversions to the actual Buick (or replica) hardware
2. Apparently I'm the only one who thinks there may be a market here .

Another thing I found was that there ARE finned brake drums that appear to come close to fitting a PT - they were on the 1998/99 Dodge Caravan - Chrysler Town & Country minivans. They have the same bolt pattern and diameter, and have fins along the base of the drum, but unfortunately they are about 1 1/4" deeper than the PT Cruiser brakes (which would seem to make them a bit better at slowing it down, with the larger friction surface ). I'm wondering what it would take to convert a PT to these brakes - could it be done by replacing the rear hubs and mounting the entire brake assembly from the minivan? (of course, the Buick drums are much better looking, as shown in the attached pic).

The 'easy' solution would be if anyone makes affordable custom brake drums. Or, even easier, like the disc brake dust covers that are on the market, a thin aluminum shell, with fins, that could be mounted between the existing drum and the wheel without adding more than about 1/8" of additional offset.
You asked the same question on Sept. 8th, 2008 and no one replied at all (no interest).

In answer to your number 2 point above, yes you are probably the only one that thinks this is a maketable idea. No manufacturer is going to tool up to just sell one or two units. Making a cover or shield over the existing drums would in all likelyhood, cut way down on the the amount of cooling air that would normally reach the drums and would likely result in premature failure of the brakes.

Most importantly, you would only be able to see a small portion of the results of this mod that you would like to see, so--------. The finned drums that you spoke of, that is to this day used on street rods, are almost always exposed (open wheels) so you can see the result of useing the finned drums. You can't do that on a PT.

Painting the existing drums would go a long way toward improving the looks of our stock drums and would be very inexpensive.

Jerry

Last edited by wwpptc; 07 Aug 2012 at 05:21 pm.
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Old 07 Aug 2012, 06:03 pm
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Default Re: Crazy question about finned brake drums

He could find a pair of the old GM aluminum Finned drums with steel linings. Have the wheel stud holes welded up and re-drill for the PT bolt pattern. Then take the drum to a machine shop remove the old liner and machine up a new liner to fir the PT's brake shoes . Then to top it off either chrome plate ,Anodize or Polish for the custom one off drum.

My guess would be about 150 each to do it all?
No market production value but "cool" to have a only one of a kind part.
The problem is how many would actually notice it on your PT to appreciate the customized part?


Naturally I am guessing it might work depending on measuring all the critical clearances and so on?
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Last edited by NitroPT; 07 Aug 2012 at 06:08 pm.
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Old 07 Aug 2012, 06:56 pm
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Default Re: Crazy question about finned brake drums

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Originally Posted by Ptrope View Post
Or, even easier, like the disc brake dust covers that are on the market, a thin aluminum shell, with fins, that could be mounted between the existing drum and the wheel without adding more than about 1/8" of additional offset.

I had two disk's made with the same size and drill pattern of my front drilled rotors. Placed them over the rear drums. I don't have a close up but unless you look very close and don't see that there's no caliper, you'd never know it wasn't a real disk brake. They're aluminum so they don't rust.

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Old 07 Aug 2012, 08:18 pm
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Default Re: Crazy question about finned brake drums

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Originally Posted by wwpptc View Post
You asked the same question on Sept. 8th, 2008 and no one replied at all (no interest).
You know, I thought I had, but when I searched on the key words, I didn't get any hits, so I thought maybe I was just hallucinating . (Guess I should've just searched on me!)

Quote:
Most importantly, you would only be able to see a small portion of the results of this mod that you would like to see, so--------. The finned drums that you spoke of, that is to this day used on street rods, are almost always exposed (open wheels) so you can see the result of useing the finned drums. You can't do that on a PT.
It all depends on the wheels - if you looked at my example, that was a full-fendered late-'30s rod (I didn't get a pic of the whole car, so I have no idea what it was), and because of the wheels used, the drums were a pretty strong part of the whole statement (obviously, as they stood out enough for me to see at a glance and take a picture of them ).

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Originally Posted by CREWZIN View Post
I had two disk's made with the same size and drill pattern of my front drilled rotors. Placed them over the rear drums. I don't have a close up but unless you look very close and don't see that there's no caliper, you'd never know it wasn't a real disk brake. They're aluminum so they don't rust.
Pretty cool! And definitely a lot easier than what I'm hoping for, but in the end, if I'm not going to change to discs, I'd rather enhance the look of the drums than hide them behind faux discs.
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Old 07 Aug 2012, 08:26 pm
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Default Re: Crazy question about finned brake drums

If you're just doing rears, I'd guess you could just bolt spindles on axle or make an adaptor plate.

Of course, I say this having no idea if C-van or PT spindles bolt on ...

I think it's a great idea, the idea of a PT, is, to me, to customize it, and you'd certainly be doing that!

Front's you'd need a way to mount backing plate- Lotsa milling on knuckle- But knuckles are cheap

P.S. I'm most certain C-vans changed to a larger bolt pattern b4 '99-
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Old 07 Aug 2012, 09:42 pm
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Default Re: Crazy question about finned brake drums

In a limited skilled and custom parts none availability concern I would say do a disc brake conversion using OEM parts.
It is not easy to start from scratch and build a wheel brake upgrade. This is one that id did for another car. Everything in the picture is fabricated. The caliper is off a mustang and machined to fit the wheel. If I were to do this for someone it would cost around 1k in parts and about 8-10 hours of machining.



The rears I used only the stock caliper modified and everything else fabricated and /or machined.



This is what it looks like with 17 inch wheels

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Last edited by NitroPT; 07 Aug 2012 at 09:45 pm.
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Old 07 Aug 2012, 10:21 pm
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Default Re: Crazy question about finned brake drums

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Originally Posted by UptownSport View Post
P.S. I'm most certain C-vans changed to a larger bolt pattern b4 '99-
From what I can find in a search, they match up to 2000; what the hey, it might be worth a trip to the local Pick-a-Part to grab the rear assemblies, just to see what can be done - a cheap way to at least get hands and eyes on the parts to see what is involved . The trick is to have a gauge in your pocket so you can measure BEFORE walking out .
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