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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Can The Drums On An RV Be Turned ?

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Aahhyes68

Birmingham, MI

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Posted: 06/21/12 07:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had our 5th wheel in for a bearing and brake service/inspection and I have a few questions..


We have about 15K on the rig for starters.... Tandem 7K, Al-Ko axels with electric brakes.

One of the backing plates was saturated with grease.. I had it replaced but besides that the other brake sets/backings looked good. The tech pointed out that the drums were extremely "shiney/smooth" as in glass like. He scuffed them up and said they should be okay...

Is there a source of info so I can mic the drums and see if they are within spec ? I've always been told to mic the drums and turn them if there was enough metal so that's what I've always done. I do realize there are two surfaces of contact on and electric brake drum.


We are heading to the Tetons/Yellowstone in a few weeks and I want to have all the bases covered.


Thanks guys.


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Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 06/21/12 07:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would suggest finding another more knowledgeable mechanic to start with.

Brake drum surfaces will get shiny and smooth under normal operation.

What is a problem is if the surface has deep grooves/ridges/scoring or heavy rust and scale anywhere on the braking surface. Out of round (aka run out) also presents some issues too boot.

That scuffing the mechanic did amounts to nothing after one or two miles of normal driving.

To answer your original question, maybe.

Turning the drums depends on how much thickness is left on the drum and how out of round the drum is. The drum should have a max diameter spec on it and the machine shop must not go over that spec.

If drum is too worn or out of round then the machine shop should not turn it.

Honestly though, by the time you pay for having the drums turned you could have bought a brand new set (mechanics and machine shops do not come cheap).

You should be fine to go as is.

John Wayne

Long Beach, Ca

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Posted: 06/21/12 07:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The drums should have the Max. diameter stamped in them. The same way there are stamped in car drums.


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ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 06/21/12 07:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are a few shops that can do it but it's not recommended. The shoes won't properly seat against the larger dia. drums. They are probably close to or over the max spec anyway.
Drums a fairly cheap so it really doesn't pay the machine them. Check out eTrailer.com.


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smkettner

Southern California

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Posted: 06/21/12 07:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For a couple $$ more just get new drums. And for just a bit more you can get the whole assembly ready to go.


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352

Oxfofd, Fl

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Posted: 06/21/12 07:32pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One of the biggest reasons trailer brakes get saturated with grease are buddy bearings. Most everyone thinks more grease is better. What happens is the more grease spins off to your drums and shoes. If you have buddy bearings on electric brakes get rid of them and hand pack your bearings.


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mbopp

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Posted: 06/21/12 08:06pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I know my Dexter drums can be turned .090" over. The problem is finding a shop that still has a brake lathe.


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ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 06/21/12 08:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

352 wrote:

One of the biggest reasons trailer brakes get saturated with grease are buddy bearings. Most everyone thinks more grease is better. What happens is the more grease spins off to your drums and shoes. If you have buddy bearings on electric brakes get rid of them and hand pack your bearings.


Sadly I think your wasting your breath. People have to learn this one the hard way.

352

Oxfofd, Fl

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Posted: 06/21/12 08:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ScottG wrote:

352 wrote:

One of the biggest reasons trailer brakes get saturated with grease are buddy bearings. Most everyone thinks more grease is better. What happens is the more grease spins off to your drums and shoes. If you have buddy bearings on electric brakes get rid of them and hand pack your bearings.


Sadly I think your wasting your breath. People have to learn this one the hard way.


As I did.

Don & Linda

Western PA / Cape Cod

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Posted: 06/21/12 09:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you trust the shop/tech enough to start your brake work, trust them to finish the job.

15k of normal brake use, is usually not enough use, to require drum renewal.

Above posters are correct. The "max diameter" was cast into drums, but I've seen cheap imports with the max dia. etched into drum outer surface so lightly, that a thin coat of rust would hide the max statement from view. A mfg spec sheet and an inside mic is the only way, to know for sure. Most, good techs can tell by eye, whether the drum is a go, or a no/go.

Be as concerned about the face of the drum(mag drag area)as you are about shoe contact band. The face should be smooth and ridge free, as well.

Dual machining of a elec brake drum is so high, that renewal is sometimes a better option, when needed.

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