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Old 02-27-2012, 07:54 AM   #1
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replace welded on brake backing plates

My 1990 sunline has welded on backing plates on both axles. Has anyone ever taken those plates off and welded new flanges on that accept bolt on backing plate assemblies? or, am I better to buy new axles as an upgrade? drums are in rough shape and I may get them turned as my first step to improving brake performance. shoes are not worn too much when compared to new ones. If recall correctly from my enquiries last summer, because the units are now an odd size, replacement pieces are more expensive. not sure which direction i'm headed for yet. My issue is poor trailer brake performance, which is likely due to out of round drums making proper shoe clearance almost impossible to achieve.
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:48 PM   #2
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Hi Cleon,

A new axle is in the range of $100 plus shipping in the US or at least it was a few years ago. Maybe a little less for your size.

I do not know of anyone cutting off welded on backing plates but this much I do know. If you are going to weld on the flange it has to be very square and true when welded on. At the axle factory this is no big deal. Out in the field if someone does this for a living they can set it up and do it too. But odds are high the axle has to come off so they can set it up and jig it correctly.

If the flange is not on square and true then the shoes end up being at an angle to the drum. You then end up with point contact in place of full width and they wear/burn down a whole lot faster.

Do you by any chance happen to know the run out of the drums you have now? Believe it or not, Dexter declares the drum can be up to 0.015" T.I.R. max. Only because it is a trailer drum. I also bought 4 new drums, 2 of them where under 0.005", one at 0.008" and the 3rd 0.016". The one I had the issue on the TT with was 0.024". I only installed the 2 of them that where under 0.005".

Before buying new I went down to the local auto parts store and asked if they can turn the drum. They said they could, $19 a drum. I asked what is the run out tolerance you use? He said they will turn them to spec. I asked what is the spec? He did not know. I did not leave them with him to turn them. This was the same place that turned my prior truck disk brake rotors from me that where 0.009" out. And on disk brakes that is real bad... Never again... Ended up then buying new rotors.

If you can find a good shop, it is not a problem to turn a drum brake to within 0.005" or less. They can get it within 0.001" they just have to work at it a little. And for that skill I would expect to pay more then $19 a drum.

Hope this helps

John
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