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Tech Tip: Aggressive brake drum friction

Dec. 14, 2017
Bendix advises spec’ing drum brake friction in line with your gross axle weight rating.

Myth: More aggressive drum brake friction will last longer .

Fact: It’s possible that drum brake friction meant for a higher gross axle weight rating than your vehicle’s may last longer, but it will also likely cause more drum wear and shorter drum life. And because it may provide more torque output, it could lead to problems with brake imbalance.

Bendix advises spec’ing drum brake friction in line with your gross axle weight rating. There may be instances when a different friction is called for, but normally you should use the same rating as the axle.

“Some people are tempted to spec a 23,000-lb friction on a 20,000-lb axle, for example, figuring it’ll stop better and last longer,” said Kevin Pfost, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB) product specialist and longtime master technician. “That’s not always true. Just because the friction is more aggressive, doesn’t guarantee a longer life. Think twice before doing this, because more aggressive friction will often wear your drums more quickly. And the friction could potentially be hard enough to crumble when it starts to heat up.”

Information provided by: Bendix

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