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Old 03-20-2006, 12:47 PM
Subzilla's Avatar
Subzilla Subzilla is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Concord, NC, USA
Posts: 955
Unhappy Balance brake drums

Anybody ever felt the need to balance their brake drums? I've had a vibration in the Suburban rear for a number of years. Had the driveshaft balanced, tires balanced and rotated (same vibration with previous set of tires), replaced shocks. I have the massive 3/4 ton, 13" brake drums that weigh a bunch and thought that maybe these might be the culprit. Any thoughts?
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Last edited by Subzilla; 03-20-2006 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:45 PM
diesel65 diesel65 is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Little Neck,NY,USA
Posts: 574

There could be a possibility that the drums are out of balanced, problem is I am not aware of any way of balancing them.
They wouldn't fit on a tire balance machine and the you have no way of calibrating the machine for the drums.
The drums are generally balanced for life, if you think they are out then you would have to replace them.

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Old 03-20-2006, 03:24 PM
NH2112 NH2112 is offline
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Location: Windham, ME
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If you can find one of the "aviation balancers" with the bubble level on top, you should be able to balance the drums after a lot of trial and error as to how much weight must be added or removed. I don't know how you'd add metal and have it stay in place, except maybe by running beads with a welder.

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Old 03-20-2006, 04:26 PM
jspringator jspringator is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Versailles, KY
Posts: 498

See if you can find a place that balances the wheel and tire while mounted on the car. This approach would balance the entire rotating assembly. You may also try Match mounting the tires. This is a process where the wheels are balanced, marked and the tire is mounted appropriately. You may have a wheel problem.
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Last edited by jspringator; 03-20-2006 at 04:29 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:32 AM
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Mr. D Mr. D is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 23

Have you considered very, very, very carefully suspending the vehicle on jacks and spinning the wheels to see if you can locate what might be out of balance?

Sometimes watching a vehicle run down a smooth highway from behind will show an out of balance, bad wheel, or very slightly bent axle visually.

Do you know someone will a well balanced set of wheels and tires you can put on your vehicle to eliminate tires and wheels as the cause?

On my Toyota Tundra I had pulsating brake discs when stopping. Heat warped, right? I had the front end realigned and it dissapeared! Something to do with alignment and the tire/road contact affected the brakes! New one on me!

Just thinking!
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Old 03-23-2006, 12:49 PM
JoeyD JoeyD is offline
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Location: Arlington,MA U.S.
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I would think a machine shop that balances crank shafts could do it.
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:23 AM
SoTxPollock SoTxPollock is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 678

Yeah, what JOEY D said, they might have to make an adaptor to mound the drum on, then they could spin balance it with a strobe, the old fashion way. To add or subtract weight you'd basically have to treat it like a crankshaft and drill and add heavy metal to increase or drill out or grind off to reduce. I guess I've really never heard of a brake drum being that bad out of balance though.
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:45 PM
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stumo stumo is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Defiance, MO
Posts: 27

The drum should have been balanced from the supplier BUT you know how that goes. Almost any tire balancing equipment should work. Got a good chuckle out the of "aviation balancer" comment but it'd work. If using an electronic machine have the operator set it to static rather than the 2 plane dynamic balance that is usually used. FWIW, wheel, tire, brake drum imbalance/out-of-roundness is usually a low frequency shake in the 12-14Hz range at say 50-60 MPH. Driveshaft speed disturbance is more of a buzz in the 40-50 Hz range at that speed and can almost be felt as a booming in the ears. Hard to find but a reed tachometer is very helpful in isolating components. GM dealers have an electronic version.

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