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Drum Brakes

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oldgrunt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldgrunt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Drum Brakes
    Posted: Dec/02/2019 at 8:34pm
I have a 1959 Rambler American Super. I want to put drum brakes back on. Could anyone tell me what other years that I could look for to find drums and back plates? I saw one post that said Rambler 1957-1964. This just sounded wrong to me.
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tomj View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/02/2019 at 9:17pm
Probably need more information, like is the car in pieces? Or does "put drum brakes back on" mean you have discs on there now? Is this a daily driver? New project? Show car? Is it on the road now? Is it stock? Single-pot master? Etc...

It is true that later drums will fit, and likely are a better choice. I put 1970's Gremlin 9x2.5's on a 1963 American, later moved then to a 1961 American, they now reside on a 1968 American.

Starting some year -- early 60's -- AMC shipped all their brakes with self-adjusters. You probably want those (unless you are restoring).

Assuming you want to replace everything beyond the spindle, I'd find a suitable donor -- 1975 Gremlin I think I used -- and get *everything*, backing plate outward. Drums, even bad drums, you want the hub that's attached. Clean everything down to clean metal, weld up the wear grooves, new springs and shoes and wheel cyls. Should be a fun swap! All the work is easy, just some nasty cleaning. You could cheat (lol) and pay a shop to hot-tank it all.

I don't know 1959 well, but if it's a 5-lug wheel this should work out.


1961 roadster american, 195.6 OHV, T5
1968 american, 199ci, T96
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oldgrunt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldgrunt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/03/2019 at 6:54pm
Thanks for the reply. To answer your questions: No, I don't have discs on now. The stock setup was so rotten that I decided to put all new. It is not a daily driver yet. I am restoring the car. Ready for paint as soon as I get the brakes fixed. The rear is all done. Swapped out the rear axle assembly for a 86 Ford Ranger (RWD). Fits perfectly. It is five lug. I have Scarebirds hubs so that's not a problem. Thanks again for the info.
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tomj View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/03/2019 at 8:38pm
It may be easier, and "better, to buy a Scarebird kit for the front and skip the drums. I'm no drum-brake hater! I've drilled and ventilated the ones on my '68 American and they're great now in modern freeway and mountain road driving.

But if you have to locate/buy parts, you might as well. Scarebird makes brakes nice and boring. They just stop. The only AMC parts you'll need then are spindle and hub. And he sells hubs -- if you now have good 5-lug hubs you can use them, but some of them need their OD turned down to fit inside the rotor hats. I have a friend with a lathe. If you don't, buying his solves it.

On an American, at least, manual discs were fine. Preferences there are personal of course, but foot/pedal pressure within "normal" non-alarming range, and the system simplicity very nice.

1961 roadster american, 195.6 OHV, T5
1968 american, 199ci, T96
sr-ix.com

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