Given the competitive nature of brake drums, one of the levers to reduce cost is to reduce the weight of the drum. It saves both on material costs, the most significant cost in a drum, and freight costs. However, we all know the primary role of a brake drum (or brake rotor) is to be the surface that the friction presses against and then dissipatethe heat. That’s the reason that we use gray iron — because it is a good heat conductor – much, much better than air. In fact, the amount of heat transfer from the drum to the air is quite limited. So, it’s important to make sure that mass is preserved in the drum to improve stopping distances, improve the life of the friction, improve the life of the drum, and reduce the chances of overheating the hubs, wheels, and tires. We’re seeing 101 lb drums regularly offered by our competitors and we’re even seeing 99 lb drums in the market as well! We’ve heard some customers call drums in the 99 – 101 lb range Severe Value.
For this reason, DuraBrake primarily sells our hybrid drum – 16792X – at 105 lbs. It weighs halfway between a Severe Value drum (which we don’t sell) and a full-weight 110 lb drum(our 16864X) so that customers can provide their customers with a drum that works close to a full-weight drum and at a price comparable to a Severe Value drum. As a company run by engineers, we avoid compromising products for price and thus have not reduced the weight of our 16792X drum in over 15 years.
Imagine a brake drum being a sponge. Our 16792X would be 4% more absorbent than a Severe Value sponge. If you were cleaning up a lot of water on a countertop, that 4% more absorbency might just be enough to prevent you from ruining your newly painted cabinets. Brake fade – the reduction in stopping performance due to high temperature – can be significantly higher at a 4% higher temperature. As a distributor or dealer who can also be liable for selling a drum that fails and causes damage or injury, do you want to take a chance with such a light-weight drum? Ask your vendor what the weight of their drum is or better yet, weigh it yourself.