For a large 4 wheel drive off road application truck, is it better to have drum or disk brakes?

Just trying to decide if I should change over to a disk setup. I know that big industrial trucks such as dump trucks and buses use drum brakes…..and I know that most race cars use disk….for cooling purposes….but the new tundra just came out with 4 wheel disk brakes. Will it make a large difference for me to upgrade? Is it worth the upgrade? How much more useful with this be for me?

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3 Responses to For a large 4 wheel drive off road application truck, is it better to have drum or disk brakes?

  1. projectcomanche June 20, 2010 at 4:44 am #

    The front brakes do 70% of the vehicle’s braking. Disc brakes provide more stopping power than drums, which is why you typically see front disc and rear drums. For normal driving, you do not need rear discs because that much stopping force in the rear of the vehicle is not necessary. Discs do have some advantages over drums however, especially for the offroad driving you are talking about. Drum brakes will collect mud and debris in them and it will get between the drum and shoe, severely decreasing the stopping power in the rear. Also, after a day’s offroading, water that gets caught in the drum can cause rust (especially if you don’t let it sit for a day or two) and can make the shoe stick to the drum and can be difficult to break loose. If you have a big heavy truck that you drive a lot, including a lot of offroading, discs are a good idea. If you do go to a rear disc setup, I suggest you use a proportioning valve for the rear so that you can reduce the fluid pressure to the rear. If you have equal brake pressure to the front and rear discs, the rears will lockup and you’ll lose control. Plumb an adjustable proportioning valve into your rear setup and you’ll have no problems.
    (Dump trucks and buses can use drum brakes because the drums are much larger and have proportionally more friction material than regular car drums do. These larger commercial vehicles use an air actuated system instead of a hydraulic [fluid] system.) Hope this helps.

  2. jeff m June 20, 2010 at 4:44 am #

    Disk are much cheaper to make and it’s a selling point, however only 10% or less of breaking is done with the rears unless your drifting, so if really makes no differance although all the heavy duty axils come with drum and if your off roading braking is the least of your worries

  3. Pedro S June 20, 2010 at 4:44 am #

    disk all the way…drums were great when they were the early 1900s but why would anyone want them now? it will cost 1000 to 2000 to switch…trade for the truck u want…