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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Brake

Good evening, dear readers.

Today, my husband finally got a chance to look at that troublesome back brake on the car. It's been making a loud banging noise for the past week which we suspected was caused by a loose shoe banging around inside the drum from an improper installation. Now that we acquired a sufficient jack, it was time for my hubby to lift up the rear of the car and have a look at the damage.

What he discovered was astounding.

This drum brake took a real beating. The only two bolts that remained were one intact bolt and one that was half-sawed through by the tire.

As it turns out, the brake was just fine. Everything from shoes to springs was intact and in its proper place. It was the tire itself that was causing the racket, but only because there wasn't much holding it to the hub. The bolts securing the tire to the hub were absolutely destroyed! The previous owner had put these ridiculous 20" spoked rim tires on the car which was totally the wrong thing to do because these tires provide no cushioning from the bumps and craters that make up modern roads. The combination of the weight of the car plus the heavy weight of the tires plus the constant vibrations caused by road wear tore up most of the bolts that attached the wheel to the car.

It is a bonafide miracle that tire was even still attached to the hub with most of the bolts looking like that

Translation: with only one and a half bolts holding it in place, the tire was loosely wobbling with every rotation and that bothersome banging noise was caused by the tire hitting the springs each time the wheel turned. I was not wrong in my initial thought that the tire might somehow be involved in this mess, but because I do not know much about mechanics, I couldn't pinpoint exactly what was going on there.

In addition to shredding the bolts, the wobbling tire also bored larger holes in the drum's hub

This is the first time I've ever seen a real drum brake up close and personal. This one is pretty worn out

While the brake will have to be replaced eventually because of wear, it is a huge relief to know the damage is not worse. My husband had to make a run to the auto parts store on the city bus to get some replacement bolts and some welding putty in order to make the car safe for driving. In the process, he discovered the previous owner used undersized bolts on the hub, so he had to buy bigger bolts to properly fit in the hub's holes. As he was installing the replacement bolts, I remarked that I was half-temped to bring a lawsuit on the guy for endangering us with his incompetent mechanic job. My hubby then proceeded to remind me that it would have been useless since he admitted he wasn't much of a mechanic and we had every opportunity to back out of the deal and did not do so.

Cruiser being a car cat and roosting on the roof of his domain

Tomorrow, once its daylight, my hubby will have a look at the other brakes to see how they are. They sound worn, but otherwise ok. Despite some initial work that is required to make it safely drive-able, I don't believe we bought the car from hell. One thing to be said about old cars is that what you see is what you get. Unlike modern vehicles which have computers in them which in turn can complicate exponentially what goes wrong in them, old cars are meant to be easy to fix and maintain. Even in its current state, I feel much more secure in this car than in a modern one. I'm just relieved that this will be a simple and cheap fix. Replacing bolts is much more favorable than replacing the entire brake.

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