Brake drum rust removal
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Thread: Brake drum rust removal

  1. #1
    Senior Member jerdub77's Avatar
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    Brake drum rust removal

    Is there a standard method for cleaning and or resurfacing the interior brake drum surface?

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    When I got the bike it had been sitting for 3 years outside and the rear brake was all locked up. The drum is very rusty and rough.


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    1981 Honda GL500 Silverwing

  2. #2
    Senior Member Thumper's Avatar
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    You can put a wire brush on the end of your drill and go round and round like you're making cotton candy and see if that removal of the surface rust does the job. Certainly you want the rear brake to work but the fact is the front brakes do the vast majority of stopping power. Even if you can't get the drum "clean" you are only going to wear pads out faster, the brakes will still function.
    The 2,4,10 rule: know what is happening 2 seconds, 4 seconds and 10 seconds down the road.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member jerdub77's Avatar
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    Good deal... I'll give it a shot


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    1981 Honda GL500 Silverwing

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  5. #4
    Super Moderator Sidecar Bob's Avatar
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    Start by spraying it liberally with brake cleaner to flush out as much friction material residue as possible, then put the axle or something about the same size through the bearings and support it so that the wheel spins freely. Starting with coarse sandpaper (60-80 grit), spin the wheel and hold the sandpaper against the inside of the drum. SAFETY WARNING: Wear a dust mask while doing this - there may still be brake dust in there.

    Once most of the rust is gone flush it out again and continue with 100-120 grit sandpaper. Don't worry about producing a really fine, smooth finish - the shoes & drum will bed in to each other with use.

    NOTE: The brake drum is a cast iron sleeve pressed into the aluminum hub. Sometimes moisture can work its way in between the iron & aluminum and cause corrosion, which allows more moisture in & so on & so on. If you feel ripples in the sleeve examine it carefully. If it is just bumps in the rust keep sanding. If there is a bump in the iron start looking for a new wheel.
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  6. #5
    Super Moderator CXPHREAK's Avatar
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    Ride it for 100 miles with the old shoes fitted. They'll clean the rust from the hub.

    Then fit new shoes.
    Rebuilding Handlebar Switches

    Rider 81 500C, Thingy Born a 78Z. Ozdeluxe born an 80 shadow.

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  7. #6
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    Cleaning out the friction material and wearing a dust mask is important for sure. Don"t blow with shop air. I don"t know when the asbestos was no longer used and the dangers are real. Also be sure to cover or tape the wheel bearing's to keep out any and all cleaners and dust or debris. The grease is already old and will not appreciate any contamination. This would be a good time to spin them to see that they are free and smooth feeling. Bearing failures are not pretty and dangerous. The bearings may be sealed but those seals are as old as the bike.
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  8. #7
    Super Moderator CXPHREAK's Avatar
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    Yes, assume that any brake material contains asbestos. These are old bikes. Some newer brake components on sale in Oz but sourced from China were found to contain asbestos so age is no gaurantee of asbestos free either.
    Rebuilding Handlebar Switches

    Rider 81 500C, Thingy Born a 78Z. Ozdeluxe born an 80 shadow.

    GET A MULTIMETER RTFM I am a CX500. If you maintain me I will run forever.

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  9. #8
    Senior Member jerdub77's Avatar
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    i appreciate the safety warnings... I wouldn't have even thought about asbestos!

    The wheel is off the bike with the bearings pulled, new bearings to be installed upon reassembly. I will hose the whole thing down with brake cleaner and a good rinse before I begin. Im hoping for some time saturday to get it cleaned up nicely.

    120 grit sound about right? not thinking it needs to be super smooth
    1981 Honda GL500 Silverwing

  10. #9
    Super Moderator CXPHREAK's Avatar
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    I use 120. And the old shoes.
    Rebuilding Handlebar Switches

    Rider 81 500C, Thingy Born a 78Z. Ozdeluxe born an 80 shadow.

    GET A MULTIMETER RTFM I am a CX500. If you maintain me I will run forever.

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  11. #10
    Senior Member Francois25's Avatar
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    A flap wheel on a die grinder makes very quick work of this. Probably should wear a dust mask.
    1981 CX500 Custom - Service: 'An act of assistance to benefit others'

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