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Is It Possible Stricter Environmental Regulations May Bring Back "Old" And "Outdated" Technology Back To The Forefront

New technology is great, who does not love the easy staring and clean burning that fuel injection provides? Cars are cleaner than ever. In some ways.

Copper.Iron,antimony, and barium. I use it almost every day, When I am done with it I dump mine into our lakes in streams.

Yes I do.

You do it to.

Every time we tap on the brakes we send a toxic cloud of heavy metals flying from a spinning ,metal disc,some being caught by our wheels to later corrode them. Some is breathed in by pedestrians and passing motorists. The rest thrown on the road, much like a discarded candy wrapper carelessly pitched out the window by a raging litterbug.

Yes folks, our brakes our the modern day litterbugs of the road, and once it rains the accumulation of all that brake dust makes its way into our waterways after being washed into storm sewers and the like. Millions of pounds a year. Millions.

Here is a good article detailing the catastrophic accumulation of copper in San Francisco bay affecting the salmon.

It doesn’t affect me you say? Its those crazy California people again. Wrong. It affects all 50 states.

We need to start paying more attention to this source of air and water pollution, especially because it won’t be solved by a switch to plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles. Brake pad dust might be much lower because these mostly brake with regenerative braking, which doesn’t use brake pads most of the time, but tire and brake dust will remain a problem.

If there was only a way to capture most of that dust. Surely some clever engineer will figure something out. Wait a minute, they already have. 100 years ago!

As we all know drum brakes have some drawbacks, but anyone can see they are the more environmentally friendly choice.

They do not throw their heavy metal waste on the road like some kind of crazed litter bug like disc brakes do. Instead Drum brakes, being good environmental stewards,capture much of the discarded brake dust in the drums so it can be sequestered by the service technician using a brake parts washer.

Just get rid of copper in brake pad Rick you say.

Copper performs several functions: it adds structural integrity to the brake pad material, reduces fade so that brakes remain effective through extended braking events, transfers heat efficiently, and helps brakes be more effective in cold weather. Copper also has properties that help prevent brakes from squeaking and shuddering when they are used, which is very important for car customer satisfaction and keeping warranty costs low.

Besides, lets say they figure out materials to replace copper in our brake pads, who is to say that will not create its own set of environmental difficulties, and is it really good form to carelessly throw our brake pad waste on the ground? Are we not more civilized than that?

There is also rubber dust which is an issue, but for now I chose to focus on a major source of pollution with a simple proven answer.

I know this might anger some folks, but it definitely made me think.

Is it possible we will see the return of drum brakes due to environmental regulations? It certainly is one possibility. What are the others?

Where is that Ignore button?


But my friend, ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

Brake dust pollution is a serious concern.

yah, the Model T


Im serious, maybe there can be a shield like a regular aftermarket brake dust shield, but it could have a drum with vanes that goes around the disc to use centrifugal force to catch and hold the brake dust?

But I imagine that could cause balance issues.

Please . . . just let it be

It has been PROVEN countless times that disc brakes are superior, in automotive uses

We are NOT talking about that bucket truck you drive for work, so please don’t use that as an example, to “prove” that drum brakes are superior

Earlier we were talking about people that can’t let things go

I believe we meant “hoarders”

But “can’t let things go” apparently applies to you, as well

We like you just fine, but please . . .


BULL - Good try though.

Looks like we have no choice but to go back to this.



I thought we already thoroughly debunked this nonsense a couple years ago.

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Rick, have you been reading “Don Quixote” again? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Yes, the copper waste from brake wear is a serious concern. That’s why legislation was enacted 6 years ago to reduce and eventually eliminate the amount of copper in brake linings. Copper reduction in brakes is nothing new.

True, brake drums will collect the dust, but that’s only effective until people get tired of the noisy brakes, and the brake drum gets pulled and the dust gets dumped in the garbage can or the drum is taken out back and washed out with the garden hose. Then it’s all back in the water stream again.

Besides, I doubt anyone would want to live with the poorer fuel economy, stopping power, and handling of drum brakes.

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Oh man, I’m not getting into the drum brake thing again. Then I’m not really listening to much coming out of the California environmentalists who think everything causes death or cancer-which it eventually does to all of us. I am going to quit throwing pennies in ponds though for good luck, just to do my part.


Let’s see: either kill people with ineffective drum brakes, or reformulate brake pads, as is ALREADY being done. Easy choice!

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Sometimes the " occidents " need to be ignored.:sunglasses:

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Just because the drum brake collects some of the dust does NOT mean that brake dust is not released exactly the same as disk brakes. It just collects a bit inside the drum but it escapes through the gap between the backing plate and drum. Notice there is no seal there, not even a labyrinth seal.

Rick, you are really a former Delco Moraine brake engineer named Don Schenk, right? You must be. Don was obsessed with the benefits of drum brakes in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

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Hmmmmm, just think, if the pad dust really did get retained within the drum, the drum would effectively become an opposing pad and nobody would ever have to get a brake job again! :grin:
Of course, those of us who grew up with drum brakes clearly remember having to “ride the brakes” after driving through a puddle to try to get them to dry out and work again! :flushed:


Additionally, the standard drum brakes on many car models were so severely under-sized for the weight of the vehicle, that they were dangerous under certain conditions.
I can still recall the awful feeling of having the brakes on my '71 Charger begin to fade part-way through high-speed panic stops on a couple of occasions. Thank God that I wound up not needing the full braking power in the first case, and that I wound up being able to steer away from the obstruction in the other case.

As it turned out, there were three “grades” of brake systems on the '71 Charger.
There was a front disk/rear drum setup, there was a “heavy duty” taxi-type drum brake set-up, and–unfortunately–my car (like probably 90% of the '71 Chargers) had the standard (ridiculously undersized) drum brake system that couldn’t handle even ONE high-speed panic stop without severe fading.

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I wish. That would mean I accomplished a heck of a lot more with my life than I have. Where did you hear of this gentleman, I googled him and found many patents in his name, I would like to read more about him. Please do tell.

The Big three were also noted for putting ridiculously undersized tires on vehicles back then, nowadays they put ridiculously oversized wheels and tires on.

I thought of this years ago, if you had grooves that captured the dust for the shoes to ride on in theory could you have everlasting brakes? I am sure there is a reason that would not work, and surely performance would be affected.