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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just finished replacing the shoes on the front (71 SL350) and came back from a test ride. Not impressed. Front brake feels a bit spongy & soft. The shoes looked like their arc fit the drum nicely. Everything is clean in there. Is it a Vesrah thing? My old glazed & hard Hm shoes worked fine. Maybe I should try EBC? You know what they say - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Thing is I was doing the checklist thing as I really didn't know the condition of the brakes. There was plenty of shoe on the old ones but I had a new set of Vesrah shoes so I thought I was doing a good thing. I adjusted the cable so there is enough slack to let the wheel spin 1.5 revolutions. When I squeeze the brakes, it kinda feels like the cable is stretching, With the old shoes, it felt more solid. Now my rear brake performs better than my front. That's the opposite of what it was.
 

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This is what I mentioned to someone (not sure if it was you) earlier about my experience with Vesrah shoes - though they visually look like a good fit to the drum, they're obviously not arced properly and will take hundreds of miles to bed in, if not more. With front brakes in particular, you don't have time for that... they need to be at least 85% to 90% now. Though I haven't yet ridden mine (it's still fully apart) since replacing the Vesrahs with EBCs, I can tell you they feel far better and seem to fit the drum correctly by just pulling the arm on the backing plate... a major difference from the same test before I rode it the first time last year with the Vesrahs on it. The spongy feel is the shoes not square to the drum
 

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You could glue a piece of sandpaper inside the drum with rubber cement(peels off easily later) and use it to true up the brake shoes. Loosen the axle nut, then re-tighten it while holding the brake lever, this centralizes the shoes in the drum.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes Tom, that was me that you discussed the Vesrah issue. As I already he the shoes & bike apart, I thought I'd at least try them. You were right. I ordered some EBC shoes. I hope to get them installed next weekend. I'll report back on what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well the EBC shoes arrived. I pulled the wheel of the bike and did a check fit. Not good! The arc is substantially off. I measured the drum ID and got 160.27mm or 6.310" (yes I have an accurate tool for this). Inside the hub it says Max = 161.0mm so I figured all was good there. For grins, I checked the service manual and it says it should be 181.0 to 181.4mm! Well, I don't know for sure but I suspect that if my drum ID was that big, the shoes just might fit better. Anyone here have knowledge of just what the front drum ID should be on a 71 SL350?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just noticed the old shoes have the number ASK1036DYFF on them. The wheel is definitely a 19 inch.
 

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If your shoes were meant for a drum that's 181mm diameter, and you've got a 161mm diameter drum, the shoes would be sized with a radius that's 10mm too big. That's a huge difference.
Can you post a photo of the shoes (or just one shoe) in place inside the drum? If your shoes are too big, they'll touch the drum on their ends but have a huge gap at the middle.
One thing about the front brakes is that they're typically dual leading shoe designs (an active cam on the end of each of the shoes), whereas the rear brake is typically the simpler single leading shoe (both shoes actuated by the same cam on one end). It's easy to fark up the adjustment on the brake linkage, making it so that one shoe contacts the drum before the other one does- this will give poor braking performance and, I suspect, could account for the spongy feel (one shoe makes contact, but you've got to keep pulling to get the second shoe to engage. How confident are you that the linkages are properly adjusted?
HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I gave up for now and put the old shoes back on. They aren't worn down, just a bit glazed. Cold they squeal & grab a little but a few warm ups and the work fine. The Vesrah shoes seemed to fit ok but the attached picture tells a different story. Results are after riding up & down my block 7 or 8 times trying to get them to work properly. As for the EBC shoes, their arc is way off. The shoe ends don't touch, just the center. In other words they rock against the drum.
shoe1.jpg
 

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My Vesrah shoes were an equally poor fit, felt spongy while offering no stopping power at all. I suspect your EBC experience was simply a matter of you getting the wrong shoes for the hub/drum size
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think you are right. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my drum ID is 160.27mm. The manual says they should be 181mm. Either the manual is wrong or I have the wrong drum on my bike. Not sure how to resolve that question at this point. Hmm, I have a 71 SL175 that I'm restoring. Wonder if it is 161mm...
 
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