Lining can be riveted or bonded to steel brake shoes. Arguments in favor of riveted lining note the security of having a mechanical bond between the shoe and lining. Bonded lining, on the other hand, allows more shoe wear without interfering with countersunk brass rivet heads. Riveted lining dates to the earliest brake shoes, when it was popular to reline brakes at a local service garage.

Years ago, bonding methods and materials were less effective. At extreme heat, bonded lining could separate from a shoe. With modern materials and manufacturing techniques, lining separation is not a significant concern. Especially for street use, quality brakes can be either bonded or riveted type.

Brake shoes are secured with hold-down hardware and return springs. These springs and hardware have precise sizing and tension for each application. Use of the wrong hardware can lead to dragging shoes, poor brake response and incorrect shoe-to-backing plate alignment. Old springs and pins are likely fatigued and out of shape. Always install new hardware with a brake job. Hardware kits are available for popular trucks.

Hoses should be the right length and thread size, and they must meet or exceed DOT safety ratings. Factory hose is generally rubber jacketed. Aftermarket performance hoses often use stainless braid wrap. Whether stock replacement hose or aftermarket braided type, any brake hose must withstand maximum operating pressures and fit properly.

Brake pipe can be preformed, double-flared tubing with a DOT brake rating. Such pipe is available through brake parts sources with flare nuts in place and each end double-flared. (Stainless tubing and custom stainless braid hoses can be purchased through CLASSIC TRUCKS' advertisers.) If you must cut a brake pipe to size, double flare the tubing end after installing the flare nut. Follow factory guidelines for tube flaring and use professional grade tools. The easier approach is to purchase correct lengths of brake tubing, already fitted with flare nuts and double-flared at each end.

Hydraulic brake fittings are much higher grade than fittings used commonly for fuel or oil pressure. Always use SAE-rated brake tubing and fittings. This includes any master cylinder, proportioning valve, axle banjo, or frame-junction fitting. A hydraulic brake system is no safer than its weakest point.

Service Pointers
Years ago, rebuilding a master or wheel cylinder was common practice. If the bore was not too worn, a cylinder could be honed to break the glaze and eliminate slight surface irregularities. Honing was OK as long as the bore stayed round and within diameter tolerance. By the '70s, factory bore finishing changed. Diamond tool boring, followed by rolling the surface under heavy pressure, created a harder, more polished surface. (GM called this process "bearingized".) If honed during service work, the hard surface goes away, leaving a softer, coarser cast material that could wear prematurely.

Rebuilding or replacing just one wheel cylinder is also unwise. Invariably, the remaining cylinders that do not leak now will soon develop leaks. The master cylinder must be in top condition, too. When in doubt, rebuild or replace it. For best results, service all wheel cylinders and the master cylinder at the same time.

Everyone knows the challenges of brake bleeding. Applying pressure at the master cylinder end of the system is time consuming. It also pushes contaminants into the wheel cylinders. These contaminants can remain trapped within a cylinder, unable to exit through the bleeder valve.