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Old 01-04-2007, 11:12 AM   #1
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Technology Time Warp

In another thread I was trying to justify my decision to upgrade from drum brakes to discs when I realized that it wasn't strictly rational - yes, they are 'safer' but the difference is hard to measure.

After a bit of introspection I think the real reason I'm upgrading to discs is that after getting my Airstream I was amazed to find out that drum brakes still exist - never mind that I had just bought two. I can remember when I was a wee lad of 8 'helping' my father swap out drums for discs on our car - I haven't seen drum brakes since.

It was the same thing with the factory installed Airstream battery. I was amazed that they still had batteries that needed water. Not to mention that Airstream had just sold me something that wanted maintenance every two weeks! So a Lifeline went in.

I guess I had assumed that Airstreams were like cars. There were old ones that were excruciatingly beautiful but which required more love and care than I currently have available to give to them. And new ones that just work.

Is this just me? Or has anyone else had this experience? Is Airstream caught in a Technology Time Warp?
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Old 01-04-2007, 11:16 AM   #2
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I tend to agree with most. Drum brakes are still around, but have mostly bee n replaced with discs. Batteries....I was a little surprised myself that they still required 'attention'.
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:05 PM   #3
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For someone who spends way too much time trying to make numbers make sense because you want them to, I would have thought you would have done all your homework before purchasing your AS. Find me another trailer that has offered disk brakes in the last few years. As for deep cycle batteries such as those which come with our loved AS, 99% of deep cells sold with RV's are wet. So if I were you (thank goodness I am not) do your research before attacking our loved Airstreams! Or do what the rest of us do. Change it if you don't like it!
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:07 PM   #4
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My 97 Ford truck had drums on the rear. Yes these are still in use.
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALANSD
My 97 Ford truck had drums on the rear. Yes these are still in use.
Hey Alan- Aren't there still a bunch of Toyota cars and trucks that still use drums also? I know my brothers Chevy Suburban has monster drums on the rear and it's a 1999!
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickandsandi
Hey Alan- Aren't there still a bunch of Toyota cars and trucks that still use drums also? I know my brothers Chevy Suburban has monster drums on the rear and it's a 1999!
Many, many cars and trucks still use rear drums, although no one uses front drums any more.
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:16 PM   #7
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I am doubly surprised at how many still use them on the rear, and also at how far back discs were in use. My 82 AS Motorhome had the 4 wheel discs, and my 1959 Triumph car had front discs.
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:29 PM   #8
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But then again, my 1936 Piper Cub has no brakes!
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:34 PM   #9
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Well Jimii..I have some shocking news for you. Drumb brakes are still the standard for some 2005/06 Chevrolet trucks. Most Trailers have drumb brakes with the exception of a very few that come with disk brakes. 99% of ALL Class 8 trucks....thats the ones the haul your stuff to wallys world and the rest of the world for that matter....have Drumb Brakes. You seem very uninformed about these things. Sorry,,,but I see so many who comes here totally OUT of contact with the products they purchase that its a bit discerning for me.
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Old 01-04-2007, 01:58 PM   #10
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I believe it is a simple matter of cost vrs performance value. In the example of disk or drum brakes, the perfomance is nearly the same for the application at hand. Compatability of brake controllers, universal availibilty of parts, the ease of use, all lead to one see that there is no real need for change. They still do the job well, use is widespread, and thereby cheap. As to lead acid batteries, there is still no battery that provides the capacity and durability for the same or less cost. If there were, we would use them.

One might ask why we are still tied to 150 year old technology for transportation? Simply put, no other alternative is as cheap to build, support or opreate as the internal combustion engine. One day this will change, but care to bet when?
Whew, won't this start a mess.
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Old 01-04-2007, 02:05 PM   #11
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I must have missed something - I thought Jimii's post was an ok way to show some buyer's remorse - and an unstated wish that he had done his research beforehand. We've all been there. But AS is not a production paragon - they are producing what will sell and please most folks over the long haul. I suspect their cost and pricing structures do not (yet) support disks and Lifelines as standard issue over drums and wet batteries.

I'll likely convert to Lifelines soon, but I'm happy enough with my dumb drums.

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Old 01-04-2007, 02:37 PM   #12
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drum/disc brakes

my 2003 f150 had front disc/rear drum
my 2006 rockwood has 4 drum
my 2005 f150 has 4 disc - 1 that squeels like a pig the dealer has yet to fix after 3 trys
upgrade to disc from drum-don't see the the advantage unless you planning on using your AS on the nascar circuit
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Old 01-04-2007, 02:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickandsandi
But then again, my 1936 Piper Cub has no brakes!
you got a cub?! oooh...we need to chat!

so...no brakes by design? or are they just "missing"?

the Champ my dad had had brakes. very similar ride...Now that I think of it, I would feel a bit uneasy without them. I remember watching the cub do "brake stands"...so I would think that some of them must have had brakes. maybe that was a "super cub"...anyway, I have a vivid memory of watching the cub pilot "fly" the tail, without the airplane actually moving. tried it w/ the champ...wouldn't do it. almost...but not quite. although, in the winter, it was typically off the ground before I could get the throttle all the way open. (solo) but it did have to have forward motion...
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Old 01-04-2007, 03:02 PM   #14
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My 86 Airstream MH has front and rear discs and drums on the tags...the 71 Beetle I tow has drums on all four corners and our 96 Jeep has discs on all four. I still see a lot of rear drums on cars and trucks produced today.

I would like to upgrade my Beetle to discs at some point. Kits are readily available and I like the added safety and lower maintenance it gives me. But the drums will stop the car.

I think it simply has to do with a combination of engineered requirements (will they stop the trailer within design parameters) and engineered costs (if they came with better = more expensive brakes and batteries what gets engineered down or out to meet a price point.) Like your battery, you can always upgrade later.
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