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draggin' ass
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13,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 09 Sierra 1500 half ton that has rear drum brakes, real bummer in my opinion. The VortecMax option trucks have the 9.5 inch rear with discs but all other half ton trucks are stuck with drums. If I can get a rear from the similar body style Tahoe or Suburban, can I use this for donor parts to convert my truck? Has anyone here successfully swapped the rear 10 bolt from drum to disc brakes? Will I run into any ABS issues or similar?

Thanks, Michael
 

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AVAST
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1,350 Posts
My 06 sierra has drums but my 2003 lt silverado 1500 had rear discs and locker. I'd look for one out of an 03 like my old one as their leaf sprung. Tahoes and burbs are 4 linked
 

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draggin' ass
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13,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Parker, I feel the drums are inadequate in repeated stops when I hit traffic, especially with the trailer. I was simply considering year sourced vehicles for compatibility as I can bolt the parts onto mine as it sits. I don't plan to swap gear ratios, just the brakes. I recently did a rear drum to disc swap on my 88 Monte Carlo and it made the 1000% world of difference so I was hoping to have the same success on my truck. Difference here is the car has no electronic gadgetry where as the truck does. That's what I hoping to avoid issue with prior to getting to far down this road.
 

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draggin' ass
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13,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Parker, what about ABS issues or any other electronic stuff? Also I assume I need the emergency brake cables from the donor vehicle as well?

Have you or do you know anyone who has done this swap themselves? I googled quite a bit and found 4 and 5 year old threads and nothing of any substance.
 

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Senor Frog
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8,949 Posts
my 2011 has drums,they warped at 20K miles,the dealer replaced them at 40K and they warped again
So i have a set of brand name drums and pads in my shop I need to add to my truck for a third time,im convinced
the GM versions are thinner maybe ?

Aftermarket kits are 2Gs,fuck that
 

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draggin' ass
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13,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Where does the abs get picked up at for the rear channel? My theory is the stopping power of th rear disc and drums are about equal since the front brakes are the same on both applications. I wonder about differences in the master and the proportion valve. I will do some rock auto research tomorrow and post my findings.
 

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20,012 Posts
Pulled a 24' - 10k GVW trailer with an 08 Silverado 1500 and the rear brakes would overheat when the equalizer hitch was not adjusted properly.
When everything is set right, drum/ disc brakes will do a good job.

Too much weight on the rear of the tow vehicle will unload the front end.
Are you sure you don't have too much tongue weight on the trailer.

If a brake is overheating it's because something is causing the brakes to drag or the brake is overworked because for some reason the other brakes are not doing their job.

You could change the rear brakes to disc and still have the same problem.

Just something to think about. :)
 

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1,194 Posts
Large rear drums, when proportioned right, work well for me on trucks, especially with the correct sized hydroboost setup.

Do you know the current drum size?
 

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draggin' ass
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13,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I tow a 2900 pound blazer on a open steel deck trailer, everything sits nice and level. The repeated hard braking is when going through stop and go highway traffic and people cutting me off when I try to maintain distance. The trailer brakes are working properly. The issue really is just a fade problem where I can get stuck in 10 or 20 miles of Florida traffic.


Technical update: the abs sensor is in the axle tube on either side about 3inches inboard of the flange. Both side backing plates are identical. The drum inside diameter should be 11.6 inches.
 

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draggin' ass
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13,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I have done a little parts research here using Rockauto.com. Comparing a 09 suburban 1500 with 5.3 motor to a 09 Silverado 1500 with 5.3, the master cylinders are the same. The boosters are the same as are the front brake parts. The proportioning valves are the same as well. In my logic, the only difference to possibly remain are the ABS settings. I do not think this is a issue due to as I previously said, the front brakes are the same on both vehicles to the amount of work the rears do (proportionately) must be engineered to be the same. I am futher encouraged by the fact the ABS sensor is picket up in the axle tube so the mechanical parts for this system are irrelevant to brake type leading me to believe the electronics are generic.

Anyone have something constructive to contribute to my thoughts here?
 

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Banned
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3,952 Posts
I have been told that the drum's came back due to issues with the disc calipers. Especially on people dropping boats in salt water. I have drum on my 09 and never had an issue yet in 60k miles, still have 50% shoe life and I tow a lot.
 

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draggin' ass
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13,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
After a little more digging, in parts at the GM counter (only source for many) and rock auto for others, I am in for a east 800 to 1000 with out any unforeseen incidentals. God knows those will show up. My second option is I can pick up a complete rear for 1100 to 1400 plus 200 core fee from the junk yard. This is way too much money to spend for the desire to have rear discs and still some unknowns about the electronics side of the conversion. I will keep my eyes open for a used deal like on craigslist or locally and other wise the swap is off.

I think the best way to get rear disc brakes is to trade the truck in and that's not happening to soon either.
 
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