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Old 09-13-2007, 06:20 AM   #1
adamsaulnier
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Default Changing rear brake shoes

How difficult is it to change these yourself? My friend said its only an easy job that can be done without a lot of tools. I don't want to discount his knowledge (he's not an auto mechanic but knows a lot of stuff) but I'm a little skeptical on how simple this job is supposed to be. I searched the how-to section for this and nothing came up, so if someone can help me I'll be glad.

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Old 09-13-2007, 07:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

It's not too hard. It's just a bunch of springs holding things together. Take the drums off both sides but, work on one side at a time. That way you can go over to the other side and use it for a reference when you forget where something goes. If your friend has ever done a drum brake, he can probably do these. The basic design hasn't changed in well over 50 years. Here's a couple pics that might help.


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Old 09-13-2007, 08:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

It's not too bad, figuring out how to get it back together can be a little tricky if you don't get it right the first time, but at least the other side goes smooth. Only problem I have till this day is that the drums grab harder in one spot? giving the car that warped rotors feel under cterain conditions. Kind of annoying but better then a shaking wheel from bad rotors...

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Old 09-13-2007, 08:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

I just did the rear brakes on the 92 SL2 we just bought. The car spent its early life in Ohio, where they use lots of salt on roads in the winter. I scraped a coating of rust off of the outside of the drums and repainted them with rustoleum. I also bought a new set of the little springs, and new wheel cylinders since I always do that when a car is 12-15 years old, and new shoes of course. The cylinders, shoes and springs were inexpensive. They were about the easiest brakes to fix that I can recall. The advice to only dismantle the springs and shoes from one side at a time is important.
Be sure to use a 6 point metric wrench on the bleeder screw, and if you replace the wheel cylinders, be sure to also use only 6 point metric wrenches on the wheel cylinder bolts and the brake hose 'banjo' bolt.

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Old 09-13-2007, 08:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

I only intend to replace the shoes, so what is the process?

Push down on the shoes, then unclip the spring from the unit and they should easily come off? Is there anything else I should be aware of that I should check on when I'm inside the assembly?

Thanks for the input so far, I appreciate it a lot.

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Old 09-13-2007, 08:40 AM   #6
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

I am going by the rear brakes on my 92, so I hope yours arent different. You will need to undo two springs mounted horizontally, and the two springs that are coils, and hold the shoes to the brake backing plate. I use pliers for these 4 springs. There is another spring having to do with the self-adjusters. The hardest spring to work with is the one on the end on the handbrake cable. You have to get that cable off, or else you have to try to change the rear brake shoe right there at the rear axle. This is because the handbrake cable pulls on a lever that is pivoted on the rear brake shoe. Its about the same as on any car with drum brakes made in the last 50 years though. There is a "C" clip you have to 'expand' to remove it, and to re-squeeze it after you put the new shoe on the actuating lever. Make sure the lever will swing back and forth without much effort.
With new brake shoes, you always run the self-adjuster 'star wheel' fully back into its housing before you reassemble. Dont worry if the drum wont turn freely when you put it back onto the hub. As long as you can turn it by hand at all, it will settle in when you first take the car out for a test drive.
P.S. When I work on my brakes on any car, the first test drive involves an 'emergency stop', where I purposely try to push the brake pedal to the floor. If you dont have ABS brakes, the wheels should lock up, and the car should stop in a straight line with your hands off the steering wheel. If anything is going to go wrong, I want it to happen on a deserted side road, not when someone steps off a curb in front of me. Once when I did this, I had to repair the seat track mechanism.
What you look for inside there, is any sign of fluid leakage from the rubber seals on the end of the wheel cylinders.

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Old 09-13-2007, 09:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Quote:
Originally Posted by adamsaulnier View Post
Push down on the shoes, then unclip the spring from the unit and they should easily come off? Is there anything else I should be aware of that I should check on when I'm inside the assembly?
Personally I always replace the wheel cylinders when I do the rear brakes but, it's your choice. It's a little more complicated than you are saying and it's not near as easy as disk brakes. There are pins that come through the backing plate that go through the brake shoes, then through a spring, and then through a round doodad. In the exploded diagram I posted, these are labeled pin, hold down spring, and cup. The pin has a kind of shovel end and the cup has a slot where it goes through. You have to push in the cup and turn it so the shovel end of the pin lines up with the slot. Then the cup and spring can be removed. Once you get them both off, you can pull the shoes out but, there are three or four springs and some other parts that will come with them. It's not going to be a bit obvious how to get it all back together. That's why you need to have the other side to look at.

You sound like you expect this to be like changing the plugs. It's not too terrible but, it's more complicated than you make it sound.

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Old 09-13-2007, 11:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Thats the thing, my friend said it was easy. I'm considering getting the work done at a garage because I don't know if its as easy as he says it is.. hence why I'm asking the question now to find out if he's right

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Old 09-13-2007, 12:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Truely ;
The hardest drum brakes i've ever encountered ,NOT that the design is any different from other cars ............
It is getting all those springs in behind the plate the lugs are in ect.
maybe the view is different ,when the car is on a lift !

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Old 09-13-2007, 09:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

See if this might help make up your mind.

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Old 09-13-2007, 09:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Hey Barn owl, where did you purchase that puller drum tool to pull off the drum? What size is it?

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Old 09-13-2007, 09:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Quote:
Originally Posted by richpin06 View Post
See if this might help make up your mind.
I'm really impressed with your video. Hopefully it ends up in the How To library.

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Old 09-13-2007, 10:08 PM   #13
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Once you do one set of drum brakes you have a skill that will follow you forever.

They don't look that likely to change much in the future either.

That stupid little nail in the middle of each shoe is what holds it in, but the heavy duty springs that hold the front shoes to the rear shoes lock various tabs against other immovable objects. Then the drum itself really makes sure nothing falls out. When it comes time, push in on that nickel sized spring cap with a pliers and you'll feel a nail poking out of the backing plate. Hold that with your other hand and you can compress the little spring, twist, and the spring "hat" will come off along with all the junk behind it.

My advice is to get both drums off then just go nuts removing springs on one side. Eventually you'll have a huge pile of curvy levers and springs that all fall off at once.

If you have a digital camera take lots of pics as you dismantle. Use flash as the shadows help determine what goes on top of what else.

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Old 09-14-2007, 09:51 AM   #14
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Quote:
Originally Posted by turbobuick33 View Post
Hey Barn owl, where did you purchase that puller drum tool to pull off the drum? What size is it?
That's just a three finger gear puller. It's not made specifically for brake drums. I've had it for years. I either bought it at a parts store or a flea market. I really don't remember.

You usually don't need a puller. Usually banging in around the edges of the drum with a hammer will get it loose enough to come off.

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Old 09-14-2007, 12:31 PM   #15
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Does anybody have any ideas as to the problem I mentioned earlier? The way the drums catch harder in one spot causing a pulsating effect.

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Old 09-14-2007, 12:46 PM   #16
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ls1Junky View Post
Does anybody have any ideas as to the problem I mentioned earlier? The way the drums catch harder in one spot causing a pulsating effect.
Your drums are running out.You will have to turn them or replace them with new.

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Old 09-14-2007, 12:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

^^Drums and shoes are new.

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Old 09-14-2007, 01:20 PM   #18
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Wow thanks for that great video, it really made me feel more confident about doing it.. at least I have something to follow now.

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Old 09-14-2007, 01:29 PM   #19
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ls1Junky View Post
Does anybody have any ideas as to the problem I mentioned earlier? The way the drums catch harder in one spot causing a pulsating effect.
Could this be the dreaded condition caused by not breaking in your pads correctly when new?

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Old 09-14-2007, 01:32 PM   #20
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Default Re: Changing rear brake shoes

richpin...of course you get to simply pull the drum off. Me, on the other hand spend 30+ minutes with a 12lb hammer and a huge freaking screwdriver attempting to pry it off w/o screwing the backing plate. Guess thats because the cars I've done it on sat for at least a year but still.
Once I get around to doing the rear brakes on mine I'll just beat the $h1t out of the drum/hub/crossmember just because I can as a new (painted black) setup is going in with disk brakes and a sway bar

Saved the video anyway...never done drum brakes before so seeing it done might be helpful, thanks.

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