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Old 07-14-2009, 10:13 PM   #1
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2003 ION-2 Quad Coupe
2001 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default 2001 l-series rear drum brakes

2001 LW200 with 105,000+ miles

How to remove the brake drums.

In another post on this site it was recommended that on the first tire rotation to remove the brake drums and coat the seam where drum meets hub with some anti-sieze grease or similar product. So, 40K miles later you should be able to remove the drum without annoying the neighbors by pounding on the drum for 10 or 12 hours hoping it will pop free. Oops! Lesson learned. Oh. The screw in the face plate was removed, the parking brake was off, and PB Blaster is your friend.

According to the service manual to remove a drum that is held in place by the ridge of steel formed as the shoe cuts into the drum you remove the small plug from the backing plate, push a screw driver into the hole and blindly push around until the brake shoes magically release their hold on the drum. Huh? I've looked at the photos. So what are you pushing on? Do you really want to slide the brake shoe off of the hydraulic piston and tear the piston seal? I do not think so. And even if you could push on the parking brake level you don't have a screw driver long enough or sufficient room to get leverage. Besides, even with the parking brake released, the cable is still like a piano wire ready to break.

So recently I tried this experiment. The 2001 does not have studs in the wheel hub. The hub also has at least 1 larger diameter threadless access hole in it. Spin the drum on the hub until the bolt hole on the drum lines up with the access hole in the hub and then rotate the pair until the holes line up with the star wheel on the parking brake adjuster. This is approximately at the 2 o-clock position give or take a little. The parking brake adjuster is on the lead shoe (towards the front of the car) and just to the right of the bolt hole.

So now what. I used a stiff piece of wire with a small hook in the end to retract the parking brake adjuster lever (probably not the correct term) and a thin long screw driver to back off the star wheel. Go in at an angle pushing on the star wheel counter-clockwise starting low and moving up and back. Once it broke free it spun down very easily. It took me about 90 minutes from start to finish (get the stuff together to do the job and return everything to its place and clean up).

No. I did not do the brake job. I was just trying to see if there was a better way of backing off the parking brake adjuster. The first time I did this I spent more than 4 hours over 2 days to get one drum off. Now that I know that this method works I should be able to do this task in about half the time.

Replacing the brake shoes looks pretty standard. I hope to tackle the entire job in the coming weeks.

I was planning on cutting the drums, but a silver dollar sized chunk of steel about 1/16 in. thick popped off of the drum while smacking it smartly with a rubber mallet. I may end up forking over the extract dollars and buy new drums for $50 ea. instead of getting them cut for $6 ea. I needed to know how long it was going to take to get the drums off, so I could run them to the machine shop by noon on a Saturday to get them cut. But if I decide to buy new drums that time constraint is eliminated.

I hope this information helps the do-it-yourselfers like me.
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:24 PM   #2
born again
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2000 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default Re: 2001 l-series rear drum brakes

I have replaced my rear shoes twice DIY. I didn't have any trouble removing the drum either time. Taking out the retainer screw is essential. A word of advice - take several digital photos of the assembled shoes and parking brake mechanism before taking things apart. The reassembly of the parking brake and auto adjuster is a bit tricky without this. Another trick - wrap a piece of rope around the new linings to hold them in place while you hook up the brake springs. Another thing - do not under any circumstances try to open the brake bleeders. Just crack the brake line fitting slightly for bleeding. The combination of aluminum brake cylinder body and miniscule steel bleeders will leave you with a broken off bleeder screw every time.
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drum removal, l-series, lw200, rear drum brakes

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