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Detailing and Cleaning


Replacing rear drum brake shoes

If your parking brake is no longer working too well, or you notice your car is no longer stopping as fast as it used to, your rear brakes could be shot without you even knowing it. Here's how to fix them!

Time Required:
1 Hour

Tools Needed:

  • Side cutters or needle nose pliers
  • 13mm socket
  • swivel adapter
  • 6"-8" extension
  • ratchet
  • At least 2 cans of brake clean
  • Some silicone grease or equivalent


    Tech Notes:
    When cleaning the brakes, use Brake clean in a well-ventilated area and apply liberally, you will not harm the shoes material, so don�t be afraid to soak everything!

    When applying the lube on the backing plate, also, apply that liberally, however, if ANY gets on the shoe material, it must be cleaned with brake cleaner, but be sure not to wash away the lube you just installed.

    When trying to install the retaining bolts for the spindles, it may take some lifting and turning of the drum to line up all the bolt holes.

    (Click on images to zoom them)
    1) Raise the vehicle

    Note: this is the location I put the rear jack stands, it is such a location, you can jack up one side in the rear, place both jack stands and lower the car onto them.

    2) Remove the tires.

    3) Using the 13mm socket, swivel adapter and extension, remove the 4 spindle retaining bolts.

    Note: For vehicles with ABS, disconnect ABS connector.

    4) Once all 4 spindle bolts are removed, simply pull the drum off the rear brakes.

    Note: For vehicles with ABS, the wire from the connector that was unplugged will come out with the spindle.

    5) Now that the drums are removed, you will see the dirty rear brakes

    Use the Brake clean and totally spray the whole assembly down until cleaned.

    Then spray the drum out. If the drum's braking surface looks bad, you will need to buy a new drum and likely it will come with a new rear wheel bearing as well. I will cover this part later.

    6) Remove the retaining clips by simply using a screwdriver and push down on them.

    7) You can then wiggle, pull and push to get the assembly of the rear brakes off the backing plate.

    8) Remove the parking brake cable from the brake assembly. Take the brake pads and springs apart, replace with new brake pads.

    9) Proceed to clean the backing plate with the brake clean, then wipe the rub points dry.

    10) Apply the silicone lube or whatever you choose to use. Apply liberlly to the backing plate and rub points, but remember to clean any lube off of the brake pad surface itself.

    11) Now that all that is done, you can place the entire assembly back onto the parking brake cable.

    12) Squeeze the pistons for the wheel cylinder in towards each other to make the brake assembly fit around it.

    13) Once the assembly is back on the backing plates, you need to install the pins through the backing plate and install the retaining clips.

    Note: In order to install the retaining clips, you need to hold the pin from the back of the drum, and make it point as far up as possible. Then using needle nose pliers or a pair of side cutters, push the retaining clip in and let the pin drop into the clip and release the clip.

    14) Once all that is installed, make sure the shoes are about centered and even with each other. Take and separate the little cam on the adjuster

    and make the shoes get as close to each other as possible.

    15) Make sure the shoe surface is totally cleaned then place the drum and spindle assembly back over the shoes.
    Note: For vehicles with ABS, the wire for the wheel speed sensor will need to go back through the backing plate the same way it came out.
    Note: If the drum doesn�t fit, try shifting the shoes up and down and you should be able to get it over the assembly.

    16) Reinstall the spindle retaining bolts and torque to 49 lb/ft.

    17) Reinstall the wheels, torque Lug nuts to 94 lb/ft.

    18) Lower vehicle.
    Note: Before driving vehicle, pump the brake pedal to ensure the shoes are adjusted out enough to be functional. You will hear a clicking type sound, this is the adjusters adjusting.

    Now go Road test!

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