Removing Rear Brake DrumsThere are several tips on removing rear drum brake pads that will assist you during the replacement process. Most of these tips require no additional tools, and can save you time when doing a brake job. First off, it’s a good idea to do one side of the brake system at a time. This can prove very useful if you forget where a fastener belongs, because the other brake assembly will act as a reference tool. This is just one of many tips on removing rear drum brake pads that can prove to be invaluable during brake shoe replacement, especially if you are new to the process.

Removing the Rear Brake Drums

The first step in removing your rear brake pads is to jack up the car remove one of the rear tires. Chock the tires and rest the vehicle on jack stands to ensure it is stable. Once the tire is off, you can see the brake drum that houses the rest of the rear brake assembly. The brake drum needs to slide off over the wheel studs, a task that can prove to be more difficult than it sounds.

Grab the brake drum on both sides firmly with your hands, and give the brake drum a good pull. If you’re lucky, the brake drum will slide off smoothly and the rest of the rear brake assembly will be exposed. If the brake drum doesn’t come off using this method, you will need your trusty rubber mallet. Firmly and repeatedly tap the edges of the brake drum from the backside, alternating across to the opposite edge as the drum begins to separate from the rest of the brake assembly. Continue this process until the brake drum can easily be removed using your hands. Sometimes prepping the drum with copious amounts brake cleaner will help loosen it from the rest of the assembly.

Components of a Drum Brake Assembly

The rear drum brake assembly consists of several parts and fasteners. These components include the emergency brake actuator arm, return and retainer springs, wheel cylinder, and brake shoes. It’s important to note where these components are located, because their locations are vital to reassembly process. There are also a few specialized tools that you will need to have available, including a spring removal tool and a retainer spring removal tool.

Removing the Brake Shoes

The first step when replacing your brake shoes is to remove the return spring. Using your return spring removal tool, grasp the end of the return spring on the side closest to the front of the vehicle. Stretch and lift the return spring slightly to unhook it from the brake shoe, which should relieve all the tension on the spring. You can then remove the spring from the other brake shoe, and set it aside in your parts tray.

Next, you will need to remove the retainer springs that are holding the brake shoes in place. Grasp the rear side of the retainer clip with your hand the keep it from moving. Using you retainer spring removal tool, press firmly on the retainer spring and turn it counter clockwise the release the tension. Once the tension is released, you should be able to easily remove the retainer and springs, as well as the brake shoes and other hardware.

Installing Rear Brake Shoes

Now that you have removed the old brake shoes from the rear brake assembly, it’s time to put in the new brake pads. The process is exactly the opposite of the removal process, so the reassembly should go faster than the disassembly.

First, position your new brake shoes over the retainer spring slots. Slide in the springs and secure them using your retainer spring removal tool. To lock them back in place, simply press firmly and turn the retainers clockwise until the brake shoes are properly fastened. Next you need to install the brake shoe return spring using your return spring removal tool. Attach one side of the return spring to a brake shoe, and then stretch the other end over the lip on the opposite brake shoe. Once both the retainer springs and the return spring are securely in place, you can adjust your new brake shoes for proper performance.

To adjust your brake shoes, put the brake drum back on the assembly and give it a few spins. The brake shoes should slightly be touching the drums, just enough to be audible without producing noticeable resistance. If the shoes need to be adjusted, use a flat head screwdriver to turn the adjustment wheel until the brake shoes are in the desired position. Repeat these steps for the other rear drum brake assembly before attempting to test your work.

Testing and Enjoying Your Work

Once you’ve reassembled your rear drum brakes and the wheel is securely fastened, you’re almost ready to give the vehicle a test drive. Pump the brakes several time until you’re certain there is resistance present before driving. If the brake pedal feels loose or spongy, you should thoroughly recheck your work. Your new rear brake shoes will give your vehicle added stopping power, as well as a quieter and smoother braking experience. Using these tips on removing rear brake drum pads should make for a less troublesome task when replacing rear brake shoes in your home garage.

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