hnichols

replacing brake shoes

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Hi guys,

I'm getting ready to replace brake shoes and drums, and I have a couple of quick questions (even) after reading up on this job:

 

1.  Does one loosen the 10mm parking break bolts before dismantling the mechanism?  Or can one leave the parking brake alone (as long as it's released) until the end, when I adjust it?

2. To remove the old shoes, do you first remove the heavy lower (M) spring, as Haynes suggests (seems counter-intuitive).  I guess by prying it off with a large screwdriver (?).

3.  As for refitting that lower spring, Haybes says "install the lower spring so that it is located behind the anchor plate."  Is the anchor plate the triangular lip attached to the backing plate with two large rivits (see photo)?  If so, is mine installed incorrectly, with the spring in front of this plate?  Or am I misreading the instructions? 

4.  Any tips about installing the upper spring?  I'll be following the article on this site for the technique for installing the lower spring.  (I hope it works!)

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

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7 minutes ago, hnichols said:

1.  Does one loosen the 10mm parking break bolts before dismantling the mechanism?  Or can one leave the parking brake alone (as long as it's released) until the end, when I adjust it?  

     Yes--run the adjustment nuts on the handle end of the e-brake cables all the way, then when you remove the shoes,                  pull the cable out as far as it will go

2. To remove the old shoes, do you first remove the heavy lower (M) spring, as Haynes suggests (seems counter-intuitive).  I guess by prying it off with a large screwdriver (?).

     Yep, pry it off with a big screwdriver or small prybar; it's under a lot of tension so be careful.  Given half a chance it can fly      quite a ways from the car...you don't want to be in its way.

3.  As for refitting that lower spring, Haybes says "install the lower spring so that it is located behind the anchor plate."  Is the anchor plate the triangular lip attached to the backing plate with two large rivits (see photo)?  If so, is mine installed incorrectly, with the spring in front of this plate?  Or am I misreading the instructions? 

     The W spring goes behind that anchor plate.  Several instructions in the FAQ archives on how to reinstall "the bitch                  spring."

4.  Any tips about installing the upper spring?  I'll be following the article on this site for the technique for installing the lower spring.  (I hope it works!)

     Upper spring is pretty easy...hook one end to its shoe, then tilt that shoe and its mate until they're at a 45 degree (+/-)                angle to the backing plate, keeping the upper shoe ends in their respective slots in the wheel cylinder pistons.  Then when      the spring isn't under any tension ('cause the shoes are close together) hook the other end of the spring to the other shoe,      and carefully fold the shoes back to their normal location.   Finally connect the e-brake cable and install the W spring

 

mike

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It's been a while, but I remember engaging the bitch spring by wedging a long piece of wood under the spring and the other end on the floor.  Tapping the floor-end of the wood into a vertical position pushed the spring home.  It was wonderfully easy.:rolleyes:

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Mike, many thanks for your detailed responses.  I still don't really believe that spring can go behind the anchor plate -- apparently the guy who did the brakes last didn't either! -- but the article on this site describing a technique using C-clamps and wood blocks gives me hope.

Paul:  sounds like an excellent technique; I'll be sure to try that.  It would be wonderful if it turns out to be "wonderfully easy"! ...

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Vice grips work well also and give you positive control so as not to lose the spring.I use them to remove and replace.

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"The bitch spring" is the best way to put it.  It does go behind the anchor plate and the one truth to it is "No matter how many times you do it, it doesn't seem to get any easier".  It's a real knuckle buster....

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Grab it with vice grips, hook it behind the ancor plate and then pull away and down to put it into the shoe. It will go into okay if you have a good set of vice grips. No need for C clamps or any other wierdness.

 

I dont loosen the parking brake nuts before removing the shoes since once you pop the bitch spring everything sort of falls out without any hassles however you are supposed to readjust the parking brake and the adjuster screws when you put everything back together.

 

Upper spring is easy. You kind of do that first before you deal with the bitch spring. Again a set of vice grips make quick work of the top spring.

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In addition to following the great advice I found on FAQ about the rear drum brakes, I found that an unusual vice-grip that I got from Harbor Freight made the lower spring much easier to get in place.  As you can see it is a very long extension.  What makes it so good for the brake spring is that you can grab the wrench with both hands making it quite easy to manipulate the spring.  I bought this tool several years ago without having any specific need in mind.  I don't think I ever found a use for it until encountering the 2002 drum brake lower spring.  After that experience, I became very happy to have it in my toolbox. 

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On 8/11/2016 at 0:05 AM, PaulTWinterton said:

It's been a while, but I remember engaging the bitch spring by wedging a long piece of wood under the spring and the other end on the floor.  Tapping the floor-end of the wood into a vertical position pushed the spring home.  It was wonderfully easy.:rolleyes:

 

I've been preaching the same thing for a while, except with a giant flathead screwdriver wedged against the floor.  Just keep pushing it closer to the center of the car to get it up over the prong, and then use a second screwdriver/hammer to give it a little horizontal nudge at the top of the spring to pop it over the prong and into place.  It's really pretty easy.  

Edited by KFunk

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Wow, the PaulWinterton/KFunk technique is brilliant.  It really is quite easy (I combined it with the technique, described in the article on this site, using clamps).

 

After installing the new shoes, I have 2 questions:

1.  What do you think would cause the middle section of the M spring to jump in front of the anchor plate?  On an earlier thread, I asked about a loud metallic snap when backing up after the car had been parked.  Now I'm pretty sure this was the sound of the spring popping over the anchor plate.  I'd like to know, because that was the origin of this whole adventure.

2.  Probably related to that issue, I'm having trouble adjusting the parking brake.  One side adjusts like it should -- wheel rotating freely with the brake released, just locking up when the brake is pulled up 4 clicks.  The other side takes considerably more cable to lock up, and doesn't seem to release completely when you release the handle.  Any ideas?

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Regarding parking brake adjustment, I have a similar situation on mine.  By your description, it seems like one of the adjustment nuts near the handbrake lever could use further adjustment to make it equal to the one working OK.  Plus one of the cables is probably not operating as smoothly as it should.  On mine, the sticky one will release by just manipulating the cable near the drum after releasing the handbrake.  I can also get it to release by just working the handbrake up and down quickly a few times.  Seems like I probably need to lubricate the cable and it will be good.  While I haven't yet proven this is the culprit on mine by doing the lube, I suspect your situation may be similar. 

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