Introduction: 5 Ways How to Remove a Stuck Brake Drum

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Video tutorial on the five different ways to remove a stuck drum on a brake assembly. Depending on how the drum is stuck will affect which method is needed to remove the drum. You should get able to get an idea of how the drum is stuck by trying to move it. Either by rotating or trying to pull it from the hub. If you are able to rotate the hub, then the pads aren’t against or stuck to the braking surface. Therefore it can be rusted to the hub or has a lip on the backside which is catching up on the pads. As long as you’re able to pull the drum back slightly from the hub, then you are only dealing with a lip issue on the inside of the drum. Now on the other hand, if you cannot rotate the drum, then the pads are engaged either by rust, stuck wheel cylinder, or stuck parking brake.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • puller
  • bolts
  • ball peen hammer
  • safety glasses
  • standard screwdriver
  • drill with drill bits
  • angle grinder
  • bolt cutters
  • propane or acetylene torch set

Step 1: ​Method #1

Gain access to the rear of the drum assembly and look for an inspection while which is closed up with a rubber grommet. Remove the rubber grommet which will give us access to adjust the automatic adjuster. Two screwdrivers are needed, insert the first screwdriver into the hole, push back the lock. Take the standard screwdriver and rotate the star wheel. Finally you can remove the drum.

Step 2: Method #2

Using a ball peen hammer, hit the drum between the wheel studs where the hub face is located. Go around the perimeter between each of the studs, being careful not to hit any of the studs as you can damage the threads. If you are worried about accidentally hitting the wheel studs, either install the lug nuts or place a rubber hose over top of the studs. Heat can be applied to the mounting surface either using a propane or acetylene torch set. NEVER hit outside of the hub area, on the outer edge where the cooling fines are, or on the back edge of the drum. Doing so will greatly risk the chance of damaging the drum’s casting, either resulting in a crack or chip making the drum unsafe to use.

Step 3: ​Method #3

Use a puller to remove the drum. Center of the hub should have a depressed area where the puller’s center bolt can be places. Then clip the jaws on the outer edge of the drum and tighten the center bolt until the drum breaks free.

Step 4: ​Method #4

To determine if it is stuck, operate the lever inside the vehicle and you should feel loose travel before tension is applied. Another reason for that loose travel is if your parking brake is out of adjustment. The cable will need to be replace even if you are able to get it loose as it can occur again. First try giggling the cable, adjusting it, and if that fails, then cut it directly behind the drum brake assembly as close as possible. The parking brake lever inside the drum assembly will release and allow the shoes to retract.

Step 5: ​Method #5

If all else fails and you are unable to disengage the shoes from the drum, then complete disassembly is required. Start by clipping the hold down pins on the backside. Once done, this will allow you to fold the shoes within the drum. Try pulling back by hand or with the assistance of a puller. If that fails, then remove the wheel cylinder where the fasteners can be access from the backside of the backing plate. Along with that, disconnect the brake line as we do not want to have any added stress on it.

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