Introduction: How to Change Drum Brakes
I'm not sure how relevant this instructable will be for newer cars, but it should work for anything from the 70's. Generally speaking, I'm not a mechanic, so, I don't know the technical terms for some of the pieces located inside the rear drum of the car...so, if you know the correct term, feel free to leave a comment and I'll update the instructable.
This project started as one of necessity, (the first time I did this I only changed the brake shoes and had in fact put the driver's side shoes "on the wrong feet"Â, heh, they were backwards, oops), but I also needed to change the springs as they are more than likely the original spring set and were a little rough.
DISCLAIMER: I don't claim to be a mechanic, nor do I claim to have any training in this field...I'm just a guy, working on my old clunker car, and feels that I should be able to replace/repair at least some of the minor damages.
The Car: It's a 1977 Buick LeSabre.ÂIit has been known as, the millennium falcon (Âyou came in that, you're braver than I thought.Â) and as the ÂBuick Kampf Waggon (ÂIt's as big as a tank, and handles like a Bedford!)
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Step 1: Lets Get Started
Not all of the tools listed here are required but they are very helpful.
What You'll need:
Car Jack (I'm not using the factory bumper jack...as it sucks and I don't really like it)
Jack stand (not strictly needed but a good idea if you want to play it safe)
Tire iron (again, I'm not using the factory L shaped iron as it's kind of lame)
A rubber mallet (for attaching the hubcaps at the end)
A giant screw driver (for taking off the hubcaps)
Pliers ( I used, linesman, needle nose, plumbers and two that I am not sure what they are actually for - but they were very helpful)
The spring and the drums and the shoes (heh the parts)
A little bit of break grease (thats the green bottle)
a seat - if you like to sit!
after looking at a closer view of the pliers - if anyone out there knows what the two in between the plumbers and needle nose are for - please let me know!
also, strictly speaking a brick is not the safest car stop - but I suppose its better than nothing. make sure the car is in park though, that is very important.
who is the handsome mechanic??? oh wait! thats me heh heh how embarrassing
Step 2: Getting at the Brakes
If you do not know how to take the wheel off your car, I would suggest not trying to perform the rest of this instructable - take the car to a mechanic.
But if you already have the car jacked up and the wheel off - read on!!
When you take the wheel off the car you will be presented the drum it basically looks like a big round rusted metal bowl.
You'll want to take that off by pulling it towards yourself and I found if you wiggle it while pulling it - its a little bit easier.
once you have the drum off - you should see the inner workings! it'll probably look like a rusty dirty nightmare. - Try not to breath any of the dust in there - it'll be asbestos from the brake shoes - and that'll kill you.
I would also suggest taking a picture of this step so that you have a clear idea of where all the springs and bits are and how they should look when its done.
Step 3: Springs and Such
Take a look at the top and then the underside of the spring setup - basically - there are five main springs and 4 mounting points in the top portion and two main sprins and two main mounting points in the underside.
I found it easiest to start removing the upper springs using the needle nose pliers - as this will then release tension on the lower springs.
Once thats done it'll look pretty bare - be sure to save any metal washers that come off.
Step 4: Putting the New Ones On
If you have a can of break cleaner - I would use it now to clean up all the dirt on the brake mounts - PS its best if you place a thick newspaper or bucket under the brakes when your spraying them down - I learned that this'll stain concrete - heh heh
Next you will want to start putting the springs on - but first apply a dab of spring grease to the three bumps on the under side of the brake shoe.
Basically the shoe goes on, by hooking over the built in hook, then the metal retaining plate hooks into the shoe and is held in place by one of the spring loaded pins (linesmen pliers are the best to use for this)
Then goes on the retaining wire - it connects to the metal retaining plate and the fixed pin at the top of the brake (I'm not sure what it is truly called) - and then the short spring - it hooks onto the break and the fixed pin, same as the retaining wire.
When the shoe is sort of in place you'll want to align the cam from the pressure cylinder with the notch in the shoe itself (this is located behind the bend in the retaining wire
Step 5: Finishing It Up
Before you put on the next shoe - you'll want to apply a little bit of brake grease to the 3 bumps located on the back of the shoe and then pin the shoe in place with the spring loaded pin - again linesmen pliers are the best for this.
Now you'll want top put in the spacer bar, this goes directly below the pressure cylinder, in between the two shoes and directly above the centre of the axle
now just hook the shoe to the fixed pin( I used the crazy midevil looking pliers for this)
Now comes the underside:
hook the two shoes together with the remaining small spring and insert the tension bar - I found it easiest to do when it is fully compressed.
Step 6: Finished
Make sure everything is in place!
Once thats done play with the tension bar untill the drum slides on snugly.
throw the tire on and tighten the lugs up to their required torque (using a torque wrench)
lower the car and assess the damages.
Please be nice - it was my first instructable ;-)