How to Replace Drum Brake Shoes

Looking to replace your drum brake shoes? Here is the guide for you!

  • To replace your drum brake shoes, you will have to start by removing the tire, wheel, and drum part of the drum brake. When removing them, remember to use proper and safe jacking techniques. Once you have these parts removed, move on to the next step.
  • After the drum of the drum brake is removed, you will be looking at five bolts protruding like a crown, the backing plate, which is located on the back part of the assembly, and the special guests of our guide today, the drum brake shoes. To start their removal, spray them down with a cleaner, in order to keep any rust or dust from causing any muss.
  • Now, using special spring removal tools necessary for this project, you will begin taking the springs holding the brake shoes on, off. Side Note: Taking a picture of how everything is set up can really help when you get to the installation stage. The first springs you will want to remove are the return springs. They are located at the top of the assembly, holding the upper parts of the brake shoes in place. To remove them, you will need a spring removal tool to carefully latch on to each spring, and then slowly unhinge them from their positions at the center peak of the drum brake.
  • Next, you will want to remove the metallic arm that hooks up on the same piece as the return springs and juts down to the adjuster. You can use the same tool to remove the arm, if you would like.
  • You are almost ready to pull the brake shoes off, but you must first remove the 2 clips located on the adjuster. Once you have removed them, grab the brake shoes and start pulling them out. They probably won’t come out because of the adjuster, so pull one side around the assembly and curl it over. This should pop the adjuster spring free and the brake shoe should come loose.
  • If you have waited too long to replace your brake shoes, then you will notice the wear may have gone down to the rivets. If this happens you will need to replace the drum as well.
  • Now that the old brake shoes are removed, time to begin the installation of the new ones. Remember that if they are different size brake shoes, it is that way for a reason. Put the short shoe in the front and the long one in the back. During this process, make sure your wheel cylinder does not bleed out.
  • Before installing the new brake shoes, you will notice ridges on the backing plate where the shoes will come in contact with it. You must sand these down for the brake shoes to work correctly. You will need to apply an anti-seize compound to these ridges and, after cleaning the adjuster, apply the compound to that as well.
  • Now it is time to install the new brake shoes. To do this, you must first make sure you have removed the arm that is attached to the old brake shoe that is going to hook into the parking brake. Do this by seeing where it will go on the new brake shoe, then push the tiny C clip holding the bolt in place, out. The arm should come right off and the bolt should pop right out. Install those in the new brake shoe.
  • Keeping in mind where things were located when you started this project, attach the star-wheel adjuster to the appropriate brake shoe, the bottom part of the long one, and then attach the spring. It is a good idea to replace all the springs when you are replacing your drum brake shoes. Now attach the spring to the bottom of the other brake shoe.
  • Proceed in following the removal steps, in reverse, to install your new drum brake shoes. Remember to take pictures along the way, in order for you to reference the removal process. Once the set-up is as it was when you started, and the springs are all reattached, carefully and with the proper tools, you will want to make sure the wheel cylinder works like it should.
  • Set the drum on the assembly. If you can see the parking brake cable, pull on it while the drum is on. Next pull the drum off and adjust the wheel on the bottom adjuster, to get the adjustment as close to the drum as possible without contact. Set the drum back on and if it is too tight, pull on the parking brake line again. It should be a little looser, and then your drum brake shoes are good to go!

Drum brake shoes can be difficult to get all the little pieces back in their right spots. Proper documentation of every action you do during the removal process can make or “brake” (pun intended) your drum brakes project. Work safely and take your time, and replacing drum brake shoes will become second nature in no time. Fortunately, drum brakes tend to last a lot longer than front disc brakes, so you won’t have to replace them nearly as often.

Related posts: