Rear Brakes - Tips? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 04-10-2007, 01:58 AM   #1
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Default Rear Brakes - Tips?

So my RR wheel cylinder started leaking. I'm going to fix it tomorrow, but I don't have that much experience with drum brakes. Any helpful tips from those seasoned veterans out there? Any information would be helpful.

Thanks in advace
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Old 04-10-2007, 02:10 AM   #2
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It'* pretty simple. Not really any tips to it.


There might be some weird heads on the cylinder bolts. T30 IIRC, do a search on that.
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:02 AM   #3
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Take a picture and be careful with the springs if there are any in there.

A helper is always a good thing.
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:43 AM   #4
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There are a couple of specialized hand tools that make the job a lot easier. They should not be very expensive, or borrow them from a a buddy.
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Old 04-10-2007, 12:40 PM   #5
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Safety Glasses! I know that this goes without saying, but working with the springs can be tricky if you don't have spring pliers. I usually use vise grips, but if they slip, you don't want to get them in the eye.
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Old 04-10-2007, 01:54 PM   #6
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While you are there..clean and lubricate the adjusters. Then they should work and keep you from going back into the drums every 5,000 miles.
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Old 04-10-2007, 02:39 PM   #7
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Take apart only one side at a time, this way you will have a "good" side to compare to when you reassemble. With the price of new wheel cylinders,I would not go to the bother of of trying a rebuild kit (some of you guys remember cylinder kits, right? ). A flare nut wrench is a handy item when you try to bust the brake line loose. Sometimes a standard open end will work, but not often. While not recommended, small vise grips will work in a pinch. Acceptable flare nut wrench sets can be had cheap at places like Harbor Freight (keyword here is "acceptable"). Watch out for placement of the shoes, you have a primary and a secondary shoe, one goes in front, other toward the rear. You will have to bleed, at a minimum, the side you worked on. As mentioned before, pay very close attention to how it comes apart and assemble in exact reverse order. Brakes usually are not tough to work on, but with there intended design purpose, doing it right is most important.
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Old 04-11-2007, 12:03 AM   #8
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It might not be a bad idea to disassemble the other side and check that other wheel cylinder. To check for bad seals, pry thr dust boot back on the wheel cylinder itself. Should be dry. The adjuster should also be cleaned and lubed with antisieze.

Check the drums for cracks, or for irregular wear. On cars that you have to remove and replace the drum to adjust the brakes, you might consider grinding the ring of rust arounds the drum to make it easier to remove and replace.

Adjust the brakes just so the linings are just touching the drum and dragging slightly. Then I pull on the e-brake several times, as well as pump my regular brakes to seat the shoes and the other hardware. Then check the adjustment. If you have the tire on, it should be adjusted enough so that the tire will not spin one full revolution on its own.

I find doing it this way, gives me a beautiful firm pedal, the car stops well, and I have increased brake and rotor life.
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