I just saved hundreds of dollars

I just saved hundreds of dollars doing the work myself. I am extatic about that. My car needed new brakes front and back and so I replaced the brakes front and back all by myself. The parts store had the
ceramic, dustless higher quality brake pads for $15 more. I purchased them. The rear shoes only had one selection by Raybestos.
Replacing the front brake pads worked like a charm. There is a diagram showing all the areas that needed to be cleaned and greased. I remembered to use a metal clothes hanger. The hanger is taken apart in order to string the caliper up so that the rubber brake hose won't break apart because it's too heavy for it to hold.
NOTE: Watch out. Do not let any sharp metalic object get into contact with the rubber brake lines! Just a small tear can become a large catastrophe some time down the road in the event of a car accident do to a sudden loss of break pressure. (Ruptured brake line). I took note of that right away.
The rear drums were a real challenge. Considering that I've never had to replace brake shoes before I would have to say that I did an pretty excellent job for a novice.
There are 4 springs totall including 1 C-Clip. The C-clip isn't really a C-clip. It just looks similar to one. Dime sized, it's crimped on tight attaching a brake shoe to the mechanical parking brake cable. This was a real pain to deal with. I hate the fact that any car manufacturer would think that utilizing such a clip would have been acceptable, much less servicable.
All 4 springs are a serious pain in the @ss to remove and replace. Thank god I purchased this univeral type tool used for working with those springs.
Word of advice. DO NOT let that tool for removing the springs get into contact with the brake shoe surface. The surface material is actually more delicate than one would think and so the metal tool can easily damage the brake shoe by chipping away at it. Do not let any metalic object press up against the brake linings. It chips away at it.
Unless of course if it's the old brakes that you are going to throw away anyway.
On the first rear brake drum while in the middle of the job, honest to god my left thumb gave up on me. The muscle in my arm the works that thumb cramped up and I had to take a short break for it to return back to normal.
Putting the adjuster springs back on it helped to kneel down with head and body underneath the wheel well. Just like kneeling in the prayer position. With the univeral tool, hook the end of the spring and pull it towards you all the same time guiding it into the hole where it's supposed to hook up to on the other brake shoe.
On one brake drum there are two of the short springs that hold the shoes onto the assembly directly --- what a pain!!! You have to depress the short stiff yellow springs at the same time turn the pin into the locking or unlocking position! Sh*t, it's not like I have six hands. But it would have certainly helped if I did. The Universal tool had a device for that at one of it's handle ends. Not much help. What a BAD BAD design to use such a set up to hold the shoes in place.
Overall I'm proud that I was able to overcome such a difficult task.
This brake job is definately not for beginners. It's not for people who aren't very mechanically inclined. Such a job takes a mechanic with the right personality. If you get irritated easily and have little patience. Please, by all means - just take your car to the garage to have someone else work on it. Spare yourself the pain and misery of defeat.
On the other hand, if you are someone that has the time and the motivation, patience and the mechanical dexterity and are up for a challenge -- this job may very well be for you.
Watch out though for those of you who live on the rust belt. I can easily see how the rotors and drums can get siezed/rusted in place from the road salts.
Another thing to consider is using a mask and gloves. That way ya'all don't inhale the brake dust and get it all over your hands.
This was a one person job. The problem is doing a complete brake fluid flush is a two person job. You need to have someone step on the brake while someone works the fluid release valve on each of the four cylinders - one after the other. The brake fluid should always be completely replaced each time the brakes are serviced.
This is because the brake fluid can be contaminated with water and/or acid. The water is BAD for the brakes if you live where it freezes or where it gets seriously hot. The acid and other contaminants eat away at your brake system and can damage your ABS.
Water in the system can also cause your brake fluid to boil over when you are using your brakes heavily in hilly and/or trafficky conditions. Resulting in brake fade.
Whaterver ya'all choose to do. Good luck. I'm just happy that I saved so much money doing the work myself. It's highway robbery what the garages are charging...
East-
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Welcome to the club! I started doing my own brakes almost twenty years ago, and I am still alive. Though I'm sure there are more than a few lurking here in this group who could easily double that.
Now if you really want to impress people, start bleeding your own brakes... <g>
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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Congratulations! Doesn't it feel good?
I've been a 'shade-tree' mechanic for over 30 years. Not only do you save money but the feeling of accomplishment is quite a high. Of course, if the job is goofed up, you have to yell and scream at yourself...
Way to go!
PoD
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Good for you. It's amazing how $45 worth of parts and a Saturday afternoon can save you hundreds of dollars.

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Congratulations East. Feels good, don't it.
I'd like to add some things that will make the job easier next time. It sounds like your "universal brake spring tool" is the type that resembles a large set of pliers with a C shaped jaw. Tuck that tool in the back of your junk drawer. The correct tools make brakes easy to do. Here's the right tools for the rear: http://www.mytoolstore.com/kd/kdbrak03.html These tools will work for most domestic cars.The first one is for the return springs and the next 2 are for the hold down springs. The double ended one works but the end you are not using gets in the way of gripping the tool. These make the job much easier, especially once you get a feel for using them. That C clip is a pain, but has been used on that brake setup for probably 50 years or so. I believe the idea was to use a fastener that won't pop off and foul the brake operation. It's easy to remove if you use all 3 hands ;) I think I recall a tool for removing these but have never used one. For disk brakes, these are what you need: http://www.mytoolstore.com/kd/kdbrak07.html The first is for compressing the front caliper pistons instead of using a C clamp. The others are for turning the rear caliper pistons to comress them. There are a multitude of different specialized tools for different specific applications (do a google search for Brake Tools sometime). The ones I listed here are for the most common Bendix or Kelsey-Hayes designs. For specific applications, Google is your friend. For bleeding\flushing brakes by your self there are pressure bleeders available. Here's one that I found: http://makeashorterlink.com/?X24551BDC I have a similar bleeder and it works great.
Keep in mind that when buying tools, you get what you pay for. You don't have to spend hundreds for brands like Snap-On, Mac, or Matco, but watch out for cheap off brand tools. KD and Lisle are lower end tools and may be ok for DIYers. OTC is a bit higher up the chain of quality IMHO. Sears Craftsman tools are looking a lot better these days too, always worth a look. Remember, If you get it cheap, it is probably just that. Don't shop for the lowest price alone, you will be disappointed.
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Tom Adkins wrote:

It handy to have a set of these too. http://www.mytoolstore.com/kd/kdbrak04.html
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Been that way forever... and it's easy once you get the knack. Turn the pin, not the cup.
set of vise-grips, adjust to just hold the cup firmly in the teeth.
holding V-G's just behind the pivot (short handled), push cup down on spring to depress and with finger twist the pin to lock it.
--
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
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That's exactly right! I can visualize exactly how it would work. I will try that next time.
Thanx-
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Or, for about 5 bucks, one could purchase the tool to make this operation as simple as turning a screw...
While I am always for a DIYer that has the "where-with-all" to perform his/her own repairs, I usually have some reservations when it comes to those things more related to safety... Even the best manuals assume a certain amount of familiarity with the task at hand. This can allow some oversights that could turn serious... Locally, we see many brake relines that consist of little more than a "pad slap" leaving brake surfaces that are undersized or poor quality.
The feeling of a job well done and money saved is hard to beat..... Whether we pay someone like me to perform the task or if we opt to do it ourselves, it is vital that it be done correctly.

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Wholeheartedly agree, assuming that you can totally trust your professional to do the job well. Not being so blessed (all my fault, of course), I will not let anybody touch my brakes as long as my eyes and hands serve me. At least if I screw up, I can't hide the screwup from myself. And it only takes a pair of calipers (as in a measuring instrument) and a torque wrench to do this job by the book. Add an inexpensive dial indicator to check runout, and you are probably still below the cost of one brake job at the dealership.

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