Removing drum brake springs

I have a 1990 Ford F150 pickup. That self adjuster cable is broke on the left side. I got the part and was going to change it today. I just found out that I cant get one of the upper springs off. I've
worked on chevy rear brakes and they allow enough of a straight section of the spring to get a vice grip on it, and pull it off. This ford spring, the thicker one, has no end to it to grab with a vice grips. In other words, the hook is almost at the end of the coil part of the spring.
Yea, i know they make special tools for this, but I dont have one and being rural, I dont care to drive to the nearest larger city, which is 30 miles away, especially since we have icy roads at the moment. Is there some way to get this spring off without a tool? I could probably put the vice grip on the spring and bend the hook, but that would likely ruin the spring.
Anyone have any other ideas or suggestions?
I think the smaller spring can be removed with the vicegrip because it has a longer end to grab. But of course the hook from the heavy one is on top of the thinner one. I am trying to remove them from the "anchor pin", if I am not being clear.
Thanks
WB
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snipped-for-privacy@nomail.com wrote:

Force a flat blade screwdriver tip in between the the coils near the end, keep the screwdriver perpendicular to the backing plate and then pull the screwdriver towards the anchor pin until the spring comes loose.
or, grab it with a side cutters.
or, call someone who does have the right tool.
or, take off the lower spring, remove the adjuster, remove the hold downs and flop the shoe outward until the spring is off.
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If you have the needle nosed vice grip pliers, then you may be able to grip it by the coils rather than the end.
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wrote:

"shoe" to pop it off, and then back on with. Then pick up a cheap one next time you are in town so you don't get caught short again.
A KD 280 should cost you between $5 and $10. A Lisle 46750 is about the same price. but the KD works a lot better. KD's 3841 at about $15 is pretty good too, but the 280 will do the job.
A Snap-on BT11 will cost you closer to $30, and a Snapon 131A (brake pliers) will set you back pretty close to $80.
Astro and a few other suppliers have brake tool kits with the pliers, spoons, and hold-down removers for in the $40 range.
--
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If you grab the spring hook with a pair of wire cutters you probably won't damage the spring any worse than using vice grips.
Bill

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This is the kind of stuff (and the vise grips do it too) that can introduce "stress risers" in to the spring. How long before the spring fails? I have no idea.... Will it be life threatening? Probably not... but there is always the possibility of a life altering experience (and it wont be like winning the lottery).
Using the right tool for the job will minimize "exposure to failure"....
But then... I'm an overpriced dealer tech that believes that we should do things logically and safely..... On a truck this old, I would likely recommend replacing all of the brake hardware (springs, hold downs, etc.).
You only get one chance to stop... if that doesn't work, you don't get a "do over".
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