Replacing Rear Drum Brake Shoes 85 Caprice

Hi,
It's time for new shoes on the 85 Caprice. At inspection last week I saw they were down to 1/32 inch at one corner (but a good 1/8 inch at the
other corner... uneven wear, which is another problem) ....
I tried to replace the shoes myself a few years ago. It was a total frustrating implosion. I was using all my strength to pull springs around with a pliers. And buying the "brake tool" didn't help either. But I finally got the new pads in, but they squealed like crazy. Had a mechanic fix the mess. He said I had bent something in the brake apparatus.
I was using a manual, doing what it said. What is the big deal ? Why was it so hard to move the springs around ? I must have been doing something wrong. Does it require massive strength to do rear drum brake shoes ?
Does anyone know what I am doing wrong? I remember major cursing during the ordeal.
Thanks
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On 21 Dec 2003 04:21:17 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Lecher9000) wrote:

Do you remember what he said you had bent? (Could it have been the star adjuster???)

No, leverage is good, too. I would be remiss, though, if I did not say that massive strength sure does help :).
Having something other than the vehicle to brace against is a major asset. When I am pulling on the springs, I'll use a set of vise-grips to pull them, and occasionally a screwdriver as a lever to get the spring to the pin.

All the time. I think I invented a few new cusses, as some of the neighbours stopped what they were doing and stared at me.
Vuarra
Quid quid latine dictum sit altum videtur. (That which is said in Latin sounds profound.)
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Did you check the backing plate for wear? Also, did you clean the threads on the star adjusters and put grease (Lubriplate or white lithium) inside the end caps? What was the condition of the springs, etc.? Were they very rusty and if they were, did you install new ones? I bought an oversized pair of the brake pliers years ago and they work well but muscle is still a major factor when working on drum brakes. One thing I've found to be helpful is to make a mental note (or take a digital photo) of how the parts are mounted before doing any disassembly. If you have uneven wear on your shoes, it could indicate backing plate wear or problems with the drums as the shoes should wear fairly evenly.
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Most auto supply stores sell brake spring tools that work on most drum types. You will be glad you bought the tool since it beats a screwdriver or vise grips and springs can be installed very easily. If you never again expect to do rear brakes, save the money, but if you ever expect to do brakes on a truck with large wheels, you really need the tool.

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Two tools are essencial, one is the brake hold down spring tool. The correct tool is similar to a nutdriver. Nix to using the gizmo on the end of those worthless brake spring pliers. The second tool is an L shaped device, looks like a big allen wrench. It has a hook which catches spring, tug on it, spring comes off. Slide spring down tapered shank to re-install. Before servicing brakes, spray down brake with spray cleaner, put large pan under brake to catch waste, and wash that toxic dust off. Collect waste water, dispose with trash. Tear down one side at a time, use other side as refrence. A prior poster mentioned white grease, he's right. Oftentimes hardware can be re-used, a new hardware kit can solve many problems, and they are cheap. Consider buying spare pair of drums, get those cut. Next brake job, your old drums get cut.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Oliver B. Lafferty) wrote in message

Old GM drum brakes can be done with a medium to large screwdriver only if necessary. The cheap combo brake too makes it childs play. Put the adjuster and its spring together with the shoes on the ground. Pin it to the backing plate after attaching the parking brake lever and cable. Then the big springs go on top and then check everything. Adjust and test.
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Lecher9000 wrote:

I used to use special tools to work on drum brakes but they all seem to have disappeared over the years. Now I just use a pair of channel-locks and a screwdriver. Uneven wear... Sounds like the drums need to be turned. The specs are stamped on the drums. *** 1. Screw the adjuster in all the way. 2. Remove the adjuster 3. Remove the adjuster springs 4. Remove all the other springs 5. Remove brake shoes 6. Reverse process to install
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Wow, so many replies ! Thanks! Yes, there is uneven wear on the shoes. So that could be backing plate wear, or need for a new hub.
I've never had so many informative replies to a post before. But it looks now like I'll end up having my mech do it ( no time, and the shoes are almost down to the metal). But I'll hover over his shoulder, and learn the easy way !
If I still have this Caprice a few years from now I'll look up these replies.
Thnaks again.
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