Drum Brake Shoe Replacement - Part 2: New Shoe Installation


Here are some instructions on how to install new brake shoes.

Note: These are general instructions. Refer to a repair manual written specifically for your vehicle for the exact procedure.

Warning: Replace both front or both rear brake shoes at the same time. Never replace the shoes on one only. Also remember that brake dust is harmful to your health. Never use compressed air to remove brake dust. Do not inhale any of it. Wear an approved air-filter mask when working on brakes. Use only brake system cleaner to clean brake parts. Never use petroleum-based solvents.

Caution: Replace the return and hold-down springs on your brakes when you replace the brake shoes. The continuous heating and cooling that these springs undergo can result in the springs losing tension over time. This in turn allows the shoes to drag on the drum and the shoes will therefore wear much faster.

First, check the condition of the brake drums. After raising the vehicle, supporting it securely on jack stands, and blocking the wheels, remove a drum (see manual). Use a micrometer to check the drum thickness. See your manual for specifications. If the drum is scored or rough, it can be reconditioned by grinding or turning on a lathe. Do not remove more metal than the amount stamped into the outer diameter of the drum.

Check the wheel cylinder for fluid leaks and damage. Make sure the pistons move easily. If you detect problems, see your manual for replacement procedures.

Before installing new shoes, clean the backing plate completely. Lubricate the shoe contact areas with anti-seize compound or high-temperature grease.

Thoroughly clean and lubricate the adjuster cable guides, adjuster pivot and screw, parking brake lever, and lever pivot pin with multi-purpose grease.

Apply a thin coat of multi-purpose chassis lube to the mounting pads on the backing plate.

Transfer the parking-brake actuating lever to the new secondary shoe.

Now, position the brake shoes on the backing plate. Install the hold-down springs and retainers. Engage the parking brake lever with the cable.

Install the parking brake actuating bar and spring between the parking brake and the primary shoe.

Install the self-adjusting cable, cable guide and upper return springs.

Thoroughly clean the star wheel. Lightly lubricate the threads with lithium-based grease.

Install the starwheel.

Install the self-adjust cam and lower spring. Use locking pliers for this.

Check the surface of the brake shoes for grease. If necessary, clean with sandpaper.

Adjust the brakes (see manual); install the brake drum and wheel. Lower the vehicle and test drive.