Drum Brake Shoe Replacement - Part 1: Removal


Here are some general drum brake shoe removal instructions. (New shoe installation can be found in Part 2.)

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.

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

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheels. Raise the part of the vehicle you are working on and support it securely on jack stands. Block the wheels on the opposite end of the vehicle. Release the parking brake. Remove a wheel.

Note: You must replace all brake shoes on any two wheels. But to avoid mixing parts, work on only one brake at a time.

Remove the brake drum. If you cannot easily remove the drum, make sure you have fully released the parking brake. If you still cannot remove the drum, you will have to extract it. First, remove the plug from the backing plate. After removing the plug, push the adjuster lever towards the drum to release the shoes from the adjuster. The drum should come off.

Clean the brake-shoe assembly with brake cleaner before starting work. Note the location and orientation of all components before starting. This will serve as an aid to reassembly.

Use a pair of pliers to carefully unlock the upper return spring. Remove it.

Remove the return spring retaining bracket; remove the self-adjuster lever and spring.

Pull the upper ends of the brake shoes apart and remove the adjuster between them.

Remove the leading and trailing shoe hold-down springs.

Detach the lower return spring from the leading shoe; remove the shoe.