See Figure 1
- Raise the front of the vehicle and safely support the car with jackstands.
- If you are going to check the front brakes, then the front tire, wheel and brake drum can be removed as assembly. Remove the hub cap, then either pry the dust cover off the spindle with a small prybar or pull it off with a pair of pliers. Remove the cotter pin from the spindle. Slide the nut lock off the adjusting nut, then loosen the adjusting nut until it reaches the end of the spindle. Do not remove the adjusting nut yet. Grab the tire/wheel and pull it toward yourself, then push it back into position. This will free the outer wheel bearing from the drum hub. Remove the adjusting nut, then remove the hub/drum tire assembly. Store outer bearing and race in a clean place. If the brakes are adjusted too tightly to remove the drum, see Step 3. If you can remove the drum, proceed to Step 4.
- If the brakes are too tight to remove the drum, get under the car (make sure that your have jack stands under the car to support it) and remove the rubber plug from the bottom of the brake backing plate. Shine a flashlight into the slot in the plate. You will see the top of the adjusting screw starwheel and the adjusting lever for the automatic brake adjusting mechanism. To back off on the adjusting screw, you must first insert a small thin prybar or a piece of firm wire (such as coat hanger wire) into the adjusting slot and push the adjusting lever away from the adjusting screw. Then, insert a brake adjusting spoon into the slot and engage the top of the starwheel. Lift up on the bottom of the adjusting spoon to force the adjusting screw starwheel downward. Repeat this operation until the brake drum is free of the brake shoes and can be pulled off.
- Clean the brake shoes and the inside of the brake drum. There must be at least 1 / 16 in. (1.6mm) of brake lining above the heads of the brake shoe attaching rivets. The lining should not be cracked or contaminated with grease or brake fluid. If there is grease or brake fluid on the lining, it must be replaced and the source of the leak must be found and corrected. Brake fluid on the lining means leaking wheel cylinders. Grease on the brake lining means a leaking grease seal. If the lining is slightly glazed but otherwise in good condition, it can be cleaned up with medium sandpaper. Lift up the bottom of the wheel cylinder boots and inspect the ends of the wheel cylinders. A small amount of fluid in the end of the cylinders should be considered normal. If fluid runs out of the cylinder when the boots are lifted, the wheel cylinder must be rebuilt or replaced. Examine the inside of the brake drum; it should have a smooth, dull finish. If excessive brake shoe wear caused grooves to wear in the drum it must be machined or replaced. If the inside of the drum is slightly glazed, but otherwise good, it can be cleaned up with medium sandpaper.
- If no repairs are required, install the drum and wheel. If the brake adjustment was changed to remove the drum, adjust the brakes until the drum will just fit over the brakes. After the wheel is installed it will be necessary to complete the adjustment. See Brake Adjustment in this section.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
If you are not thoroughly familiar with the procedures involved in brake replacement, disassemble and assemble work only one side at a time, leaving the other wheel intact as a reference. The following procedure can be used on all years and models with front drum brake system.
- Remove the brake drum as described in the inspection procedure.
- Spray the entire brake shoe friction surface with an aerosol brake cleaner to control the brake dust.
- Place the hollow end of a brake spring service tool (available at auto parts stores) on the brake shoe anchor pin and twist it to disengage one of the brake retracting springs. Repeat this operation to remove the other spring.
- Reach behind the brake backing plate and place a finger on the end of one of the brake hold-down spring mounting pins. Using a pair of pliers, grasp the washer on the top of the hold-down spring which corresponds to the pin that you are holding. Push down on the pliers and turn them 90º to align the slot in the washer with the head on the spring mounting pin. Remove the spring and washer and repeat this operation on the hold-down spring on the other brake shoe.
- Place the top of a prytool on the top of the brake adjusting screw and move the brake adjusting lever. When there is enough slack in the automatic adjuster cable, disconnect the loop on the top of the cable from the anchor. Grasp the top of each brake shoe and move it outward to disengage it from the wheel cylinder. When the brake shoes are clear, lift them from the backing plate. Twist the shoes slightly and the automatic adjuster assembly will disassemble itself. Check all brake hardware springs etc. and replace as necessary.
- Apply a light coating of high-temperature grease to the brake shoe contact points on the backing plate. Position the primary brake shoe (short shoe-front of vehicle) on the front of the backing plate and install the hold-down spring and washer over the mounting pin. Install the secondary shoe (long shoe-rear of vehicle) on the rear of the backing plate.
- Install the automatic adjuster cable loop end on the anchor pin. Make sure that the crimped side of the loop faces the backing plate.
- Install the return spring in the primary brake shoe and, using the tapered end of a brake spring service tool, slide the top of the spring onto the anchor pin.
- Install the automatic adjuster cable guide in the secondary brake shoe, making sure that the flared hole in the cable guide is inside the hole in the brake shoe. Fit the cable into the groove in the top of the cable guide.
- Install the secondary shoe return spring through the hole in the cable guide and the brake shoe. Using the brake spring tool, slide the top of the spring onto the anchor pin.
- Clean the threads on the adjusting screw and apply a light coating of high temperature grease to the threads. Screw the adjuster closed, then open it 1 / 2 turn.
- Install the adjusting screw between the brake shoes with the starwheel nearest to the secondary shoe. Make sure that the starwheel is in a position that is accessible from the adjusting slot in the backing plate.
- Install the short hooked end of the automatic adjuster spring in the proper hole in the primary brake shoe.
- Connect the hooked end of the automatic adjuster cable and the free end of the automatic adjuster spring in the slot in the top of the automatic adjuster lever.
- Pull the automatic adjuster lever (the lever will pull the cable and spring with it) downward and to the left and engage the pivot hook of the lever in the hole in the secondary brake shoe.
- Check the entire brake assembly to make sure that everything is installed properly. Make sure that the shoes engage the wheel cylinder properly and are flush on the anchor pin. Make sure that the automatic adjuster cable is flush on the anchor pin and in the slot on the back of the cable guide. Make sure that the adjusting lever rests on the adjusting screw starwheel. Pull upward on the adjusting cable until the adjusting lever is free of the starwheel, then release the cable. The adjusting lever should snap back into place on the adjusting screw starwheel and turn the wheel one tooth.
- Expand the brake adjusting screw until the brake drum will just fit over the brake shoes.
- Install the wheel and hub/drum (wheel bearing and locknut), then adjust the wheel bearings. Adjust the brakes and check the brake fluid.