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How to replace those old drum shoes and get those brakes working right

Drum brakes are the most common form of brakes for vintage cars. Servicing them isn’t rocket science, and Davin is here to help with a DIY video showing how to replace the brake shoes to ensure that your car stops when you want—or need—it to.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/06/12/replace-old-drum-shoes-get-brakes-working

There are special tools? Lol. In the sixties I thought vise grips were the only special tools. Changed out many drum brakes that way.
Thanks for the blast from the past.

When I was 15 I had my first “real” summer job in the local Mom & Pop repair garage. They made me the brake man for the summer. If a customer came in to get a brake job, they just turned it over to me! Never turned a serious wrench before. I don’t remember, but I am sure they gave me 10 minutes of training before I started. After all, that is a lot of responsibility.

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Just got done putting new cylinders and shoes on my '47 Buick Roadmaster to get it ready for my daughter’s wedding. Where was that video last week? Ha! The car was quite a hit as we cruised the newlyweds through town. Keep the interesting articles coming!

Devin, another great tutorial and video. Please keep up the good work. I really liked the music the production folks used for this video. any chance I can find out who the music is by? Love watching your videos as i love old cars. New ones just simply have no soul. Thanks for what you do to preserve this great heritage. :+1:

This was fun and relaxing. I have done dozens of drum brakes, (the hard way without the correct tools LOL) and I enjoyed this vid a lot, still learn something thanks.

does that little dab of grease on the edge of the primary shoe need to be wiped off or will that be left to lube the drum to help eliminate drag ?

I always replace the wheel cylinders when replacing drum shoes as I consider this cheap insurance. Nothing more frustrating than replacing the shoes and a few weeks or months later finding a leaking wheel cylinder. Also, he did not show this in the video, but cleaning up the backing plate and other components with brake cleaner is a prudent step as well. Good video.

@moosemeet2 - That small dab of grease does need to be (and was) removed before the drum went back on. The brake shoes need to stay grease and oil free to work their best.

Your presentation was very good and thorough except for one very critical mistake. I have done thousands of these Delco self adjusting drum brakes and your error was installing the adjusting lever and rod on the primary or front shoe. It always goes on the secondary or rear shoe. Also the adjuster at the bottom between the shoes needs to be turned around so the adjuster wheel is towards the rear. The adjuster mechanism was on backwards when the drum was initially removed. Don’t always assume the last guy in there did it right. The self adjuster will not work as installed. Best to look in a repair manual that pictures the proper assembly. Otherwise keep up the good work. Don’t like to be critical but proper brakes are real important.

I’ve worked on cars since 1848, learned how to improve Model A brakes, then the V8 brakes as things improved and changed, oversize rollers, oversize shoes and such. I bought a huge batch of assorted brake linings, I rivet them on myself, you can buy brass rivets online to do this, save some bucks and get some experience. Learn how to do things yourself, nothing like real-time hands 'on.

Thanks for doing these how-to videos. Nice job overall, one suggestion would be to get a small battery powered LED light to mount on the hot shoe of your camcorder. They are inexpensive and do a nice job of providing some highlights, especially in a case like this where you have a lot of dark metal parts. (Your demonstrator may also appreciate the extra light as well).

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Hi, a note about using the incorrect tools. If you damage the return spring material, like a knick or bend. The spring should then be replaced. Speaking of springs I often use a recoil rope and use that to stretch the spring to its location.

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