Tip & How-To about Ford Escort
A video version can be viewed HERE.
The parts for the drum brakes are very cheap. You can get lifetime shoes and the spring kit for $20-25. For some reason, shops will charge you $100 or more (much more) to do this exact service. Flip them the bird and do it yourself for next to nothing. Overall, this is an intimidating job. Once you take the drums off it looks like a mess back there. Believe it or not, it is a very simple mess. Don't let all the springs scare you. Just put both sides of the car on jackstands and take the drums off both sides. Do one side at a time so that if you get lost or think you messed up, you can look at the other side for reference. Good luck.
BFH (big ******* hammer)
Brake spring kit
Brake shoe kit (if replacing the shoes, not pictured)
Brake parts cleaner (any part store carries it, not pictured)
White lithium grease or equivalent brake safe grease (not pictured)
Safety glasses Wear these unless you want to lose your eye!
I can only assume you know how to use a jack and jackstands. If you do not have jackstands, then you need something strong enough to suppport the car. DO NOT work under or around a car that is supported only by a jack. You cannot trust jacks. I've personally (in my lifetime) have seen 6 jacks fail. Two of them were engine lifts I was using, 3 were hydrolic floor jacks (one was holding my engine up during a tranny swap), and one was a mechanical jack that failed and trapped my brother under a car. So, put the rear of the car up on jackstands (or equivalent), remove the tires, and get ready to work.
1. If equipped, remove the drum screws. Not all cars will have these if a previous owner removed them. If you can't remove them with a screwdriver, borrow or buy an impact driver ($10 at Auto Zone). If that doesn't work (probably won't) then just drill them out. The only purpose they serve is to ease installation of the drums. When you put the wheel back on, it'll seat the drum anyway. You do not have to worry about replacing or fixing them if you have to drill them out.
2. To remove the drum from the hub, a BFH comes in handy. This might take awhile because corrosion builds up and causes the drum to stick. Just beat around on the flat end and on the outside edge to loosen it up.
3. Another way to remove the drum (after beating it with a hammer doesn't work) is to use a thick flat-head screwdriver between the drum edge and outer lip of the backplate. Just insert it and hammer it in. Repeat this all the way around the drum and it should walk off the hub at this point.
4. After you remove the drum you'll want to inspect it. You are looking for deep grooves cut into the surface. Also, check the brake shoes. If there appears to be less then 2mm of material left, replace them. If the surface of the drum is smooth, then you don't have to replace or resurface it. It is always a good idea to do so anyway, but it will still work if you don't, as long as it isn't damaged. Any machine shop can resurface the drums ($10-15) but if they are too thin (from use or previous machine work) then they will have to be replaced. Replacements typically run $20-30 each.
If you have some brake parts cleaner, now would be a great time to spray the assembly. You don't want to breathe in that brake dust.
5. The springs are going to be coated with brake dust and rust. The two yellow springs are the upper and lower shoe returns, the white spring (the driver-side is black) is one of the parking brake return springs, and the small black one (behind the upper yellow spring) is the self-adjuster tension spring. Before you proceed, check the wheel cylinder for leaks. It is the part that the two upper portions of the shoes rest in. It has a brake line coming in from the back. Just run your finger around where the rubber ends meet the metal and check for brake fluid.
6. Remove the lower shoe return spring. You can use the pliers to do this. Be careful, the spring can get away from you and go flying.
7. Remove the upper shoe return spring.
8. Remove the parking brake spring.
9. Remove the lower shoe retainer. This little part consist of a stud and spring clip. Just squeeze the clip together with the large pliers and use the needle-nose to rotate the stud so that it'll pass through the groove in the spring clip.
10. Remove the upper shoe retainer.
Close-up of the retainer so you can see the groove that the stud passes through.
11. Remove the lower shoe. You'll have to pull it out of the adjuster.
12. Remove the upper shoe. You'll have to pull it out of the parking brake lever.
13. After you take the shoes out, you'll be able to easily see the adjuster spring. Go ahead and remove it and replace it with a new one from the kit.
14. Grease the contact points on the back plate. There are 6 points where the shoes contact the plate. You can see them marked in red in the picture below.
15. Now you'll need to push the adjuster all the way back so that you can get the shoes in and the drum on.
16. Install the shoes, starting with the upper shoe and retainer. Install the parking brake return spring (use a new one from the kit) and then install the new yellow upper and lower shoe return springs. Make certain your shoes are seated in the wheel cylinder and the lower brace being pointed to with the screwdriver in the picture below. Also, be certain your adjuster is pushed all the way back or you won't be able to get the drum back on or it will drag. Go ahead and install the drum (and screws if you still have them) and move on to the next step.
17. There is another parking brake return spring on the outside of drum. Go ahead and replace that.
You are done with the labor part of it. Put your wheels back on and put the car on the ground. IMPORTANT! Before you drive the car you need to seat the brakes. The car will not stop the first 1-3 times you push the brakes so do not drive it until you seat the brakes. Just start the car and pump the brakes until you feel them build up pressure. Now you can drive the car. It may take several trips to get the rear brakes completely adjusted out. You can speed this up by finding a safe place to reverse 10-15 mph and then apply the brakes heavily. This will load them and cause them to seat faster. Now you are done. Take the money you saved and buy me a gift.
Posted by Brad Kirby on
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