Question about 1991 Buick LeSabre

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Brake drum wont come off - 1991 Buick LeSabre

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Stuck brake drums are a pain in the ----. They get stuck for 2 reasons. 1. The center hub rusts to the drum. Spray lots of penetrating oil around hub center where drum slides over it. Tap the face (Flat side facing out) of the drum with a hammer to help break it loose. U can also get under the car (make sure it's supported w/ safety stands, front wheels blocked) w/ a block of wood against the edge of the drum hit the wood w/ a hammer. Turn the drum so u hit it all around the edge. If this doesn't work go to next step, 2. The brake shoes wear the drum down, and there is a ridge left behind on the drum that prevents (or makes) removal very difficult. It's probably a combination of both 1 and 2. On the back of the wheel is 1 or 2 slots used for access to adjust the brakes. If you can get a view inside (maybe w/ the help of a mirror and flashlight) you will see threaded adjuster (going from front to back inside drum). There will be a small 'wheel' on one end. This wheel has teeth like a sprocket and is what u turn to adjust the brakes. There is a small metal lever that rests on this wheel between 2 sprockets that only allows it to be turned in one direction, which is to adjust the brakes to expand, which is NOT what u want to do. You want to turn it the opposite way, which means u need to get a very thin screwdriver, push the small lever away from the sprocket, while turning the adjustment sprocket in the direction to 'shrink' or 'unadjust' if I can put it that way. This will allow u to pull the drum over the ridge formed on the edge of the drum.lots of luck countrycurt0

Posted on Aug 31, 2008

  • ChuckVishion Jun 18, 2011

    I just finished a brake job on a 91 LeSaber and there are no slots in the backing plate or drum to back off the star adjuster! I don't know if this was a one-of-a-kind Buick or what, but I had to cut the brake drum off with a cutting torch because I couldn't get the drum off due to the wear ridge! Not Fun!! Chuck V

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Make sure that there are no screws holding it in place. Then soak the seam where the drum mates to the hub, using penetrating oil or PB Blaster and let it sit a little while to work. Then tap it around the edge with a hammer to break it free. Once it starts to separate, you can use a flatblade screwdriver to pry it off, working your way around the drum.

Just as a sidenote, make sure the parking brake is not set - that'll hold those drums on tightly enough that if you do manage to get them off (which is unlikely), you'll mangle the braking setup.

Posted on Aug 31, 2008

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Yes, Undo the 32mm nut, first. And, don't get the bearings dirty with dust from the brake drums, or , if you do, replace the inner and outer bearings with new greased up ones.prev.gif next.gif REAR DRUM BRAKES Brake Drums REMOVAL & INSTALLATION CAUTION
Brake linings contain asbestos. Asbestos is a known cancer-causing agent. When working on brakes, remember that the dust which accumulates on the brake parts and/or in the drum contains asbestos. Always wear a protective face covering, such as a painter's mask, when working on the brakes. NEVER blow the dust from the brakes or drum.
  1. Raise the vehicle and support safely.
  2. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  3. On vehicles without rear bearing hub, remove the dust cap, cotter pin, nut lock, wheel bearing nut and washer from the spindle. Remove the outer wheel bearing. Remove the drum with the inner wheel bearing from the spindle. If the drum is difficult to remove, remove the plug from the rear of the backing plate and push the self adjuster lever away from the star wheel. Rotate the star wheel to retract the shoes. Remove the grease seal.
  4. If equipped with a rear bearing hub, remove the drum by removing the retainer screws from the drum and pulling the drum from the hub assembly. If the drum is difficult to remove, remove the plug from the rear of the backing plate and push the self adjuster lever away from the star wheel. Rotate the star wheel to retract the shoes. To install:
  5. On vehicles equipped without rear bearing hub, lubricate and install the inner wheel bearing. Install a new grease seal. Install the drum to the spindle. Lubricate and install the outer wheel bearing, washer and nut. Adjust the bearing preload following the procedure outlined in the "Rear Wheel Bearing'' of this section. When the bearing preload is properly set, install the nut lock and a new cotter pin. Install the grease cap.
  6. On vehicles with rear bearing hub, install the brake drum to the hub assembly and install the retaining screws.
  7. Install the wheel and tire assembly. Adjust the rear brakes as required.
  8. Apply the brakes until a firm pedal is obtained, prior to moving the vehicle.

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