How to Change the Rear Brake Shoes on a Ford Van

by Lee Newberry

The first E-Series van was produced by the Ford Motor Company in 1961. Built on the Ford Falcon chassis, the compact E-Series, or Econoline, was produced to compete with the Chevrolet Corvair Sportvan and the Volkswagen Type 2. The 2010 Econoline is based on the F-Series truck chassis. Ford E-Series vans are widely popular with the automotive consumer, accounting for almost 80 percent of all van sales in America. As with any vehicle, servicing the E-Series van at recommended service intervals can increase reliability, fuel economy and performance. Replacing the rear brake shoes requires moderate auto repair knowledge.

Rear Brake Shoe Removal

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery.

Raise the rear of the vehicle with a jack. Place two jack stands under the rear axle, an equal distance away from each rear wheel. Lower the rear of the vehicle onto the jack stands. Make sure the rear of the vehicle is safely supported. Remove the jack.

Remove the lug nuts on the left rear wheel assembly using a lug-nut wrench. Pull the rear wheel assembly off and set aside. The left brake drum assembly will be visible.

Remove the three retaining nuts on the brake drum assembly using a socket wrench and the appropriate socket. Pull the brake drum off the brake shoe and backing plate assembly. Set the brake drum aside.

Locate the wheel cylinder on the top center of the backing plate. Place a C-clamp over the ends of the wheel cylinder and tighten the C-clamp. The clamp will hold the cylinder pistons in during brake-pad replacement.

Turn the star-wheel adjusting screw upward until the star-wheel and pivot nut is completely contracted. Place a clean rag or towel on the ground to keep parts in order during disassembly.

Locate the automatic adjustment spring directly above the star-wheel. Remove the spring using needle-nose pliers. Remove the adjusting lever by hand.

Remove the two springs at the top of the backing plate assembly using needle-nose pliers. Set the springs aside. Disconnect the parking brake cable by hand. Set the cable aside.

Remove the hold-down spring in the center of each brake shoe using a brake tool. Place one finger on the backside of the backing plate, even with the hold-down spring. Use your finger to keep the pin from pushing through the backing plate while you remove the hold-down spring. Compress the hold-down spring with the brake tool and turn the hold-down spring clockwise 90 degrees. Slowly release the pressure on the brake tool. The hold-down spring will be released. Set the springs, pins and washers aside.

Remove the front (primary) and rear (secondary) brake shoes, star-wheel and parking brake lever.

Remove the cable anchor from the anchor pin located at the top center of the backing plate. Remove the anchor plate from the anchor pin. These items can be removed by hand.

Clean the backing plate, springs, and levers using brake-cleaning fluid. Place all purpose grease at all of the brake-shoe contact points on the backing plate.

Rear Brake Shoe Installation

Install the parking brake cable to the rear (secondary) brake shoe. Install the rear brake shoe to the backing plate using the hold-down spring and brake tool. Install the front (primary) brake shoe to the backing plate using the hold-down spring and the brake tool. Make sure to hold one finger over the hole on the back side of the backing plate during the hold-down spring installation to keep the pin from moving.

Install the anchor pin plate over the anchor pin. Install the cable anchor over the anchor pin and anchor pin plate. Make sure to route the parking brake cable properly when attaching it to the anchor pin. Use the rear brake setup on the opposite side of the vehicle as a reference point for brake component placement as needed.

Install the upper front-brake shoe spring to the anchor pin using needle-nose pliers. The anchor pin is located on the top center of the backing plate.

Install the upper rear-brake shoe spring to the anchor pin using needle-nose pliers.

Install the parking brake lever between the front and rear brake shoes, directly above the axle dust cover.

Install the lower adjustment spring using needle-nose pliers. Make sure the lower spring is not crimping the parking brake cable. Make sure all of the parts are lying flat against the backing plate and the anchor pin.

Remove the C-clamp from the wheel cylinder.

Place all-purpose grease on the star-wheel assembly pivot nut and adjusting threads. Thread the star-wheel assembly out to the limit of the threads. Back the assembly off half a turn.

Place the star-wheel assembly between the front and rear shoes, at the bottom of the shoe assemblies. Install the adjusting lever. Make sure the adjusting lever is properly seated in the teeth of the star-wheel assembly. Use the rear brake setup on the opposite side of the vehicle as a reference point for brake component placement as needed.

Install the brake drum over the brake shoes. Install the three retaining nuts onto the brake drum. Tighten the retaining nuts using a torque wrench and appropriate socket to the factory recommended torque level.

Install the rear wheel assembly. Raise the rear of the vehicle off the jack stands with a jack. Remove the jack stands. Lower the rear of the vehicle to the ground. Remove the jack.

Repeat these steps to replace the rear-brake shoes on the opposite side of the vehicle.

Connect the negative battery cable to the battery.

Tips

  • check Always replace the brake shoes on one side of the vehicle at a time, using the intact side as a reference point for the placement of brake components.
  • check Brake tools can be purchased at most auto parts stores.

Warnings

  • close Always disconnect the negative battery cable from the vehicle's battery before performing any automotive repairs.
  • close Brake dust contains asbestos, which is known to cause cancer.
  • close Do not used compressed air to clean any brake components.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Born and raised in Southern Illinois, Lee Newberry began writing in 1988 as a junior high school student. Newberry went on to write for his high school paper and landed a spot as an adaptive script writer for a local Southern Illinois theatre group. Newberry went on to receive his master's degree in English and bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University.