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How to Change Drum Brakes on a Chevy Tahoe

by Chris Moore

The drum brakes on the Chevy Tahoe are connected to the parking brake. If the brakes become weak, you must change out the brake shoes on the drum. Disconnecting the shoes from the drum brakes is a complex process, as there are adjusters and springs you must disconnect to reach them. You must always change brakes in pairs, never replacing the brakes on one wheel at a time.

Losen the lug nuts on the Tahoe's rear wheels without removing them yet. Then raise the Tahoe's rear end on jack stands. Block the front wheels and remove both of the rear wheels. Release the parking brake.

Remove the brake drum, cutting off the pressed metal washers with a strong cutting tool. If the drum won't come off because the drum shoes have worn into the drum, retract the shoes by removing the access plug from the backing plate. Push the lever off the adjuster star wheel with a small screwdriver and turn the star wheel with another screwdriver.

Clean off the entire assembly with brake system cleaner, using a drain pan to catch the residue. Never blow away brake dust with compressed air.

Detach the spring from the adjuster level from within the drum by gripping it with pliers. Then pull out the retractor spring from the hole in each drum shoe.

Remove the trailing shoe and adjuster lever. Remove the adjuster screw assembly. Pull away the retractor spring and remove the leading shoe. Disconnect the trailing shoe from the parking brake lever.

Clean off the backing plate and lightly lubricate its shoe contact areas with high-temperature grease. Clean the adjuster screw assembly and lubricate the threads and socket end.

Inspect the condition of the drum itself. If there are any cracks, score marks, deep scratches or discolored areas that can't be removed with an Emory cloth, have the drum resurfaced at an automotive machine shop.

Attach the new trailing shoe to the parking brake lever, position it on the backing plate and install the retractor spring's end into its hole. Re-install the adjuster screw assembly, making sure it engages with the leading shoe. Lubricate and install the adjuster level on the trailing shoe.

Place the trailing shoe on the backing plate, making sure it properly engages with the adjuster screw assembly, and insert the retractor spring into its hole within the trailing shoe. Place the actuator spring within its hole in the leading shoe, stretch the spring and connect it to the adjuster level.

Install the drum back on the Tahoe. Turn the adjuster screw's star wheel until the drum slips over the shoes without rubbing them. Reconnect the wheels once the brakes are changed on both sides and lower the vehicle.

Items you will need

About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.

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