Ford Contour Rear Brake Replacement Instructions

by Dan Ferrell

There are some strategies you can follow to make rear brake shoes replacement easier and safe on your Ford Contour model. When replacing the brake shoes for the first time, it is a good idea to use the brake assembly on the opposite wheel as a reference. Moreover, as soon as you can, match the new replacements to the old ones to make sure you are installing the correct shoes.

Removing the Brake Shoes

Support the rear of your Ford Contour and remove both rear wheels. Start replacing the shoes by working on one brake assembly at a time, using the other side as a reference for re-installation. Remove the brake drums by taking the retainers off, if equipped, or pulling them off the wheel assembly. If the drums seem stuck, pull the rubber plug off the backing plate and use a screwdriver and a brake-adjusting tool to rotate the star wheel on the shoe-adjusting cylinder to back off the shoes. Make sure not to breathe any of the brake lining dust inside the brake drum assembly. Old brake lining contains asbestos, which is known to cause cancer. Spray the assembly with brake parts cleaner and wipe the dust and chemical with a shop rag. Now you can remove the brake, hold down the retracting springs using a hold down and spring tool. Lay and organize the springs on a clean surface. With the springs removed, lift the brake shoes off the backing plate just enough to remove the cylinder adjuster. Then disengage the parking brake cable from the lever attached to the brake shoe. Note that the set of brake shoes are of different size. Compare them with the new ones, so that you install them in their correct place.

Installing the Brake Shoes

Clean the brake plate thoroughly using a brush, brake parts cleaner and shop rag. Before installing the new shoes, apply a light coat of high temperature, brake grease to the contact points between the brake shoes and the backing plate. Then install the new shoes using the opposite wheel assembly as reference, if necessary. To adjust the brakes, set the brake drum in place and rotate it manually. The shoes should barely drag against the drum. If necessary, adjust the brakes by rotating the star wheel on the adjuster. When you are ready to install the drum, use new retainers, if your particular Contour model is equipped with them. After installing the new shoes on both wheels and lowering your vehicle, apply and release the parking brake several times to adjust them. Then pump the brake pedal several times to adjust the pedal to the new shoes.

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About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.