How to Remove the Rear Drum Brakes on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The rear brakes on a Vehicles pickup consist of three main parts, the brake drum, the brake shoes and the wheel cylinder. The brake drum is attached to the rear axle and rotates along with the rear wheels and tires. A pair of brake shoes sits inside each brake drum, one facing forward and one facing rearward. The wheel cylinder is bolted to the brake backing plate and sits in between the two brake shoes. When the driver presses down on the brake pedal, hydraulic pressure is sent from the master cylinder to the wheel cylinder. A piston on each side of the wheel cylinder, presses the brake shoes against the brake drum, which in turn slows down the Vehicles. The drum brakes must be disassembled to replace the rear axle or wheel bearings.

Under The Hood:

 How to Remove the Rear Drum Brakes on a Chrysler PT Cruiser

Remove the rear hub caps and loosen the lug nuts of both rear tires with the lug wrench.

Place a wheel chock in front of one of the front tires and raise the rear of the PT cruiser in a safe and secure manner. Support the PT Cruiser onto the jack stands.

Locate and remove the rubber plug covering the adjustment porthole on the back side of the backing plate. Using the brake adjustment spoon, engage the teeth of the adjuster wheel and turn it in a forward motion to back off the shoe adjustment and allow the drum to be removed easily. Remove the drum and discard the brake dust appropriately.

Remove the automatic adjusting spring using the drum brake pliers. Disconnect the spring from the lever.

Apply pressure to pin of the hold-down clips using the needle nosed pliers with a finger on the rear of the backing plate. Turn the clip until the hole in the clip matches the flat end of the pin to release the clip.

Use needle nose pliers to remove the parking brake cable from the actuating lever.

Use the drum brake pliers or the needle nose pliers to remove the upper shoe spring.

Tip one of the shoes downward to relieve tension on the lower show spring and remove the spring by hand. Clean the rear brakes as desired and to replace, reverse the procedure and adjust the shoes to the drum.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wheel chock

  • Lug wrench

  • Drum brake adjuster spoon

  • Drum brake pliers

  • Needle nosed pliers

  • Flathead screwdriver

 How to Remove Rear Drum Brakes on a Ford Ranger

Removing Rear Brake Drums

Raise the vehicle using a floor jack.

Support with jack stands placed underneath the rear axle.

Unscrew all the lug nuts on both rear wheels and tires using a lug wrench.

Pull both wheels and tires off the lug studs.

Slide the brake drums off the wheels studs. If this is difficult try rocking the drum front to back until the drum frees itself.

Removing the Rear Brake Shoes

Pull the two actuating springs off the front brake shoe using brake-spring pliers.

Compress the mounting spring on the front brake shoe, using a brake-spring tool and rotate it a quarter turn to disengage it from the steel clip.

Pull the front brake shoe away from the backing plate.

Pull the actuating spring off the rear brake shoe, using a brake-spring pliers.

Compress the mounting spring on the rear brake shoe. As with the front brake shoe, use a brake spring tool to disengage the shoe from the clip.

Pull the rear brake shoe away from the brake backing plate and remove it from the vehicle.

Removing the Wheel Cylinders

Unscrew the brake-line fitting from the wheel cylinder using a line wrench. The brake-line fitting will be located on the inboard side of the brake backing plate. Loosen and disconnect it by turning it counterclockwise.

Unscrew the two mounting bolts that secure the wheel cylinder to the brake backing plate, using a socket.

Pull the wheel cylinder away from the brake backing plate.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Lug wrench

  • Brake-spring pliers

  • Brake-spring tool

  • Line wrench

  • Socket set

 How to Remove Rear Drum Brakes on a Toyota Tundra

Place the Tundra's transmission into "Park" and release the emergency brake.

Raise the rear of the Tundra under the differential with a jack.

Support the back of the Tundra with jack stands. One jack stand should be placed underneath each rear axle.

Remove the wheel and tire assembly with a lug nut wrench.

Pull the brake drum off of the axle shaft to reveal the brake pads.

Locate the brake adjusting screw, which is a horizontal metal bar at the bottom of the brake assembly. Turn the adjusting screw with a screwdriver in a clockwise direction to release the pressure on the brake pads.

Pull each of the large springs in the brake assembly up and over the anchor pins that the springs attach to.

Remove the shoe hold-down springs with a pair of pliers. The two circular shoe hold-down springs are located on each side of the brake assembly. Grasp each spring with the pliers, then push into the spring while turning the spring in a counterclockwise direction to release each spring.

Pull the brake pads away from the brake assembly to complete the removal.

Items you will need

  • Jack Jack stands Lug nut wrench Pliers

 How to Remove the Rear Drum Brakes From a Toyota Tacoma

How to Remove the Rear Drum Brakes From a Toyota Tacoma

Park the Toyota Tacoma on a level paved or concrete surface.

Place a wheel chock in front of one of the front tires.

Break the lug nuts loose on both rear wheels with the breaking bar and a 21-mm socket.

Lift the rear axle on one side of the Tacoma and place a jack stand under the rear axle on that side. Repeat this step for the other side so the rear axle is suspended.

Remove the lug nuts and both tires.

Strike the flat hub face of the drum near the edge to loosen it from the hub. If it is stubborn, spray a little WD-40 into the small screw holes located near the hub. Thread in the two 8 by 1.25 mm bolts and tighten them alternately with the ratchet and a socket to pull the drum away from the hub.

Remove the drum and remove the bolts. Remove the other drum in the same manner.

Start to remove the left side brakes first. Using the brake spring pliers, remove the upper return spring connecting the two shoes together.

Remove the rear shoe (toward the rear of the Tacoma). Hold down the spring by holding the head of the pin on the back of the backing plate with a finger. Use the brake shoe retaining spring tool to twist the spring free from the hold-down pin. Remove the shoe and the anchor spring at the bottom.

Remove the front shoe hold down spring in the same manner. Disconnect the parking brake cable from the bell crank. Remove the E-clip, the automatic adjuster lever. Spread and remove the C washer with the flathead screwdriver, and remove the parking brake lever from the shoe.

Remove the front shoe with the strut intact.

Disconnect the other parking brake cable.

Disconnect the adjuster lever spring and remove the adjuster from the shoe.

To replace, reverse the order. Keep the right side intact to help you put the brakes and hardware back in the same manner they were removed.

Repeat the procedure for the right side, using the left as reference.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack Two jack stands Wheel chock 1/2-inch drive breaking bar 1/2-inch drive metric socket set (10 to 21 mm) 1/2-inch drive ratchet Hammer Flathead screwdriver Brake shoe retaining spring tool Brake spring pliers Two 8-mm width by 1.25 mm thread pitch bolts WD-40

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.