How to Remove a Saturn Ion Rear Brake Drumby Jody L. Campbell
There are a couple of scenarios that can make removing the rear brake drum on a Saturn Ion slightly confounding. The Ion's drum is not a bearing-held assembly that's bolted to the rear spindle; it's called a "knock-off" drum, and despite this nickname, it's often stuck to the rear mating joint of the axle. The shoes underneath the drum can also hang up the drum. The idea, of course, is to remove the drum successfully without damaging the drum, the shoes, the hardware or the hub of the axle.
Do not apply the parking brake or you'll be unable to remove the rear drums on the Saturn Ion. (One of the rear shoes is attached to the parking brake cable and activates when you apply the parking brake.)
Loosen the rear wheel nuts using the wheel nut removal tool supplied with the emergency road kit in the Saturn Ion. Only turn the wheel nuts 1/4 turn.
Use the car jack to lift the Ion on a flat, hard surface. Rest the Ion onto a jack stand in a safe and secure manner. (Refer to the owner's manual for safe support points when lifting the Ion.)
Finish removing the lug nuts, then remove the wheels.
Try to pull the drum off the rear hub flange. If it does not come off, spray lubricating spray between the joint where the center hole of the drum mates to the hub flange. Allow several minutes for the lubricating spray to penetrate.
Strike the face of the drum (not the edge) with a ball peen hammer sharply. In most cases, this will separate the drum from the hub, but it might take several whacks. Turn the drum about a quarter turn between strikes and be careful not to hit the lug studs. Once the drum is separated from the hub flange, try to pull it off again. If it wiggles but still won't come off, proceed to Step 7.
Locate the rubber plug on the backing plate of the drum assembly. Remove it by prying it off with a slotted screwdriver. Do not lose this plug--you'll need to replace it when you're ready to reassemble the brakes.
Insert a slotted screwdriver into the brake adjusting port and press the self-adjusting bracket away from the starwheel adjuster. Use the brake spoon adjusting tool to turn the starwheel adjuster in one direction. Turn the wheel four or five times to see of the drum is getting tighter or looser. If it's getting tighter, reverse the direction of the starwheel and make a note of which direction that is. (You'll need to readjust the brake shoes back up when you replace the drum.)
Continue to turn the starwheel all the way down until it bottoms out inside itself, or allows you to remove the drum from the flange.
Things You'll Need
- Wheel nut removal tool
- Car jack
- Jack stand(s)
- Lubricant spray
- Ball peen hammer
- Slotted screwdriver
- Brake spoon adjusting tool
Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.