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How Replace the Rear Brakes on a 97 Chevy S10

by Chris Moore

The rear brakes on a 1997 Chevy S-10 truck are like many other vehicles in that they use drum brake shoes to control the parking brake along with the brake pedal. These shoes eventually need replacing, though not as often as with brake pads. You will be working with numerous levers and springs with the brake shoes, and you need to change both sets of brake shoes for both rear wheels.

Accessing the Brake Shoes

Step 1

Raise the truck's rear end using a floor jack and support it with jack stands on the frame rails. Block the front wheels with wheel chocks.

Step 2

Remove the brake drum from the studs. If the drum is stuck, apply penetrating oil to the axle flange and wheel studs, wait for it to soak in, tap a hammer around the studs and flange and then around the drum's rear edge.

Wash and clean the assembly using an aerosol brake cleaner and a drain pan.


Step 1

Pull and remove the return springs from the shoes; you can use pliers, but a spring tool from an auto supply shop works best.

Step 2

Pull the actuator lever's bottom end to compress its return spring and remove the actuator link from the lever's top end. Pry the lever spring from the assembly with a large flat screwdriver.

Step 3

Slide the flat parking brake strut out of the top end of the assembly, pulling it out from in between the front shoe and the axle flange.

Step 4

Remove the shoes' hold-down springs using another spring tool specific to hold-down springs. Pull out the actuator lever with its pivot; make sure the pivot won't fall out of the lever.

Step 5

Grasp and spread the two shoes apart from each other and slide it around the axle and out of the assembly. Remove the spring connecting the two shoes and the adjuster screw assembly from the bottom.

Step 6

Unhook the parking brake lever from the rear shoe, prying off its E-clip with a small screwdriver and sliding the shoe's pin out of the lever.

Clean off the adjuster screw with solvent, dry it off and lubricate both ends, including the threaded one, with multipurpose grease.


Step 1

Lubricate the six shoe contact points of the brake backing plate using a high-temperature grease.

Step 2

Connect the lower spring and the adjuster screw to the bottom of the replacement brake shoes, linking the two shoes. Connect the parking brake lever to the rear shoe using the shoe's pin and a new E-clip.

Step 3

Spread the shoe assembly and slide it into place on the backing plate.

Step 4

Install the hold-down pin and spring for the front shoe through the backing plate and the shoe. Insert the actuator lever onto the lever pin, place the lever over the rear shoe's hold-down pin and connect the hold-down spring.

Step 5

Guide the parking brake strut into the assembly behind the central axle flange and connect its rear end with the slot on the parking brake lever. Spread the brake shoes again to seat the strut's other end with the front shoe.

Step 6

Place the diamond-like shoe guide over the anchor pin at the top of the assembly. Hook the actuator link's lower end to the actuator lever and loop its top end to the anchor pin.

Step 7

Connect the lever return spring to the tab on the actuator lever and push the spring onto the rear brake shoe. Install the return springs onto the front and rear shoes using pliers.

Step 8

Reconnect the brake drum onto the wheel hub. Pump the brakes multiple times and then insert a flat screwdriver into the hole in the backing plate to turn the adjuster star wheel; turn it until the drum drags against the shoes, then back it off until they stop dragging.

Reconnect the wheels and lower the truck off the jack stands.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Tire iron
  • Penetrating oil
  • Hammer
  • Spring tools
  • Pliers
  • High-temperature grease
  • E-clip
  • Flat screwdriver

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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