How to Replace the Drum Brakes in My 1965 Mustang

by Thomas West
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red hot mustang image by Leticia Wilson from

The 1965 Mustang was introduced by the Ford Motor Co. in April 1964. The automaker used a Ford Falcon platform to offer a well-equipped Mustang that had sharp styling. Because of the Falcon parentage, the Mustang was equipped with four-wheel drum brakes. Internally expanding brake shoes pressed against the insides of the brake drums, creating friction and slowing or stopping the car. The brake components have to be replaced regularly.

Step 1

Remove the wheel covers with the tapered end of the car's lug wrench. Loosen but do not remove the lug nuts on each wheel. Raise the car with a floor jack and place two jack stands under the power front suspension control arms and two jack stands under each side of the rear axle. Remove the lug nuts, remove the wheels and place them aside. Pull the brake drums straight off of each wheel hub. Use a rubber mallet to loosen the drums, if necessary.

Step 2

Work on one corner of the car at a time to avoid mixing parts. Remove the two brake springs at the top and one at the bottom of the brake backing plate with a pair of pliers. Remove the two brake shoe retaining clips by pushing them in with a pair of vice grips, then twisting them 90 degrees. Pull the clip straight out. Remove the small springs from the brake shoe retaining pins. Pull the brake shoes and the adjustment mechanism at the bottom of the shoes straight off of the backing plate.

Step 3

Remove the brake line from the back side of the wheel cylinder at the top of the back plate with a tubing wrench. Remove the retaining nuts from the wheel cylinder with a wrench. Remove the cylinder from the backing plate. Clean the backing plate with brake cleaner.

Step 4

Attach a new wheel cylinder to the backing plate with the original retaining nuts. Attach the brake line to the back side of the cylinder with a tubing wrench. Position new brake shoes over the retaining pins on the backing plate. Push the small springs over the pins, then replace the clips with a pair of vice grips. Position the automatic adjuster in between the two brake shoes at the bottom. Stretch the two top springs and the bottom spring over the brake shoes.

Step 5

Repeat the procedure for each corner of the car. Push new brake drums over each hub until they are fully seated. Replace the wheels and tighten the lug nuts. Raise the vehicle and remove the jack stands. Lower the car to the ground, then tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench. Position the wheel covers into place on the wheels and knock them into place with a rubber mallet.

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