Can't get brake drum off


  #1  
Old 05-31-22, 08:21 AM
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Can't get brake drum off

I ran into a problem while working on a rear axle assembly replacement. I can't get one of the brake drums off. If I can't it off today, I'll have to sever the parking brake cable to remove the old axle . My drum brake adjusting spoon was stolen. So maybe it's because I was using a screwdriver. I'll walk to the auto parts store to buy one today.

If I have to cut the parking brake cable, I hope it's not hard to find a replacement.

Any other ideas in case I still can't get the drum off? Is it because I was not using the standard tool when backing off the adjusting screw?
 
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Old 05-31-22, 08:40 AM
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A screw driver should work fine.
Perhaps if you tells us make, model and year of car we can do a better job or advising you. The drum should come off easily as long as the parking break is released and you're able to back-off the cylinder.
 
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Old 05-31-22, 08:44 AM
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I worked on a few vehicles over the yrs that had a screw or two that held the brake drum on. Not saying yours does but inspect your drum to make sure.
 
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Old 05-31-22, 10:02 AM
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There's a couple of simple things that I'll mention just for the sake of saying so.
There's a couple of clips over the lug nut studs that hold the drum on.
Screw driver should work ok to turn the little wheel on the wheel cylinder.
As long as you KNOW that your turning the cylinder wheel the correct way.
Wheel cylinder could be either broken or striped & not really turning the rod & loosing the tension.

I know there has been a couple of times that it seemed like I turned the little wheel 100 times both ways & still couldn't get the hub off.

I've also sometimes needed to give the hub a few good raps with a shop hammer because the dust & rust will sometimes make the hub stick & not come off.
 
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Old 05-31-22, 11:19 AM
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92' Ford Ranger XLT with 2.9 V6

I just got back from the auto parts store. I'll resume soon.
 
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Old 05-31-22, 11:32 AM
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It looks like yours doesn't have the set screws attaching the drum to the axle.
Like Dixie, I've taken a hammer to the drum more than once. Usually starting with light taps going around the drum, sometimes it will take a good bit more than a light tap.
 
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Old 05-31-22, 11:39 AM
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Would recommend a wood block and a hammer.
Would HIGHLY recommend a wood block and an air hammer.
 
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Old 05-31-22, 12:04 PM
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The star wheel will only turn in one direction because of the notches. If you have to loosen the brakes, you will need to insert a screwdriver to push the adjuster arm off of the star wheel, and then turn the spoon in the opposite direction.
If you can get to the back where the pins are that hold the shoe to the backing plate you might be able to pull and twist them 1/4 turn to loosen them. That may help free them up.
 
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Old 05-31-22, 12:11 PM
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Those star wheel adjuster are always a pain. Never did understand why a simpler design could not be made. Half the time the adjusters never worked anyway. Now with all disc brakes I think a small drum brake is used on the axel for the parking. And if memory serves me correctly it's either on or off, no adjustment other than the cable to the pedal.
 
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Old 05-31-22, 08:53 PM
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I could not get the drum off. So I severed the cable with my angle grinder and cut-off wheel. The old axle assembly is now in the core return container.

Tomorrow I need to hook up the new axle assembly (backing plates included). I am doing it myself without any help. So I could not spend any more time on the stuck brake drum. But thanks for trying to help.

If I have any questions about mounting the new rear axle assembly I'll start a new posting.

(Then I'll reinstall drum brakes and new parking brake cable)


 
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Old 06-02-22, 08:11 AM
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I need the parking brake lever from the old backing plate to switch over to the new one, And I can't get to it because that drum is stuck. These are extremely expensive if they're even available at all.

These drum brakes should be eliminated altogether. And they should be required by law to make these parts readily available by 3rd party sellers. These are BRAKE parts. What the hell?

Why do we still have drum brakes? Disc brakes perform better and are easier to work on.

So now I have to drive without a parking brake?
 
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Old 06-02-22, 09:03 AM
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I agree with you 100%
That is why there is an organization called "Right to Repair" that are fighting to get legislation enacted that requires manufactures to provide parts and specifications for house hold appliances and such. Did you know that in some states it's perfectly legal for a manufacture not to disclose specifications to independent licensed repair shops to fix things.

And yes for years I said drums brakes were the bane of typical car repair. Electric disc brakes should be the standard. They are cheaper and no less safe that a hydraulic system that springs a leak with no auto lock system in place. In an electrical system, if power or system fails it could be in a normally on position (fully applied). Only with full power will the system be in a normally off position until applied.
 
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Old 06-02-22, 09:05 AM
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By law manufactures have to make parts available for a min of 10 years which tends to be the more difficult parts like body and interior pieces. No rules for 3rd party, if they see a market they will make the parts.

The trend today is no drums, OEM's were going back and forth for a number of years, drums are cheaper but less efficient. I don't think there is anything out there now but that was an old job so I'm not up to date.

I would think all those parts would be readily available, they sold a ton of Rangers back in the day!
 
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Old 06-02-22, 09:15 AM
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Electric disc brakes
Not sure I'd want that, any electrical gremlin and oops there goes brakes plus the hydraulic brakes have some redundancy, dual circuits.

They do have electric parking brakes!

Got to understand, OEM's only care about getting that car past the new car and maybe some long term customer surveys, cars over 10 years are distant memories.
 
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Old 06-02-22, 09:23 AM
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Man, these drum brakes should be BANNED. I have never had any problems repairing my front disc brakes.

What if I drill out the brake shoe pins on the rear of the backing plate? Might that help?

Someone claimed that Omix-Ada part# 16751.12 parking brake lever for Jeep worked on their Ford Ranger. It looks exactly like mine. It's not expensive and I might give it a try.
 
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Old 06-02-22, 09:28 AM
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Marq,
I have to disagree with you that the current braking system in cars (be it the old drums or even the current disc system) is more expensive than electric brakes. Without regard to the current inflation for electronic parts, brakes systems today up to the point of actual pad to dick contact has more linkage and hydraulics and parts that can fail than Carters has pills.

In an electric system, one relay, or an IC to energize a plunger to make pad contact to disc is all that is needed (in fact even any mechanics of any sort could in theory be eliminated using magnetics, but that would expensive). No more master cylinder and the metal that makes it (dual system would be obsolete) as another fluid reservoir. No hoses that can rot or crack. Thin wire only protect perhaps in a sheath.

So I think if all is added together, an itemized list of electronic brake system vs the current mechanical/hydraulic system would be cheaper. Again current electronic inflation and shortages notwithstanding.
 
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Old 06-02-22, 10:59 AM
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typically have to use a hammer a few times between the wheel studs and most of the time the drum will loosen up and pull off in severe rust areas of the north you would use a big hammer but being where you are probably is not rusted that bad.
occasionally you have to loosen the brake by turning the adjuster which usually is not that difficult but most will only tighten and not loosen unless you push the self adjuster out away from the star wheel to back it off.
so you may need 2 tools in that small slot a flat bladed brake adjuster or other tool to turn the star wheel and a small screw driver or pick to push the self adjuster off the star wheel so it can be turned in the correct direction to loosen the brakes if you cannot rotate the drum at all you have probably tightened the brake shoes instead of loosening it and you need to go the other direction.
drum brakes are reliable and last a long time the parts are inexpensive wheel cylinders, shoes, hardware and adjuster kits not that expensive to repair. do not really see disc brakes being any better on the rear. spend a little more time with it and you will likely figure it out.
 
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Old 06-02-22, 11:50 AM
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I got the drum off. 30 minutes of relentless pounding on the edge of the drum and off the studs. I banged a ball-peen hammer with a 5-lb sledgehammer. I used a pry bar also. I salvaged the parking brake lever from it.
 

Last edited by bluesbreaker; 06-02-22 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 06-02-22, 02:43 PM
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Why do we still have drum brakes? Disc brakes perform better and are easier to work on
I've never had an issue working on drum brakes. I was in my 20s before I had a vehicle with pads on the front. IMO drum brakes have more braking power unless they get wet. My non scientific observation comes from pulling trailers without brakes. Seems like it was always easier to stop the heavy load when all 4 brakes were drums.

Disc brake replacement isn't always straightforward. My son fought and fought the 4 wheel disc brakes pad replacement on his Fiero, who knew you had to engage the parking brake to successfully bleed a new rear caliper.
 
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Old 06-03-22, 09:06 AM
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I've always worked the front disc brakes without the parking brake, which are pretty straightforward. I can see how the disc brakes with parking brake might run into complications, I still would take disc brakes over drums any day.
 
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Old 06-13-22, 01:15 PM
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I've noticed the last two times I installed drum brake hardware, I had to bend and file down the adjuster lever cam so it would grab onto the star wheel tooth notch. Just one more thing that bothers me about drum brakes.

I found a guide for converting my rear drum brakes to rear disc brakes. I can keep my new axle assembly shafts. I just need to remove the drum backing plates. Then I use the disc brake parts from a 94-04 Ford Mustang and plum in brake lines from the junction to the calipers. If it's not terribly expensive and parts are available, I'm doing it in a few years.

 
 

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