Rear Drum Brake Inspection Part 2

Rear Drum Brake Inspection Part 2

If you remember our Blog post from last week, we introduced a used and abused 2004 Toyota Tacoma Pickup that needed a proper rear drum brake inspection and we got started on showing you how do perform such an inspection. In continuing , this drum has been on the axle for over 100,000 miles. It’s obviously rusty but will it come off easy or will it fight you all the way. Don’t automatically assume it will require a torch to heat it up to remove it. Think logically; start with the easy way first.Pic. No. 5

General Wheel/Brake Service Tip When the brake drum has threaded holes in it, use them by threading bolts into them to attempt to remove the drum before you resort to large hammers or heat.  This drum has several (at least 5) threaded holes into which bolt can be threaded forcing the drum away from the axle flange and over the brake shoes.
Rear Drum Brake Inspection 06
Even though this drum appears to be extremely rusty, only two bolts were installed in an attempt to “break” the drum free.

Rear Drum Brake Inspection 07

After the second bolt was installed, the two bolts were tightened in a back and forth manner. Using only reasonable pressure on the ratchet after switching between the bolts a few times the drum “popped” loose. You don’t want to apply so much pressure on a bolt at one time to cause the drum face to be distorted.

Rear Drum Brake Inspection 08

Once the drum is loose, grasp it and attempt to pull it off the shoes. If it starts to move and then stops, you may have a wear ridge on the open end of the drum or grooves in the drum from worn shoes. In either, case the shoe adjustment will have to be backed down to provide clearance between the shoes and drum so the drum can be slid off.

Rear Drum Brake Inspection 09

Once the drum is off the shoes don’t just set it down and continue on. Look inside the drum for break dust. The dust is an indication that this rear brake (RR) is working and most likely is pulling its share of the brake load. No dust usually means any work by the individual brake. Both sides should also have approximately the same amount of dust in them.

Rear Drum Brake Inspection 10


Once the drum is off, give the overall brake assembly a good visual once over inspection. The brake assembly should be dry and should not have any visible shiny wear marks on any components. Carefully look at the remaining thickness of the brake lining. It should be fairly equal in thickness on the top, bottom and middle of the lining. If it’s not, there is a lining actuation problem that must be identified and corrected.

Rear Drum Brake Inspection 11


We will have more of the story on how to properly perform a rear drum brake inspection next week for Tech Tricks Tuesday.

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