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Removing Drums


Rah no Hans Bwix
November 21, 2002
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 XLT 4x4
I decided to do my brakes this weekend. The fronts were easy and the job went smoothly. The back is a different story. In the past I've just been able to pull the drum right off. This time it would barely move. I ran a search and found that using a hammer would work. I beat the drum until it was almost off, but after that it wouldn't budge. I tried to spin the little adjusting wheel and it spun for a little while, but won't spin any more. I then proceeded to beat on the drum some more from the rear. I ended up chipping off a piece of the top but the stupid thing still would not budge from its almost-off position.

What would cause the drum to stick like this? Can I screw anything up by forceably beating on and pulling the drum?

I'm thinking about renting a drum puller tomorrow.

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I spun it upward (counterclockwise). My Haynes guide said there was a clip I needed to push up on as I spun, but I didn't see it and was still able to spin the adjuster... though not very easily.

I didn't use a penetrant as I wasn't really sure where to spray it. It seems the drum is snagging on something.

The emergency brake must be released of course.
Other than that whacking with a hammer seems to be it.

Yeah the e-brake was off. What I find strange is that the drum is no looser than it was when I first started. Which, again, leads me to believe there is something holding it back. Would this happen if the shoes are really worn?

If the pads are really worn they can grove out a section of the drum. When this happens the drum can spin freely, but when you try to slide it off it will hang up on the pads which are stuck in its grove. When this happens I use the hammer method with a 2' pry bar to try and force the drum over the pad. If you can get a smaller screwdriver between the drum and backing plate you can try and force the pad inward to get it over the grove as you pry on the drum.


I'm afraid that's my experience too. A 5lb sledge, maneuvering to get the best angle, and balanced blows were the only way I could get mine off.
Good Luck

I've had to almost destroy the brakes and springs in order to get well-worn drums off at times. Don't sweat it -- just replace all the parts. Springs for the rear brakes are only a few bucks -- just as well to replace with new ones. Same goes for the wheel cylinders -- generally under $15 a side. That doesn't add much to the cost, but everything is new and working good once you're done.,1759701/shopping/selectZip.htm,APP149649...partType,01927/shopping/partProductDetail.htm,APP108707...partType,00764/shopping/partProductDetail.htm I have the tool they are talking about in the article. Keep in mind that you shouldn't keep turning it until it break. You have to tap the corners of the tool with a hammer to help loosen it.

I'm looking forward to plan I from the link :D :

Plan I: If all else fails, use the oxy-acetylene torch to cut the brake drum into about four pie shape sections and knock it loose from the shoes with a heavy hammer. This is followed by cooling, cleaning, painting, and the purchase of all new mounting hardware and shoes, maybe a new slave cylinder, and of course a new brake drum. We all hope it never has to go as far as Plan I.

if you didnt push the clip in and it still turned, you probably went the wrong way. Did you hear/ feel it click into place as your turned it? Did it get tighter/harder as you turned it?

I didn't even see the clip... but I looked for it for a while. It got harder to turn as I spun it.

Well I got it off! Had some time to work on it today and all I had to do was beat in between the studs and pull. It took only a few minutes to get off, compared to the 30 minutes spent TRYING to get it off by beating on the rear edge. Thanks for the help!

I did the rear brakes today. WHAT A *****! I sincerely hate drum brakes after this experience. It was my first time, so that's probably why it sucked so much. I used pliers for the springs and I thought I was going to rip one of them up :p

They seem to be working great, with one problem. If I park on a hill and keep it in drive, but set the e-brake, it inches slowly forward. What would cause this? Do I need to spin the adjuster screw some more to spread the shoes?

Adjust the shoes just enough for them to make contact with the drum. You should be able to turn the drum by hand, but not make it so stiff where you have to use all of your strength turn it. You might want to jack the rear of the vehicle off of the ground, and take it out of park. Block the front wheels as a safety precaution first!

To ajust the breaks all you need to do is back up and put your foot on the break.

And if you put your foot on the break pedal while you apply the parking break it will hold better.