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Thread: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

  1. #1
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    Question How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    I have no idea when the rear drum brake shoes were last replaced or how to tell if they need to be replaced again. I bought the car back in Dec2007 and replaced the front disc brake pads in March due to squeaking...haven't had any braking issues since.

    In the past 2 weeks, I have begun to notice this weird thumping-like sound when I apply the breaks while only going about 15 mph...(like in a parking lot). There's not much of a vibration/studder, but there is a discernible thumping-like-sound coming from the rear. I thought it may be some of my tools rattling in the trunk, but I've checked/secured everything and the sound persists.

    Is this an indication that I need to work on the rear drum breaks?

    What are some other common symptoms that the rear drum brakes need a look?

    Drum break work looks fairly complex from the drawings in my Haynes Manual. Is this something a novice car mechanic should consider undertaking or should I bite the bullet and out source this work? I like the feeling of pride I get from working on my car, but don't want to do a crappy job and put my life at risk.

    Thanks!



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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Well you really need to pull off the rear wheel and the drum and look. The shoes will be very thin or down to the metal if they are bad.

    Besides noise the E brake may not work(hold) like it used too.


    wp
    1988 Lxi owner since August 1995
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    running 30% E-85 at 30+ mpg 4 years running

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldblueaccord View Post
    Well you really need to pull off the rear wheel and the drum and look. The shoes will be very thin or down to the metal if they are bad.

    Besides noise the E brake may not work(hold) like it used too.


    wp

    Ok, jacked up the back end this past Thursday and pulled off the wheels and drums.

    Things I noticed...(i'll post some pics later this week)
    - all parts were dry (so no leaks)
    - a lot of break dust
    - shoes look good...I don't have any calipers, but they looked to be half a centimeter thick (all 4 shoes) and the "wear" was pretty even.

    I didn't see anything so I just sprayed them down with brake cleaner to get all the dust off.

    -----------

    Now the thumping still remains -- It decreases with the speed of the wheel rotating when the brakes are applied. The P-brake is as tight as it has always been. Could it be that I need to check the barrings or whatever it is called (don't have access to my manual at the moment)?

    If I can't figure out the problem soon, I'll need to take it in...I dread the 80-100$/hr labor rate.

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    well my initial thoughts are to examine the wheel cylinders and bearings. However, maybe I should just replace the drums? Is it possible that I have a warped drum? I always thought that the front brakes handled most of the braking load.

    Realistically, I could overhaul the rear brakes...drums, spring kit, bearings, etc...but that sounds like a PITA. I don't need awesome stopping power, but I don't want to die.

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    just thought of something. do you get any pulsation when you depress the brake pedal? If not, my first guess is your uca (upper control arm). How many miles on your car?

    Please please please inspect this asap. If it's the ball-joint in the uca it would make a clunking/thumping, especially when applying brakes because the weight of the knuckle is not perfectly balanced, and when applying braking the uca becomes more of a stress point for lateral movement then just driving.

    I had one of my rear uca's let go on me a couple years ago and thank god I was only going like 30. Any faster and I don't want to think about it. A member a few years ago had one let go while on the highway, and his 3G was totalled. Not trying to scare you, but these cars are not getting any newer and parts wear out. At this point, it would still just be chalked up as preventative maintenance.

    edit: Forgot to tell you how to check. Ready... ...too simple. Jack up the car on that corner, and grab the upper part of the knuckle just below the uca mount and give it a tug in all directions. You should not feel any play in that joint. Also inspect the rubber boot covering the ball-joint. If it's cracked, split, torn, or caked with grease chances are it's shot.

    Now if you have a few extra dollars, I would invest in the adjustable Ingalls rear uca's as it will allow for greater adjustability, and imo they're a better quality part then the replacements you'll get at AutoZone, etc.
    Last edited by markmdz89hatch; 06-10-2008 at 08:54 AM.
    -Mark D.


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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?


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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Ok Guy, now quit taking pics of it and replace that damn thing. Is there anything left to the ball joint's post? I don't think I've ever seen a gap like that between the boot and the seat in the knuckle.
    -Mark D.


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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    My friend has an 86' Accord. He would get this clunk sound as you described when braking. We bleed his brakes till we saw fresh fluid coming out. He had a lot of air in his brakes. After we bleed the brakes thoroughly, the issue went away. To my knowledge, the issue has not came back yet.
    Sam


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    Current: 2012 Scion tC 6-spd M/T

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    ^^^jsonds like a backing plate issue too

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Quote Originally Posted by markmdz89hatch View Post
    just thought of something. do you get any pulsation when you depress the brake pedal? If not, my first guess is your uca (upper control arm). How many miles on your car?
    I feel the pulsation only when pressing down the brake pedal.

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Quote Originally Posted by russiankid View Post
    My friend has an 86' Accord. He would get this clunk sound as you described when braking. We bleed his brakes till we saw fresh fluid coming out. He had a lot of air in his brakes. After we bleed the brakes thoroughly, the issue went away. To my knowledge, the issue has not came back yet.
    this is something I've pondered, but I always seem to convince myself that I don't need to bleed the brakes (since it is a long and difficult 1 man job).

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Quote Originally Posted by roodoo2 View Post
    ^^^jsonds like a backing plate issue too
    what's that?

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    could be a missing/broken retaining clip from the shoes then, or cracked or warped drum, or spent cylinder.

    I personally hate drums, and hate adjusting them even more. If I have to do a set of drum brakes for a car, i usually end up doing the job, but about 30% of the time I'll bring it to a friend that works at a brake/exhaust show and have him adjust them for me. (Yes, I hate doing it that much.)

    It's not really a tough job, just tedious to replace all of the springs, clips, etc. I would suggest trying it first.
    -Mark D.


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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    the backing plate, the thing that is behind all the shoes and hardware. The shoes slide against it, sometimes they get a groove rubbed in them and can make the shoes bind up then they pop free.
    Drum could be cracked/warped too which would really make the shoes rub a groove in the plate. Pulsing felt in the pedal is no doubt a warped drum, Pulsing felt in the suspension and steering wheel is usually front rotors. Ok that said, warped rotors would be felt in the pedal eventually but would show up first in the susp/steering.

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Quote Originally Posted by roodoo2 View Post
    the backing plate, the thing that is behind all the shoes and hardware. The shoes slide against it, sometimes they get a groove rubbed in them and can make the shoes bind up then they pop free.
    Drum could be cracked/warped too which would really make the shoes rub a groove in the plate. Pulsing felt in the pedal is no doubt a warped drum, Pulsing felt in the suspension and steering wheel is usually front rotors. Ok that said, warped rotors would be felt in the pedal eventually but would show up first in the susp/steering.
    not to change the thread, but if you dont replace the shims on the front brake, will it cause a shuddering as well? i just changed my front pads, and there werent any shims when i took the old pads off, and after putting the new ones on, there is almost a dragging feeling when i depress the pedal.

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    gonna go and replace the drums this weekend...

    will be back if that doesn't work...thanks in advance

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    couple more questions...

    If I notice the thumping on one side, could I swap the drums to help further confirm suspicions about it being a warped drum?
    - wouldn't the thumping follow the warped drum?


    When replacing drums, do I need to replace both at the same time?

    How much should I spend? I see prices ranging between $25-$60 per drum.

    Thanks.

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    i personally wouldn't swap the drums (side to side) because as they wear with the pads, they tend to develop a seat for one another.

    As for how much to spend on drums, a major reason for some swings in price is due directly to how many times you can safely have the drums turned before the need to replace them outright.

    No, you don't need to replace both drums at the same time. In the event of a faulty wheel cylinder, or premature failure of a shoe, etc, you may need to replace one, independent of the other.

    However, before spending $$ on new drums, just pull them off and (using someone else's car obviously) bring them to most any brake shop or NAPA and they'll turn them for you, or tell you if they can't be turned anymore or if you have a cracked one.

    If you're going through all that trouble, be sure to replace the shoes if needed, or if there is uneven wear (either one shoe worn more then the other, or uneven wear on the pair from top to bottom). A likely culprit for uneven wear is a bad adjuster or spring. Maybe it's because I'm anal about it, but I always buy a full spring kit, and if the adjuster even thinks of giving me grief I replace that too. (don't forget some never-seize on between the pieces of the adjuster too).
    Last edited by markmdz89hatch; 06-11-2008 at 10:53 AM.
    -Mark D.


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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Excellent. I'll check on having them turned this weekend. Thanks!

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    ok...had the drums turned yesterday afternoon -- $7.50 each at meineke.

    I put them back on as soon as I got home and took a test drive in the neighborhood. UGH!!! still hearing and feeling the thumping in the brake pedal.

    Later last night, I drove to the store...took the highway...and when I got back to the house, I noticed that I didn't hear the thumping when pulling into my spot. That's odd. I took the car back out and drove around the neighborhood and the thumping seems to have subsided.

    This morning, I drove to work and the thumping was all but gone.

    Is it possible that I just needed to "break in" my freshly turned drums? Cause that would rock!

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    it's possible. ...but when you took the drums off, did you inspect the shoes for uneven wear, cracks in the braking surface, functioning adjuster, all properly installed springs, and holding clips? If the thumping stopped, I would guess that yes they did need to settle in, but when you reinstalled the drums, did you adjust the brakes? My guess is the adjuster is bad.
    -Mark D.


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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Quote Originally Posted by markmdz89hatch View Post
    it's possible. ...but when you took the drums off, did you inspect the shoes for uneven wear, cracks in the braking surface, functioning adjuster, all properly installed springs, and holding clips? If the thumping stopped, I would guess that yes they did need to settle in, but when you reinstalled the drums, did you adjust the brakes? My guess is the adjuster is bad.
    no. I'm not sure how to check these. The Haynes manual doesn't really state how to check them...it just says to check them.

    thumping has not fully gone away...I'm now thinking that you are right and the adjuster or springs are bad. The money isn't that big of a deal, so I think I'm going to replace all that stuff tomorrow. Also, after reading that story above, and thinking about it, I'm strongly considering getting the bushings done on all four corners. Anyone have a link to a good set (doesn't need to be performance...this is a DD)? I have a dependable mechanic...and if he can give me a decent quote on having that done, I'll probably let him since I'm not interested in undertaking that amount of work. This car has 160k on the body...but only about 8k on the block and head...needless to say its going to be my ride for a while and I'd hate to total it if one of my corners give way.

    thanks for all the help so far!

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    ok I just finished manually adjusting the rear brakes. First I adjusted the brakes by turning the "sprocket-looking-wheel" to expand the shoes until I could barely fit the drum back on. Next I pulled the ebrake 1 click and tightened it. At this point, the wheels no longer would spin endlessly and it felt like both shoes were making contact and rubbing the wheels to a stop after 2 spins or so.

    now questions...
    - there was a little metal clip-looking thing that looked like it should sit wedged between two of the nubs on the "sprocket-looking-wheel". If this is not positioned (or falls out of position) between the nubs, will the shoes start to move out of adjustment? If so I'm guessing I'll need to replace those...since I pretty much had to push them up against the "sprocket-looking-wheel".

    other than that, the test drive afterwards was nice. ebrake holds at 3 clicks, and braking feels nice and tight. Hopefully this will hold up...otherwise I'll be back.

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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Techniacally yes that clip holds holds the adjusters from turning the wrong way. But in my experience they dont do squat.

    How do you like that brake pedal feel now ?


    wp
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    Re: How do you know when to replace rear drum brake shoes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldblueaccord View Post
    Techniacally yes that clip holds holds the adjusters from turning the wrong way. But in my experience they dont do squat.

    How do you like that brake pedal feel now ?

    wp
    It feels safer and I can certainly tell that the rear brakes are taking on much more of the load than before. ty

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