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How do I get the brake drum off?

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Old 01-30-2011, 07:45 PM   #1
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Default How do I get the brake drum off?

I'm doing a dry run of my axel seal project next weekend and I'm stymied on the first turn. I have a '90 5.8 with 8.8 rear end and drum rear brakes. How do I get the drum off to get to the axel. It pulls out about half way but I'm reluctant to give it a really good tug. Help!

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Old 01-30-2011, 08:14 PM   #2
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first the brake drum comes off and to get it off there is an inspection hole on the inside of the brake backing plate. spin that star gear with a flat head screw driver and that will bring the brake pads away from the brake drum allowing it to pull of the brake assembly.(also dont have you parking brake on haha.) then go to the differential cover and remove it being careful to drain the axle fluid into something. once its drained and the cover is off you need to locate the locking screw. its the only bolt that is in the guide pin for keeping the gears aligned. remove that, then the big pin it fits inside and the gears should be free. DONT MOVE THEM! there should be to keepers on the ends of each spline they look like metal washes in the shape of a "C" they will just slide of with a few taps here or there. once those are off you can remove the four bolts on the bakcing plate to remove that then the splines should pull out. i think thats how it works but if anyone can explain it better or more correctly go for it. im still a rookie haha.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:16 PM   #3
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Many times, as the drums wear, they will develop a lip on the inner-most portion where the shoe doesn't make contact. If the shoes are adjusting properly through their lives, this lip may be enough to prevent easily pulling the drum off.

The solution is to dial back the star adjuster, accessed through the lower part of the backing plate, just enough to allow the drum to come off. Keep count of how much each is backed off so you can dial them back in pretty close on re-assembly - or put up with more brake pedal travel for a while until the auto-adjust feature dials them back in.

If there's much of a lip, may be worth considering having the drums turned while they're off.

If you're going to this much effort on a dry run - why not complete the job? Once the vehicle is jacked up, wheels are off, and the drums removed - not that much more to do the seals.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:54 PM   #4
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You need to relax the shoes, you will need a skinny screw driver and a reg screwdriver, take a skinny screw driver, feel around and push the self adjuster plate in, you should feel some resistance, take the other screwdriver and turn the spur wheel to loosen the adjuster, but first turn the spur wheel to where it clicks, then go the opposite way to loosen the adjuster. You will probably have to work the drum back and forth a little to push the shoes in.
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:30 PM   #5
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I agree with the shoes needing to be backed off I have never had a vehicle that has not required this prosess. But come to think about it I did leave the shoes on too long.
It does sound funny that he can get it half way off. That doesnt sound like this is the prob or he means half way as in "the job". Id say back it off but keep count of star turs so you can put it back. I've had some trouble letting the truck adjust it. And pump the brakes in reverse it helps too for quicker adjusting.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:57 PM   #6
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Got a flashlight on the starwheel and backed the shoes off and the drum came right off.

I would have done the whole job but I didn't have the gasket material to seal up the diff cover. This week end though!

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Old 02-01-2011, 03:07 PM   #7
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Only coming halfway off is a good indication that the brakes need to be backed off. This is because you have a groove in the drum and the hold down pin springs are weak from extended use. This combo means that the drums will slide out from one half to one inch before becoming stuck. If the drums did not wiggle at all it would most likely be rust on the axle hub locking the drum into place.
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