DRUM BRAKE REBUILD KIT V8 Big Block 1970-1971KIT INCLUDES:
* 4 WHEEL CYLINDERS
* 4 BRAKE HARDWARE KITS
* 4 BRAKE ADJUSTING KITS
* FRONT BRAKE SHOES
* REAR BRAKE SHOES
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The front and rear drum brakes are similar, but there are some differences with the installation. We're going to show you how to do both. What you'll want to do, minimum, as far as parts, you'll want to get some new shoes and a brake install hardware kit. In our case, we're also going to replace the wheel cylinders and we'll take a look at the drums when they're apart and see if they also need to be turned or replaced.
For this installation, they need a lift or a jack and jack stands, flat blade screwdriver, 3/8" wrench, 7/16" wrench, 1/2" wrench, 5/8" wrench, drum brake spring tool set, needle nose pliers, channel locks, hammer, and safety glasses.
You want to start by getting the car off the ground and remove all four wheels. You can do one wheel at a time, it really doesn't matter. Brakes, the first step is going to be remove this, and I'm going to warn you now, you're going to get dirty. Brakes are a dirty job, there's just no way around it. Make sure you have lots of cleaning supplies handy. Start by removing the cap.
With the cap off, now we're going to straighten out the cotter pins. We're going to move that to get to the little threaded washer behind it. This will just slide right off, and get to the nut. Just grab a hold of the nut here. You can grab a socket if you want, but lock jaws will work, too. Just turn it and un-thread it by hand.
Now we're going to get this washer out here. You can grab it from the corner, but just give it a good tap. It usually will come right out. With that off, now we can actually just pull the drum. You'll have to wiggle it a little bit, but it should come off fairly easily. We'll put this aside.
With the drum off, take a look at it. Make sure the surface has no major cracks, no major wear. You also want to take a look at these. If you're making noise while your wheels are spinning, it's a good time to replace the bearings and seal as well. For now, we're going to move onto the actual drum brake.
With everything off, now is a good time to grab some brake cleaner and just clean the general area around the brake. Cleaned up, we're going to move on to removing the springs. You want to keep note of where everything is when you take it apart so that it goes back together the right way. In this case, having the right tool will make it easier. You can grab these with needle nose and pop them off, but a brake spring tool will make your life a lot easier and it's not very expensive.
Next, remove the springs that hold on the shoes. What you need to do is basically turn that and it'll clearance it and come off. Again, having the right tool will make it easier, but you can do it with needle nose, as well. The shoes and springs removed can go away. This is the only part you want to keep, which is the adjuster. You also want to make sure it moves freely and want to clean it up before you re-install it.
With everything out of the way, we're going to move on to replacing the wheel cylinder. You want to pull the two ends off, if they haven't fallen off already. They very well may be on the ground next to your wheels. Pull them off and we'll replace the cylinder. To get the wheel cylinder off, the first thing we're going to do is break free the hose, get that loose, then take off the two bolts that hold up the backing plate. Once those bolts are off, we can take the hose all the way off.
The bolt's out. Now you want to grab the wheel cylinder and pop it free. Then un-thread it from the brake hose. Make sure you don't lose that washer. You want to keep that with the brake hose. We're going to install the new wheel cylinder the same way the old one came out by threading it in place. I should mention, now's a good time to look at your brake hose. If it's badly cracked or damaged, it's the perfect time to replace it.
Re-install the bolts in the back. Get them started and then tighten them down. With the wheel cylinder tight, we'll re-tighten down the brake hose. Once the hose is tight, make sure it's relatively straight like this. If it's kinked too much, you'll have to loosen up the wheel cylinder, take it off, and do it again. If you have it kinked, you're going to damage the hose and make it worse. Again, you want it relatively straight like that.
We're getting ready to install the shoes. Now, we're putting a dab of grease in a couple of spots in the backing plate. There's a few flat spots, one, two, three, four, five, six. You want to just put a small dab of grease on each one. Now we're going to put the ends into the wheel cylinder. You want to grease up the end here to make it go in a little bit easier. When you install it, make sure the slot is facing upward.
The last thing we're going to grease up before getting installation is the adjuster. I'm going to pop the cap off, put some grease in here, and just put a little touch on the threads as well. You want to make sure when doing this, you want to use high-temp caliper grease, not just standard normal grease. Get it on the threads, thread the adjuster in, make sure it moves smoothly. You want to thread it all the way in for installation. Now it's ready to go.
The shoes are location-specific. Glancing at them, they're going to look the same. Put next to each other, you're going to notice the one shoe is shorter than the other. The shorter shoe is going to go on the front. Push it over so it's touching a stud here, and put the springs into place.
Now we're going to move on to the rear shoe. This part could be a bit tricky. Start with the large blue spring and hook it in the front section there. It's going to hook in just like that. At this point, now you have to get the adjuster in between this slot here and this slot here with the gear facing towards the back. Basically, what you're going to do is just pull as hard as you can on this and try to wedge it in there. Now you just want to squeeze everything to get it where it goes and install the other stud for the spring. With the shoes in place, now we'll go back to the top springs here. I'll start with the back spring in that opening there. The front one's going to install the same way, down in the opening there.
This part we're going to show you with the drum off so that you can see the concept, but obviously, you want to do it with the drum on. Once we put the drum back on, you need to adjust the brakes. That's what the adjuster down here does. What you do is use a small flat head screwdriver and you can actually turn this from the back. Again, you'll want to do that with the drum in place, but that's the process. We're going to put the drum back on and show you how to adjust.
We're going to put a little grease on the spindle here before we re-install the drum. This washer has a little notch it'll line up with. Now you want to turn the drum while you tighten this up. Lastly, you put the cap back on. Now we're going to adjust it. If you turn it, there's pretty much no drag at all. You'll start hearing drag as you adjust. You'll get to the point that you can feel drag pretty much evenly across the whole rotation, but you can still turn it. Once you get it to this point where you got a good amount of drag, the best way to adjust it from here is to drive it. If you take the car out and it pulls hard to the left or the right, you'll want to adjust those adjusters then to get it that it stops and pulls evenly. Once you have the adjusters set, you'll want to install the supplied plug in the opening back here, just to keep debris from getting in the brakes.
With that done, now we can move on to the rear drums. While the concept for the rear drums is similar, there are a lot more moving parts inside because of the parking brake. Again, though, the first step in the process, pull off the drum. Again, take a look at it, make sure you got material left, make sure it's not all cracked and damaged inside. We're going to start back here again with some brake clean.
Start by removing the top two springs, once the drum is off. After the springs are off, we're going to remove the adjusting cable. That will allow us to get the other spring off. The first unique part you're going to see in the back is going to be this c-clip. What you want to do is get a screwdriver of some sort. Work it loose and pop it off. The hardware kit is going to include a new one, so don't worry about damaging it.
Move down to the hold down springs, the same process as the front. You can push the stud through the c-clip was on. Once you do that, you can actually pull the whole assembly off as one piece. With everything else out of the way, we're going to do a little more cleaning in here. With everything off the front of the backing plate, now we're going to move to the back so that we can remove our wheel cylinder. Again, the first thing you're going to want to do is loosen up the brake line right here and remove these two bolts to remove the wheel cylinder. We can install our new wheel cylinder.
Now we're ready to work on the rear brake shoes. Just like the front, one, two, three, four, five, six spots on the backing plate, we're going to put a little grease before we get started. Again, just a touch on each one, you don't want to use a lot. If you use too much, it can end up on the brake shoes, which will hurt braking performance. The rear shoes are going to be just like the front. They're going to look very similar, but one's going to be longer. The longer one goes on the back. The shorter one's going to go on the front.
We're going to install the new version of the c-clip we removed earlier. Take the parking brake piece here, put it through there. I'll put the washer on first, and then the new clip, probably need some pliers to get this on. Just like the clip we removed, once you get it on, you'll want to squeeze these ends together. Before mounting the shoe, you want to again, grab the ends from the wheel cylinder, put some grease on them, and put them in the cylinder. Put the shoe up in place, again aligning it with the wheel cylinder.
Now, for the next step, your spring, your parking brake adjusting cable, and the bracket have to go on at the same time. We'll start by putting the spring in with the bracket attached to it. The cable's going to go on first. I'm just going to leave that hanging there for now and make sure it goes behind there. Just like in the front, put a little grease on the new adjuster. By the way, if you have a washer in package, you're not sure where it goes, it's probably that one right there. Put the cap on and again, make sure it is threaded all the way in to be installed.
This bracket here is going to basically be a connection between the bottom. The hook we put up here goes in the top of it, and your spring will go in the other side. That's going to hook right in there. Now we can install the other shoe. Before you do put the other shoe in place though, make sure you put the original equalizer bar back in place, so just lay it across there. If you have it, the adjuster's going to go in on that side and then over here. Now the parking brake equalizer bar, just pull away on the shoe a little bit, get that lined up. Now the other top spring, we're going to put in this side first. Loop it in there, put it over the stud.
Make sure everything is tight and fitting flush, it's not tied up in e-brake at all, and re-install your drum. Obviously, it's loose just like the front. You can adjust it while you're turning it. If you find that it's really loose, actually save yourself some time, get in here and adjust it by hand. Now it's starting to catch a little bit. Once you get it good, install the plug.
Now you want to go back through, and we're going to bleed the brakes. The process of bleeding the brakes is designed to get air out of the lines. Since the lines were open, we could have air in them, which will affect braking performance. Unless you have a vacuum bleeder, this is a two-person process, one person's going to push the pedal to push fluid through, while the second person opens up the bleeders. The first step you're going to do is take the cap off the master cylinder and make sure it's full.
When opening the bleeders, you want to start on the farthest wheel away from the master cylinder, so you're going to start with the right rear, then the left rear, then the right front, and then finally the left front. Since the lines weren't open very long, we didn't lose a lot of fluid. There's a good chance it's going to be fairly full before we start, but just top it off to be safe. I'm going to take the easier job and handle the brake pedal while RK handles the bleeders. What you'll want to do is basically pump the pedal until you start getting a more solid pedal. At that point, you hold it, he's going to open up the bleeder to let the air out. The pedal will go to the floor and you'll want to repeat the process until you have a nice, firm pedal.
Rick: Pump it up. Okay. Down?
Rick: Pump it up.
Bill: Okay. Down.
Once you're done, you have a nice firm pedal. Again, make sure the master cylinder is full and your installation's finished.
That's the basics on how to rebuild the drum brakes on your Mustang. While the parts are going to vary slightly, the process from 1965 all the way through 1993 is going to be pretty much the same thing. Even if you never did it before, you're probably looking at about two hours total to do all four brakes and be back on the road in no time.