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Replacing the Brake Shoes

How to replace the brake shoes on a car

Please note: Both sets of brake shoes on the same axle should be replaced at the same time. Should only one set of brake shoes be replaced, the vehicle will brake unevenly and pull to one side during braking.

Ensure the handbrake is applied to prevent the vehicle from rolling. Loosen the wheel securing nuts. Jack the vehicle up and remove the relevant wheel. Use a 2-ton trestle as a safety support beneath the vehicle.

Open the vehicle bonnet and remove the brake fluid reservoir cap. Wrap a thick absorbent cloth around the filler neck to absorb any brake fluid that overflows.

Release the hand brake mechanism.

Remove the brake drum cover. Take note of the brake shoe positions and spring layout.

Check the brake drum for excessive wear, cracks and damage. If the brake drum requires replacement, use a new SPIREX brake drum.

Remove the old brake shoes one at a time by depressing the brake shoe retaining springs.

Use a suitable length of flexible wire to wrap and secure the wheel cylinder in position. This will prevent the pistons from dislodging.

Fit the new brake shoes. Ensure that the springs are correctly positioned on the shoes, then place each end of the brake shoe into its locating slots.

Remove the flexible wire from around the wheel cylinder and wedge the shoes back into place using a screwdriver.

STEP 10:
Engage the handbrake mechanism, then replace the pins and washers in the reverse order to the removal process.

STEP 11:
Tighten the adjusting screw until the brake shoe sits firmly against the brake drum. Gradually unscrew the adjusting screw until the brake drum rotates freely.

STEP 12:
Refit the wheel, remove the trestle and lower the vehicle.

STEP 13:
Pump the brake pedal a few times to centralise the brake shoes.

STEP 14:
Replace the brake shoes on the opposite side of the axle by repeating the procedure above.

STEP 15:
Once both sets of brake shoes have been replaced, remove the cloth from the brake reservoir and check the brake fluid level. Top up the brake fluid level if necessary, and replace the brake reservoir cap.

Download a PDF on Replacing the Brake Shoes