Rear Brake Adjustment 2/22/04

cylinder and top springs - Click to Enlarge

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD! - Click here for details!

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!


On a recent trip, I mistakenly left the parking brake (AKA "Emergency Brake") on while winching.  That by itself isn't really too bad since the winch will easily drag the Jeep with the brakes set.   But thinking that the winch was having trouble moving the Jeep, I decided to help by giving it a little gas...

Update: 3/7/04  The net result was a bent axle housing, leading to a ruined axle.  The shaft, bearings, seals and housing all required replacement - because I mistakenly left on the parking brake and applied the gas...

The brake shoe assembly got bent where it rests against the top stop on the backing plate.  I noticed my mistake almost right away but found that the parking brake lever now traveled all the way to the top and still did not apply the brake.   Shoot...  I knew I was going to have to go in and adjust it.  I wasn't too happy because although the work is relatively easy, it is time consuming.  So I didn't deal with it right away.

I last replaced my brake pads on 12/20/03, now frustrated to think I would have to do this so soon.  But finally, with other problems (leaking axle bearing oil seal), I decided to go ahead and remove the rear wheels, take a look at the brakes and at the same time see what I was up against with the oil seal.

I put the back of the Jeep up on the floor jack and removed the wheels.  After I removed the drums, I could see the bent brake shoe assemblies.  Both sides were messed up. 

Bent section of metal shoe assembly

The pictures below are from a previous service so don't bother looking at them to see the bent area.  The are just provided to give an idea what the whole mess looks like.

Self-Adjusting spring and tab - Click to EnlargeShoe retainer - Click to Enlarge
cylinder and top springs - Click to EnlargeSelf-adjuster screw - Click to Enlarge

Working one side at a time, I removed the shoes and hammered the metal back into shape, being careful not to hit the brake shoe surface.  The leading shoe on the driver's side was missing about 1/2 of the brake shoe so I shall have to replace them.  For now I just wanted to get them straightened out and reassembled.  At the same time, I found the parking brake cable was disconnected on both sides.  I am not sure what that's all about except that perhaps because the shoes were so far out of adjustment, they came free.

The oil seal leak on the driver's side had covered the brake drum and shoe with gear oil so I cleaned it up and observed that the oil seal will be easy to get to once the axle has been removed.   That will be a story for another day...

I put the brakes back together and adjusted them.  I also reconnected the parking brake cable.  As expected, the pedal was a little better and the parking brake now works again.  It took me three days to get the gear oil out from under my finger nails.  But the repair work was time well spent, but there would be more to come and it was much worse...

Update:   6/25/04

While driving down from the 3500-foot summit of Shenandoah Mountain, on my way to Brandywine campground with my family, the left rear wheel cylinder failed, leaving me to crawl down the mountain with virtually no brakes.  Once I had set camp and had a good nights sleep, I got a ride into Harrisonburg and picked up a pair of wheel cylinders, flare nut wrenches, a "one man bleeder" kit, brake fluid, and a set of brake shoes (just in case).

We returned to camp, popped the top springs on the shoes, and removed the wheel cylinder.  I sprayed the whole assembly with brake cleaner.  I installed the new wheel cylinder and bled the brakes.   So far so good!


1 4723367-AB Shoe Kit 5003004 56.00


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