I discovered one of my rear brake wheel cylinders is leaking, so I took the drum off today to have a look at it. I'm going to have a go at replacing the wheel cylinder, and as I haven't done this before I thought I'd check on a couple things.
I just bought the truck (67 F100) a few weeks ago, and obviously the cylinder has been leaking for a while, as the whole drum assembly is gummed up and a mess compared to the other rear wheel. The drum itself seems ok - no scratches, and the linings still have lots of wear left in them. The outside of the backing plate where I need to get at the brake hose, bleeder valve etc. is also really covered with crud.
What's the best way to clean all the gunk out? The parts I can remove easily I can soak in parts cleaner, but the rest?
Do I need a special tool to remove the brake shoe return springs? I read that I do, but I wasn't really clear on what the tool in question did, and I thought maybe there was another way around it.
I hope these questions aren't too basic - I tried to search the forums first but kept getting an error message that the server load was too high ...
You may also be able to buy a kit to rebuild the wheel cylinder...much cheaper. Hone the inside out with brake fluid and emery cloth, replace everything carefully and it should work fine. I've never needed special tools for brakes...they may make it easier, but you can usually fake it.
Wheel cyl's are cheap, just replace the whole thing, replace the shoes at the same time!!! Clean the springs, hardware and drum with brake clean. You can use a good stout pair of needle nose vise grip pliers or you can buy the brake spring tool from any parts house or Sears, they are inexpensive. Bleed every wheel cyl until clean clear (well amber) fluid comes out, I'm sure that the fluid is filled with crud and water.
1971 F-250 white
-so why am I called BigBlueFord?
-->1997 Crown Vic blue
Buy the 2 tools, cheap. Replace the cylinders and shoes, do both sides. Just be sure you are fixing the right thing. If ir has crud buildup like you describe that sounds more like a grease seal.
And one other thing, expect to twist off the steel brakelines going into the cylinder. There is a way to avoid it. If you can just crack the fitting loose and see that the steel line is turning too, stop right there and finish removing the wheel cylider and pull it out far enough to spin it off the brake line, then spin your new one on and install it with its 2 bolts then retighten the brake line. You may need small vice grips to grip the fitting, these are easily rounded off with a wrench.
Cheap is relative to ones budget, and I have bought ''cheap" wheel cylinders that weren't worth ****. Sometimes it's ok to rebuild what you have...then you KNOW what you have. To each their own methods.
If the cylinders clean up ok then go ehead and kit them. Many times they are pitted on older cars and I would just as soon have new. I prefer wagner brake parts, nut NAPA will do because they are wagner anyway. Also send the extra money for dot 5 fluid and flush the whole system. I cost more but it is not hydroscopic(did I say that right?). Anyway it doesn't take on moisture from the air.
Thanks all for the advice. I'll see what the cylinders look like and decide from there whether to replace or rebuild. I priced them out at an auto parts store over the weekend and they were $16 a piece for regular or $20 for what they called premium. I'll have to check out the manufacturer.
How do you flush the system? I assume it means you want to force brake fluid through all the lines to clean them out? I'm expecting to have to replace some of the brake lines too, not that I've found any leaks in them yet but I'll probably bugger some of them up working on everything.
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