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Toyota Maintenance: Toyota Rear Brake Shoe Replacement

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Author: Scott Wilson

Freshly turned brake drum

This article will guide you through a rear brake job on a Toyota truck. This article will also be of use if you need to replace a leaking brake cylinder. The vehicle this job was performed on was a 1988 4Runner V6.

Begin by removing the wheel from the axle and then remove rear brake drum. Be sure sure parking is off. If left on you, will not be able to remove the drum. If the drum has rusted to the axle, try breaking it loose with a hammer, being careful not to beat on backing plate.

If the drum does not appear to be rusted to the axle, and the brake shoes are keeping the drum from coming off, it maybe necessary to back off the brake shoes. This can be done with two screwdrivers, through the access hole in the backing plate. Insert one screwdriver through the hole and hold the automatic adjusting lever away from the adjusting bolt. Using the second screwdriver, reduce the brake shoe adjustment by turning the adjusting bolt clockwise.

Once the drum is removed, inspect the inside surface of the drum. Our brake shoes had worn all the way through, and the metal portion of the shoe had ruined the surface of the drum. To create a new surface on the drum, the drums must be turned on a lathe. I carried the brake drum into a local brake shop and paid them to 'turn' this drum. You can see the freshly cut surface in the above picture.

Brake assembly after removing drum Remove shoe return spring

Mechanics have tools designed for working on rear brakes that make the job go quicker. The job can also be done with tool found in the average 'weekend mechanic's tool box. Begin disassembly of the rear brakes by removing the shoe return spring. It is a long spring attached to the two brake shoes, near the top of the assembly. It can be removed with a pair of locking pliers.

Remove the hold down spring Remove the shoe

Now remove the hold-down spring and pin on the rear shoe. This assembly is made up of three pieces; one pin, one spring, and one washer with a slot in the center. By holding the pin in place and turning the washer, you can line the pin up so that it can be removed. You can now remove the rear brake shoe, and anchor spring, found at the bottom of that brake shoe. Similar to the rear shoe, remove the hold-down spring and pin on the front shoe. Remove the brake shoe. The adjuster, which is held in place by the two brake shoes can be removed with either shoe.

Remove the E-clip Remove the p-brake lever

Remove the E-clip and spring holding the automatic adjusting lever in place. Remove the automatic adjusting lever. Remove the C-washer holding the parking brake lever in place, and remove the parking brake lever.

Pictured are the old worn away brake shoe, and the new Toyota OEM brake shoe.

A light cleaning Grease the backing plate

While not entirely necessary, cleaning everything before reassembly is a good idea. This will also give you a chance to check for any serious rust, a leaky brake cylinder, or a leaking axle seal. If you were also replacing the brake cylinder, this is when you would do that. Simply remove the brake line and the two bolts holding the cylinder in place. If you do replace a brake cylinder you will also need to bleed the system to remove any air that may be trapped in the system. Once the backing plate is clean, apply some wheel bearing grease to the six places where the brake shoes contact the backing plate. This will help ensure your brakes work smoothly, and quietly.

Install the new E-clip Install the levers

You can now reinstall the automatic adjusting and parking brake levers on the new brake shoes. Be sure to use the new C-washer, supplied with new brake shoes (assuming you purchased your shoes from Toyota). Clean the parts before reassembly if desired.

Grease adjuster threads

Apply grease to the threads of the adjuster before reassembly. Install the adjuster on the rear (new) brake shoe, and put the rear brake shoe in place. Attach the shoe to the backing plate with the pin and hold-down spring.

Reinstall the assembly Parking brake cable

Connect the anchor spring to the bottoms of both brake shoes, and put the front shoe in place. Be sure to put the end of the adjuster into its place on the brake shoe. Install the pin and hold-down spring for the front shoe. Make sure you attach the parking brake cable to the parking brake lever as you install the shoe. With both shoes in place, reattach the return spring to the two shoes.

Pull p-brake lever

Check that the adjusting bolt turns while pulling the parking brake lever up. If the bolt does not turn, check for incorrect installation of the rear brakes.

Finished assembly

Adjust the adjuster to the shortest possible length and install the brake drum. Pull the parking brake lever inside the vehicle, until a clicking sound can no longer be heard. Remove the drum. Measure the brake drum inside diameter and diameter of the brake shoes. Check that the difference between the diameters is the correct shoe clearance. Shoe clearance should be 0.6mm (.024"). If this is incorrect, check the parking brake system. Now install the brake drum, and wheel.

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