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Thread: Rear drum brake removal/replacement: An introduction

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    Senior Member Cobrajet's Avatar
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    Rear drum brake removal/replacement: An introduction

    I had to replace my rear drum brakes. Here are some pictures of the process and some pointers. This is not a full tutorial, but may be helpful to those not familiar with the procedure who are trying to decide whether or not they want to attempt it. I can't say it is difficult, but it does require some patience and a certain familiarity with how drum brakes work. You will need:

    -Jack
    -Jack stands
    -Lug wrench
    -New brake shoes
    -High Temp axle grease
    -1/2" drive breaker bar
    -Cheater pipe
    -Brake parts cleaner (maybe two cans)
    -Torque wrench
    -30mm 1/2" drive socket
    -Flat screwdriver
    -Pliers
    -Replacement brake drums (IF your rear brakes are grinding)
    -Brushes, rags
    -Hammer/mallet

    The original brake shoes on my car made it to about 80,000. If you are approaching this mileage and haven't done your rear brakes, you should probably think about it. Unfortunately, I decided to wait until about 84,000 miles to replace mine. Keep in mind all my driving is stop-and-go. They were metal-to-metal on the driver's side, grinding and grating.

    DRUM. BRAKES. I really don't know why this archaic 1930s technology still exists in cars this far into the 21st century. I know these cars are cheap, but come on! I have always hated working on drums.

    I went with Raybestos 1059PG brake shoes. They were $26 on Ebay. I found some used rear hubs at a wrecking yard. The donor car had been run hard into a telephone pole. It had the same build date as mine, and a VIN that was only 70 units off, so I was confident of the interchange. They were $45 each. Before you scoff, go try to find aftermarket ones. Then price NEW ones. However, if you haven't let your brakes get as bad as mine did you should not need to replace the drums.

    First thing to do, obviously, is jack up the car, secure it safely, and remove the rear wheel. Next, remove the hub nut dust cap with a screwdriver and hammer. These can be tricky to get off. Under the dust cap you will find an unstaked, self-locking, 30mm nut. It's on tight. I removed mine pretty easily with a breaker bar and cheater pipe. These should be removed slowly, and by hand. Mitsubishi specifically says not to use power tools when removing these nuts.

    After that, the hub should just slide off of the stub axle. Be sure the parking brake is OFF! Here is what I found...

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    OUCH. Drum is totally wasted. Everything else is covered in a thick crust of worn brake material and metal shavings. Lots of brake parts cleaner and brass brushes resulted in this...

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    Synthetic lube in the right places...

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    The pin on the e-brake lever that goes through the brake shoe wouldn't fit. The hole in the new shoe was a few thousandths too small. I had to do a little work with a rat-tail file. Notice the pink lube about halfway down on the e-brake lever. I saw some wear there and figured I'd put a little lube on it.

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    New brake parts!

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    Passenger side wasn't nearly as bad...

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    More new brake parts!

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    With a little fiddling, both hubs slid right back on after resetting the adjusters. I didn't need to mess with the e-brake cable, as I had not adjusted it before to compensate for wear. Hub nuts are re-torqued to 129 ft/lbs. I didn't see the need to replace these nuts, but if you do the part number is MB584600.

    Special thanks to Top Fuel for posting this picture of the rear brake assembly in its as-new state. It was VERY helpful on reassembly.

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    Last edited by Cobrajet; 01-09-2018 at 08:54 AM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrajet View Post
    ...both hubs slid right back on after resetting the adjusters
    I have looked at that image from the service manual and my own Mirage brakes...and I'm still not sure I understand how that trick with the screwdriver works to release the adjusters?!? After all that time, your original drums slid right off without releasing the self-adjusters?

    Here's another thing I wondered about...

    After everything is re-assembled, how do you adjust the shoes outward? I've seen similar Asian drum brake setups that describe this process as follows (I'm paraphrasing)...

    -Pull up HARD on the e-brake handle a few times.
    -Step on the brake pedal and hold it...then pull up on the e-brake handle hard a few times.

    This process supposedly centers and adjusts the shoes. But I don't see any description of this process in the service manual. I've done traditional drum brakes (with star wheel adjusters)...but never a setup like this one. The Mirage's drum brake setup left me somewhat frustrated as I couldn't figure out how to adjust the shoes out further.

    Great write-up and photos!
    Last edited by Top_Fuel; 01-09-2018 at 03:08 PM.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.2 mpg (US) ... 21.8 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.5 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Fuel View Post
    I have looked at that image from the service manual and my own Mirage brakes...and I'm still not sure I understand how that trick with the screwdriver works to release the adjusters?!? After all that time, your original drums slid right off without releasing the self-adjusters?

    Here's another thing I wondered about...

    After everything is re-assembled, how do you adjust the shoes outward? I've seen similar Asian drum brake setups that describe this process as follows (I'm paraphrasing)...

    -Pull up HARD on the e-brake handle a few times.
    -Step on the brake pedal and hold it...then pull up on the e-brake handle hard a few times.

    This process supposedly centers and adjusts the shoes. But I don't see any description of this process in the service manual. I've done traditional drum brakes (with star wheel adjusters)...but never a setup like this one. The Mirage's drum brake setup left me somewhat frustrated as I couldn't figure out how to adjust the shoes out further.

    Great write-up and photos!
    Nice write up! I wondered about the Mirage adjusters too but my guess is they force the pistons outwards. Old starwheel adjusters as you'll recall worked by lengthening a chunk of steel that operated directly on the shoe to push it out.

    I also recall in the old days to adjust rear brakes every once in a while you would back up a **** ton and that would work the adjusters for you.

    Funny thing, I engaged the park brake on my Saturn last spring and of course both rear wheels were locked after I released the park brake. One wheel freed up doing the rock back'n'forth but one wheel was stubborn and locked tight. Every couple of weeks I would check and there was no change. About 3-4 months later, in the heat of the summer, I went to tackle my Saturn only to find the wheel had self freed. Go figure.

    Anyway, sorry to go off topic but I'm hoping somebody releases a disc retrofit kit for the Mirage.

    One last thing. Did you check the service manual to see how much material could be turned out of the Mirage drum to clean it up? Remember when every corner repair depot had a lathe for turning both drums and discs when they got gouged or out of round?
    Zero, my 2014 ES Plus gone but not forgotten. We're driving the Beetle of the 21st century

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        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2017 Mirage ES PLus 1.2 manual: 39.0 mpg (US) ... 16.6 km/L ... 6.0 L/100 km ... 46.8 mpg (Imp)


  5. #4
    Senior Member Cobrajet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Fuel View Post
    I have looked at that image from the service manual and my own Mirage brakes...and I'm still not sure I understand how that trick with the screwdriver works to release the adjusters?!? After all that time, your original drums slid right off without releasing the self-adjusters?

    Here's another thing I wondered about...

    After everything is re-assembled, how do you adjust the shoes outward? I've seen similar Asian drum brake setups that describe this process as follows (I'm paraphrasing)...

    -Pull up HARD on the e-brake handle a few times.
    -Step on the brake pedal and hold it...then pull up on the e-brake handle hard a few times.

    This process supposedly centers and adjusts the shoes. But I don't see any description of this process in the service manual. I've done traditional drum brakes (with star wheel adjusters)...but never a setup like this one. The Mirage's drum brake setup left me somewhat frustrated as I couldn't figure out how to adjust the shoes out further.

    Great write-up and photos!
    Keep in mind the shoes on my car were SHOT. This might have helped the drums come off easier. There was also no noticeable ridge worn into the outside edge of the drum to keep it from being removed...not even on the side that was metal-to-metal. That might be where you would need to release the adjuster from the back through the adjustment hole. Otherwise, the drum would essentially be locked on. Once the spindle nut was removed my hubs very easily slid off. To be honest, I tried to use the adjustment hole on the back after the new parts had been installed to make sure the adjuster was in the right position to get the drums back on. But I had reset the adjuster manually after removing the old shoes so it apparently wasn't necessary.

    As far as adjusting them after replacement, the manual says to simply start the car and press the brake pedal a few times until the slack is taken out of the rear brakes. That's it. It seems to have worked just fine. I heard the adjuster on each side click a few times when I did this right after replacement. I was planning on needing to fiddle with it to get the right adjustment, as with the star-type adjusters, but it simply wasn't required.

    My e-brake handle would go all the way up to the stop before I replaced the shoes, and it would be completely useless. Wouldn't hold the car at all. Now it only goes up 7-9 clicks, like it is supposed to, and holds tight.

    I guess it really is "automatic".
    Last edited by Cobrajet; 01-09-2018 at 08:40 PM.

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    Senior Member Cobrajet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallythacker View Post
    Nice write up! I wondered about the Mirage adjusters too but my guess is they force the pistons outwards. Old starwheel adjusters as you'll recall worked by lengthening a chunk of steel that operated directly on the shoe to push it out.

    I also recall in the old days to adjust rear brakes every once in a while you would back up a **** ton and that would work the adjusters for you.

    Funny thing, I engaged the park brake on my Saturn last spring and of course both rear wheels were locked after I released the park brake. One wheel freed up doing the rock back'n'forth but one wheel was stubborn and locked tight. Every couple of weeks I would check and there was no change. About 3-4 months later, in the heat of the summer, I went to tackle my Saturn only to find the wheel had self freed. Go figure.

    Anyway, sorry to go off topic but I'm hoping somebody releases a disc retrofit kit for the Mirage.

    One last thing. Did you check the service manual to see how much material could be turned out of the Mirage drum to clean it up? Remember when every corner repair depot had a lathe for turning both drums and discs when they got gouged or out of round?
    These adjusters work the same way as the star adjusters in that a piece of metal between the shoes needs to get longer as the brake shoes wear. It is simply a spring-loaded piece with a toothed quadrant that adjusts it's length automatically instead of something you have to adjust manually. If you look carefully at the pics of my old brakes before they were replaced you can see this quadrant has adjusted all the way out. With the new brakes, it is adjusted all the way in and can't be seen anymore.

    The internal drum diameter when new is 180mm. Service limit is 181mm, so there isn't much room for turning these on a lathe like you would do with older drums. That is a bummer, because the cheapest I found OEM new replacements was $270 each and there are no aftermarket options (yet).

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    Administrator Daox's Avatar
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    Sounds like I should probably at least take a look at mine come spring time. I'm almost to 80k.
    Custom Mirage products: Cruise control kit, Glove box light, MAF sensor housing
    Current project: Developing a rear sway bar alternative

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        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage DE 1.2 manual: 41.7 mpg (US) ... 17.7 km/L ... 5.6 L/100 km ... 50.0 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member Cobrajet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daox View Post
    Sounds like I should probably at least take a look at mine come spring time. I'm almost to 80k.
    Can't hurt to check them. As I mentioned, all of my driving is stop-and-go so that likely made my rear brakes wear out faster than they would on a freeway commuter. But if you don't know how the car was used then it is probably a good idea to check them around 80k.

    New shoes have 3.8mm of friction material, service limit is 2.0mm. This is measured where the friction material is thinnest on the shoe.

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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrajet View Post
    ...There was also no noticeable ridge worn into the outside edge of the drum to keep it from being removed...
    I was going to ask you if there was any ridge.

    I was planning on needing to fiddle with it to get the right adjustment, as with the star-type adjusters, but it simply wasn't required.
    These adjusters work the same way as the star adjusters in that a piece of metal between the shoes needs to get longer as the brake shoes wear. It is simply a spring-loaded piece with a toothed quadrant that adjusts it's length automatically instead of something you have to adjust manually.
    With star adjusters, I normally adjust the shoes out a click or 2 (with the drum off), and then slide the drums on and see if the shoes rubbed. I would repeat this until I could get the friction material of the shoe just barely touching the drum. With the Mirage's adjuster mechanism, it doesn't sound like it's possible to do something like this. I took the drums off when my car was new...but I couldn't figure out how to manually adjust the shoes with the drums off.

    My e-brake handle would go all the way up to the stop before I replaced the shoes
    That was going to be my next question...had you ever adjusted your parking brake in 80,000 miles? I've done mine a few times already and I'm at 35K miles. I like to keep it so 5-6 clicks firmly holds the car.

    One other observation... Is it just me, or do the rear shoes on these cars have the least amount of friction material of any brake shoe you've ever seen? Even the new shoes look 50% worn...lol.

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        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.2 mpg (US) ... 21.8 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.5 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Fuel View Post
    One other observation... Is it just me, or do the rear shoes on these cars have the least amount of friction material of any brake shoe you've ever seen? Even the new shoes look 50% worn...lol.
    I was thinking the same thing haha.
    Custom Mirage products: Cruise control kit, Glove box light, MAF sensor housing
    Current project: Developing a rear sway bar alternative

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    Off the top of my head 3.8mm is only about .145". Hardly a lot of material to start with. And then the wear limit is .80" ? SO we get all of .065" in material to play with. Ok. I hope when it's time for new rears there are 3rd party drums and shoes available to me for fair prices.


    Zero, my 2014 ES Plus gone but not forgotten. We're driving the Beetle of the 21st century

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2017 Mirage ES PLus 1.2 manual: 39.0 mpg (US) ... 16.6 km/L ... 6.0 L/100 km ... 46.8 mpg (Imp)


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