The Real Reason I Hate Drum Brakes

Putting them back together. Pain in the butt. Every manufacturer’s seem to go back together a little different. And given how absurdly easy it is to change most disc brake pads (15 minutes), I’m spoiled. Now how does this go back together….?

I didn’t take these pictures before I took the rear brakes on my xB apart for a post; it was so that I had a reference to help me put them back together. The springs seem to always be different, and since rear drum brakes wear so slowly, it’s not like this is a common job. The xB has some 95k miles on it, and this is the first set of rear shoes it’s needed.

When you do this once only every quite a few years, at least for me I could use a bit of help. Actually, what I could really use are some tools to help expand the springs. Trying to put them back with pliers means that inevitably the pliers jaws reach the limit of their grip just as the spring is a nano-millimeter short of its hole. And it happens repeatedly.

But at least I was semi-smart this time and used my smartphone camera to help me with the reassembly. That helped.

I’m just not a naturally gifted mechanic. I’m a jack of all trades, so I can usually git ‘er done, by hook or by crook, but I’m not going to be shooting any YouTube how-to videos. Which of course I forgot to consider as an aid. Actually, it really wasn’t all that hard except for the fiddliness of the final assembly. It’s the sequencing that’s key, and of course the right tools. Next time….sure.