How do you retract the brake shoes to remove drum?

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I am attempting to change out the rear brakes on my Cavalier. I need to retract the brake shoes in order to get the drum off (it will not turn freely). The manual states that I need to lift the actuator off the adjuster wheel and then turn the adjuster wheel. I removed the red plug on the back, and I can see the adjuster wheel, but I can't seem to locate the actuator to lift it. Where is it and what is the best way to get to it?

Additionally, the teeth on the adjuster wheel seem to be slanted in one direction (which appears to be the direction you would turn it to expand the shoes). Is there a tool or trick to make it easier to turn in the other direction (to retract the shoes)?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 AT 6:49 PM

1 Reply

If you can see the spur wheel through the slotted hole, you're 1/2 way there. There is a locking arm that needs to be pushed outwards, as this is what keeps that wheel from being able to turn freely in 1 direction, and that being off. If you can get a flat blade screw driver into the access hole, you will notice it will turn and "click" one direction. (Clockwise, or counter-clockwise) if it turns freely and clicks, your tightening the shoes. So not the direction, and you will need to reverse it. From here you need a smaller pick, or pocketsize screwdriver to push away the locking arm that sits against the spur wheel. Turn the direction opposite of whatever you found that made it "click". From here, the drum should turn smoothly. Should be no resistance between drum and the brake shoes. If you find this to be true, but still cant get the drum off, it is mostlikely seized onto the hub, and easiest way to remove is by shock. I hope you have good aim, as you will need to hit the drum between the wheel studs to "shock" and disturb the built up rust to break free. Also, verify the e-brake cables arent seized, as this may be the reason the rear drums dont turn. Let us know what you find.
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Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 AT 7:00 PM

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