Replacing rear drum brake?

Tiny
MRSHARKEY
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • 4.2L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 250,000 MILES
When replacing the rear drum brakes, in the replacement spring kit is a c-clip washer. Where does that go? Thank you!
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Monday, January 23rd, 2023 AT 7:43 AM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That holds the parking brake lever to the brake shoe at the hole by my blue arrow. Those clips are often reused. It's the return springs that should be replaced during a professional brake job. The color they're painted denotes their strength. That strength weakens from repeated heating cycles over time.

Watch out for a real common mistake. The shoes with the shorter linings go toward the front of the van. You might find more useful information in this article:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-replace-rear-brake-shoes-and-drums

It's also a good idea to pull the dust boots on the wheel cylinders to check for leakage. A little wetness might be normal, but there shouldn't be any brake fluid leaking from them. Years ago it was standard practice to rebuild wheel cylinders at every brake job, but today brand new cylinders are so inexpensive, it's a much better value to just replace them. The exception is if the soft metal line nut is rusted tight and / or rounded off, then it's faster to buy a rebuild kit. They cost just a few bucks. Same is true if the bleeder screw is rusted tight, rounded off, or broken off.

Instead of cleaning the bore with a special brake cylinder hone, you can accomplish the same thing by using a strip of fine sandpaper run through the head end of a cotter pin, then spin that with an electric drill to clean out any debris or buildup. Don't use any chemicals other than brake fluid or brake parts cleaner. Absolutely no petroleum-based products like penetrating oil or any kind of grease.

If it turns out you do need to replace a wheel cylinder, you might find this article useful:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-replace-a-wheel-cylinder

When you do any service to the hydraulic system that allows brake fluid to run out, you can avoid difficulty in bleeding the system later if you don't allow the brake fluid reservoir to run empty. This is especially important if your van has anti-lock brakes as that hydraulic controller usually requires the use of a scanner to bleed any trapped air out. To avoid this, consider using a stick between the brake pedal and driver's seat cushion to hold the brake pedal down about an inch or two. That will hold the brake fluid in the reservoir during the service. Once the wheel cylinder work is done, all that's needed is to open the bleeder screw, remove the stick and let the cylinder gravity bleed until no air bubbles are coming out. If the fluid doesn't flow freely, loosen the cover on the reservoir to release the built-up vacuum.

It's also a good idea to replace the brake fluid, especially given the age of the van. Every manufacturer has a recommended fluid replacement interval, but few of us follow those recommendations because the systems cause such little trouble. Brake fluid absorbs moisture over time which greatly reduces the fluid's boiling point, and leads to corroded parts. If you're working on the wheel cylinder, allow the old brake fluid to run out, but be sure to keep the reservoir full. This will only replace some of the old fluid, but that will still get a lot of the moisture removed.

Check out this video too:

https://youtu.be/3W0fs6shT3o

This brake job is being done on a Toyota, but the brake design is very similar to that on your van. They're removing the clip you asked about in one of the first steps.

Let me know if you have other questions.
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Monday, January 23rd, 2023 AT 11:05 AM
Tiny
MRSHARKEY
  • MEMBER
Very helpful Thank you so much and I appreciate the extra info that you gave!
Great answer!
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Monday, January 23rd, 2023 AT 12:51 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Let me know if you have other questions. Please come back to see us with your next project.
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Monday, January 23rd, 2023 AT 2:44 PM

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