How much of a PITA are the parking brake shoes & springs? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 23 Old 09-15-2019, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
AVR2
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How much of a PITA are the parking brake shoes & springs?

My brake shoes are almost down to the metal. It looks deceptively simple to get them off - just two springs and two clips per side?

I had a baptism of fire with the full-on rear drums on my ZJ which convinced me that I hate anything to do with brake shoes, but I need a working parking brake. What are the hacks for getting those damn springs back on? Just a pair of proper brake pliers?

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post #2 of 23 Old 09-15-2019, 05:59 PM
CarlJH
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I found them not too bad to get off and back on, the FSM says you have to release the cables but not necessary.
the spring on the adjuster side is easy to get off, the other I found was easier to lever the shoes off the brake actuator, then take both shoes out together, then take the spring off. just do the reverse to put the new ones on.
I just used a pair of normal long nose pliers.
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post #3 of 23 Old 09-15-2019, 06:31 PM
Oktavius
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I hate drum brakes.

If the axle is removed, it is a lot easier as the parking brake is behind the wheel flange of the axle. If removing the axle, might as well replace the axle bearing and seal but that requires a press.

After I did my rear axle bearings, seals, and parking brakes, one of the new parking brake springs decided to snap in half and make a bunch of grinding noise. I did not remove the axle but while picking up the new spring kit, picked one of these up which helped a lot.

https://www.amazon.com/ABN-Spring-He.../dp/B01BUI5UEQ
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post #4 of 23 Old 09-15-2019, 06:37 PM
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There actually is a trick to it. My memory is fuzzy but basically you can put the second and final spring into the notches and then sort of twist the shoes into place where they're supposed to be using the shoes themselves as leverage. I'm trying to remember. You may be able to do the same thing by pre-positioning the spring and then wedging the adjuster into place which will push the shoes where they need to be. It's something like that.

Putting the shoes into final position and then using pliers to brute force the springs into place works too of course but that's a lot harder. 10" or 12" "water pump" pliers seemed to work best for me going that route.

I've had the axles out though most of the time when I've done the parking brakes on my WJs so the "trick" I suggested may not be practical with the axles in the way. I just don't remember for sure.

1999 WJ Limited 4.7/NV247
2001 WJ Laredo 4.7/NP242
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post #5 of 23 Old 09-15-2019, 06:39 PM
HarryH3
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Tip for working with ANY drum brakes: NEVER take both sides apart at the same time! Take one side apart, then install the new parts on that side. If you aren't sure how the parts go back on, just go look at the other side. (I've also seen drum service brakes stop working, because the person had removed everything from both sides, then mixed up the self-adjusters. The self-adjuster on each side is threaded the exact opposite of the other, so if you install them on the wrong sides, the brakes self-adjust looser instead of tighter).
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post #6 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 12:04 AM
Uniblurb
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The best tool I've used on the springs/clips are a pair of the below locking needle-nose pliers. I'm sure you can probably buy them cheaper elsewhere but the 'vise-grip' 6" pair seems to work best for me.

https://www.amazon.com/14T-Release-2...%2C162&sr=8-10

On those flat spring steel ebrake shoe clips I'll snap the vise-grip nose real tight on the outer part of the clip at an angle. Then try to turn the clip to get it to lock on the pin you're holding in the back with your other finger.

But I had real problems with this the last time I changed my ebrake shoes. It turned out the "Centric Parking Brake Shoes" I bought from Rockauto had a designed crimp in the metal right near where the clip pin went through. This prevented me from being able to turn the clip. I had to improvise and ground a little bit of the end of the clip off while also rounding the corners on the bottom part. It didn't seem to hurt the integrity of the clips.

And speaking of the ebrake shoe clips there are easy ones to use like the below Crown ones or the difficult OE ones with no real slot to move them forward/backwards and just a hole.

https://www.amazon.com/Crown-Automot...gateway&sr=8-1

The bottom spring is easy to get on but the top one is much harder. Believe I didn't have the spring clips on the shoes yet and connected the top spring without having one of the shoes in one of the equalizer slots. Then pried the shoes out until I could get the shoe in the slot in the equalizer. Lastly installed the shoe spring clips/pins. Something like that and know there was some twisting/turning going on to get them on there.

The adjuster (OE 5011993AA) with star-wheel will fit either the right or left side on our WJ's with rear disc brakes and shoe parking brakes. Just make sure the star-wheel itself lines up in the center part of the adjustment slot in the dust shield to make sure it's installed correctly. I've seen some star-wheels face towards the front, and the other towards the rear, while if you line it up in the dust shield adjuster slot it should be installed correctly.

Before installing any parking brake parts make sure to sand any rust/corrosion off of the 6 raised metal pads on the dust shield with fine emery cloth where the shoe metal rides. Then you can coat those metal raised pads with just a little lithium or brake grease. Sometimes I'll do the same with the adjuster threads and place a little grease where the tops of the shoe metal fits in the equalizer.

To adjust the shoes out you don't need to loosen up any front cable. From the back slot of the dust shield the sharp end of the brake tool/screwdriver goes in the top/upper teeth of the star wheel you can reach. Then when you move the handle of the tool up this adjusts the shoes out or makes the parking brake tighter. You want the shoes to be just barely backed off the inside of the drum/hat but tight enough to hold your WJ if that's possible. A 2nd parking brake adjustment may be needed after driving it for a week.

As usual too long and good luck.

PS. at least with the WJ they did away with the cursed cam/lever parking brake system on the ZJ.
https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/...te-up-1605033/
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post #7 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uniblurb View Post
To adjust the shoes out you don't need to loosen up any front cable. From the back slot of the dust shield the sharp end of the brake tool/screwdriver goes in the top/upper teeth of the star wheel you can reach. Then when you move the handle of the tool up this adjusts the shoes out or makes the parking brake tighter
Weirdly enough, the FSM says that's the technique to retract the shoes, not expand them - it says "[to] retract parking brake shoes... position tool at top of star wheel and rotate"
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post #8 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 05:07 AM
99wjtx
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The way I remember it is "tighten down and loosen up". That is the rotational direction of the star wheel itself. Confusion comes in because some procedures explain what to do by describing the motion of the tool you're using -- i.e. pushing the tool down rotates the star wheel up.
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post #9 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 05:59 AM
CarlJH
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I've found which ever way you turn the adjuster the first time to back the shoes off is always the wrong way!
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post #10 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVR2 View Post
Thanks guys!

Weirdly enough, the FSM says that's the technique to retract the shoes, not expand them - it says "[to] retract parking brake shoes... position tool at top of star wheel and rotate"
As usual the FSM is 'clear as mud' when they don't use the same tool terms in retracting the shoes vs adjusting the shoes out. I see what you're saying and below is from the 04 FSM (p.5-38 brakes).

6) If necessary retract parking brake shoes with the brake adjuster tool. Position tool at top of star wheel and rotate wheel.

Then on p.5-41 of the 04 FSM they give the directions below for adjusting the parking brake shoes out.

5) Insert adjusting tool through support plate access hole and engage the tool in the teeth of adjusting star wheel.

6) Rotate adjuster screw star wheel (move tool handle upward) until slight drag can be felt when wheel is rotated.

It would be nice if they said where to insert the tool blade in the teeth of the star wheel (top or bottom) on both explanations while also mentioning the tool handle location is retracting the shoes. Typical....

I'll often move the star wheel out with rotor/hat off then look at the back to see what the tool orientation would be to adjust the shoes out.

Some good info from 99wjtx and lol CarlJH where it's a crap shoot!

BTW, I've always tweaked the parking brake shoe adjustments by spinning the rear wheels then adjusting the adjuster a little at a time through the slot. But what if you have Quadra-drive where the rear wheels don't want to turn unless you have all 4 wheels/tires off the ground? Thanks.

96 4.0 ZJ Laredo, 2004 4.7L WJ Limited, 96 4.0 XJ (son's)


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post #11 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uniblurb View Post
But what if you have Quadra-drive where the rear wheels don't want to turn unless you have all 4 wheels/tires off the ground? Thanks.
I just put the TC into neutral.
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post #12 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 01:57 PM
Oktavius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uniblurb View Post
But what if you have Quadra-drive where the rear wheels don't want to turn unless you have all 4 wheels/tires off the ground? Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVR2 View Post
I just put the TC into neutral.
I don't recall that being an issue when I had the 247. Then again, my AWD only acted in 2WD mode. Should be able to spin the wheel slowly without anything engaging.

With the rear axle off the ground, would need to spin one wheel a few times before the rear VariLok builds pressure and locks. When it locks, then it will want to spin the rear driveshaft. When that happens, the center differential will build pressure and want to lock. Quite a bit of spinning by hand. I've only had to turn the rear wheels a little bit to determine if the parking brake is dragging or not.

Would be an interesting thing to test out. Put the entire vehicle on jack stands and see how much spinning of one of the rear wheels is required to lock the center differential.
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post #13 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVR2 View Post
I just put the TC into neutral.
Hmm.. thought I tried that with the 247 TC in neutral with both rear tires off the ground. I could adjust it enough by removing/reinstalling the rotor/drum but I'll have to give it another shot. Just seemed like the Vari-lok axles didn't want to turn. Thanks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oktavius View Post
I don't recall that being an issue when I had the 247. Then again, my AWD only acted in 2WD mode. Should be able to spin the wheel slowly without anything engaging.

With the rear axle off the ground, would need to spin one wheel a few times before the rear VariLok builds pressure and locks. When it locks, then it will want to spin the rear driveshaft. When that happens, the center differential will build pressure and want to lock. Quite a bit of spinning by hand. I've only had to turn the rear wheels a little bit to determine if the parking brake is dragging or not.

Would be an interesting thing to test out. Put the entire vehicle on jack stands and see how much spinning of one of the rear wheels is required to lock the center differential.
It gets a little precarious trying to get any vehicle with all 4 wheels/tires off the ground here since it's all gravel with a slope in most places.

I had the transmission in neutral with rear tires off the ground and not sure if I also had the 247 TC neutral but that's what I'll try next. My Quadra-drive works real well in the snow/ice. It didn't seem like the rear wheels wanted to turn off the ground. I'll have to give it another shot, thanks.

96 4.0 ZJ Laredo, 2004 4.7L WJ Limited, 96 4.0 XJ (son's)


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post #14 of 23 Old 09-17-2019, 07:18 AM
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I just did mine a few weeks ago. I had all 4 off the ground, TC in neutral and the wheels were still a bit hard to turn. You don't need to "spin" the wheel, just turn it a little to judge if it has resistance. I ended up spinning the adjuster till I felt resistance then backing it off a few clicks. It isn't exactly like the old self adjusting drum brakes. There isn't a self adjuster so backing them off is easier.
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post #15 of 23 Old 09-17-2019, 02:09 PM
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Did these a few months ago because mine were saturated with gear oil and didn't work at all. Bought a set of brake pliers because I thought they would make the job easier. I guess I just don't know how to use them, ended up pitching them on the floor.

Getting that second spring on there was surely a PITA, I eventually had to enlist a helper wife to hold the shoe while I used a regular old skinny screwdriver to lever the spring into position. The hardest part was making sure the hook end of the spring was securely grabbing the shoe. Was frustrating. Recommend taking a photo of the star wheel and adjuster before removing on both sides just so you can be sure when you reassemble.
Sad part is the parking brake still isn't all that effective ...


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ok mostly just repairs, but we are closing in on a lift
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