DIY: 1996 Camry Brake Shoe Replacement and Parking Brake Adjustment 5S-FE (GEN3)
I completed this procedure at 203,000 km on my 1996 Camry 2.2L DX Automatic equipped with rear drum brakes. I decided to change the brake shoes since the parking brake was no longer effective at preventing the car from rolling. The parking brake handle pulled all of the way up (10+ clicks), and the parking brake cable adjuster was at the end of its travel, yet the parking brake was still ineffective. As far as I know, the brake shoes were original ones supplied with the car.
Use this guide at your own risk! I assume no responsibility for any damage to your vehicle or personal injury as a result of following this guide. Any comments to improve the procedure will be gratefully received.
It took me 4 hours from start to finish, including time to take photos and to take the drums to PartSource for machining. If I had to do it again, I think I could reasonably pare this down to about a 2 hours. I would recommend setting aside an afternoon to do this.
a) Brake Hardware Kit ($24 CDN – Parts Source)
b) Premium Brake Shoes ($40 CDN – Parts Source)
a) Spray can of Brake Cleaner ($6 CDN – Parts Source)
b) Anti-seize compound
c) High temperature grease
a) Brake hold down spring removal tool ($12 CDN – Parts Source)
a) Drum turning ($34 CDN for both drums – Parts Source)
Total = $116 (taxes included)
An exploded view of rear drum brake assembly.
Let's Get Started!
1. Loosen lug nuts on rear wheels. Block front tires. Raise and support rear of car on jack stands. Remove both rear wheels. Release the Emergency (Park ) brake. A lot of rust and brake dust will fall on the driveway during this procedure. It is recommended to place a large sheet of cardboard under each wheel before proceeding.
2. Pry the rubber inspection hole plug out with a slot screwdriver. With a wax pencil, mark a line from the drum to the hub on both sides. This will be used later on to align the hub with the drum.
3. Rotate the left (driver side) brake drum so the inspection hole is approximately at the 1 o-clock position. On the right (passenger side) rotate the inspection hole is at the 11 o-clock position. The remainder of this procedure will focus on the left side. The drum was difficult to turn by hand, so I installed two wheel nuts and used a 2x2 piece of wood to rotate the drum.
4. Try to pull the drum off. If is it difficult to pull off (both of mine were!), you may need to retract the brake shoes. It is not too difficult to do if you know how to do it. I fiddled for 10 minutes on the first one, but after I learned how it works, it was quite easy. Align the inspection hole to the 1 o-clock position, and shine a small flashlight in the hole. You will see the automatic adjusting lever arm and a star wheel. With a narrow slot screw driver, wedge the lever arm upward. This will allow the star wheel to rotate freely. With the another slot screwdriver move the outside diameter of the star wheel upward seven or eight times. This should retract the brake shoes enough to allow the drum to easily slide off.
5. To avoid inhalation of brake dust which is hazardous to your health, it is recommended to put on a dust mask before removing the drum. Remove the drum and mark LHS on it with a wax pencil.
6. I took a close up photo of the adjuster lever (green arrow) and star wheel (red arrow) to make it easier to understand how they work. Insert the screw driver (blue arrow) on the right hand side in order to wedge the lever upward. This will allow room on the left hand side to use a second screwdriver to rotate the star wheel.
7. Once both drums are removed, take them to your local auto parts store to get them machined. My local Parts Source store offers this service for $17/drum. They will measure the inside diameter of the drum using a Vernier calliper and compare this measurement with the maximum allowable drum diameter prior to machining them. In my case the maximum allowable drum diameter is 230.6mm. It is cast right into the drum. My drums measured 229.5mm and they were still able to machine them.
8. Before removing anything, place an old paint tray under the drum assembly and clean the entire brake assembly with a spray can of brake cleaner. Wear a mask as the spray, even though it is wet, will kick up some brake dust. Allow the brake assembly to dry (it evaporates fairly quickly) before proceeding. I found chlorinated (more expensive) and non-chlorinated brake cleaner (cheaper) at the auto parts store. I am not sure what the difference is. I used the non-chlorinated and it seemed to work OK.
9. Remove the brake return spring using a pair of vice grips. Note that I bought a cheap set of brake spring pliers thinking that it might be helpful with this job. I couldn’t figure out how to use them on the Camry, so I tossed them aside. In my opinion, they are not needed for this procedure. Note that both ends of the brake return spring fit into an elongated opening in the brake shoes. The ends of this spring do not fit into any of the numerous round holes in the brake shoes. I got a bit messed up by this when re-assembling the first drum. Thought I’d mention it to save you some grief.
10. Depress the hold down spring on the front shoe and twist to release. I found it necessary to hold the pin from behind the backing plate when doing this. I used a “brake hold down spring removal tool” ($12 CDN – Parts Source). It worked really slick. Highly recommended. They have this tool at Princess Auto for $8 + tax , but they were out of stock when I went to buy it. In a pinch, you can use a needle nose pliers too. I have done this before.
11. Remove the hold down spring, cups and pin.
12. Remove the front shoe from the backing plate and unhook the anchor spring from the end of the shoe.
13. Remove the hold down spring from the rear shoe. Remove the shoe hold down spring, cups and pin.
14. Remove the rear shoe and adjuster assembly from the backing plate.
15. Remove the center console in order to access the parking brake cable tension adjuster. Using a slot screwdriver, pry up on the rear edge of the shift bezel, then move it out of the way.
16. Remove the two Philips screws (circled in red) securing the front of the center console.
17. Remove the two bolts (circled in red) securing the back of the center console (12mm).
18. Set the center console aside.
19. Remove the locking nut (green arrow) and loosen the adjustment nut (red arrow) to the loosest position (10mm deep socket).
20. Use a vice grip to pull the parking brake cable end from the parking brake lever. Set the rear shoe assembly on the ground. With the both shoes removed, clean the backing plate and rear shoe assembly with brake cleaner.
21. In order to check if the parking brake cable was seized, I alternated pulling the cable at the drum with a vice grip pliers and then pulling the parking brake lever up. I repeated this several times. On the left hand side, the cable moved freely back and forth. On the right hand side, the cable was stuck. After doing this a few times, I was able to free up the right hand cable.
22. Remove the automatic adjusting lever spring using a needle nose pliers.
23. Unhook the return spring. Remove the C-clip in order to remove automatic adjusting lever.
24. Pry off the “C-washer” and remove the parking brake lever.
25. Using a hammer, punch the pivot pin out of the old shoe and transfer it to the new shoe.
26. Install the parking brake lever using a new C-washer. Squash the C-washer with a pair of needle nose pliers.
27. Install the automatic adjusting lever using the existing C-clip.
28. Take apart the adjuster. Clean and lubricate the threads and all moving parts with high temperature grease. Slide the new return spring over the adjuster. Note that there is a right hand and left hand return spring. Compare the new spring with the old one to ensure you install the correct one.
29. Rotate the adjuster to its fully closed position. Install the adjuster assembly on the rear shoe. Note that the square pin (red arrow) protruding from the adjuster fits through the hole in the automatic adjuster. If necessary, refer to the to other brake drum assembly to see how this assembly fits together.
30. Install the new adjuster lever spring (red arrow). Note that the return spring hooks onto the opening in the brake shoe (green arrow), not into the round hole.
31. Pull the parking brake cable spring back with a needle nose pliers and place the cable into the hooked end of the parking brake lever.
32. Apply a light coating of antiseize compound to the brake shoe contact areas on the backing plate. Install the rear shoe assembly against the backing plate. Install the pin, cups and hold down spring. Twist the cup to secure the rear shoe assembly against the backing plate. Be careful to ensure that the parking brake cable and spring is routed properly in the guide (red arrow) to prevent rubbing against the axle flange. Mine was not in the right location, so I had to move it into the proper position. See above photo for proper routing.
33. Connect the anchor spring to the bottom of each shoe and mount the front shoe to the backing plate using the pin, cups and hold down spring.
34. Use a narrow slot screwdriver to pry the return spring into the opening on the front shoe. If necessary, use a pliers to push the spring forward until it snaps fully into position.
35. Pry the parking brake lever forward and verify that the return spring hasn’t come unhooked from the rear shoe. Wiggle the brake assembly back and forth to make sure that it is seated properly against the backing plate. Examine the ends of the adjuster to ensure that they are properly seated in the slots in the shoes.
36. Slide the newly machined drum onto the axle flange, noting the white alignment mark between the drum and the hub from Step 2. The drum will rotate freely. Note that I could not get my drum to fit over the shoes on the left side. It was a bit puzzling, until I noticed that the end of the adjuster assembly was not sitting properly in the slot in the front shoe. After I fixed that it fit on easily. You now need to adjust the shoes outward using the star adjuster wheel until there is a slight resistance when the drum is rotated. A bit of trial and error is involved. It only took me a few minutes to get it right. Mount the wheel and tighten the lug nuts.
37. Repeat the above steps for the right brake drum assembly and install the right wheel.
39. Once both wheels are installed, I noticed that the parking brake cable was loose at the cable adjuster inside the car. Snug the adjuster nut to take the slack out of the cable and lock in position with the locking nut. I pulled the parking brake lever up several times and got about 5 clicks on the ratchet mechanism which felt about right. Replace the center console and shift bezel. Once the vehicle is back on the ground, torque the wheel nuts to 80 ft.lbs.
40. Make a number of forward and reverse stops and check the operation of the brakes carefully before driving the car on the road.
Wow, longest DIY I've seen so far. It's uncommon to see someone servicing the drum brakes themselves. Thumbs up!
great DIY:thumbsup:. this needs to be put in the DIY section.
Wow this is hot... but too much for me to deal...ever since auto shop class in high school I wouldn't deal with drum brakes at all never had a good time dealing with them...
I learned how to do brakes on drum brakes. It's not hard, just takes a little longer. Once you know the workings of them, it's not hard to work on them.
The drum shouldnt have been hard to turn by hand, and you should have been able to get them off without having a lot of trouble. Seems to me that the brakes were adjusted too far out and possibly dragging. Or maybe the parking brake was adjusted too far out to begin with. Just some ideas.
compared to disc brakes, drums are a bitch to work on, and it always looks complicated. but when you're physically taking it apart yourself, you'll see that although there are a lot of little parts to deal with, you can remember how to put them all back together since you just took it apart :thumbup:
but I also agree with xtremeskier that you should be able to turn the drums by hand as long as the handbrake is down....in your pics, it looks as though you still have your handbrake up?
and added to the DIY/FAQ!
You don't need any special tools for this job, I just use some srcewdrivers and pliers and I can get everything done.
Also, why did you adjust the brakes at the cable? I've always adjusted them at the adjuster screw in the drums.
Do you plan to make a DIY brake conversion from drum to dish? please!
I do know that the parking brake was not working anymore. I previously adjusted the cable from inside of the car as tight as it would go, but still got 10+ clicks when I pulled up the handle. Even with the parking brake handle pulled up 10 clicks, the car would easily roll on even the slightest grade.
I was a bit worried that one or both of the parking brake cable jackets might have a crack in them that water had penetrated and rusted the cable tight, preventing them from working properly. I had this happen on my 1982 Tercel and had to replace both parking brake cables. Fortunately, I was able to free up the right side by alternating pulling the cable at the drum and at the parking brake lever inside the car. I am hoping it will remain free and the auto adjusters will work correctly now.
After replacing the shoes, the parking brake is now working properly. Keeeping my fingers crossed!
There is some cable lubricant that you could have put down the cable while working it to prevent it from sticking like you are talking about.
That's gotta be the rustiest drum brake I've ever seen... Nice DIY btw :thumbsup:
Wow very nice DIY. Great detail. I learned how to do this a month or two ago and it was sort of annoying, but it's good to know how to do. Nice job :thumbsup:
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