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Discussion Starter #1
The front caliper brake pads and rotor are easy to see and monitor with expected wear intervals. The rear drum brakes are not so easy to see on a monthly basis. A few years ago I hammered the drums apart during a tire rotation. After looking at them and a picture of what a new one would look there wasn't the dramatic difference I was expecting. Doing a big guess of how much it wore down since new and how much father it could go it seems like they could go to 500,000, which seems high to me for any wear item. I was thinking of replacing them just because 27 years and 300,000 seems like I should do something. So, can rear drum brakes actually make it to 30 years 400,000 or should I have a shop do the $50 inspection.
 

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08 Toyota Camry 2AZ-FE R9K Tuned
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It depends on how you drive and where you drive. Easiest way is to just remove the drum and look at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The best practice is to just look at them but it is becoming almost impossible for me. I had to pound so hard to get them apart last time that I would be concerned about knocking the car off of a jack. There was one side I couldn't even get off. The one time I did pound them apart was at discount tire's ramp. After wacking at them for 10 minutes the manager said he didn't want me to do that in his shop again so me getting them safely apart is not happening. I can get a $50 inspection. I was just wondering if a $50 inspection is reasonable or unnecessary.


I drive it as gentle as possible in rusty Michigan.
 

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The best practice is to just look at them but it is becoming almost impossible for me. I had to pound so hard to get them apart last time that I would be concerned about knocking the car off of a jack. There was one side I couldn't even get off....
Did you back off the shoes via the adjuster access hole?
 

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I have one with 215K miles with lots of wear remaining on the brake shoes. Driving in stop-and-go city traffic probably will result in much faster wear.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Did you back off the shoes via the adjuster access hole?
No, I did not think about that at the time. I thought when it popped free it was from corrosion. I don't remember if there was a major groove in the drum but after 250,000 there had to have been some.


So, getting 400,000 - 500,000 out of rear drums/shoes is not out of the question?
 

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What is the thickness of the factory shoe? I took mine off today. After 18 years and 135k miles, there is slightly more than 4mm left. Anyone can help? Thanks.
 

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No, I did not think about that at the time. I thought when it popped free it was from corrosion. I don't remember if there was a major groove in the drum but after 250,000 there had to have been some.


So, getting 400,000 - 500,000 out of rear drums/shoes is not out of the question?
Can't imagine how you got them off without backing off the adjuster.

I also can't imagine going 500k, but I'm conservative and like to have working brakes.... even though the rear brakes do a great deal less in stopping the car than the front ones.

If these are the original brakes, at 27 years, I'd replace everything: drums, wheel brake cylinders, shoes, hardware, and flexible hose (Rock Auto calls the latter "hydraulic hose").

I'm guessing that you took the drums off earlier without a manual, which would have shown you how to back off the adjusters.

If you're still working on brakes without a repair manual, takes pictures galore. Once you pull everything off down to the backing plates and have a pile of new parts in front of you, it can be daunting to put the puzzle back together without lots of pix or a manual.
 

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Pretty sure both my Camrys have never had rear drums changed. What would be the symptoms that they are going bad? For the front discs, you can easily tell with the squealing and the increased stopping distance that the pads are wearing out. Would the symptoms be similar for worn drums?
 

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Can't imagine how you got them off without backing off the adjuster.

I also can't imagine going 500k, but I'm conservative and like to have working brakes.... even though the rear brakes do a great deal less in stopping the car than the front ones.

If these are the original brakes, at 27 years, I'd replace everything: drums, wheel brake cylinders, shoes, hardware, and flexible hose (Rock Auto calls the latter "hydraulic hose").

I'm guessing that you took the drums off earlier without a manual, which would have shown you how to back off the adjusters.

If you're still working on brakes without a repair manual, takes pictures galore. Once you pull everything off down to the backing plates and have a pile of new parts in front of you, it can be daunting to put the puzzle back together without lots of pix or a manual.
The way I was taught was basically:
  • It just slides off (only works when brand new)
  • Use two bolts and use the bolt holes on the drum (mixed results)
  • Pound away with a hammer (used most often)
  • Heat the hub then use two bolts and use the bolt holes on the drum
  • Heat the hub then pound with a hammer
 

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x2 what he said,

but then: liberally apply anti-seize to the mating face where the drum sits on the hub so that they won't weld together with corrosion

While you're at it, apply some to all of the sliding surfaces inside too (springs, shoes x back plate, parking brake levers, etc.)

Be careful not to get any where it can get on the friction surface of the shoes (apply painter's masking tape to the face of them if you are a messy person, and peel it off just before replacing the drums).

This way, the worst I ever had to do, was put the bolts in the threaded holes trick, to "jack it off". Hint: the bolts holding the sway bar bushing bracket to the body are the correct size/shape and are right there - just make sure to apply to anti-seize to them, too, when you put them back, so they don't rust in place and can be removed for this purpose next time.


N
 

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Paying for a cheap inspection is probably them not even looking at it and charging you anyway. They did this to my wife until I got involved. Called the "sunshine treatment." If you're afraid of knocking it off the jacks, jack it up and stack 2x4's underneath the car and let the car rest on those. They are called "cheap" jack stands and they work well. I nail a bunch together and use them.
 

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Pretty sure both my Camrys have never had rear drums changed. What would be the symptoms that they are going bad? For the front discs, you can easily tell with the squealing and the increased stopping distance that the pads are wearing out. Would the symptoms be similar for worn drums?
when you take a brake especially a firm one with completely worn down shoes you will feel the car shuddering
 

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when you take a brake especially a firm one with completely worn down shoes you will feel the car shuddering
And/or you'll hear a very nasty scraping sound -- when the brake material completely wears away, the metal portion of the brake shoe is all that's left.

The sound is usually loud, and it's clearly a sound a brake should never make.
 

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- back off adjusters
- pound with hammer
- don't change them until you hear metal-on-metal in the back when you brake
- then re-do everything, rear bearings, drums, hardware, shoes, cylinders, then call it good for another 300,000 miles
- rear drum brakes hardley do any work, they are there mostly for stability purposes..




:)









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150-200k

A inspection should be made at 150-200,ooo miles. Sooner if any symptoms appear as noted by others.

It's total stupidity to wait till steel on steel destroys all usable parts. Common sense dictates when pad depth is low replace drum pads.

Only those folks with obsessive compulsive disorder seek to replace entire systems. However, it would be prudent to change both sides in the event of any singular part failure.

Old american saying : "iffin it ain't broke why replace a good part??"
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well at least an inspection seems to be in order and that will tell what needs to go. My initial tendency is to replace anything close to failing in a system that will last 10 years and has been in use at least that long. I don't want to spend $350 on a brake job only to leave the cylinders in and then have them fail in a year when they could have been proactively replaced for minimal additional charge at the time of the service. The mechanic who runs the shop doing the inspection didn't want to recommend replacing the entire system without first seeing it but he did understand not wanting to come back in for another failed part in the brakes next year when it could have been done all at once.
 

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if you live in a salty/winter area, the odds are that everything will have to be replaced after 100,000 miles of use, as they'll all be totally rusted out (BTDT)

springs, back plate, drum, parking brake cables and possibly their levers too, shoe retaining parts

at that point, replacing the rear cylinders due to concern for leaking seals shortly after everything else has been replaced, is just being practical


However, to the folks who live in rust free areas, it would be simple to make an argument for replacing only the shoes, as they'd be the only parts worn.


N
 

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However, to the folks who live in rust free areas, it would be simple to make an argument for replacing only the shoes, as they'd be the only parts worn.
Keep in mind how drum brake cylinders work. The actuating portion of these are nothing more than expanding rubber or elastomer cups pushed out in both directions by brake fluid pressure. And keep in mind that brake fluid is hygroscopic -- ambient moisture in the air infiltrates it, encouraging rust along the bore of the cylinder. Rubber that's 27 years old, rubbing back and forth on an increasingly abrasive bore... it's not OCD that suggests that it's time to replace them.

We're talking about things -- wheel cylinders -- that (Rock Auto) run from $3.76 to $17.47 each. That's 2-4 cups of Starbucks coffee.
 
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