Monday, April 30, 2012

Fixing the rear brakes on Ed the Bug.

A couple weeks ago, I pulled out of the garage and saw a big puddle of fluid . It took me a minute to clear the cobwebs from my head because I wasn't fully awake at the time but I realized it was coming from the right hand rear wheel. I figured my wheel cylinder blew so I drove it back into the garage and drove the truck to work. I figured it was a good time to redo all the rear brakes on the bug so this hopefully won't happen again for another 43 years or so.  Here you can see my drum and how wet it is from brake fluid. Brake fluid is very hard on paint. The inner paint on my wheel looks terrible but it is what it is.

 Here are the new parts I purchased. I have actually done the other side already so this is just the stuff for one side. I got new shoes, wheel cylinders, a hardware kit that includes all new springs and I also got new flexible hoses for the rear.
The worst part of this job on an aircooled VW is getting the drum off. It is torqued on to 230 foot pounds or something like that and can be a real pain to get off, especially if they have been on for a very long time. I have said this a hundred times but I will say it again, This picture shows a torque meister tool that is used on vw's for rear brake drums and flywheel gland nuts. They cost 60 dollars and are worth every penny. I have used mine many, many times and have never regretted it.
 With the drum off, I found the forward puck of the wheel cylinder leaking. I had brake fluid all over the inside of my brakes and some on the outside also. I hosed it all down with brake cleaner and proceeded to tear out all the parts of the brakes. When doing drum brakes it's a good idea to take a picture so if you forget how they went together, you can look at it. (That's assuming that whoever did the brakes the last time did it correctly.)
The shoes are removed here. The emergency brake cable just unhooks off the pivot.
 The old wheel cylinder is in the upper picture and the new one is lower. It's also a good idea to look at all the old parts and compare them with the new ones to make sure you have the correct part.
I pulled the old cylinder apart and found a big pile of gunk in there. I imagine some of this stuff got between the cylinder wall and the seal and allowed fluid to leak past it. You can rebuild these if you can find a kit. You should hone the cylinder with a little hone to clean it up. I chose just to buy new ones and hope they are good parts.
You have to remove the emergency brake pivot off the old shoe and install it on the new ones. It's just a clip on the back.
 Here it is installed on the new shoe. The back clip is on the floor by the screwdriver.
Here's part of the hardware from the kit. One kit will do both rear brakes. I think it's a good idea to replace this stuff every brake change.
 Over half way there. I have installed the wheel cylinder and the brake shoe with the e-brake pivot.
Here is the brake all finished with new stuff. If I was restoring this car, I would of taken more time to powdercoat the backing plate and everything. I figure since it's my daily driver, I will just get it back together.
I chose to replace the flexible hoses also. Over time, they will break down and the inner surface of the line will collapse on itself. The problem is that the outside will look fine but you won't be getting all the pressure you need. I actually think that that's what all the crud is inside the old wheel cylinder. They are cheap and I really like to have brakes when I need them. I don't skimp on brakes or tires. It's just not my style.
 The hoses removed easily as everything does on this old bug. I am always really surprised about that. I just think he likes new parts.
Here's the new hose installed and ready for fluid to pass through it.
 I was looking at the brake drums and they really look terrible. I have a couple things to powdercoat at work, so I am going to take some time to clean them up and powdercoat them. It's suppose to rain tomorrow so I wouldn't be driving the bug anyways. This gives Dixie some time to exercise her leg for when she needs to come out and help me bleed the brakes. She said her leg was sore from when we bled the front brakes last year.

Hopefully in the next couple of days, I will get the drums coated along with my vise and some lug nuts for a buddy of mine. Then, I can get Ed back on the road and enjoy some of this awesome spring weather.

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