Sunday, March 13, 2011

A car job where a hammer was the right tool? Sweet!

Time to pull off the rear hubs and check on the condition of the brakes. Ok, I'm actually pulling them off to get ready to R&R the rear brakes, so really I'm only checking on the hubs themselves, which are apparently somewhat pricey so here's hoping they're in good shape and can be turned.

First, some safety items:
Don't leave home without 'em
Dust is never good in your lungs, and when it is from a really old car, that dust might contain asbestos. So a little extra caution is best.

Ok, so loved, gloved and masked up, I jack up the car, placing the rear axle on jack stands and remove the rear wheels. Next, I remove the cotter key, followed by the axle nut--my 3/4-inch impact wrench makes short work of getting that loose. I then lightly screw the nut back on so I don't mess up the threads with the puller, leaving a 1/4 inch or so between it and the hub. The puller attaches to three of the wheel lugs:

Yes, that's a hammer down there. . .
Next, after snugging everything up, a few quick blows of the hammer pops the hub off the tapered shaft. Having the right tool just makes jobs so much faster. And there we have it, brake bits:

Surprisingly clean!
The left side looked surprisingly in good shape--quite a bit of shoe left, no major leaks from the wheel cylinder (that cylindrical thing on the top with the rubber covers on the end). Wish I could say the same for the right side--major leakage from the wheel cylinder. That's ok, the only thing that harms is the lining on the brake shoes, which I was planning on replacing anyway. Sorry, I cleaned it up before thinking taking a picture.

Next, I take the hubs to be turned on a lathe to make sure they're perfectly circular on the inside and to remove any grooves or imperfections. Hopefully, fingers-crossed, they're thick enough to be turned. Once I find that out, then it's a matter of ordering parts--new brake shoes (will probably have to send these out to have new linings put on them), new wheel cylinders and all the little springs and bits. Oh and I'll be replacing the metal brake lines (they're probably pretty rusty now) and the rubber brake hose.

And, of course, there's a "while I'm in there" thing to take care of--bearings and seals. I'll wait for the manual to arrive before I start to tackle that. The shop manual should arrive any day now.

Those who know cars will be smiling at how simple the drum brake assembly is compared to a more modern car.

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