Wanna do a brake refresh (pads, shoes, bell cranks), what do I need?

Joined
Dec 28, 2010
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Title pretty much says it all. My brakes are working okay except for a slight pull on hard braking, and the usual rusty/muddy bell crank problems with the handbrake, but I'd like the peace of mind from replacing all the wear components and cleaning everything before I go on some big-ish road trips next month. I've replaced pads and calipers on a number of cars and trucks, but I haven't ever worked on drums or fiddled with my cruiser's front brakes. I've watched a detailed video of a rear 60-series drum rebuild a few times, so I'm not particularly intimidated by digging into mine...

I also replaced the MC about five years ago, and the hydraulic parts of the system all seem to be holding up great after bleeding it thoroughly. Zero signs of leakage in the front or rear. I think I'd like to replace the soft lines, though, just to be safe, since I'm almost positive that they're the original rubber hoses and thus 32 years old and showing some signs of brittleness.

So, here's the list of things I know I need:
- Pads
- Rotors
- Caliper grease and brake cleaner
- New soft lines
- Enough fluid to bleed the system after replacing the soft lines

Here's the list of things I don't know whether I need, and don't know the best place to get:
- Drum hardware kit? I've seen several versions of this kit for very different prices. I'd like to just replace everything and know that it's all new and solid, so please school me on which one to get and where.
- Rotor and drum machining. None of the telltale signs of warpage, and the rotors seem to still be well within spec for thickness/uneven wear/etc., so I'm leaning towards leaving these alone.
- Wheel cylinders? I realize these are a pain in the butt to get at, so I should probably swap them out while I have everything apart, but if they're working fine and not leaking, I feel like I'd rather spend that time and money on some other project.

Is anything obvious missing from my list?
 

OSS

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Replace the parking brake cable. Seriously.

Mine never showed any obvious fatigue when I glanced at it in the past (though it was on its last leg) and of course when I was out in the boonies for months, the cable snapped.

Although you can easily drive & park the cruiser without a parking brake, man did I miss it. It was sooooo nice to get that thing finally replaced.

Where I really missed it was when traveling off road, I sometimes stop the truck & get out to check the terrain ahead & the truck is rarely on flat ground. Without the brake cable the engine has to be shut down, tranny put in gear, & you get to pray the force of engine compression and low gears is enough to offset the pull of gravity. I never liked doing that.

Anyway- these cables aren't going to be available forever. Might as well get a new one now while you still can. Keep it till your old one breaks or just replace it now.
 

Kleatus

The man mistaken for the girl with the silver 70
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Are you replacing the calipers? When I went through my brakes for the first time the brakes worked "ok" or so I thought, but pads were thin. I had only one piston out of 4 moving on each front caliper! You mentioned a pull when stopping, you could have some stuck pistons up front.

I like to have rotors and drums machined - it's cheap and I have noticed a difference in how well the park brake works with new or machined drums vs. "good" looking used ones with new pads and everything else being equal.

Here's some other stuff I'd make sure to have on hand:
-rubber gloves
-Good flare wrench
-Oil change/drip pan to put under the corner you're working on
-2 M8 bolts (pretty sure it's an M8?) to get the rear drums off the axle
-anti seize for bellcranks
-locktite for caliper bolts

With the drums off the rear it's not a bad time to replace the axle seals and bearings as well, an oil leak onto your new brakes would be a bummer!

It's also a bummer when you replace everything except the wheel cylinders because they aren't leaking, the then both fail within 2 months..which has happened to me!
 
Joined
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Perth
I'm interested in the outcome of this thread too..need to do the exact same job and would love a nicely packaged shopping list with links to do the work!
 
Joined
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Moscow, ID
Ok, all good info...but can anyone recommend a specific drum hardware kit from a specific vendor? I don't want to break some rusty old spring and be SOL because I bought a kit that didn't come with the thing I broke.
 

g-man

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I'd recommend going with longer brake hoses. As I recall doing my knuckle rebuild you can't take the caliper off without disconnecting because the hose was too short. My hoses fitting were froze on the small metal line on the back of the caliper. I destroyed the small line trying to get the hose off. Longer brake lines will enable you to remove the caliper w/out disconnecting the brake line in the future ..during any other work where you have to remove the calipers. If you destroy the small metal line i think you can omit it. Also if you go with a lift kit it in the future you will need the extra reach. I remember getting them from NAPA but can't remember the part #. A little searching around on here you might find the part#.
 

lovetoski

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X2 on the above recommendation to replace the rear brake cylinders. When they fail it's sudden, and you have a mess and have to keep pouring brake fluid in if you want to keep driving.
 

HemiAlex

TLCA #24987
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I suggest longer lines all around, new studs in the front hubs while you're there and also new advics wheel cylinders from rock auto.

I got away without replacing any of the adjusting hardware on my rear drums and once I adjusted them, my parking brake worked amazingly.

The cable for the Parking break is an interesting topic. I wonder how much mine has stretched.
 
Joined
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Billings, MT
Maybe something you don't have to consider on Vashon Island... but Toyota brake shoes, at least the ones recently available from the dealer, absorb water and freeze to the drums when the brakes are first applied when it is below freezing. It took a winter in Alaska with many "flat spins" on snow and ice until I figured out the problem (also thanks to MUD). I switched to non-Toyota shoes and it hasn't been a problem since including several more winters in Alaska and even more in Montana.
 
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Longmont, CO
Watched, as I need to undertake this.

When I hit the brakes I am getting a slight pulsing/vibration in the pedal, I am thinking I have a slight warp somewhere causing this.
 

Kleatus

The man mistaken for the girl with the silver 70
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Watched, as I need to undertake this.

When I hit the brakes I am getting a slight pulsing/vibration in the pedal, I am thinking I have a slight warp somewhere causing this.
That can be caused by warped rotors or drums. You can get them turned or replace them.

Could also be (or so I've read) material transfer from very hot pads into the surface of the rotors, supposedly can happen when you've done some hard heavy braking then come up to a light and keep the brakes on, letting the hot pads cook onto the same spot on the rotors which changes the friction properties of the rotor in that spot. The fix is to do a few full hard brake stops (just before the tires lock up) from highway speed. I've done this successfully on a couple vehicles and a motorcycle so I suppose the theory is plausible. It can't hurt and may bring to light any other issues in your brakes.

Slightly off topic but still relevant, I like to do full effort brakes from speed on occasion in all our vehicles anyway (when they're not chock full of crap that will fly everywhere!). I'd rather have a line pop or find out I have an issue on a clear road while I'm prepared for it rather than when that makeup applying, cell phone talking, lapdog petting, innattentive driver pulls out on front of me....

We're not driving new cars with ABS and 4-wheel independent suspension. It's a very good thing to be familiar with and prepared for the emergency handing characteristics of exactly what you're driving, especially with lifts, big tires, etc.
 
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