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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. Any tips on how to remove rear brake drums from a 97 T&C??.

I'm sure the brake shoes have worn a groove in the drum and the inner ridge is preventing them from pulling off.

The OEM manual procedure for backing off the adjusters is next to impossible to do through the small hole in the backing plate.

Any suggestions welcome. I'm not overly worried about destroying the drums if I have to as after 215000 miles, I'm happy to pay to replace em.

Thanks a lot.

Larry
 

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Patience and two screwdrivers will loosen the adjustment. You have to do it by feel. One blade lifts the adjuster plate, the other turns the starwheel.

If all else fails, you can possibly pry the drums off with a tire iron, but be careful not to bend the lip of the backing plate.
 

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Remove the hydraulic line at the backing plate to this wheel. Once it is removed, apply a stopper, perhaps a rubber hose with a bolt or something on the metal brake line, so that all the brake fluid does not escape. Also try and open the bleeder valve on this wheel cylinder too.

Once this is done, you should be able to move/rotate the drum which will compress the wheel cylinder pistons and give you the needed clearance to remove the drum. Obviously, you will have to bleed this wheel afterwards.

I do have to mention that I have seen on more than one occasion someone trying to remove the rear drum when they also had the emergency brake on.
 

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I just replaced the brake linings on my 97 Grand Caravan a few weeks ago. I couldn't get the drums off either. Finally, I got my sledge hammer out and gave each a couple of good hits and off they came.

Good Luck!
 

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Remove the hydraulic line at the backing plate to this wheel. Once it is removed, apply a stopper, perhaps a rubber hose with a bolt or something on the metal brake line, so that all the brake fluid does not escape. Also try and open the bleeder valve on this wheel cylinder too.

Once this is done, you should be able to move/rotate the drum which will compress the wheel cylinder pistons and give you the needed clearance to remove the drum. Obviously, you will have to bleed this wheel afterwards.

I do have to mention that I have seen on more than one occasion someone trying to remove the rear drum when they also had the emergency brake on.
That's a lot of unnecessary work. And he'd have to bleed all 4 wheels afterward.

He said he didn't back off the starwheel, so until he does that, your method won't allow the shoes to move in, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You are right, Bob. I'm unable to back off the starwheel. FIrst off, blocking the hole is a spring, which I believe is part of the emergency brake system. That's in the way of pulling the automatic adjuster off the starwheel ratchet. Even if I had a lift, this OEM procedure seems extremely difficult. I may try a little of the sledge-hammer approach.
 

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The spring connects the two shoes. Please try again and be patient. It is an acquired skill, but I can now turn the starwheel with only one screwdriver just by feel and listening. Don't pry or hammer the drum until the starwheel is turned in, and nothing but a drum lip could be holding you back. Otherwise, you may damage the wheel cylinder and set yourself up for a leak.
 

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a BIG hammer, and hit harder on the back side, I had some trouble getting my old ones off when I did a brake overhaul, just got smack the crap out of it
 

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Please don't do that unless the starwheel is fully adjusted in. As I said, you will damage it otherwise, and it won't be pretty.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks to all for the advice. Got one off with a combination of adjusting the star-wheel (probably not that much), prying, and hammering. Now that I see how this side is actually laid out, hopefully I'll have more luck adjusting the shoes inward with the star-wheel on the other side. Bob, you can do it all with one small screwdriver? How do you push the self-adjuster ratchet pawl arm out of the way?
 

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correction, please back the shoes off first xD it's a little tricky, I found it easiest with a brake spoon, you have to move the spring out of the way :)
 

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Thanks to all for the advice. Got one off with a combination of adjusting the star-wheel (probably not that much), prying, and hammering. Now that I see how this side is actually laid out, hopefully I'll have more luck adjusting the shoes inward with the star-wheel on the other side. Bob, you can do it all with one small screwdriver? How do you push the self-adjuster ratchet pawl arm out of the way?
I'm able to angle the self-adjusting plate outward while engaging the teeth with the tip of the blade. Maybe the springs in my car are more relaxed (though they're fairly new).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
OK, thanks. It looks like the self-adjuster pulls ((down)) on the starwheel, right? Which results in turning the small jack-screw assembly. Which increases the length of the cross-piece to move the shoes outward.

So, when I want to "make slack" in the system (move the shoes inward) , I'll be moving the starwheel in the opposite direction. And since I'm coming at it from the opposite side of the backing plate (through the hole), I'll also be (trying) to adjust the starwheel downward. Correct?

BTW, I'm replacing the original shoes! 212,000 miles.
 

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The plate pushes UP on the starwheel to tighten, looking it at from the outside of the car. So that means that looking at it from underneath the car/behind the backing plate, you pry DOWN on the teeth to tighten, and therefore UP on the teeth to loosen it, from the backside.

My last car, I put nearly all highway miles on it. I didn't replace the rear brakes until 238K miles, and the linings were still like new. I just figured that since I had bought the parts and it was about 14 years old, I'd better swap out parts. The front pads take most of the wear in any car.
 

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That used to be true, but now with electronic stability control activating the rear brakes they tend to wear much quicker now.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Bob, I discovered that the adjuster plate pulls down on the star-wheel to tighten/expand the length of the adjuster bar reducing the brake to drum clearance.
 

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Yes, I was looking at diagrams online the other night and realized that every car is different. Some have the adiuster near the top, others near the bottom, and they rotate in opposite directions. Sorry about that.
 
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