Rebuilding Rear Drum Brakes On A Jeep Wrangler YJ – Installation

This is the second part of the drum brake replacement. There is another post for the removal of the drum brakes. For the installation parts I didn’t want to mess around with getting individual springs and shoes so I purchased an overhaul kit. Because this is part of the < $880 project I’m listing the cost below:

Rear Brake Overhaul Kit For Dana 35 $119.90
Shipping 14.99
Total $134.89

Clean the backing plate with a brush or cloth.

Rear Brake Rebuild Kit
Rear Brake Rebuild Kit

The kit I bought required me to press in the pin on the replacement shoe. Just look at the recently removed shoe to figure out which hole in the new shoe to press it in. Luckily I had a large vice to do this. Using a socket and the vice I put the pin in. I tried using a hammer but it didn’t work.

Aligning The Socket
Aligning The Socket

Pressing In The Pin
Pressing In The Pin

I put the adjuster screw assembly and shoe spring to the new shoe.

Adjuster Screw Assembly and Shoe Spring
Adjuster Screw Assembly and Shoe Spring

Install the parking brake strut and spring as your putting the the brake shoes on.

The alternative to this, because it can be kinda a pain is to install the screw assembly and shoe spring towards the end instead of the beginning.

Parking Brake Strut and Spring
Parking Brake Strut and Spring

Put the brake shoes on the backing plate, and install in place using the hold down springs and pins.

Installing Hold Down Springs and Pins
Installing Hold Down Springs and Pins

Reinstall the parking brake actuating bar and the spring between the parking brake lever and primary shoe.

Parking Brake Actuating Bar
Parking Brake Actuating Bar

Install the self adjusting cable, cable guide and upper return springs.

Self Adjusting Cable Guide Bottom View
Self Adjusting Cable Guide Bottom View

Installing Self Adjusting Cable With Pliers
Installing Self Adjusting Cable With Pliers

This is where you would alternatively lean and install the adjuster screw assembly.

Installing Upper Return Springs
Installing Upper Return Springs

I know there isn’t a self adjusting cable in the picture above. I messed up the first time around 🙂

Install the self adjusting cam and lowering spring with a pair of pliers.

Check the surface of the new shoes for any grease.

Install the drums.

Adjust the brakes by turning the star wheel outward till the brakes lock the drums. Back off the brakes until the drum spins free by holding the adjustment cam with a small screwdriver and turn the star wheel back.

Once the wheels are back on and both brakes are done, back the vehicle up several times to actuate the self adjusters.

12 thoughts on “Rebuilding Rear Drum Brakes On A Jeep Wrangler YJ – Installation”

  1. Good presentation, But i did not see the use of blue springs anywhere. I will its a part of self adjuster .. not sure tough ..

  2. The kit I got came with springs for a range of models. I’m not sure which year those were for, but my self adjusting springs were the green ones. You can see the springs in the third picture from the bottom of the post. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Thanks for a life saving series of pictures. Ive got a 95 yj which I had to replace a brake line rear ds. all of my wheel lugs were frozen on – had to drill each one out! Anyway, took my brakes apart and after replacing lines both sides and cleaning up, Im ready to put back together. thanks again.

  4. Just finished doing this same job. Thanks for the photos and guide, it was very helpful.

    (Especially since I had no adjusters at all in this ’95 my son just bought.)

    One thing which isn’t immediately obvious from the photos or description, is how the parking brake lever attaches to the brake shoe. (If you pay attention taking it apart, you can see, but if you don’t, . . .)

    Both Chilton and AllData don’t give much of a description of it, either.

    The top of the barking brake actuator has a little hook that slips into a part of the shoe, going *behind* the shoe. The parking brake strut (side with the spring) then goes around the front shoe (with the slight arch on the top), and the other end of the strut goes around the back shoe and parking brake lever together.

    Also, I put the adjuster cable on the opposite order, hooked the loop on the top, then rotating the adjusting lever up, it is easy to hook the spring on the appropriate part on the level (there’s even a slot for it to slide in, easy to do when the lever’s rotated up).

    Other than figuring out the parking brake lever placement, this guide was the most helpful and complete I’ve found. Thanks so much. 🙂

    Also, how does one tell if you need rear parking brake cables? Prior to this job, the parking brake didn’t hold much at all.

    The shoes (and hold down kit) were seriously messed on both sides, and there was *no* self adjuster on either side. So yeah; not much of a chance for the parking brake to work.

    But after doing this work, I only have slightly more grip on the parking brake. The parking brake pedal shows no resistance until about half way, then it does seem to resist and tighten up the brakes slightly, but bottoms out.

    Is this just a matter of tightening up the front parking brake cable nut, or is this a sign that the rear cables are toast?

    (They look newish, and seem to slide from my quick examination; hard to tell too much with that big spring at the end fighting you, though. I’m working solo so I had no-one to try the pedal while I watched the cable motion.)

    Also, I figured I’d wait until they self-adjusted over the next few days, before messing with the parking brake.

    (Hopefully I won’t have to go in again; to do the cables, I believe I have to take all the shoes and gear off each side again to replace those. D’oh. Although the second side took *way* less time than the first, after my re-education in the way of drum brakes.)

    Thanks for any tips. 🙂

  5. I meant to put this on the other post you commented on.

    Here is a video, for a Jimmy but at least its something, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW5d6g-vpQ0.

    Like you I couldn’t find a definitive way to tell when the e brake cable needs to be replaced. I would only do it if it wasn’t catching after trying to adjust it.

  6. I hate to point out, that your pictures of the adjuster lever show that it’s not installed correctly. To keep the adjuster wheel from turning (loosening the brakes) the lever has to be resting against the star wheel. Now, it’s not necessarily installed wrong, but it’s not properly set up. This is a problem I’ve seen many have, but yet to find a proper solution to fix it.

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