Brake drum removal problem

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by chukzelda, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. chukzelda

    chukzelda New Member


    This is my first time working on drum brakes. My 1985 C20 Suburban has rear drum brakes. Per the manual, I jack up the rear wheel, remove the tire and *should* be able to pull the brake drum off. The brake drum is extremely rusty and won't budge. I've shot break-free fluid on the bolts and center and tried to pry the brake drum free. No good.

    Looking it over carefully I see a single nut and bolt on the rear side. Manual doesn't mention removing this and right this second I don't have a wrench big enough. Am I supposed to remove this nut off the bolt on the rear?

    if not, what are my options for getting this brake drum off?

    Appreciate the help, I'm leaving the suburban jacked up in hopes some advice will rescue me :}

  2. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Make sure you dont have the parking brake on.
    Try adjusting the brake adjustment through the back of the dust shield.
    Their may be a wear on the drum causing the shoes to be holding the drum on, adjusting the parking brake will sometimes move the shoes far enough out of the way to pull the drum off.
    If all else fails start hitting the inside lip of the drum with a BFH.
  3. MrShorty

    MrShorty Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I would suspect this is the most common reason for a drum being hard to remove. The shoes wear on the drum, leaving a lip on the inside edge of the drum that can't clear the shoes. As noted, you'll need to go through the access hole in the backing plate with a couple of screwdrivers (one to push the adjuster pawl out of the way and one to rotate the star wheel) to retract the shoes.
  4. chukzelda

    chukzelda New Member

    Hey guys,

    The parking brake is off.

    Can you explain at a simple level what you mean by

    access hole in the backing plate with a couple of screwdrivers (one to push the adjuster pawl out of the way and one to rotate the star wheel) to retract the shoes

    There is an access hole somewhere? If so, where is it?


    TRANNY PRO Member

    Back off brakes & slap drum with BFH & show no mercy . Hit drum like you want to kill it.
  6. JnBama

    JnBama Rockstar 4 Years 500 Posts

    imagesCABXPWFM.jpg imagesCAEUHHFB.jpg imagesCAKQ5F9L.jpg
  7. Joeairforce

    Joeairforce Epic Member 5+ Years 100 Posts

    Adjuster slot is the horizontal slot at the bottom....

  8. Caddiac

    Caddiac Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I can post a picture of a BFH ..... J.K. Simplest terms, the brake drum is not held on by anything other than the same thing that holds to tire on; the lug nuts. The brakes auto adjust as the linings wear so they may be worn to the point you have to back off the adjuster manually using the slot on the back side of the backing plate as shown above.


    I am stupid enough to drop my truck's a$$ end on the ground twice but never have I been stupid enough to stick my head under it when there was even the slightest chance it could fall.
  9. Joeairforce

    Joeairforce Epic Member 5+ Years 100 Posts

    You know... I just realized that you didn't say and no one asked which axle you have... With it being a C20 you could have the same axle I have, which is a 14 bolt full floating axle.... If that's the case you have to pull the axle shafts and remove the bearing nuts/bearings to pull the drums off since there pressed on behind the hub....
  10. TMair

    TMair Member

    I am wondering if the drum is rust welded to the axle, if you look at the drum you will see that the rear axle kind of sticks through the brake drum, if it is rust welded you can try a couple of things, first take a hammer, a big hammer, and a big pry bar, something that you can put behind the drum, between the inside rim of the drum, and the backing plate and pry out, as you pry out with the bar hit the axle shaft in the middle, do NOT hit the lug bolts!!!, sometimes this will free the drum from the axle, if this does not work you may need to take a torch and heat the drum wear it meets the axle, the heat will cause the drum to expand away from the axle, now hit it with the big hammer and see if it will pop away from the axle, after you free the drum from the axle you may have to adjust the breaks away to pull the drum off.
    I hope this helps.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011

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