Brakes, who needs em? Just find a tree on the side of the road, that will slow you down... Brakes are one of those things I like to change out when I get a new vehicle. As far as brakes go, Disks are easy and drums are a pain.
Back in the late 90s while doing a Labor day Off road event in Ocala National forest, I found out how much fun bad or NO brakes were. The weekend was a complete washout. Our tent leaked, we could not find dry wood and I rained most of the day. After a wet and sandy hill climb from a pit the trail made a sharp left turn. I thought I could clear it easy. Nope, I hit a fair size tree with my front right wheel. We were stopped instantly. It bent my steering rod and pulled the brake line loose. Not to give up I took out a hammer and beat the steering rod back into right shape. I took a stick and pushed it into the brake line and twisted it closed with some needle nose pliers. It worked with no leaks and I finished the run. Back at camp I set out to find a repair. No one had a flair tool or a spare break line. So I was forced to rely on the stick in the line fix. The next day they placed me behind a big ford with an oversized rear bumper. If he stopped and I would eventually stop too. More rain and a lightning storm while ridding down the power lines brought the trip to a end, so we headed home. The temp fix got be back home all 50 miles or so of I-4 through Orlando. If I hit the brakes it pulled pretty hard to the side. My wife drove our car in front of me to make sure I had a safe traveling distance. No problems we made it home. Ahh those were the days.
Now on the new Jeep. After watching an episode of #FantomWorks I decided to replace all the disks, pads, shoes, and drums. My wife sat down and watched it with me, so getting the parts became a priority. Thanks FantomWorks you guys are the best.
Here is the parts list:
ACDelco 18B232 Professional Rear Brake Drum Assembly.
Wagner ThermoQuiet PAB538R Riveted Brake Shoe Set, Rear.
ACDelco 18A409A Advantage Non-Coated Front Disc Brake Rotor.
ACDelco 14D477CH Advantage Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set.
Carlson H2309 Rear Drum Brake Hardware Kit.
Wagner WC122730 Premium Wheel Cylinder Assembly, Rear.
Early Saturday I started off with the front disks, Easy with no issues. A few bolts, a few snaps and put the parts back together. I use a C Clamp to compress the Caliper and check the master cylinder for fluid. The rotors came off with no issues, no rusted up bolts or leaking parts. 10 or so minutes per side. To my surprise the pads were in pretty good shape. Wow that was fast, feeling good about the prospects of a quick fix, I moved on to the back.
First off you have to adjust the shoes so the drum comes off. A few light taps of a hammer and all the rusty junk come falling out. Across the street the XJ owner yells out “Jeep life” as he always does when I am under the Jeep working.
Drivers side rear: I took photos so I could make sure everything was where it needed to be, but this seldom helps because drums are like a fully loaded bear trap. Like a Jenga pile you touch one spring and the rest goes flying. I always do one side at a time so I can use the other side as a reference point. I used an old cloth belt to hold the shoes in place while putting the cursed retention springs. After several tries and some walk away time, I did what needed to be done, I prayed for divine intervention. That worked. Those small spring take some amount of patience to get back on. I do have the right tools for the job but I only have two hands and wished for 4 do this job. (Thinking of Goro right about now.) The brake spring tool for the job got lost in shipping, so I had to make do with some needle nose pliers to twist the tip of the stud.
The auto adjusting lever hung down and did not rest against the star gear. After searching YouTube I found that the tension wire MUST be seated in the proper hole of the slack lets the lever hang lose. (See Photos.)
The passenger side drove me to prayer yet again. The wheel cylinder was leaking so that was replaced with a quick bleed of the brakes and they were good to go. Finding that sweet spot with the adjusters is always fun. After all that the wheels still won’t lock up, it stops fast, without pulling. I still can’t get that big tire barking sound, just a smooth quick stop. Bigger tires need bigger brakes. Next time I will look into replacing the old drums with new disk brakes and rotors and calipers with bigger and better parts that will help stop the 33" mud tires. My advice, scrap the stock and upgrade.
Matt N Randy
Jeep Enthusiast, Pastor, Photographer, Artist, A husband and wife team that loves going out and seeing God's Creations.