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The brakes on my Land Rover were adequate but were far from perfect although to be honest the brakes on Series Land Rovers in general are not their strongest point. But with decent replacement parts, properly bled and adjusted they can perform as well as you would expect from a large cumbersome and agricultural machine such as a Land Rover. I decided to replace all the wheel cylinders as some of them were showing signs of leaking behind the dust covers which is far from ideal.
I started with the rears first by first supporting on stands, removing the road wheel and drum and then removing the shoes. The springs are quite strong so I found its best to lever the shoes out and away with a pry bar. There’s no retainer on these shoes so they should just come away quite easily. A little tip though, compare any new parts with the old ones before completely stripping to ensure compatibility. As well as replacing the cylinders I decided to replace the shoes as well as these weren’t in brilliant condition so I carefully marked the position of the holes where the springs hook onto the shoes. These marks were then transferred to the new shoes prior to fitting so I was confident that they would go on the correct way. Next I removed the wheel cylinder after clamping the rubber hose that feeds both rear brakes. I used penetrating oil to help release the nuts and in
particular the brake pipe as its very easy to twist the brake pipe when undoing the pipe end. Once done I gave the back plate and hub a good clean with proper brake cleaner using a small brush to remove any thick deposits of grime. To save a mess I used an old washing up bowl underneath to catch the run off. Once clean and dry I fitted the new cylinder, replaced the brake pipe and set about preparing the shoes for fitting. First I used masking tape to cover the new shoes to prevent them from getting dirty and
greasy whilst refitting. Next I applied some copper grease to the ends of the shoes and also some onto the back plate where the shoes sit against it. A small amount was also used on both of the adjuster teeth after making sure they turn freely. Fitting the shoes can be a struggle but the way I did it was by first hooking the springs on to the shoes using the correct holes. Then I positioned the top of the shoes into the wheel cylinder whilst keeping the bottoms in front of the lower riveted locator.
Next I used a pry bar to lever the bottom of the shoes one at a time so that they ended up sitting behind the riveted plate as shown in the picture on the left. If the shoes keep slipping about like mine did, I peeled back the wheel cylinder dust covers and slid them over the ends of the shoe to prevent them from getting torn. I also released the bleed nipple to allow air to escape thus allowing the pistons to retract further. It will help if the adjusters are rotated so that the are NOT expanding the shoe.
Once your happy the shoes are sitting correctly and that the springs aren’t fouling anything then replace the cylinder dust covers, remove the masking tape and clean up and degrease the drum. Replace it and secure with copper greased screws and tighten the bleed nipple. Turn one of the adjusters clockwise until you can’t turn the drum, then back off the adjuster a couple of clicks. You should be able to turn the drum by hand now. Do the same with the other adjuster and go on to do the other side.