HOW TO: rear brakes - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
View Poll Results: Was this helpful for you?
yes 12 75.00%
no 4 25.00%
Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-16-2007, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Fort Mcmurray Alberta
Posts: 1,445
Send a message via MSN to Sparky87
HOW TO: rear brakes

A fellow member asked about the retention spring on the rear brakes and finally (after 3 months) I got into gear on making this how to for everyone to make it easier if they haven't done brakes before. Well, here we go!

Difficulty: easy to moderate

1: First off, you'll need tools that will get the job done. A regular joe may not have all of these and some substitutions can be made. although when you have the right tools, it makes it that much easier.

What I used is this:

a ball peen hammer (claw hammer will work)
a jack (your jack with the truck will work)
Jackstands (Highly recommended for your safety!)
3/4" socket with ratchet (your tire iron, or impact will work)
multi-brake tool (pliers, sidecutters will work)
prybar (screwdriver will work)
Wirebrush (not needed but useful)
brake cleaner (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
Wheel cylinder clamp (not needed but useful)
Rags (clean hands help everything)
Wheel Chaulks (great thing to have, and I feel it necessary for you manual guys)

OK! Now that we have that down, you have what you need to get this job done!


Okay! Let's get the show on the road.

1: First step is to remove you tire. If anyone has changed a flat, they should be able to do this part. You'll have to remove the six bolts that are in the middle part of your tire. The size is 3/4" or you tire iron will do the job. For those using the tire iron or socket and ratchet, loosen off the nuts part way and then jack up the tire. For those with an impact you won't have to worry about that. Once the wheel is up, continue to remove the nuts and take off the tire. For guys with a manual transmission, you won't be able to use your ebrake to keep your truck in place. Use tire chaulks, or a brick, or something big to stop your truck from rolling away.

Once the tire's off, you'll be looking at your drum. If you're seeing something other than what's in this picture, you have the wrong tire off.

2: If you haven't ever removed your drums, you'll still have a washer on one of your bolts that holds the drum on. I seriously suggest you throw this washer away since you tire will keep your drum in place while you're driving and it's a pain in the ass. I can't remember how I removed mine, but I probably chopped it off with side cutters, or ripped it off :P Once the washer is off, you can remove the drum by hitting the middle between the studs with a hammer to loosen off the drum. Be careful not to hit the studs. You can use a piece of wood if you think you'll hit them. Once you have loose, it will pop up a bit and allow you to take off the drum.

Inside you'll find the rear brake assembly! (sorry that it's dirty)

3: Removing the adjusment spring and adjuster.

Start by taking off the spring with either your multi-brake tool, or with some sidecutters or pliers. Be careful with the side cutters as you don't want to cut the end of the spring off, you just want to grip it to pull it back.

A tip so you don't lose any parts is to put them into the drum!

After the spring is removed, it will free up the adjuster which you can throw into the drum, or wherever you put the spring.

you brakes should now look like this:

4: removing the retention spring (the big horseshoe thing) from the shoes. To remove it either use the multi-brake tool, prybar, or screwdriver to remove the top of the spring from the middle of the shoe. Vise grips can also help with this step. You can start with whichever side you want, but I started with the back because I found it easier.

5: Once the spring tension is off the shoes you can easily spread the shoes apart and remove the adjustment wheel. Take note of how it is shaped. One side has one big notch to slide on the shoe with the shorter side going to the back of the shoe. The other side has two notches. Once again the shorter side will go to the back of the shoe.

6: Start unscrewing the adjuster and watch for little washers that are on it. Once you have it apart, proceed to clean the threads on the bolt part with your wirebrush or rags to get as much of the dirt as you can off of it. Once it is clean, put some grease on the bolt part so that when you screw it in, it will be greased. I screwed it in and screwed it back out just to get as much dirt out of it as possible, with new grease everytime, but your brakes are probably more cleaner than mine.

Once that is done, place it with the adjuster spring and adjuster in your drum.

Your brakes should look like this now, only cleaner :P

7: You can now remove the retention spring (horseshoe) by jiggling it around a bit to get it over a lip that holds it in place. Once it's off, throw it into the drum with the rest of the peices.

8: Now that it's off you can spray brake cleaner on the back panel and wheel cylinder to clean off any brake dust that might have collected. There are six ovals around edge that youhave to make sure is cleaned and greased.

You don't need alot of grease, just a little bit.

9: Once it's clean we can remove the ebrake cable from the rear shoe. The easiest way (and fastest) is to bend back the metal mount that holds the cable in place with pliers or sidecutters.

congrats! you have removed your rear brakes on one side!

10: Install the new rear pad by first attaching the ebrake cable. Once again I found it easy to bend back the metal that holds it in place, slip the cable in, then bend the metal back into place. This si what it looks like when it's done. The cable will rest in the metal grove and the metal that's bent back will be bent to where it originally was. DON'T FORGET THIS!

11: Place the retention spring back into place in the lip under the axle. Once that is done, you can put the front shoe into place and put one of the ends of the retention spring into a shoe. I put the front side on first to hold that shoe in place and it makes the next part MUCH EASIER.

12: Once the one shoe is in place, bring the other into place and start to put the retention spring into the second shoe. This was the hardest part of the job because that retention spring is really tough to manouver. I ended up using my sidecutters or pliers to force the spring over into place. Vise grips can also help with this step. If you find another way, all the power to you.

Your brakes should look like this now:

13: Next to be installed is the adjustment wheel. I found this easiest by spreading the shoes apart and letting them rest in the outside groove of the backing plate. After that I placed on side in place and brought the shoes back to the middle and pryed them apart to get the other side in place. Once that's done you can go ahead and place the adjuster into place.

14: The adjuster spring can easily be placed in by using your multi-brake tool, sidecutters, or pliers to place the spring into place with the SHORT end of the spring going towards the lower hole on the front shoe.

15: Take the drum and spray it with brake clean and wipe dry. Place it over the shoes and see how much free play there is by wiggling the drum side to side. If, and mostly, there is free play, you have to manually turn the adjustment wheel so that the drum fits snug against the shoes. Once it is adjusted to where it is snug, you can go ahead and put the wheel back on and tighten the lug nuts snug.

16: remove the jack stands and lower the wheel back to the ground. Continue to tighten your lugnuts if you're using a tire iron. Not too tight though, you want 100FT/LBS on it and no more. So Don't be he-man about tightening your nuts. I like to use a torque bar when I'm tightening my lugnuts with an impact, but you can use a torque wrench as well.

You're now done one side of your brakes!

The other side is the exact same so I won't bother typing that out, This already took me around 2 - 3 hours straight :P

Good luck!

*****your brakes should be adjusted properly when your ebrake doesn't hit the floor*****

09 Colorado CC 4X4 ~42000km's * V8 * Hydronic 4 and Airtronic 2 heaters * Two orbital purple haze batteries in parallel * Complete bubaloo skids * 2 1/2" shackle * T-bar crank * 17"X8" ultra mavericks * 500HD decals * Canyon & Colorado club of Canada! #9
Sparky87 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-16-2007, 09:01 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Kaneohe, HI
Posts: 11,112
Send a message via MSN to Dillusion
Needs to be sticked in the How To thread.
Dillusion is offline  
post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-16-2007, 09:07 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,061
Send a message via MSN to burn
Originally Posted by Dillusion
Needs to be sticked in the How To thread.

Colorado & Canyon Club of CANADA - Member #13
20" RTX Blackhawk rims, 4/5 Drop (all Belltech), Belltech front & rear swaybars, Kenwood DDX6019 DVD / Sirius / iPod / Bluetooh, StreetScene Rollpan, Low-Profile X-Member, C-Notch, Flex-a-lite 180 e-fan, K&N FIPK, Line-x, HIDs, Optima, Donnelly 36400 Mirror, Smooth Fuel Door, A1Electric Power Windows Conversion, etc.
burn is offline  
post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 05:31 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: SoCal
Posts: 3,976
Great write-up!

Grounded Member #55

My Car Domain
rrcn is offline  
post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Fort Mcmurray Alberta
Posts: 1,445
Send a message via MSN to Sparky87
write-up has been edited to add a few things that were missing.

09 Colorado CC 4X4 ~42000km's * V8 * Hydronic 4 and Airtronic 2 heaters * Two orbital purple haze batteries in parallel * Complete bubaloo skids * 2 1/2" shackle * T-bar crank * 17"X8" ultra mavericks * 500HD decals * Canyon & Colorado club of Canada! #9
Sparky87 is offline  
post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 02:39 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Charlotte
Posts: 434
Good write up!

2005 colorado Z85 crew cab I5

Low profile tanneau cover
H.I.D lights
Gibson side swept exhaust
Aem brute intake
post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-26-2008, 08:07 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Batavia, New York
Posts: 621
Re: HOW TO: rear brakes

Nice writeup! Haven't had experience with a drum brake setup for a Chevy, I'm used to Chryslers overuse of tiny springs. Have to do it soon to my GF malibu, same type setup. I like the part about taking off the wrong tire. lol

2004 Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab, Green, Z71 4x4 with 3.73 (GT4) G80. Firestone Destination 31x10.5 15
Spectre Air Filter, Optima Yellow Top 34-78, Imperial Tranny Cooler, Pioneer 7700MP HU, Pioneer Component Speakers with Sony Amp.
OffroadJunkie84 is offline  
post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 03:06 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5
Re: HOW TO: rear brakes

i don't know about everybody else....but if you don't want to spend an hour trying to squeeze the e-brake spring to half its size to get the e-brake cable can adjust the e-brake cable tension underneath the truck on the driver side for slack. brakes took me 15 mins or less per wheel. (oh and this also works if the hammer doesn't magically make the drum come off)
radix10 is offline  
post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 11:39 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Prince George, B.C.
Posts: 3,392
Re: HOW TO: rear brakes

Don't forget to machine your drums, at least if they have a lip or grooves in them.


Canyon & Colorado club of CANADA #11 Lifted Club Member #306 Offroad Club #2
4" suspension 3" BL lift on 33X12.50's and seriously way too many mods to list!
My Album: ... do%20Crew/
My Vids:
zeuce is offline  
post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 12:33 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 116
Re: HOW TO: rear brakes

I cant thank you folks enough for these great write ups. I just failed inspection cause of my back brakes and I was quoted 260.00 for new ones. I can buy the shoes myself for 70 bucks. That is a 190.00 savings (have brake cleaner and grease in the garage)

I am not very technical when it comes to cars/trucks hear is my worry.

what is that "upside down backwards looking L" that you have your finger on? It looks like its held on by some rivet? does that come off? will the new shoes have that rivet on it to reinstall that piece ?

"Start unscrewing the adjuster and watch for little washers that are on it."

do you mean turning the adjuster's wheel so it becomes smaller and then removed ?

another question

it looks like the post is missing the image of reinstalling the shoes with the retention spring, does the retention spring go back on first then somehow manage to get the new shoes back on?

could I just leave the retention spring on (never remove it) and just clean and grease around it?

last question

Judging by my questions should I just spend the money and have the shop do it? (even though I need to save every penny nowadays)

what is the worst thing that can happen that I could do wrong?

thanks for taking time in dealing with my insecurity. I did install a CAI myself, also changed plugs and front pads on my truck (thanks to this board)

'05 Canyon SLE ext cab. I-4 5-speed
dointhatrag is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome