First Brake Job

For the last few weeks the brakes on my wagon have been giving forth an unholy howl. It became pretty obvious that some brake work was in order. This worked out well as I’ve been very frustrated since installing my aluminum rims. The openings in the new rims allow the brake drums to be seen, and those are really rusty. This picture is sort of poor, but it’s pretty obvious that these rusty drums don’t exactly improve the esthetic of the car at all.

I was unable to find drilled and slotted rotors in a reasonable time and I really wanted to see this cleaned up and doing a brake job was really the only way. I picked up some OEM equivalent rotors, pads, calipers, drums, and shoes. Having everything on hand ahead of time allowed me to put a coat of black caliper paint on the drums and calipers so that a more reasonable colour might show through my rim spokes when I was done.

It was sunny and hot outside today and those conditions aren’t particularly suitable for us computer geeks. Given that, I opted to tackle the rear brakes today and leave the front brakes for another day. The swap was pretty uneventful apart from my car’s brakes deviating slightly from the ones depicted in the service manual. I had to play a little trial and error to determine how to get everything reassembled correctly once I had done the teardown. I completely forgot about having purchased a drum brake spring kit until I had reassembled one wheel. I wound up tackling that wheel again to get all of the springs replaced with new hardware. Apart from keeping me out in the sunlight a little longer this wasn’t a major issue.

By the end of it all, I was hot, sweaty and immensely pleased with myself. So much so that I cleaned up and totally forgot to finish torquing down the lug nuts. That made for some tense moments once I got the car a few blocks from home but no real harm was done. I got the nuts torqued down properly and all was well. I’m really quite pleased both with the look of the car with it’s new black drums as well as having finished up my very first brake job.

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