Air Cooled VW Rear Brake Shoe Replacement Procedure
(Not applicable to disc brakes.)
Mid America Motorworks 1958-1967 Rear Brake Shoes 30mm Axle Set 301649
Article used with Permission: www.vw-resource.com
When inspection of the brake shoes shows that the linings have worn excessively, it is time to replace the brake shoes. Linings that are attached to the shoes by rivets should be replaced when worn to within 1/32 in. of the rivet heads. Bonded linings may wear down to 1/16 in. thick. In order to maintain equal braking action on both sides of the car, the brakes must be serviced in pairs; that is, you must replace the brake shoes and linings on both rear wheels or both front wheels at the same time, even if you find that only one wheel of either set needs new linings.
Caution: Older brake linings contain asbestos, which is a health hazard if inhaled. Wear a face mask when working on drum brakes to avoid inhaling asbestos particles. Keep dust levels down; do not blow or vigorously brush accumulated material from brake parts.
Rear Brake Shoe Replacement
Block the front wheels to prevent movement.
Fully release the parking brake.
Back off the brake adjusters slightly.
Remove the cotter pin from the castle nut on the rear wheel shaft. Mark both the nut and the end of the axle where the cotter pin went thru so you can torque the nut to the same place when replacing it. Break the rear axle nut loose with a 36mm (1-7/16" socket) on a 3/4-inch drive breaker bar and "cheater" -- a length of pipe about four feet long to slip over the braker bar to give more torque. Remove the nut, then raise the car.
WARNING -- Loosen the castle nuts while the car is on the ground. The castle nut should have at least 217 ft-lbs of torque on it -- the leverage needed to remove it is enough to topple a car off the jack stands.
Note: If your car is equipped with spinners, the castle nuts will not be accessible with the wheels on the car. After removing the rear wheels, we had success with lowering the brake drums down onto large blocks of wood and firmly applying the parking brake. This plus the weight of the car on the wooden block held the brake drums in place while we removed and later replaced the castle nuts.
Loosen the wheel lug nuts and raise the rear of the car and place it securely on jack stands.
Remove the rear wheels.
Remove the brake drum from the splines in the rear wheel shaft.
Inspect the braking surface. If it is excessively scored, have it turned. If there is insufficient metal for turning, the drum will have to be replaced. See the Brake Drum Replacement Procedure.
Disconnect the parking brake cable from the lever.
Disconnect the bolt that attaches the parking brake cable to the backing plate, on the rear of the backing plate.
Pull the parking brake cable guide and cable through the backing plate and detach the cable from the guide.
Disconnect the lower return spring with a pair of pliers (wear goggles!)
Remove the brake shoe hold-down cups and springs.
Remove the brake shoes, connecting link and upper return spring.
Note: See our instructions regarding the wheel cylinders.
Pry apart the ends of the retaining clip and transfer the parking brake lever to the new rear brake shoe.
To install the new brake shoes, reverse the above steps.
Reinstall the brake drums and adjust the brakes according to the Brake Adjustment Procedure.
Test drive the car and make several low-speed stops to make sure the brakes are operating properly.
Brake linings must "wear-in," try to avoid sudden stops for the next 100 miles.