Rear brake fix
Regular servicing is essential for effective rear drum brakes. Here’s how to completely overhaul them at home.
They might not sound that exciting, but your rear brakes still serve an important role, even if the majority of the braking force is provided by the front. They need to be regularly checked and serviced, especially given the spurious quality of parts that have flooded the market in recent times. Servicing the rear brakes is also important if your Mini has been laid up for a length of time, as the components can seize and corrode.
A glance at the forthcoming pics may have you thinking that we’ve got more pressing issues on the Canadian-market car we’re working on, like a rusty rear subframe for starters. But while that may be true, it’s a good ‘worst case scenario’ car, demonstrating the pitfalls you may encounter when doing this job. Some cars may only have one or two isolated issues, but it’s pretty much a full house with this one. Leaking cylinders, seized drum screws, seized adjusters, a seized brake hose, rusty backplates, a broken handbrake mechanism gaiter – you name it!
If it’s just the shoes or cylinders that need replacing, these can be done individually. But in our case, it made sense to buy new assembled backplate assemblies from Mini Spares. The parts are also available individually, but the complete assemblies made sense as they use genuine AP components, which should ensure increased longevity, safety and ease of fitment. They come complete with the shoes, springs, cylinder, adjuster mechanism, handbrake lever and gaiter, and as such, offer a saving over buying parts individually and without the hassle of putting it all together. In this guide, we’ll also be demonstrating how to fit cylinders and shoes separately.
You don’t need us to tell you how critical your brakes are to your safety, so if you don’t feel competent with the spanners then this is a job you might want to leave to the professionals. However, a competent home mechanic should be able to complete this job in a few hours. In terms of tools, you’ll need the regular AF sockets/spanners, plus a brake adjusting spanner, a 7/16-inch brake flare nut spanner, a brake hose clamp, brake cleaner spray, a Pozidriv screwdriver and a one-man brake bleeding kit if you don’t have an assistant. Here’s the fitting procedure in full on a 1980 car, but the sequence is largely the same for all models.