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#4602483 - 12/13/17 10:47 AM Civic drum brakes
greasegunn Offline


Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 202
Loc: NY
So I struggled through a rear drum brake shoe replacement on my 2010 civic. Disassembly was rather straightforward except for removing the drums which had been on since 2010 in the rust belt. I took my time and got them off.

Re-installation was more of the problem. After securing the front shoe to the backing plate with the spring clip I moved on to the rear shoe. I attached the upper spring between the two shoes and then pulled the back shoe into place. However, there was a lot of play in the cylinder piston and the rear piston popped out. I eventually got the shoe on but Iím wondering if there is a trick to this? Would cracking the bleeder valve have stopped the piton from moving?. Is there and easier way? I pretty much followed the factory service manual procedure. While Iím not likely going to have to do this again on my car I may have to do my sonís car in the next few years so any tips you have would truly be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help.

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#4602492 - 12/13/17 11:04 AM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: greasegunn]
andyd Offline


Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 7142
Loc: Marshfield , MA
Drum brakes are a pain. I don't work on them enough to get the process down. One thing I do is to get the drums off both sides but to work one side only so you have something to look at. The last 2 jobs, IIRC, I started off with new hardware. Cheap enough for a Ford or a GM. Also make sure the e-brake cables are free. I have a few funny looking tools to work on the springs and clips. You can do them with screwdrivers and pliers, but why struggle? As for the pistons and cups. I make sure I can open the bleeder, or the cylinder gets added to the parts list.
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#4602509 - 12/13/17 11:32 AM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: greasegunn]
TOMJ Offline


Registered: 05/17/12
Posts: 80
Loc: Marietta, GA
Drum brakes are a PITA. Having owned our '93 Civic since it was new, I have done the rear brakes several times and each time I struggle with the same issue.
You just have to go slow, take your time and try not to get too frustrated.
It is also a good idea to get a new hardware kit as those springs do tend to stretch a little over the years.
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#4602519 - 12/13/17 11:46 AM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: greasegunn]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6214
Loc: MI
I had the same problem (piston pop out) a few weeks ago on my Patriot. Live and learn.

The video below shows the problem and the method he used to get around it, starting around minute 7:10. I used a combination of screwdrivers and c-clamp vise grips to lock the shoes from pushing the pistons out the other side. Hopefully a pro will share his tricks.


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#4602641 - 12/13/17 02:36 PM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: greasegunn]
HoosierJeeper Offline


Registered: 11/23/16
Posts: 1276
Loc: WI
Only drum brake experience I have is with parking brakes (the ones that work in the rotor hat) and I loathe it.

Here's how I recommend how to do drum brakes
1. Call your favorite shop
2. Drop vehicle off

That way if there's any noises or anything, you take it back. Doesn't cost you 2 weekends of trouble shooting. I'd also recommend OEM drums, many if not most aftermarket ones are out of round from the factory, so do check them and true them up if need be.
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#4602761 - 12/13/17 05:04 PM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: greasegunn]
slacktide_bitog Online   content


Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 6149
Loc: USA
You may be able to convert to rear discs, and there is probably a how-to guide somewhere. It's easier to do on some cars than others, and I;m not sure where your Civic falls in that spectrum.

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#4602787 - 12/13/17 05:43 PM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: greasegunn]
mk378 Online   content


Registered: 09/27/15
Posts: 1417
Loc: USA
Every car is a bit different but I have found it often works to hook up the big springs on the top and bottom first, then fold the shoes down against the backing plate. Then install the nails and clips that hold them down. This is a lot easier than trying to stretch the springs into place.

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#4602816 - 12/13/17 06:21 PM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: greasegunn]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10953
Loc: Idaho
The secret is,,, you have to be smarter than the brakes.
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#4603100 - 12/14/17 04:15 AM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: greasegunn]
NoNameJoe Offline


Registered: 06/03/15
Posts: 414
Loc: New York
Quote:
Would cracking the bleeder valve have stopped the piton from moving?

Something to also keep in mind is that there's a spring inside the wheel cylinder. It pushes outward so that even when the hydraulic effect is not there, the cups inside push on the pistons and the whole thing doesn't tilt in the bore into some weird position where fluid and pressure could leak. Even if the wheel cylinder were completely void of fluid, pushing on one end is going to push on the other.

On the bleeder question, if there were a large amount of fluid, opening up the bleeder would have lessened the hydraulic effect on the other piston, whether you pushed one piston in manually or did it at the pedal with the master cylinder, it would be an open in the brake circuit, the fluid is going to go the path of least resistance out the bleeder than than push on the other components as much.

Another way to consider it is if you left the bleeder open and pushed on the pedal, do you expect the wheel cylinder on that corner to compress the shoes in any meaningful way? I don't think it would unless you push so quickly that you overcome the size of the leak and the rate at which fluid is lost, which is in this case the opening of the bleeder. But when you're pushing on the piston at the cylinder you're probably exerting smooth, slow pressure, so yes this might have helped. What you're describing is similar to how it's easier to push the caliper piston in when the bleeder is cracked open on front brakes.

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#4603106 - 12/14/17 04:30 AM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: greasegunn]
Lubener Offline


Registered: 01/22/11
Posts: 2576
Loc: N.Ohio
Never had that happen. Cracking open bleeder might have helped but the internal spring would put pressure on the other piston. I would have been more upset with all the brake fluid getting on my new shoes. No big deal to reassemble the cylinder and bleed.
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#4603118 - 12/14/17 05:28 AM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: doitmyself]
greasegunn Offline


Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 202
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: doitmyself
I had the same problem (piston pop out) a few weeks ago on my Patriot. Live and learn.

The video below shows the problem and the method he used to get around it, starting around minute 7:10. I used a combination of screwdrivers and c-clamp vise grips to lock the shoes from pushing the pistons out the other side. Hopefully a pro will share his tricks.


I saw this video - was not impressed with the zip tie solution - but gets an "B" for creativity - if he could have incorporated duct tape he would have got an "A" grin


Perhaps your idea of using C-Clamps to secure the shoes is the way to go. I've also thought about stretching the spring and inserting spacers to keep it elongated and then install the elongated spring and then remove the spacers

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#4603123 - 12/14/17 05:31 AM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: TOMJ]
greasegunn Offline


Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 202
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: doitmyself
I had the same problem (piston pop out) a few weeks ago on my Patriot. Live and learn.

The video below shows the problem and the method he used to get around it, starting around minute 7:10. I used a combination of screwdrivers and c-clamp vise grips to lock the shoes from pushing the pistons out the other side. Hopefully a pro will share his tricks.


I saw this video - was not impressed with the zip tie solution - but gets an "B" for creativity - if he could have incorporated duct tape he would have got an "A" grin


Perhaps your idea of using C-Clamps to secure the shoes is the way to go. I've also thought about stretching the spring and inserting spacers to keep it elongated and then install the elongated spring and then remove the spacers
Originally Posted By: TOMJ
Drum brakes are a PITA. Having owned our '93 Civic since it was new, I have done the rear brakes several times and each time I struggle with the same issue.
You just have to go slow, take your time and try not to get too frustrated.
It is also a good idea to get a new hardware kit as those springs do tend to stretch a little over the years.


Thanks for your feedback. I did use new springs, retainers, and c-clips. The self adjusters looked OK and I simply cleaned them up a reused them to save some $.

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#4603125 - 12/14/17 05:35 AM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: slacktide_bitog]
greasegunn Offline


Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 202
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: doitmyself
I had the same problem (piston pop out) a few weeks ago on my Patriot. Live and learn.

The video below shows the problem and the method he used to get around it, starting around minute 7:10. I used a combination of screwdrivers and c-clamp vise grips to lock the shoes from pushing the pistons out the other side. Hopefully a pro will share his tricks.


I saw this video - was not impressed with the zip tie solution - but gets an "B" for creativity - if he could have incorporated duct tape he would have got an "A" grin


Perhaps your idea of using C-Clamps to secure the shoes is the way to go. I've also thought about stretching the spring and inserting spacers to keep it elongated and then install the elongated spring and then remove the spacers
Originally Posted By: TOMJ
Drum brakes are a PITA. Having owned our '93 Civic since it was new, I have done the rear brakes several times and each time I struggle with the same issue.
You just have to go slow, take your time and try not to get too frustrated.
It is also a good idea to get a new hardware kit as those springs do tend to stretch a little over the years.


Thanks for your feedback. I did use new springs, retainers, and c-clips. The self adjusters looked OK and I simply cleaned them up a reused them to save some $.
Originally Posted By: slacktide_bitog
You may be able to convert to rear discs, and there is probably a how-to guide somewhere. It's easier to do on some cars than others, and I;m not sure where your Civic falls in that spectrum.


Thanks. I looked into this but not sure I want to spend the money. This job was probably the first and last for my 2010 civic as the first set of shoes went 98,000 mi. Not expecting my Civic to go another 7-8 years in the snow belt. More likely to rust out, hit a deer or get in an accident after which it will be considered totaled.

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#4604359 - 12/15/17 10:48 AM Re: Civic drum brakes [Re: Lubener]
greasegunn Offline


Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 202
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Lubener
Never had that happen. Cracking open bleeder might have helped but the internal spring would put pressure on the other piston. I would have been more upset with all the brake fluid getting on my new shoes. No big deal to reassemble the cylinder and bleed.


Fortunately the fluid did not hit the friction surface. You are also correct in that it was no biggie to reassemble the cylinder and bleed the brakes. Now cracking the 7 yr old bleeder screw in the rust belt was a bit of an issue - but a bit of PB blaster helped with that.

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