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Beating the Drums

Question: I have my grandfather's 1959 Ford Galaxie Fairlane 500. The brakes have tied up on this vehicle and I'm wondering how to take them apart once they have set up. I really didn't want to throw a lot of heat on them if not needed. Can I undo the bolts on the wheel cylinders and use some kind of a puller? I was going to use Kroil and see if I can work it around the brake shoes and drums. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks for your time. -- Billy

Answer: Like most older cars with "frozen" brakes, we have to assume your Ford's shoes have worn a channel in the drum, leaving a ridge at the back that prevents pulling them off. Your idea about removing the brake line and bolts holding the cylinder is correct, but you have to also remove the shoe hold-downs. These are the shafts that hold the little springs holding the shoe to the backing plate. They are inserted from the back side of the backing plate and it should be easy to grind (or drill) off the head. Once you do the entire "guts" of the brakes will be free. For front brakes, of course, you have to take off the wheel bearing retainer to pull off the drum. For rear brakes, you should be able to pull everything far enough off to remove the parking brake cable.

Keep the Kroil® for other projects. It won't do much good in this one.

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