Tuesday 3 November 2020

Rear Brakes and Axle

Trying the keep pushing on with cleaning up the running gear and next up is the rear axle and brakes. 

Certainly was very dirty and rusty and quite a large section. Plan of attack was to start with cleaning up the axle.  

Decided to use a variety of weapons at my disposal. Rotary steel wire wheel brushes, think I must have bought at least 50 of these so far over the years. Also use the similar but more abrasive angle grinder version. Plain old wire wool to get into those corners and plenty of degreaser with my old toothbrush.

There was certainly a lot of crud!

Over the course of a few nights things started to clean up quite nicely.

While that was in progress I removed the hand brake mechanism and the brake pipes. Apart from a few rusty split pins that hold the rods in place all came apart without much fuss.

After that I moved on to disassembling the rear brakes to prepare for inspection and cleaning.

Firstly need to clean all the grease of the hub. Then undo the four nuts and remove the two lock tabs.

The brake drum comes away fairly easily with a screwdriver pushing against the backplate and working around the edges. Need to check for wear and any sign of a lip on the edge. Mine need to be replaced, but these are not expensive.

Then to remove the hub which is attached two the half shaft that connects to the differential.

You need to undo the single screw and that will allow the two hub sections to separate.

I needed to tap the outer hub away from the inner hub. Be care not to damage the two facing parts of the hub as they need to form a perfect seal to stop oil leaks. 

Now the hub and half shaft should come away easily. Check for signs of wear. I think mine look good.

On this face of the hub you will find a gasket and an O ring. These should be replaced if you have come this far. I found that the inner hub did moved ever so slightly, but it didn't when the outer hub was attached. I am hoping therefore that the bearings are good. They certainly don't make any noise and are smooth on rotation.

Then it is time to remove the brake pads.

These are held on by the spring loaded clips.

A screwdriver will help here.

Once they are removed the pad comes away.

And the same for the other side. They do suggest replacing these in pairs to keep the car breaking in a straight line and as I am replacing both drums the pads will also be replaced.

To remove the handbrake level you first pull the rubber gaiter off and check for cracks in the rubber. 

The level comes away very easily.

This then leaves the wheel cylinder and that is removed by unclipping this horseshoe clip.

You can see the bleed nipple here which can be unscrewed.

For both of mine the pistons were stuck fast so causing the brakes to fail.

But I found it quite easy to disassemble them and get them functioning again. First remove the rubber gaiter and check for cracks. Mine were in very good condition.

You need to remove one of the pistons by pulling it out. Some penetration fluid will help here.

Once out you can see the rubber O ring that forms the seal. Again mine were in very good condition.

Then using a fine grade of wet and dry paper I cleaned the inside of the cylinder.

All the other metal parts were cleaned with the wire wheel brush and came up very nicely.

They all fitted back together well and seem to function without any problems.

The only issue I had was trying to remove the manual brake adjuster wedge on one side. It took heat, penetrating fluid and the various clamps but it wouldn't budge.

I ended up welding the thread of a bold to it and the with two nuts managed to turn it though the hole. It took me about 4 hours to do!

Just need to finish cleaning all the parts and start to spray the axle with black chassis paint to protect from further deterioration.


  1. Did you use black spray paint for the chassis correct? Or did you use a brush?. It might be an obvious answer to this but the brush tends to leave a thicker coating...Thoughts?

  2. Hi Juan, I sprayed about 3 or 4 coats to protect it. Just prefer the spray finish and it is a little quicker.