May 2010, Big Bear, CA

Dana 60/70 Rear Drums

Replacing the rear brakes on your F250 or F350 is not a very difficult job but is more complicated than working on a semi-float axle (the kind you find in most cars and half ton trucks) and will require a little more care and a lot more Brake parts Cleaner!

You are going to need the following tools, supplies, and parts for the job.

13/16″ 1/2″ drive deep socket
5/8″ shallow socket 
7/16″ shallow socket
1/2″ shallow socket
An assortment of socket extensions for convenience
Large 1/2″ drive breaker bar
3/8″ ratchet 
Torque wrench capable of 50 – 135 ft-lbs.
Slotted screwdriver
Vice grips
6″ C-Clamp
3/8″ Flare wrench 

Speciality tools are listed below 
2 9/16″ rounded hex socket for axle lock nuts, NAPA Part KDS2436
Brake Spoon and spring tools, can be found in Harbor Freight 7 Piece Brake Tool Set, P/N: 188-8VGA 
Ford Factory Shop Manual Set, the most important tool you can have! 

Wheel bearing grease, I use multi-purpose
rake parts cleaner, up to six cans
Many clean-up rags

Brake shoes (My F250CS with 12″ x 12.5″ shoes is Rabestos 316PG)
Wheel Cylinders (Again, F250CS is WC370192 & WC370193) 
Lock rings for hubs, NAPA Part 635-1100
Seals for hubs, NAPA Part 24917
Drum brake hardware kit 

Okay, time to begin the fun!

Now, I’m going to start this article with a warning.  This is a very messy job and you really should take some precautions.  To start with make sure and wear clothing that can get messy, I recommend wearing disposable gloves so that you can snap a layer of grease off and put a clean one on.  I also suggest picking up an oil drip pan to set underneath your work area saving your driveway.  Also, keep in mind that it is very possible that the old brakes have asbestos liners, make sure not to breath any of the brake dust and under no circumstances should you use pressurized air to clean the drums.

All of the procedures in this article can be found in the factory manual under sections titled Brake Drums – Single Cylinder, Dual Piston, and Wheel Bearings and Hubs – Rear (Full Floating Axle).

Start by cleaning your work area and setting out all the items you’re going to need.  It would also help to have a truck handy, or at the very least an axle.

Click on any of the photographs to see a larger view.

Put on your safety glasses and wear them for the duration of the project.  Chock the truck’s front wheels, set your jack in place, and have your jack stands ready.

Remove your hub cap and break the eight lug nuts loose with the 13/16″ deep well socket and breaker bar.

Jack up the side of the axle you are working on and secure it with a jack stand, remove wheel.  In order to minimize the amount of gear oil running down the axle tube and onto your work area raise the side you are working on about three inches higher than the other side.

Remove the eight axle shaft bolts with the 5/8″ socket and a ratchet, then slide the axle shaft out and set it in a place where it will not get overly dirty.

Using slotted screwdriver and hammer straighten tabs on lock washer that are bent over the flats of the outer lock nut.

Remove outer lock nut with the 2 9/16″ socket and breaker bar, then remove the lock washer and inner lock nut.  Pull entire brake drum/hub unit out toward you approximately two inches and set back in place then remove the outer bearing.  If you have trouble moving the drum you may have to loosen the brake adjusting screw (see below, near the end of the article) if the shoes are holding the brake drum on (when a drum wears down it develops a lip on the outside, sometimes the shoes will catch this lip).

Now pull the brake drum towards you off and set it down down on your drip pan outside down.  As you can see here my brake shoes actually had a lot of liner left on them but were completely slathered in wheel bearing grease and brake fluid due to a bad wheel cylinder and hub seal.

Remove the wheel bearing seal and discard.  I find it easiest to take a hammer and screwdriver and collapse one part of the seal then pry the rest out.  Take care not to damage the hub surface.

Then remove the inner bearing and let it soak in a solvent.  While gasoline works you’re not supposed to recommend using that as a solvent anymore so I’d never suggest getting a metal bucket, filling it with about 2″ of gasoline, and tossing your bearings, hub nuts, and any overly greasy parts in.  No, never.

Now it’s time to use some brake parts cleaner, and a lot of it if you’ve got the mess I did!  You want to clean the inside of the hub getting all the old grease out, clean out the inside of the drum, taking care to eradicate any and all grease, and clean the old grease off the spindle, taking care to clean the threads on the end.  Then thoroughly clean the bearings themselves to get all of the old grease out then set them aside in a clean area.  After you have cleaned everything out make sure the bearing races are smooth and not worn and the bearing needles are also not worn.

Now it’s time to start doing brakes!

First remove the parking brake lever by removing the 7/16″ nut from behind the brake backing plate, hold the bolt in place with your vice grips.

After loosening the slack on the adjusting cable and pull the over travel spring free from the adjusting lever.  After that remove the parking brake cable and set these parts aside.

Using the large end of the silver spring tool remove the brake shoe retaining springs from both shoes.  Set them aside.  Then pull the brake shoes free and set them aside.

I recommend replacing the wheel cylinder while doing a brake job, they are cheap to buy and it’s not like you replace rear breaks very often.  To do this start by removing the brake line with the 3/8″ flare wrench, then remove the wheel cylinder by removing the two 1/2″ bolts from the backing plate.  After you’ve done this remove the two piston extensions, clean them up, and transfer them to the new wheel cylinder.

Now that you have everything off of the backing plate take a little time to clean it up.  Using liberal amounts of Brake Parts Cleaner get all the old grease and brake dust off, again be careful not to breath this stuff.  After you have done this take a moment to clean off your drain pan so that once again you have a clean work area.

One thing to notice is that the wheel cylinders differ from the left brake to the right.  The difference is minor, the brake line comes in the opposite side.  See it illustrated below:

Install the new wheel cylinder taking care not to over-tighten the brake line, you don’t need gorilla strength here, then using your multi-purpose grease spread a little bit on the shoe contact points.

Now take the old rear shoe and remove the cable guide and drive the adjuster lever shaft out with your hammer and a socket extension, transfer these to the new rear brake shoe.

Attach the adjusting lever to the rear brake shoe and hold it in place with the adjusting lever spring.  Using new hold down springs put one of the brake shoes in place, you should be able to get the spring on fairly easily by holding the shoe out of position, after you’ve hooked the spring put the shoe in it’s proper place making sure that it is properly engaged in the foot of the wheel cylinder piston extension.

Now attach the retracting springs to their proper place on both brake shoes and put the other shoe in place.  Because the retractor springs are in place you will not be able to move the shoe around, this makes attaching the hold down spring more difficult.  To make this job easier I use a 6″ C-Clamp to hold the shoe in place freeing both my hands to attach the spring with a screwdriver.

Now put the brake adjuster screw in place by spreading the brake shoes and slipping it in place, be careful not to knock the adjusting lever off in the process (don’t worry, you will).  Now route the adjusting cable underneath the rear hold down spring hook and attach the over travel spring to the adjusting lever.  Then route the cable around the cable guide and put the parking brake lever in place, tighten the nut behind the backing plate, then attach the parking brake cable to the lever.

Now do the preliminary brake adjustment by slipping the drum over the shoes, does it fit?  If so turn the adjusting screw to expand the shoes and try again, do so until you can no longer get the drum on and then back it off just enough to install it.  Set the drum aside for now.

Congratulations, you’ve just replaced your brake drums.  See, it’s not as hard as people say, just a little irritating.  Now it’s time to get dirty again!

If you need to replace the bearings and / or races do so now.  To replace the races use a brass drift to carefully drive the races out of the hub in the same direction you remove the bearings.  After that carefully drive the new races into place making sure to keep them straight and true.

Using your grease take a nice big glob of it in your non-dominate hand (left for me) on your finger tips.  Now with your dominate hand push the bearings from the wide end (where the largest gap is) and shove it towards the heel of your hand pushing the grease into the bearing.  When you’ve got the hang of then and do it correctly you’ll see that it packs the bearings full of grease fast, who needs stinkin’ bearing packers?

Note the way the grease is coming out of the opposite side of the bearing (and pushing some old grease with it), this is what you want to see, nice legs.  Now set that bearing in a clean area and pack the other bearing, isn’t this fun!  Wipe some of the excess grease from your gloves on the spindle giving it a thin, even coating.

Set the inner bearing in place on it’s race.  Now take the new seal and carefully drive it into place.  You could use a seal installer, a large socket or piece of pipe, or just hammer it in.  Because I was too lazy to go find a makeshift tool I just hammered the seal into place, do so by carefully tapping the seal into place working your way around the seal, you only move it in small amounts at a time (to keep it from getting crooked).  When it’s in place you’ll notice the tone of the taps change to a more bell like sound.

Now carefully set the drum in place on the spindle (remember that you’ve got a brand new seal you don’t want to ruin), put the outer bearing in place, and make sure it turns freely.  Run the inner nut in until it contacts the outer bearing then put the wheel on the hub/drum and run a couple lug nuts down to keep it in place.  While turning the wheel tighten the inner nut to 50 – 80 ft lbs then back it off by 3/8 of a turn.

Now set the new lock washer in place over the inner nut and run the outer locknut down until it contacts the washer, now tighten it to 90 – 110 ft lbs.  Check to make sure the wheel turns freely and the bearings are nice and tight (grasp the wheel and try to shake it).  If everything looks good bend two of the lock washer’s tabs inward fully covering flats of the inner nut and two outward covering flats of the outer locknut.

Now get up off the ground, jump in the truck, and hit the parking brake and release it, I do this twice (this makes sure the drums are centered on the backing plates, not as much of an issue with these drums as with other styles as these tend to self center very well).  Then go spin the wheels making sure they still turn freely.  Now it’s time to manually adjust the brakes, everybody’s favorite part! To do so follow these instructions.  After that adjust the parking brake like this.

After you are done adjusting and bleeding the brakes remove the fill plug from the differential and top off the gear oil (fill it until it starts to weep out of the fill plug).  This would also be a good time to remove the vent hose (on the drivers side of the axle) and make sure it is obstruction free, if your vent hose is clogged the axle will pump oil out of one of your axle seals into your brake drum.

Once you’re done with your brake and hub service you will need to bleed the brakes starting from the furthest wheel from the master cylinder (Right rear first, then left rear, then right front, then left front).  Keep in mind that your truck may have special procedures for brake bleeding such as centering a pressure differential valve or triggering a metering valve.  Check your service manual to make sure of these before proceeding.

That’s it, now go out and enjoy what will probably be much better braking (as the drums were probably so out of adjustment they weren’t doing much anything).