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Re: A day in the garage

To: "Michel R. Gagne" <mgagne@unc.edu>
Subject: Re: A day in the garage
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 19:15:39 -0700
Cc: spridget list <spridgets@autox.team.net>
References: <BB0D3C0A.A374%mgagne@unc.edu>

Here's my approach. The first steps are optional if you don't mid 
working in all the grime.

Remove the wheels, drums, springs and shoes, but do one side at a 
time so you can look at a the original assembly in case you get lost 
putting it back together.

Next get a plastic pan (like a dish washing pan) that will fit under 
the jacked up side. Anything similar will do as long as it will hold 
liquid. This is optional if you don't care about how big a mess you 
make or how much time it will take you to clean up...'-)

Next, scrape off as much of the heavy stuff with whatever tools you 
have that suit this purpose. Dump the heavy stuff in a bag. Next, 
employ a degreaser of some sort. I usually use and engine degreaser 
followed by something like Simple Green. The tub will catch all the 
drippings and make a fairly easy job of keeping this mess out of your 

This is a good time to inspect for signs of a leak from the hubs. 
Sometimes removing the drum will allow a small amount of axle lube to 
leak out between the hub and axle shaft flange. If you see evidence 
of that or if there were signs of heavy oil deposits or wet shoes, 
now is the time to replace the paper gasket and O-ring. It's easy to 
do at this point and may spare you ruining your new linings.

At this point, I remove the wheel cylinders. You will need to remove 
a circlip or a spring clip from the rear of the groove in the wheel 
cylinder. This is on the opposite side of the backing plate. If you 
have a circlip. which is what was often used originally, you will 
need some circlip pliers to the them off. The spring clips can be 
popped with a screwdriver. You'll need a lot of light to see either 
though. I prefer the circlip as a replacement if you can find new 
ones the right size in your hardware or auto supply store. The 
circlips are a real pain to get back on. I find you need to grind off 
a flat spot from one of the tangs to clear the brake line fitting. 

More optional stuff...

When I want to spruce things up cosmetically, I'll take make sure 
everything is dry and clean and then take a 6" wire wheel on a drill 
to take care of any loose paint or surface rust. Wipe the surfaces 
you want to repaint with either lacquer thinner or a paint degreaser. 
Use a spray can or engine enamel or Hammerite.

The rest is simple... "assembly is the reverse of removal"...'-) Mow 
you know why I say, do one side at a time.

Remember to use jack stands to support both sides of the axle. You'll 
be doing some crawling around under there, so be safe.

Good luck.


At 8:05 PM -0400 6/11/03, Michel R. Gagne wrote:
>My fathers day gift will be the chance to play in the garage for the day!
>My plan is to redo the rear brakes of my 74 midget.  I9ve never done this
>before but I can read OK, so I9ll probably limp through the process.  Do any
>of you have any hints for simplifying the job for me.  I9m replacing the
>shoes, springs, etc. along with the cylinders.  I9ve heard some of you
>mention brake cleaner, what is it?  I understand you shouldn9t use an air
>hose (asbestos hazard) to clean out the gunk, but can you use a brake
>friendly spray wash to get it up to snuff?  Anyways, don9t assume that I
>know anything about what I9m doing when you pass along your sage adviceI9m
>happy to learn though.
>Mike Gagne

One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.
~French Proverb

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