The Land Rover Writer

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Behind the Braking Wheel

When the Land Rover received its state inspection sticker in February, it did so under the condition that I repair a leaking hub seal in the left rear wheel. 

At the same time, Todd, the local mechanic, noted that I also had a wobbly locating pin on the backing plate. The pin on the backing plate helps pivot the brake shoes under load; if it wobbles while braking, you'll get a lot of wear on one side only.

I called Rovers North for parts and sadly learned that tack welding the backing plate's pin requires precision that's unlikely to occur under shop conditions. Somewhere in their inventory they found a backing plate, an original one from Land Rover.

On a pleasant Saturday Todd and I began the process of removing all the brake parts from the rear wheel, as well as the floating axle. Then you had to remove the wheel bearings to get at the hub seal and race - those pieces are supposed to keep gear oil off the brakes.

Sadly, even though the rear brake shoes had lots of life left on them [they'd been replaced during the past year], they also had lots of congealed gear oil on them from the leak. It seemed unlikely I could clean them up so I asked Todd to drive me home where I knew I had another set. At the same time he said I should look for a brake spring to replace the broken one we found hanging free behind the brake drum. I found the shoes but I had no extra spring [we found one in a junk drawer in his shop].

With everything apart I set to cleaning off the grunge and grease, reinstalling all the parts and searching for a spring. In the meantime, Todd greased the wheel bearings and installed the new hub race and seal. He noticed that the wheel bearing had been set loosely on the hub, so afterwards I checked the tension on the opposite wheel and found that bearing loose, too. Once reset, we looked to install the brake drum and finish the job.

With the new shoes the drum would slide over the shoes but the wheel would barely turn. So we removed the drum and Todd turned the drum to take off any excess metal and wear points. It was still a hard turn by hand but the brake linings quickly wore into place under daily use.

Some 15+ years ago I tackled a similar set of jobs on my own, outdoors, when I discovered a leaking hub seal - only I had no idea what caused all the grease that filled the brake drum. The title of the article I wrote for the old Rovers North News was "The Brake Job From Hell." Fortunately this job went better.


No comments:

Post a Comment