2nd Gen Ram Tech1994-2001 Rams: This section is for TECHNICAL discussions only, that involve the 1994 through 2001 Rams. For any non-tech discussions, please direct your attention to the "General discussion/NON-tech" sub sections.
i replaced rear brake shoes, wheel cylinders, and hardware. i no longer have the clever brake spring lever to manhandle those big springs and they whipped my butt. it also took way too long - most all day.
here's some tips.
1 loosen the emergency brake cable BEFORE you start. i forgot to do this and didn't notice that it was putting tension on the shoes. also - my adjuster beside the gas tank was rusted up. it required a pair of NEEDLE NOSE VISE GRIPS to clamp the nut and then a screwdriver in the cable to twist the adjuster.
2 the front shoe and rear shoe are different. pay attention and only do one side at a time. the adjuster cable is on the rear on each side.
3 if the drums won't come off (mine wouldn't), remove the adjuster plug on the inside of the backing plate, at the bottom. use 2 flat screwdrivers. slide one beside the adjusting wheel and push the adjuster to release it. use the second srewdriver to push the wheel outward at the top (both side go outward at the top to loosen, or outward at the bottom to tighten). if the adjuster won't move, then use your third hand to smack it with a hammer, but only while pushing the adjuster lock out.
4 if the drums won't go on over the new shoes - shorten the adjuster all the way up. if they still won't go on, loosen the emergency brake cable some more. if they still won't go on, either have the drums turned to remove the wear lip, or use a dremel tool to grind off the wear lip (i did this).
-- you now see why this is taking all day --
5 if you don't have the brake spring tool, go buy one or rent one. if you can't go buy one or rent one because your truck is in pieces, use a long, stiff flat screwdriver as a lever to manhandle the spring over the top peg.
6 BEFORE you put the springs on, hammer the adjuster peg into the bottom hole on the rear shoe. it takes some pretty good whacks to get it seated.
7 the evil clip and wavy washer that pins the rear shoe to the emergency brake lever --- you need the new hardware kit because this clip BREAKS when you remove it. push the new clip against the flat side of the new wavy washer so it goes halfway on easy. then smack it with a hammer and screwdriver to force it to flaten the wavy shape.
8 DO BUY the new hardware kit for $7. DO NOT use the new shoe pins and springs from the kit. they are too short and you can't hold onto the spring. use the stock shoe pins and springs. DO use all the new long cross springs, c-clip, wavy washer.
9 i got my parts from autozone. $20 for shoes with lifetime warranty. about $7 for the spring kit (does both sides) and about $10 each for wheel cylinders. don't forget brake fluid and lots of brake cleaner from walmart. its the best with very high voc. don't get it in you eye or in the soft skin between your fingers it burns like hell.
10 i had to rebend the brake lines a little bit because the lines bolted up to the cylinders at a little different angle.
11 my brakes bled ok. not great but ok. i used the wife in seat pushing the pedal method. i think the abs interferes with it slightly. i bled out a large amount of fluid and refilled the master cylinder several times to achieve a flush of the rear lines.
12 after bleeding - the ABS light was on. a google search said to crank the truck, then press and hold the brake pedal for 10 seconds to allow the proportioning valve to recenter. this worked for me.
13 next my RED BRAKE light was stuck on due to mis-adjustment of the emergency brake cable. i don't know how this works, but if its too loose or too tight, the RED light comes on and stays on.
14 2000 and 2001 models already have the larger bore wheel cylinders, so there is no need to put on the 1 ton chevy cylinders. this is a good mod for older model rams, but check you fits.
every once in a while, someone asks for pictures of the brakes. so here's some.
here's the NEEDLE NOSE VISE GRIPS you need for a rusty adjusting nut. i think its a Stanley brand from walmart, maybe in an assorted package.
these pics are drivers side.
these pics are passenger side.
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01 1500 Reg Cab 4wd 5.2 auto 3.55 285/75/16 steps tow hooks sc3815 180 3923 trans cooler filter posilok powertrax (removed) timbren britebox pioneer head rockford amp speaker cobra cb firestick hughes plenum water pump timing chain oil pump rear main hub bearings brakes shocks cracked dash cad bushings seals ujoints trackbar tcase Robert Griffin Trans
Last edited by dhvaughan; 01-10-2012 at 12:48 AM..
I just put new wheel cylinders (drivers side was leaking), pads, drum and hardware (springs, etc..) on both sides of my 2001 Ram 1500 today.
I ran into the same problem you did! Even with the star "adjuster" wheel set all the way back, I couldn't get the drum over the new shoes!!!! I finally saw your post and loosened the emergency brake adjuster next to the fuel tank and presto!
The only other issue that I ran into, was when I was taking off the lug nuts, one of the steel studs broke. Oh joy! Oh well, knocked the broken one out with a steel hammer, ran down to O'Reilly's and bought a new one for $2.39.
Next chore will be the front brakes. But, I am more used to disc brakes than I am drum brakes! Hoping that goes much smoother!