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Opeler
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help! I can't seem to get the rear brake drums off of my 70 GT. According to the manual you just have to remove the wheels and then pull the drums off. Is there something I am missing because it won't budge.:confused:
 

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Did you remember to release the emergency brake? Surprising how many people forget to do this......

Probably though, the drum has rusted itself onto the flange of the rear axle, OR the drums have worn enough to have a 'lip' that keeps the shoes from getting past it. In which case, you must adjust the shoes so they are retracted (17mm bolt head on the backing plate, one front and rear per side). If the drum has rusted in place however, then you should probably soak the center hole/hub area with penetrating oil (PB Blaster works awesome) and then basically pound the heck out of the drum with a hammer. I tend to strike the outer edge with a fairly heavy hammer while rotating the drum, trying to 'shock' it loose.

Bob
 

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Opeler
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Released the parking brake, backed off the brakes, beat the heck out of it with a hammer. Drum will turn so I know the brakes are not tight, but haven't tried the penetrating oil. Have some PB's. Will try tomorrow.
 

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I had that same problem with mine when I put in new brakes, I couldn't get the drums back off. It turned out that the adjusting nut only needs to be turned about a quarter of a turn to be backed off; more than that and you're tightening them up again.

If the penetrating oil doesn't work you might have to go the way of the Fire Wrench. Not the cutting torch, the propane one. You could try to get the area around the hub warm so it expands so it comes off.
 

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I had the same problem about a week ago. I am a newbie not just to Opels but in car mechanics in general. So I know I'm going to get alot of flak for this but after a week on and off plus a post at this site I could not get the drums off. I was told to carefuly wack the side of the drum acouple of times plus penetrating oil to no avail. I sat down for a bit and thought the dumbest thing the damn drum won't come off because maybe the parking break ingaged may be the problem---it was!!! I went back and disinngaged the parking brake and they came right off!! All you old-timers can laugh your @$$es off now.
 

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It may be that the drums are so worn down that there is a lip on the edge of the drum. The brake shoes migght be catching on this lip, and no amount of adjusting, pounding, or penetrating oil will get it to come off. If this is the case, the drum is toast anyway, and a cutting torch will be the most expedient way to get it off. Of course if you do that, it would be a good idea to replace ALL the brake hardware. (I finally got it off by using a pry bar- until the springs holding it snapped. Of course i bent the backing plate, so i had to replace it.)

I learned this lesson on my first vehicle, a '63 Ford P/U. I spent almost a month trying to get the d*mn thing off. My Dad was laughing the whole time because he knew exactly what the problem was, but he wanted me to learn for myself. I figured i would help you out, unlike my dad!
 

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alternatly...

If you don't have a torch, and have resigned yourself to replacing the drum anyway, a cold chisel can be used to crack/break the drum between each of the lug studs. This will *usually* seperate the "drum" from the part in the center that is stuck on the hub. Once the drum is removed, another crack from the center to one of the lug studs will break the center part enough for removal.

Please use jack stands and goggles when using a hammer on the wheels. I once spent 6 hours in a Navy hospital with a metal chip in my eye and wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Being pinned under a Kadett for 3 hours is no fun either.
 

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How to Remove Those Damn Drums!

I had a chance to try some these ideas out myself this week. I "found" a Kadett rear end at the local PYP, and wanted to recover the drums for Kat. But they were seized on.

I made sure that the adjuster were backed off, and the parking brake was loose, since the rear end was out of the car. I tried getting the drums off a bunch of times by prying between the drum and the backing plate, but they would NOT come off, but I could see that they were being held by the hub, not the shoes, by the way the drum was flexing. Then I took Ben's advice, and just heated the center part of the drum with a propane torch. Not red hot, but still pretty hot. Then I stuck two big screw drivers in between the drum and the backing plate, put a bit of stretch in both, and pulled one out quickly. The drum banged back in, and the shock loosened the drum from the hub. When I replicated the procedure on the other side, it came off first try. Way better than renting a drum puller!
 

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Opeler
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the advice. Unfortunately, the Opel is now in storage for the winter. Thought we were going to get bad weather here and didn't have room to work on the car without having to move everything else out of the garage. I wish I would have known 6 weeks ago that we weren't going to get any snow. Probably could have had the car running by now. Oh well, looking forward to spring and a new garage. Probably could have even gotten a new garage built this fall if I had known the weather would be this great. More time to get organized and decide what parts to get.
 

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Opeler
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Keith, the torch trick with 2 screwdrivers worked great. Finally getting to work on my GT after nearly 2 years of ownership. Only had to build a new garage, convert the old garage to a family room/bathroom/utility room and add a porch to the house. Now after a year of remodeling I get to work on the car. I am determined to get to drive this thing before summer is over.
 

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Opeler
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...and the next time

Here's an added tip, once the drums are freed - and you start the re-assembly: I like to dab a small (read - VERY thin) coating of anti-seize compound on the face of the hub to the extent that it will serve as the slightest moisture barrier between the two metal surfaces. Don't be overly generous, as that stuff isn't something you want slinging around inside of the drum! Over the years I've done a number of brake jobs where the drum released quite easily, and I was greeted by a thin remnant of compound between the drum and hub. Anyway, it works for me...
 

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varryparry said:
Thanks Keith, the torch trick with 2 screwdrivers worked great. Finally getting to work on my GT after nearly 2 years of ownership. Only had to build a new garage, convert the old garage to a family room/bathroom/utility room and add a porch to the house. Now after a year of remodeling I get to work on the car. I am determined to get to drive this thing before summer is over.
You are welcome. But taking almost two years to remove two brake drums is almost as slow as my various Opel projects :)
 

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Opeler
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Hmmm...you don't suppose there is a common link between the 'DIY' gene most Opelers seem to exhibit, and the earlier posted report linking marital fidelity to Opel ownership?? In my case, approximately one year ago my wife wrecked her DD. I dutifully rebuilt and repainted her boo-boo, as any loyal spouse would at least be inclined to do. As summer approached, I was literally frothing in anticipation of rolling the Kadett wagon out and getting elbow-deep into the body work needed. Turning the corner, if you will. Aaahhh...beads of sweat would roll down my balding forehead, and it wasn't due to the Midwestern humidity...but then - at one year to the day - she smacked the opposite side!!! With good fortune, no one was injured in either fender bender, and being a year older and wiser I can anticipate each step.

I can also anticipate a narrow window of opportunity, in that in less than three years...her daughter will be behind the wheel.

We do what we can, and also what we have to! Hang in there!
 

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Pathologic Opeler
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no parking brake..using rocks right now on the co. lot

i have no parking brake. it was working . then i changed my rear springs, i tried not to over stretch the cable when i loosened the panhard rod and shocks to drop the spring buckets. parking brake worked fine..so i didnt think i hurt anything in the spring change.

this week i lost it, no parking brake,,i crawled under the car and tighted the yoke a full 1 1/2 inches on the thread adjuster..no difference.

cable looks fine in the yoke, extends back normally

1-whats my next steP?
2- how do i decide which drum cover to pull?

opledean AKA "the key meister"
 

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boomerang opeler
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2nd first reach in to your pocket ,take out a coin and heads or tails

1st second you are going to the right place as it must be a cable / brake shoe interface (thats a good word for a tuesday must be a good sign for the pub quiz tonight ) problem
 

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OPEL-LESS!!!
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i wonder if the rear shoes are just so far out of adjustment that even the Ebrake wont work. if you pull the Ebrake handle all the way up, can you pump your brake pedal up to become higher also?
 

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Dean, Jared's on the right track. The rear brakes have to be adjusted before the e-brake is adjusted. What I've done before, is to loosen the cable completely, then adjust the rear shoes, on jack stands, of course, then pull the e-brake handle up 3 clicks. Tighten the nut on the equalizer until the shoes start rubbing on the drums. Then before you take the car off the stands, pull up all the way one the e-brake handle. If it stops before 8 clicks and the rear wheels are locked, you're good to go. If not you may have to compromise between the initial 3 clicks up and the 8 clicks up to make sure the wheels are locked when the e-brake is applied and the wheels turn free with minimal wiping when the brake is released. HTH.
 

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Pathologic Opeler
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cable came off hook of parking brake

here is the problem, the drum tapped off fine. cable is off hook. there is a leaded ball on the end of a spring.
I have no parking brake, brakes seem fine otherwise.

What do I do next?
 

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Dean, there are 2 styles of brake. one has a hook on the E brake lever and then there is one that has a hook on the E brake cable. The picture is showing newer brakes with an older E brake cable that don't interchange.
 

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No problem really, you just need to make a decision. You have 'late' brake shoes with an 'early' brake cable. You either need to swap the cable to a later cable or the shoes to the early style.

You could actually swap the e-brake arm from your old shoes onto the new shoes, it just takes a little finesse.

Bob
 
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