Could use some help. I'm ready to reassemble my one ton brakes. Everything is back in place and all I have left is to hook up the return spring on each side. The brakes are 14 inch and one spring was in two pieces so I looked around and not finding a one ton spring I ordered a 3/4 ton rear spring from Jim Carter hoping it would be the same. I found that the "barrel of the 3/4 ton was 1/2" shorter which made the spring 1/2" shorter overall than the original spring. Then I ordered a pair of one ton springs from Jim Carter that we're back ordered. They arrived and were the same length as the 3/4 ton spring ordered earlier. Original one ton spring is 7 1/2" long. Both 3/4 and one ton springs ordered are all 7" long. Should I be using these? How critical is this and are 3/4 ton rear drums also 14" or are they 12"? Also, the regular spring puller tool loaned to me is too weak on these springs. Is the vice grip and fulcrum technique the only way or is there a beefed up tool out there somewhere? With the 7" spring I have to pull it about 1 1/2" to hook it. Thanks for any help out there! Ricster
So if you have an original rear spring, it would be helpful to know if the tension is less when streched than the new spring. Those things are a challenge for me too. I have one tool that clearly bends and the other one is usually in the process of bending when I manage to hook the spring!
Hooking the rear brake springs on my 2 ton 1950 COE is one of the hardest things I have ever done on any of my trucks. Vice grips at right angle and pulling as hard as I can is the technique I use.
I would try using the new springs as I doubt you could hurt anything. In addition to size, the temper of the steel will determine the strength of the spring. You may find they are easier to stretch than your original one. And if they are harder, but you can re-install them, they should work. Good luck, Kent
You guys are great! I didn't want to move ahead without some reassurance. Truckernix, you make me curious , so before installing I'm going to set up an experiment to compare the tension. I think I'll stretch all three and compare. Will let you know. And Kent, I was concerned if the springs were too strong because of being shorter and stretched further, that they might effect the function. I'm sure some may laugh since they have done it repeated times but being my first, I appreciate the feedback. Ricster
Here's a sneaky trick- - - - -use a piece of big all-thread rod (1/2" maybe) and a couple of nuts and washers with holes drilled to catch the hooked ends of the spring, and stretch it out close to the length needed to engage the brake shoes. Then stick flat washers between the spring coils to keep it stretched. Once the spring is hooked into the holes in the shoes, slip the washers out one at a time. Jerry
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Interesting! The spring has to be stretched two inches to engage the second hook end into the hole of the second shoe. I had noticed before disassembling anything that the spring hooks were always hooked form opposing sides. One from the back and one from the front. Thought it could be one persons preference. Is that important or does it even matter? Ricster
If Ya'll are going to work on drum brakes, you really should get a brake tool. Once you know how, you'll wonder why you never got one before!! It really does beat tryin to kill yourselves with vise grips or other non-worthy tools.
The way I used to do drum brakes (most everything on the fleet is disc these days except for the heavies which still have foundation brakes), was to install the shoes with the hold down springs. One that was done, install the bottom spring. THEN, pull on the bottom of one shoe and install the adjuster. After that, you hook one spring in either shoe, and with the long slender side of that brake tool, place the opposite spring hook on the smooth rod portion of the tool. Hook the small little curved "hook" of the end of that rod over the spring stud. Push up and opposite of where the spring is hooked to the shoe. The spring will stretch, then get to the point where it will slide down the rod. At that point it will snap over the spring stud. It goes quick and can surprise first timers. If it's not quite all the way hooked, push it with the end of the tool. Repeat for the last spring. Should take seconds!
By the way, the other arm of the tool is used for taking springs off. Put it over the spring stud, hooking the spring with the little tab. Spin the whole tool. The spring pops off.
I rarely used the plier side of the tool unless there was an oddball spring that needed to be unhooked from the shoe. Usually on the more medium duty or heavy duty trucks.
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
One small trick I recently discovered is to use a small ratchet strap around the shoes (like the drum would go) and tighten it up to bring the shoes in place in the wheel cylinders. Makes the stretch of the Springs more manageable.
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