DIY Drum brake issues

I recently attempted to change the rear brakes on my 2001 Ford Ranger (9" drums). I did the research, had the tools, and even photographed the mechanics (of the brakes, not me) before I dismantled it. I reassembled everything and when I went to replace the drum, it would not fit over the pads. Everything on top was seated firmly and the adjustment screw at the bottom was backed all the way in (I think). I had issues with the parking brake but was able to resolve that. It just seems as if there is too much meat on the new pads. I had to reassemble it using the old hardware and it went together fine. Am I just not using a big enough hammer to get the dumb drum back on?

PS I did compare parts beforehand and they all matched


leading and trailing shoes.

new pads?

on drums?

short shoe (not pad on the front) it is a duo servo sys.

If the self adjusters are all the way in back off the park brake adjuster. It could also be the rust ridge on the opening of the drum is preventing installation.

The shoes might not have been centered. That is, there is some play that allows them to slide up and down even though the tops and bottoms of the shoes are retracted as far as they can go. If they are slid up too high or low or both shoes aren’t even with each other, the drum won’t fit over them. I hope my description wasn’t too confusing.

Did you check that the parking brake cable was fully released.I worked at a brake chain (Brake Masters here in AZ.) I saw more mechanics challenged by rear drum brakes than any other service we provided.I dont think the mechanics were technically challenged it was you were pressured to preform very fast.

As two folks already mentioned, check that the leading shoe on both wheels has the smaller shoe material, and second,that the parking brake cable adjuster is backed off along with the brake adjuster between the shoes.

Also check the backing plates for the brake shoes. The backing plates have stamped bosses that the brake shoes ride against. If the these bosses on the backing plates aren’t lubed, or if a burr has developed on the bosses that prevent the brake shoes from retracting fully, it can make it difficult to install the brake drum.


Sometimes that link between the front and rear shoe isn’t in right or it is just riding wrong on the parking brake lever.