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Known Techniques to Remove Very Stubborn Locked Rear Brake Drum

I have a 1996 Buick Century. The left rear brake locks up at mostly random times but occasionally when I switch from reverse to forward. While driving Im able to free it for maybe 10 minutes by repeatedly switching from Drive to Reverse. Its then only rubbing slightly but minutes later I’ll get out on the freeway and it starts completeley locking up at 60mph! (Which at that high speed has no effect but smoke a helluva lot)

The problem is that I tried to bleed the brake to relieve the pressure but that didn’t work. With brakes bled and valve closed, I cranked the rear brake pedal numerous times and suddenly-releasing it, hoping that that would jar it loose, but to no avail. Switching gears with car running only freed it slightly, but required too much muscle to budge it. I slipped a tire iron between the lug threads and was barely able to turn the wheel around, but that didn’t jar it either. Hitting it with a hammer all around the whole drum STILL didn’t jar it loose!

Am I gonna need a 10lb sledgehammer or are there other techniques to force that drum off?

Some drums can be a bear to remove.

I have a brake drum puller. And even with that and heating up the drum with a torch the drum still couldn’t be removed.

That’s when 10lb sledge comes out and you shatter the drum.


Loosen the lug nuts and drive it around the block or back and forth.

It sounds like the entire brake assembly is junk and everything will have to be replaced anyway…So have someone cut the drum off with a torch…

The self adjuster must be screwed in to release the drum.

"The self adjuster must be screwed in to release the drum. "

Right…But I suspect things have gone beyond that point…It’s worth a try though…Hey C-60, look on the bottom of the backing plate for a little port sealed with a rubber plug…Remove the plug(s) and get in there with a brake spoon and see if you can rotate the self-adjuster link. You may have to slide a second tool (a small screwdriver) in there to push the adjuster arm off the link so you can rotate the star wheel and release the brake…

When everything is adjusted loose and it still won’t come off (like when the shoe had worn into the drum so far it couldn’t clear the ridge), we used to drill the heads off the shoe retainers (on the backside of the backing plate) and then pull the entire works off with a drum puller.

GM drums had slots for turning the adjusters but the slots weren’t punched out at the factory. The slots were easily knocked out with a small sharp chisel. I looked up the replacement drums for the OP’s car online and the picture seemed to indicate a round hole at the correct position for the slots, though.

The slot may be located just under the wheel cylinder instead at the bottom of the backing plate. Make sure the parking brake is backing off correctly too. Use a penetrating oil around the hub of the drum and let it soak overnight. The drum should just pop off if all that is done.

I can’t remember what car we had, but it had knockouts too. I finally found them on the front of the drum, but the indent showing where the knockout was , was only about 1/32 inch deep.
One good lick with the 4# sledge and I gave up and got out the torches.
I don’t know how they figured that you’d be able to knock that out.