Replacing brake drums - already have new brake shoes - change them too?

My car is a 2000 Corolla CE with 51k miles that I bought a couple of months ago. I had steering wheel vibration when it braked so I replaced a couple of parts last month and it reduced the vibration but it is still there on hard brakes.

I replaced the brake shoes last month. The drums are really rusted so this weekend I will plan to replace them. However, since I got new brake shoes last month…do I need to replace them too? Have they been damaged/affected by the rusted drums?

They have probably worn according to the wear pattern of the old drums. You could try to re-use them since they are relatively new but, if it were me, I’d replace them too.

I don’t know what kind of brakes you have in the rear (disc or drum), but I do know you have disc brakes in the front, and that is the likely source of the pulsation. Disc brakes don’t have drums. They have rotors. Warped rotors lead to pulsation in the brake pedal or shaking of the steering wheel when you apply the brakes.

Drum brakes rarely warp and cause pulsation, mainly because they are exclusively used on the rear wheels (where little braking takes place) on some modern economy cars. The majority of the braking happens up front (roughly 70%) with roughly 30% of the braking happening at the rear wheels.

There might be no need to replace parts. You can get the rotors resurfaced (“turned”) to see if the problem goes away. In fact, a mechanic can look at the rotors, measure them for warping, and if necessary, turn them. Installing new drums on the back brakes is unlikely do solve your problem, and you’ll waste money in the process. I recommend you get your front brake rotors turned if there is enough metal left on them to cut a new surface on them.

One would assume he’d know the difference between a drum and a disk, after he has replaced them himself, no?

Sorry, I should’ve mentioned:
When I had the steering vibration, I replaced the rotors, front brake pads, brake fluid, brake shoes…the only thing I did not change is the drums. After doing all this, the vibration is greatly reduced…most of the time it does not even happen…sometimes it can happen frequently.

It vibrates when slamming the brakes from high speed…so i’m assuming it’s the drums. The drums are really really rusted…I’m guessing that 30% braking is what is causing the vibration.

There is no reason the rear brake drums would make the steering wheel shake. You have a front end problem, and it could be that whoever turned the rotors for you didn’t do it correctly. If what was causing the shaking was coming from the back, you’d feel it in the back, not at the steering wheel.

It could also be that if you do a lot of “slamming the brakes from high speed” (which, for most people is a rare circumstance), you’ve already warped your new rotors. Aggressive driving styles can make the rotors warp faster than non-aggressive driving styles.

Good info, I thought previously the drums affected the steering wheel. Anyways, I put in brand new wearever rotors but it probably is warped out of the box since it was cheap.

However, since I have really bad front struts, I’ll try replacing those first. I do have some vibrations of the car which I think is a strut/tire issue.

BTW, slamming on the brakes from high speed is a good thing for the brakes. It keeps deposits from building up on the rotors and reduces the vibration when hitting the brakes. I do this every so often just to condition my brakes.

I have the original rear drums and rotors on my 89 Mustang GT, with 113k I just change the pads and shoes and flush the brake fluid every few years. Never had anything turned. After I change the brakes, I take the car on a lonely road doing about 55 and do an almost panic stop ( no locking ) a few times to seat everything. Never had a problem.

There is a highway between Tlaxcala and Puebla, Mexico. For many miles there is a speed bump every so many hundred yards. A few years ago, before the richest man in the world built Arco Norte, the Mexico city bypass, I had to drive through there. That is so frustrating.

That was the first time since I first got disk brakes that I had brake fade. Slam on the brakes, go over the speed bump. floor it until the next one. Over and over.

Then, once there was like no brakes on the next speed bump. Just like I used to have on my old drum front brakes.

So, when I needed to replace the rotors, my SIL found me some racing rotors on the Internet. I forget what you call them, they got holes all over them, maybe slotted and drilled, not sure.

Man, I got brakes! Brakes in the mountains! Brakes in the city! Brakes on the speed bumps. It just stops! I highly recommend them. And, they didn’t cost any more than Toyota OEM rotors.

Rotors is not a place to cut corners.

And, I think I have ceramic pads, if that makes sense.

The slotted and cross-drilled rotors are able to dissipate heat more effectively

Thus, less brake fade

So I took 2 ready mount Gabriel front struts to my mechanic to install…he charged me $280 to install them and told me it is not an easy job. Hour of labor is $94 for him.

Of course I know in reality it’s a 45 min easy job since the struts are fully assembled…but he does have the shop expenses to pay…so was this a good price overall?

Yes, $280 seems a reasonable rate to pay for labor on this job.


It might be a good idea to have your alignment checked now

It might be slightly off after changing out the struts

The alignment is off slightly. Based on a 12 clock, the steering wheel would be at 11:57.

I will hold off on the alignment because I still have a creaking noise when going over bumps…I made a new post regarding it but it has to be approved first.


“creaking noise when going over bumps” . . . could be sway bar bushings

Could also be control arm bushings

I’m planning on replacing these parts on Monday (part names according to autozone):
Both front lower control arms
Both front stabilizer end links
Both front lower ball joints
Both Rear struts

How many hours would this job take? I’m estimating 8 hours.

They come with the bushings so that is good. However, they are “Duralast” brand…not sure how they will hold up against OE parts.

I’m confused about the control arm.
The moog control arm here:

Is different from

Which is the correct one? To me, the control arm is just a plate that mounts underneath…I think the first one is wrong?


That list of stuff will add up to a lot of money

I recommend that you replace the sway bushings first . . . cheap and not too complicated

I mentioned them already, but you didn’t respond

The first control arm (fragment-3) is 100% wrong. It is an upper arm for a truck

The second one appears to be a Toyota lower control arm

However, I don’t think your ball joints and control arms could be that bad

Worn stabilizer links tend to make a knocking noise, NOT a squeaking noise

Thankfully they were all out of control arms :slight_smile:

Tomorrow I will ask the mechanic to replace both front ball joints with new moog ones and also the rear struts. It should be a 7-8 hour job in “mechanic” terms right (even though it actually takes 3 hours tops)?

The reason I suspected the ball joint instead of the stabilizer links is because when I press down (bounce test) on the car…there is no sound. When I hit a “non arched” bump, there is no noise. As soon as I go over an “arched” bump, there is noise. Since it is a lower ball joint which is load bearing, at some point while going over the “arched” bump, it loses the load bearing which causing that noise. Unfortunately I did not have the proper tools to test by trying to pry the ball joint while the car is jacked.


The lower ball joints are NOT load bearing on a Corolla

The lower ball joints are load bearing on a vehicle with upper and lower arms . . . not yours

However, it is possible that they are worn

What about those sway bar bushings?