Replacing drum brake shoes and springs on 1998 Nissan Altima


I am replacing drum brake shoes and springs on my Altima and am having the hardest time getting the spring, this spring has a different design than any that i have seen in the many how to videos I have watched about this… The flat end of the upper spring makes the tricks and tools of getting these springs on not applicable so I am wondering if any of you have your own tricks that you use to get springs like these on. Thank you!

If you’re going to be doing drum brakes, get the right tools.

Makes servicing drum brakes a whole lot easier.


1 Like

Don’t know what you mean by flattened end, don’t see any flattened in the illustration unless you are talking about the end of the hold down pins.


If you’re talking about the hold down pins like Oldtimer mentioned (the shiny ones in the upper left in your picture), you put the pins in from the back, then put the cap deals on the spring, compress the spring against the shoe (I use pliers to hold the caps and just push down) while holding the pin in from the back with my other hand. Then twist the pin into position where the flat part catches in the cap. You have to hold your mouth right, but by the time you get to the 4th one, it’s pretty easy :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.

Or buy the tools like Tester mentioned. I never had a ton of trouble with drum brakes using a couple of flathead screwdrivers, large pliers, and vice grips. Then I discovered a spring pulling tool that came with my kids’ trampoline and that made it a breeze. Now everything I own has disks other than the truck. It has drums in the rear with a single large “spring”. I think they make a tool for it also that I don’t own lol. But, also doable with the aforementioned flatheads, pliers, and vice grips. Although more of a pain.

1 Like

I’ve had trouble getting springs on drum brakes even with the “proper tools”. When they don’t work, I have a small, needle nose vice grip that is my go to tool for the difficult springs.

Sometimes, I find it easier to remove the shoe retainer first. Those springs need to be bent significantly for the tang end to clear the holes they are in and this is really easy when the shoe is loose. Reinstall in reverse. I put the shoe springs on and then mount one shoe. Then stretch the other shoe over and mount it.

1 Like