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Stuck drums?

02 saturn vue rear brake drums are stuck. i tried to remove drum by using a hammer but i found the trailing arm mounting point on frame rail did not like the force. due to rust. my question is if i am afraid to beat on drum due to rust issues than a shop will probably have the same trouble? so take it in for a review and see if they feel it is safe to apply force? or maybe cut off drum face with torch?
drum spins fine. its not a brake shoe ridge issue. the drum face is fused to the bearing hub flange.

There are various methods that have been tried, some more successful than others. I assume you already tried spraying lots of penetrating fluid around the studs and other parts?

Youtube as tons of good videos. Try this one:

If the suspension is so rusted that it can’t stand the force you are using to free the drum, I think you have a much bigger problem than what you are asking about. You should have someone with knowledge of frames and rust issues look at the underside of your car, because you may be gambling with your life.


This is a bigger problem than the drum. It needs to be addressed.

I recently had to beat the drums off my Camry. It took a couple of preparatory steps. One, using a wire wheel on my drill, I cleaned up the seam around the hub center. Then I applied Deep Creep around all the studs as well as the hub seam. Just enough at a time to allow it to creep into the interfaces. You don’t need it running down off the thing. Give it a couple of love taps and repeat the process. It also helps to strike the face of the drum/edges to rock it free. Put the lug nuts back on to help protect the studs. Not Arnold force, use judgement. After a couple of applications and about 15 minutes of soak time, remove the drum with more forceful strikes but again not medieval levels…

The last few vehicles I owned that had drums - the drums had threaded holes in them to screw in a couple of bolts that help remove the drums. My wifes Accords and my Pathfinders had that.

Look for threaded holes on the side of the drum. If they’re there, you can use a couple bolts with matching threads to tighten them and the drum will come off easily when you tighten down those bolts. If they’re not there, I’ve had limited success prying drums off, with a large flat head screwdriver, but you’re going to have to be patient, working your way around the drum and gently prying it off in a way that leaves the brake shoes intact. It’s easy to damage other components using the prying method if you’re not careful.

You could try spraying some penetrating oil in there to release the hold of the rusted/fused components, but that means you’ll want to thoroughly clean all the components before you reassemble everything.

I think that, that statement is worth repeating.
Get that thing through a thorough inspection with regards to safety.

Make sure the e-brake is “off” before you remove the drums.Gently rock the drum until it comes off the shoes.

Those are discussed in another thread. I’ve never had any luck using those jack screw holes. They strip out before the drum budges. There’s probably only 4 threads in there due to the thickness of the drum face and mine are rusted on tight. If the drums were removed on a more frequent basis they might work but mine go at least a couple years between removal…

I agree with the use of penetrating oil, and some heat is helpful. I just pound the heck out of them with a heavy rubber mallet, on the sides where the shoes rub, not on the face. You probably won’t hurt them, but if you do they are cheap enough at your local boneyard.

And why should the drums at the junkyard be any easier to remove . . . ?

for that matter, they might be out of round and/or beyond the maximum allowable diameter

If you damage drums during the removal process, in my opinion it’s best to just replace them with new drums of decent quality. For example, factory, bendix or wagner, versus low cost house brand

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Replacing bad drums with drums from a boneyard?

You may end up cutting the drum off. But before that soak the circular hub area in some penetrating rust busting fluid. The longer the better, at least 24 hours. While the soaking is going on, back off the shoes using the retraction mechanism adjuster the most you can retract them. Just b/c the wheel spins freely doesn’t mean there’s no shoe interference when pulling the hub at a 90 degree angle to the spinning direction. Make the drum removal job as easy as possible doing whatever simple things are available to you. I’m not a big fan of whacking the drums & rotors with a huge hammer myself, worry about collateral damage; but I’ll admit to giving them a little love tap, tapping on both the face of the drum and the side. Heat is often effective, the heat increases the drum to a larger diameter so that has to help, but allow quite a bit of time for the heat to get where it needs to go. Repeated heating followed by cooling cycles can be helpful to break rust bonds too. One time I had a stuck rotor on my VW Rabbit that wouldn’t yield at all to the hammer method, but fell off all by itself after a couple hours of heating/cooling sessions. Brake drums can really soak up a lot of heat, by design of course, so patience is required. I successfully removed a drum recently using the two bolt hole idea posted above. It came off slick as a whistle once I retracted the shoes. But it wasn’t rusted on nearly as much like yours seems to be. As I recall I used 5/16" bolts (standard thread I think), driven by a 1/2 inch socket. If you don’t have those holes in the drum already, I suppose it might be possible to drill and tap your own holes and push the drum off. Doing that might ruin the drum of course. There are drum pulling tools available. Ask your local parts source if they rent them. Follow the diy’ers maxim at all times: One must never yield to a brake drum. :wink:

I was impressed with the way this person was trying to keep the 02 Saturn on the road, and so I suggested using recycled drums. Sorry if that isn’t a great idea, I do know it’s not, but sometimes people are working close to the financial edge.