Drum Brake Removal

I popped out to the garage this evening to put away my recent delivery of detailing products and before I knew it I was kneeling on the floor swearing at the rear drum brakes ! It’s amazing how easy it is to get distracted by the car and end up loosing an hour or two pulling parts off of it.

I had removed the drums on my other Cinquecento so knew what was hiding inside, along with the technique required to get the drum off. The best method I found was to screw a couple of bolts in to the two smaller holes left by the locating pin and and securing bolt.

Removing the drum

You then slowly screw each bolt in to the drum, gradually the drum is pushed away from the back plate and eventually pops off.

The drum is off !

You are now left with the inner workings exposed, now this brake had been dragging and when the drum popped off it also pulled one of the stuck shoes with it, which you can see here.

Inner workings of a drum brake

Shoe falling out

Now the hard part, which is removing the two return springs, one at the top and one on the bottom of the shoes. After a few choice words along with a bit of huffing and puffing the springs were off, the shoes then came out easy as pie.

Take your shoes off

Next in line to come off was the hand brake actuator, as I expected this was seized solid and is a common problem on both the Fiat Cinquecento and Seicento. Unfortunately to remove the actuator the brake cylinder needed to come out, the bolt connecting the brake pipe to the cylinder was seized solid. I decided to just cut the brake pipe near the very end that way I can easily make another and use this one as a template, I dare say it had gone porous anyway. A couple of bolts later and the cylinder was off along with the actuator, this left me with just the back plate attached to the car.

Back plate

Drum brakes are very simple yet very effective, these are all the parts which made up the drum brake.

Brake parts

The majority of these parts will be replaced with new ones, the only part I will refurbish is the drum as it only has a bit of surface rust on the out side, there isn’t even a lip on the inside!

So my trip to the garage to put away some detailing products ended up with me completely stripping down one of the drums. Still it beats watching Eastenders !

11 thoughts on “Drum Brake Removal”

  1. springs very difficult. managed to put a screwdriver blade between coils of lower spring and forced them apart. when replacing I elongated the holes a bit….TOWARDS THE FRICTION MATERIAL and used a loop of strong cord round the hooked end. I was able to remove the fulcrum levers quite easily without removing the cylinders. I expected a 1 hour job per side at most. One side took two hours. Next one should be easier. Haynes shows spring being gripped with a pair of pliers and pulling sideways. Mr Haynes clearly has stronger hands than I. I will buy a fine- nosed Mole grip to see if that will grip the spring without slipping. Once the springs are off it is fairly easy. (I thought motor bike centre- stand springs were tricky). Joe.

  2. The rear brakes on my Seicento are locked solid after the car being off the road for 12 months. I’m no mechanic and have tried giving them some serious grief with a large hammer but still not moving. I will try your method of two bolts screwed in to force it off. Can you tell me what size I will need?



    1. Hi Scott, I would expect to find the hand brake actuator arms seized. If you remove them you should be able to free them up and can then grease them to keep the arms from seizing again.

  3. Lazybones 51

    Many thanks for the speedy reply. I’ll try to free up the actuator arms, and have a root through my nuts and bolts jar.

    Thanks again


  4. Hi i have removed the horizontal springs but how do you release the spring behind each pad the ones that hold the shoe to the back of the drum case????

    1. Hi David,

      I’m not sure what you mean? The shoes are on little posts, the shoes should just pull off when the two big springs are removed.

  5. Everything went well, when I replaced the drumbrakes of my seicento (1999), but when i tried to re-attach the drums, I could’nt turn the wheel. Everything is stuck, when I tighten the 2 small bolts in the drum. Are the brake-shoes a little wider?
    And an other question: I’ve got 2 sizes of springs. The biggest ones should be on top?
    Rear brake set was bought on Ebay

    1. There should be adjusters on the shoes that you can reset to get the drum back on, unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the mechanism. Yes from memory I do believe the bigger spring goes on top.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *