How to fit standard size brake shoes to bigger size drums. (Drums that have been skimmed)

Sooner or later your drums will need to be cut due to wear and ovality, which will make the diameter bigger and the end result is that you’ll have to match the brake shoes to the newly cut drums.

How to make bigger shoes?

There are two ways that you can make your shoes bigger. The first option is to strip the brakes off the car and take the old shoes in so that bigger linings can be fitted to the old shoes. Doing it this way will mean that you will be without a car for at least a day.

The second option is a lot quicker and easier. Buy a set of new brake shoes in advance. These shoes will be standard size and too small to fit correctly. Here is how to make them fit:

1. Strip the drums and clean off dust etc.

2. Place new shoes one by one in the drum. They are hardly ever all 4 the same size.

3. Shoes should fit snug with a 1mm cap at either end. See drawing.

4. If the gaps are too big, use a German type hammer and stretch metal part of shoe until it fits snug in the drum

The advantage of using the second option is that not only is it easy to do yourself, but running in time is reduced. The brakes will be more effective almost immediately and wear and tear will be more evenly spread. Don’t forget to adjust your brakes regularly, as this will make them last longer.

Werner Alker

The gap between the shoe and the drum should be about 1mm

Brake shoe fits snug with 1mm gap at the ends – Correct

Brake shoe fits loose with big gap- Incorrect