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Thread: 98 Ford Contour Rear Drum Brake Removal.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default 98 Ford Contour Rear Drum Brake Removal.

    Hi there, I have the Haynes 36006 manual for ford contour and mercury mystique 95-2000 models and page 9-6 seems to want to tell me how to remove my rear brake drum but it seems incomplete. The automatic adjuster mechanism it refers to, with tension on it, seems to only lock up the wheel but doesn't make it any easier (or possible~) to pull off the brake drum. I also noticed that in addition to the rubber grommet mentioned in the manual (a circular one "near the center of the back plate") there is a longer, more rectangular rubber grommet that is pictured on a couple of other websites to actually be the adjuster mechanism referred to. It seems I can apply a screwdriver to that hole as well and get basically the same result (locking up the wheel when force is applied), but I am still confused as to how I am supposed to get the brake drum off; I have tried everything from gentle tapping with a padded hammer to heavy blows with a padded hammer and a chock of wood but it doesn't seem like that's the answer.. it's probably something simple on the inside that I am missing with the screwdriver(??) and thus not retracting the shoes properly, but the book is unclear and I'm still confused.
    The brake job, by the way was the result of running low on brake fluid one day, noticing a pool of brake fluid around the driver's rear tire, refilling the brake fluid, running even lower, which led to bad braking pressure, and a nearly empty master cylinder followed by a brake bleeding and subsequent refilling of the brake fluid in the system, to yet another pool of brake fluid a few days later on the driver's rear tire, low braking pressure, and a conclusion of a bad wheel cylinder(?probably?-and probably shoes too). I want to do it myself but I can't get the blasted drum off! Maybe clear up these 2 illustrations and (essentially) 2 steps in the manual which aren't working for me? Any help would be welcome and appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    Hi BBoop,

    I think you're on the right track, but perhaps you're turning the adjuster cam the wrong way. It's hard to describe because what you're doing is hidden, but take a look at illustration 6.2o - the teeth on that cam is what you're attempting to move with the screwdriver. In the Ford Contour factory service manual, there's an illustration that shows moving the handle of the screwdriver towards the front of the car after it's been engaged with the teeth of the adjuster.

    Also, sometimes the drum gets fused with rust to the hub flange; spraying some penetrating oil around the hub flange and wheel studs can help loosen that up.

    It does sound like your wheel cylinder is bad. You'll have to replace the brake shoes, too, because once they get wet with brake fluid, they're no good. You should do both sides, not just the bad one.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Figured it out

    Turns out, I was rotating the adjuster the right way, I just wasn't beating on it while holding the adjuster out. Adjuster screw is kind of misleading, at least in this case, as it isn't much of a screw, but more of a lever action ratchet. It seems like the brakes shouldn't look as *dirty* as they do but I suppose it's grease(?). I can't tell if the shoes have had any contact with brake fluid from the cylinder but there is definitely an accumulation of brake fluid evidence directly below the cylinder. Still going to replace the shoes as per the book instructions and hopefully passenger side won't be so tough. Learning is fun

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