C1 Corvette: How to change the brake pads

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Remove the Old

Jack up the vehicle and safely place jack stands. Remove the brake drum. Remove the brake adjusting screw by having someone pull the bottom of the shoes apart while you remove the screw. Use a needle nose pliers to remove the retaining ring for the primary and secondary shoes. Also remove the parking brake lever and the parking brake cable. Remove the primary and secondary shoes from the backing plate. Lastly remove the wheel cylinder.

Install the New

Parts You Will Require (kits available and recommended)

one quart of Dot-3 brake fluid

primary and secondary riveted brake shoes

rubber flex hoses

new wheel cylinders

shoe adjustment hardware

shoe hold-down hardware

5/8-inch wrench

1/2- inch wrench

3/8 line wrench

needle-nosed pliers (prefer pliers with a 45-degree angle)

flat-blade screw driver


Rebuilding the rear brakes on your C1 Corvette requires about one hour of your time for each side.

1) Prior to installing the brake cylinder, apply some WD-40 onto the pushrod and push the pushrod into the cylinder.

2) When installing the cylinder onto the backing plate, be sure you do not put it on incorrectly. It is on correctly if you can install the brakeline into the back of the cylinder.

3) Note: there are two different brake shoes. The front, or primary, shoe is the one with the shortest brake pad; the rear, or secondary shoe, has the longer pad.

4) Locate the special bolt for the parking brake lever. It is different because it has a shoulder. Put a little grease on the shoulder and insert it through the parking brake lever.

5) Now that the bolt is through the lever, place it into the secondary brake pad and tighten the nut on the bolt, which passes through the parking brake lever and the secondary shoe.

6) Take off the parking brake cable if it is still attached to the backing plate. With only the cable passing through the backing plate, put the end of the cable into the parking brake lever.

7) Install the secondary shoe onto the backing plate, making sure you first insert the shoe into the cylinder pushrod. Next, in order to install the retaining spring, insert the pin through the back of the backing plate and then through the shoe. Install the small spring, then the locking retainer. Push on the retainer and then turn it one-quarter turn.

8) Now that the shoe is locked in, find the shoe retaining plate and install the plate on the top pin of the backing plate. Next mount the top brake shoe retaining spring. Use a needle-nose pliers to pull it up, then onto the stud.

9) Install the parking brake shoe lever, which actuates the primary brake pad. The passenger-side lever has the spring pointing to the primary shoe.

10) Use the same method as you did for the secondary (rear) pad to install the front (primary) pad. When the shoe is installed, mount the parking brake lever for the primary shoe. After you have mounted the lever, mount the shoe retaining spring exactly as you did for the rear (secondary) shoe.

11) You may require some help with the next step. Install the little shoe tension spring, which rests between the bottom of the shoes. Have a friend pull apart the bottom of the shoes as you insert the adjusting screw. Align the star part of this screw to the hole in the back of the backing plate. This allows you to adjust the brakes when the brake drums are mounted.

12) Last steps: Mount the drums and adjust the pads. After this, bleed the brakes. You now have a brake rebuild about which you can feel confident.

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