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Re-Lining Y Type Brake Shoes

Whilst many owners will now opt for the bonded brake shoe, some like myself have stocks of the old riveted linings to use up. The riveted linings must be renewed when the rivets are just below the rubbing surface of the lining; the bonded type must be renewed when down to about 1.5 to 2mm. It is easier to loosen wheel nuts with the wheel on the ground, before the car is jacked up. This is also very true of the YB rear axle brake drum’s Big Nut.


Once loosened, jack up the car and settle it on an axle stand. I find the adjacent Jackall jack an ideal support point for any axle stand. Hydraulic and screw jacks can slip, or settle unnoticed. How do you know you shoes are worn? If you drive as I do, using the engine and gearbox to control speed, but only the brakes to stop, you will get 15,000 miles out of a set of shoes. If you drive as younger drivers are now taught, ‘on the brakes’, you will only get 6-7,000 to a set. The rear shoes will outlast the front set two-to-one, ie the front ones do the most work so wear out sooner.



Using the sequence of photos, the first shows the front wheel removed and the stub-axle nut undone and removed. This is split-pinned so you will need new ones ready. Do not re-use split pins. The dust cap simply comes off by tapping a screwdriver behind the lip, then working the blade around it.


Front wheel removed and stub axle nut undone & removed.YB brake drum removed (puller may be needed).The next shows the brake drum pulled off its stub axle, on the YB. (You may need a puller.)  The YA has a much more logical system where the drum comes off on its own. You need to release the two brake adjusters fully to do this (inside the drum on YB, on the back of the back-plate on YA & YT). Study the drum’s working surface. If it is badly scored you may need new drums, or getting them skimmed.

The next photo shows my front brake linings getting very close to the rivets. If your linings are the old type based on asbestos, you need to wear a paper mask. Do not inhale the dust anyway, a small vacuum cleaner is handy here. Removing the shoes, just pull them both out towards you at the same time. The adjusters will fall off as will the springs. NOTE HOW THE SPRINGS WERE FITTED FIRST. On the YB twin-leading-shoe brakes, the down-facing cylinders piston may well fall out. (See the other article on how to free up brake cylinders in the Technical Information Section or via this link.. YA/YT & YB Brakes ( In Old Age ) . On cars fitted with aluminium brake cylinders, the steel piston often seizes up, especially on the front brakes.


Front brake linings getting very close to the rivets.Brake shoes removed and in the vice for the heads of the rivets to be drilled off.

Photo 4 above right shows the brake shoes removed and in the vice for the heads of the copper (or brass) rivets to be drilled off. They are soft and a battery drill (cordless) is best as you can control it easier without cutting into the metal brake shoe. If you are fitting new bonded linings, you can skip this bit.

Punch out the old rivets with a nail. Ensure the brake shoe is clean and free of old lining.

Punch out the old rivets with a 4” nail. Ensure the brake shoe is clean and free of any old lining.

Steel bar needed as an 'anvil' for the rivet heads.A rivet is placed on the anvil, then the lining followed by the brake shoe.




The next two photo’s above show the little bar of steel you need as an ‘anvil’ for the rivet heads. It needs to fit snugly into the countersunk lining. Then a rivet is placed on the anvil, then the lining followed by the brake shoe. With the rivet firmly held by the anvil and your other hand holding the shoe, rivet over the head with a small ball-pein hammer neatly.


Then rivet the shoe on from the centre outwards each way. This ensures you do not have any gaps under the lining.


New lining riveted on.

New lining riveted on (above).


Now put the newly lined shoe in the vice as shown below.


File a small champher at each end.Newly lined shoe in vice for champhering.


And (above right) file a small chamfer at each end. This stops the new shoe from ‘squealing’ when the sharp new edge bites into the drum’s surface. If you are fitting bonded shoes, you also need to chamfer their leading edge. I do both ends anyway!


Refit the shoes with the springs to the back of the shoes.Refit the drum and tighten the stub axle nut.


Now refit the shoes (photo above) with the springs to the back of the shoes. Put the adjusters (YB) on first and this will proved to be fiddly. ENSURE YOUR HAND ARE OIL FREE as oily linings do not work very well. If the down-facing piston keeps falling out, hold it in with a thin elastic band. This can be ripped away after.

 Adjust the brake shoes hard on, then one or two clicks back.

Refit the drum (adding some grease to the YB wheel bearings), you may need to centralise the shoes by hand if the drum will not go on; use the outer edge of the back-plate as a guide. Tighten up the stub-axle nut (above right) and fit a new split pin. NOTE that the off-side stub axle is a right-hand-thread, and the nearside (passenger side on a right hand drive car) one is a left-handed-thread. Refit the dust cover.


Fit the wheel, on the YB ensure you align the hole in the wheel with the hole in the drum so you can adjust the brakes easily. (photo left).


Adjust the brake shoes hard on, then one or two clicks back. Stamp on the brake pedal, and the drum should rotate freely (when the brake pedal is released). If not find out why. (Sometimes new linings touch the unworn edge of the brake drum’s surface and you may need to just rub a bit of lining off on the very outer edge of the shoe, do not inhale the dust.)


Now do the other side (front).




Remember to loosen the Big Nut on the YB before you jack the car (photo below left). You will need a new split pin on refitting it. This nut is TIGHT.


Release the single adjuster and pull off the drum, shown below right. (the whole lot comes as one unit on a YB, the YA is as the front)


Loosen the big nut before jacking the wheel.Release the adjuster before withdrawing the drum.


My rear shoes were typical (photo above right), only half-worn as they do little braking. Normally you change two sets on the front to every one set  the rear; the rear shoes last twice as long in other words. But always inspect the shoes. I found one with a cracked lining so renewed it. (photo’s below). Relining as on the front shoes.


Cracked brake lining.Cracked brake lining.


Tighten the big nut and fit a new split pin.Check the rear brake cylinder can slide in its back-plate on the YB, this is part of the handbrake system. A little oil does no harm here.


Refit the shoes (with clean hands) if you have relined them and do not forget the little pyramid locking springs on the YB on each shoe. Refit the drum, nip up the Big Nut and adjust the shoes hard on, then one or two clicks back, stamp on the brake pedal, and the drum should rotate freely (with rear axle differential drag). Fit the wheel (with the adjuster hole lined up on the YB as in the photo of the front wheel above.) drop the car off its jack and fully tighten up the Big Nut. Fit the split pin.


Now do the other side. Whilst at the rear end it is worth pumping grease into the handbrake cables until it oozes out of the ends.


When you first go out again on the road, be very aware that the new  shoes need bedding in. You will not have full braking power for about  100 miles or so, so take care and leave a bigger gap between you and the  car in front.


After about 100 miles or so, you will need to adjust the brakes to take  up the bedding-in wear. A very good reason to line up the adjuster holes  in the wheel on the YB, with the hole in the brake drum. YA/YT adjusting  is more civilized as the two big nuts on the back-plate on the front and  the single on the rear are easy to get at. Tighten the adjusters until  you cannot move the wheel, then back-off one click.


I was bombing down the long A5 Brickill Hill into Milton Keynes, totally  forgot about the new linings. I nearly bulldozed the car queue at the  Kelly’s Kitchen round-a-bout off the road……not much braking power  with brand-new linings….only just stopped by literally standing on the  pedal.


Neil Cairns.