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Old 09-03-2007, 11:45 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Help me DIY my old corroded brakes!!

I have a '93 Civic VX which I just bought. 175K miles. No squeaking or anything.

My friend and I just removed the rear drum to replace shoes and hardware after my mechanic told me I need new rear brakes.

Much to our horror, the innards of the rear brake system look like they have never been touched in the life of the car. The piston looks very corroded, and only one shoe moves when brake is applied.

The inner lip of the "housing," (not sure what this is actually called) is cracked in some places, looks like water can easily come in. Does this need to be replaced?
Does the piston need to be replaced?

In any case, the shop forgot to give us the hardware kit, so we couldn't do the job.

We're now wondering whether or not to let the mechanic do the entire job. He quoted my friend $475 to do the back brakes and fix the ebrake with two new cables, but we're not sure if his quote included replacing the piston and the housing.

If it's easy enough to replace the entire housing and pistons, we'd probably do it ourselves.

My friend has experience in just replacing shoes and hardware, which he is now pretty good at, but feels the other things are beyond his reach.
Could this be learned relatively easily?

Here's a link to pictures we just took of the brakes.


<p>



The question is do I return all the hardware I just bought or do I buy the rest and try to do the job ourselves?

Thanks Jake and Ben.
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:41 PM   #2
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the "pistons and housing" is called a wheel cylinder. easily replaced should cost around $10 for a new one. just pop off the clip, screws, bolt or whatever holds it on the backing plate and your good to go. hardest part is getting the lines out (usually impossible) so be ready to replace some lines at the same time. if they aren't leaking, then their probably good. BUT try to get the bleeder screw loose, if it breaks (wont take much and 80&#37; likely it will break) then deff get a new one. if it does come out, clean all the brake stuff off with brake cleaner (comes in cans) DO NOT! and i repeat DO NOT take an air hose to that dust!!! i know they stopped using asbestos lined shoes a while before that but either way, its still not good to breathe that stuff.
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:47 PM   #3
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That yellow text on the second picture says: "under there the lip is cracked off" Do I not need a new backing plate and if I do how do I do that!?
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Old 09-03-2007, 01:26 PM   #4
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It depends who inspects the car really. That little lip does help with keeping some water out of the brakes, but the outer lip also helps. Either way, it doesn't seal it, so if you get water that high on the brakes, it will come in no matter what.

If you're planning to do this job yourself (which is entirely possible), first take off all of the drum hardware and use a wire wheel, or wire brush to clean the backing plate to see how bad the rest of it is. If the "pads" where the brake shoes rub against the backing plate are rusted through, that will tell you that you must replace the backing plate. If that lip is the only thing wrong with the backing plate, it shouldnt need to be replaced. Just be sure to clean it up very well, and paint it so that it at least looks decent for inspection.

If you talk to your inspection mechanic, which I suggest in your case, ask him about if he will pass it if you replace the brakes, wheel cylinders (what you call pistons I believe), brake hardware, and shoes. He probably will, but sometimes, if you are new to a mechanic, or if he is simply trying to rip you off, you might be given a hard time, and he might want to replace the backing plate before passing you for inspection.

It also looks to me like you will probably need to inspect the condition of your actual brake drums. The surface where the shoe contacts the drum is probably very scratched from the lack of pad material left on the shoe, so I would look into getting it "turned" to see if it can be salvaged. If not, you can find brake drums for relatively cheap, for new.

In my opinion, with a chiltons or haynes manual (or a honda one downloaded, probably your best option) by your side, you and your friend should be able to do this job with relative ease. You might want to invest in a brake spring remover and some very good vise grips, and be sure you have a small propane torch to heat up the brake lines, bleeder screws, and bolts that attach the wheel cylinders before attempting to remove them. You may also want to soak all of these parts (I strongly recommend this actually) with some PB Blaster for at least a day (best stuff I have ever used) before attempting to remove anything. With care, and heat, and PB Blaster, you might get away with just having to replace the wheel cylinders, and not the break lines.

While you're at this point, you should also inspect how the wheel bearing spins (and check for excessive in/out play) since this would be an optimal time to replace it if neccessary.

Good luck!
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Old 09-03-2007, 02:50 PM   #5
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Thanks for that thorough reply. Yikes, sounds like maybe I should just have my mechanic do it! My friend pointed out that the wheel bearing does not spin well. You spin it but it only makes maybe a 1/2 to full rotation. Not very freewheeling.... what is excessive in/out play?
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Old 09-03-2007, 03:02 PM   #6
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Wow, I wonder what happened to cause that much rust. My 1963 doesn't look anywhere near that bad! Maybe mine has been serviced in it's lifetime though.

Good luck on getting it fixed either way. Hopefully you can do it yourself and save a few bucks and not have too much of a headache doing it.
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Old 09-03-2007, 03:03 PM   #7
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Get a line/flair wrench, or whatever they're called for the brake lines. A normal wrench usually won't cut it, and you'll thank yourself later...
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Old 09-03-2007, 03:14 PM   #8
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I had my brakes done in May. St. Louis dealers price for rear drums $65.73 each. I could have bought the drums from Majestic Honda online for $54.13 each + S&H. AutoZone ranged from $18.99 to $28.99 + Tax. You can input your VIN at HondaAutomotiveParts.com & find the prices on everything you need.
If you don't need the car right away, use this as a learning experience & do it yourself. If I had the time, I'd have done mine. For me its worth it to have genuine Honda parts installed by their mechanics. YMMV.
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Old 09-03-2007, 04:18 PM   #9
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My friend and I think we are going to do the whole gamut on the brakes, including replacing the wheel bearings. Can anyone give some info on how to replace them?
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Old 09-03-2007, 04:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1993CivicVX View Post
Thanks for that thorough reply. Yikes, sounds like maybe I should just have my mechanic do it! My friend pointed out that the wheel bearing does not spin well. You spin it but it only makes maybe a 1/2 to full rotation. Not very freewheeling.... what is excessive in/out play?
That is right...a flare wrench is a great tool to have when working on brake lines. I never ended up buying a metric set for myself since I could never find them cheap. It probably would benefit you to figure out what sizes you need for the bleeder and brake lines and buy the flare wrenches of that size since they could save your brake lines and bleeders from being rounded-off.

If it is hard to turn, it probably needs to be replaced. I'm not sure of the exact in and out play that is allowed, but if you look in an online Honda repair manual it should be able to tell you.

For how to replace the wheel bearings, just consult a repair manual. Having a how-to by your side while working on your car is pretty priceless. Good luck with the repairs.
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