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Removing Brake Drums

I have a PV544 B18 from 1960 and I have problems with the rear brakes. To get of the brake drum, do I have to have a special tool or do I have to heat it up for this? With a simple pull-off screw it doesn't work.
Guy Krier

Phil says: The special tool is a regular wheel puller. The three legs bolt on to the lugs on the wheel and the central screw presses against the end of the axle. Simply tightening the screw is not enough -- the trick is to smack it very hard with a heavy hammer, like you were trying to drive the screw into the axle. After a few repeated tightenings and smackings, the drum will pop loose.

David says: Additionally, replace the castle nut upside down on the axle before hammering -- this will prevent mushrooming the end of the axle.

More from an enthusiast: I had a similar problem removing the rear drums on my 122. The main problem was that I had to apply the brakes so the rear axle wouldn't spin while I was trying to turn the puller. But, of course, with the brakes applied, the drum won't come off easily. What I did then was bolt the wheels back to the drum to give myself something to grab onto. With that done, and the extra leverage it created, the drums slid right off (without using the puller at all)! I'm not sure if this will work for everyone, but it certainly was the trick for me. Andy Earle
Philadelphia, PA

Phil replies: Andy, thanks for your input, but what you say is actually a bit alarming. Drums that were properly tightened will not pull off without using both a puller and a hammer. Don't feel bad -- we just had one where we were able to undo the castle nut and pull off the drum without using tools at all. We would not want to drive a car in that condition.

It should not be necessary to apply any great amount of torque to the puller screw; the hammer provides the impact to break the drum loose. Applying the brakes when tightening the screw is fine, or one can hold the puller from turning by inserting a breaker bar between its legs. Of course, the brakes must not be applied when actually removing the drum; it may even be helpful to back off the adjusting screw or wheel in some cases.

It is important to clean the axle stub and mating surface of the drum when reassembling, perhaps applying some light oil as well. This ensures proper seating of the drum on the axle stub, and makes it easier to pull the next time. We use an old adjustable wrench to tighten the castle nut by hand, and then hammer the wrench around to where the cotter pin holes align.

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