I'm trying to replace the rear brake shoes and one wheel assembly (driver's side) on a 2002 Sunfire. The drum on the driver side - and probably the passenger side, although I haven't checked it yet - is badly rusted. I've been heating it with a propane blowtorch, soaking it in PB Blaster and banging the hell out of it with a BFH for two days now. It hasn't budged. I'm getting close to cutting the drum off with a grinder and replacing both of them (which will probably be necessary anyway, as I don't think anyone's ever done a rear brake job on this car before).
I keep thinking that there's more going on here than rust, but can't figure out what it might be (and yes, the parking brake is off). I've read that it's possible to access the adjuster (to make sure that the shoes aren't getting in the way), and have found what looks like an access hole (has a rubber doohickey stuck in it), but there doesn't appear to be any adjuster behind it - it just looks like the shoe. Weird.
Does anyone have any tips to share, in terms of getting the drum off, or cutting it off if necessary? I understand this has been asked before, but I didn't see any definitive response. Of course, I'll post back and share anything I've learned in the process.
The adjuster is a star wheel. Stick a drum adjustment tool (or a flat screwdriver) in the hole and feel around. Then move it one way or the other to back the drums off.
Thanks James... that's the thing - I can't find the star wheel. Been poking around there with a screwdriver, as you suggested. It's almost like the backing plate has the hole in the wrong spot.
However, I am starting to see the drum flex around the edges (posts), so I'm thinking the problem may actually be rust around the axle. Lord knows there's enough to go around.
Time for more PB and BFH.
The star should be on the bottom of the drum.
The adjuster may be on backwards, and not in line with the hole.
Yep - the adjuster was nowhere near the hole. Go figure. Used a combination of MAPP gas, CRC Freeze Off and a lot of hammering. Beat the hell out of the drums, but it was worth it. (My tip: don't be shy with the hammer. Just give in and resign yourself to destroying the drums and replacing them.)
That port is only for visual inspection of pad thickness, not for accessing the star wheel.