General Maintenance Information to Fix / Repair your Jeep's Drum Brake System.

This page exists to help ya change your rear drum brake shoes and to figure out wht's missing when you get all those itty-bitty little brake parts strewn about when the dog chases the cat across them scattering parts to the moon & back. Once ya get back from throwing Fluffy into the dryer and FiFi across the fence into the neighbor's pool... just use these diagrams to make sure you have all the parts your brakes need to work properly. (And yes... I know that the Jeep drum brakes suck and NEVER work properly... Let's just say that the parts help them work as well as they can until you do a Drum to Disc Brake Conversion!)

Brakes not working properly?

Check your hardware to verify that all components are present.

Drum brake components for Cherokee, Commanche & YJ. You can get most of the 'easy to loose' parts in a kit from any good auto parts store. About $17 for the springs, cables & pins etc. Adjusters and wheel cylinders are also available.

9 inch Jeep drum brake hardware.

(Wheel cylinder is not shown in this image.)

This shows nine inch brake drum hardware for Jeep  XJ, MJ & YJ.

Don't forget that the other side is reversed!

Example: For Dana 35 w/ 9" drums: Kit costs $5.77 at Advance Auto.

10 inch Jeep drum brake hardware.

(Wheel cylinder is not shown in this image.)

Image shows Jeep 10 inch brake drum hardware as found on Commanche MJ Jeeps.

Don't forget that the other side is reversed!

There are minor differences but in general all drum brakes found on your Jeep are going to be similar. Here are some photos of my old Dana 44 rear drum assembly that will help guide you if the schematics above are confusing to ya:

Image shows side view of assembled Jeep Dana 44 drum brake hardware.
Side view of left side drum assembly. From my old D44 drum set up prior to Crown Vic Disc Brake Conversion

Image shows Jeep Dana 44 wheel cylinder, spring anchor pin & springs.
Overhead view of wheel cylinder & spring anchor pin.

Image shows brake adjuster hardware for Jeep Dana 44 rear drum brakes.
Underside view of brake adjuster hardware. This is the junk that usually stops working.



  1. Raise vehide and remove rear wheels.
  2. Remove and discard spring nuts securing drums to wheel studs.
  3. Remove brake drums. If drums prove difficult to remove, retract brakeshoes. Remove access plug at the rear of backing plate and back off adjuster screw with brake tool and screwdriver.
  4. Remove U-clip and washer securing adjuster cable to parking brake lever.
  5. Remove primary and secondary return springs from anchor pin with brake spring tool.
  6. Remove holddown springs, retainers and pins.
  7. Install clamps on wheel cylinders to hold pistons in place.
  8. Remove adjuster lever, adjuster screw and spring.
  9. Remove adjuster cable and cable guide.
  10. Remove brakeshoes and parking brake strut.
  11. Disconnect cable from parking brake lever and remove lever.


  1. Clean and lubricate anchor pin with hi-temp multi purpose grease.
  2. Clean and lubricate support plate shoe contact surfaces with hi-temp multi purpose grease (Figs. 3 and 4 shown here).
    Image shows Jeep 9 inch drum brake backing plate. Image shows Jeep 10" drum brake backing plate.
  3. Lubricate adjuster cable guides, adjuster screw and pivot, parking brake lever and lever pivot pin with hi-temp multi purpose grease.
  4. Attach parking brake lever to secondary brakeshoe with washer and new U-clip.
  5. Remove wheel cylinder clamps.
  6. Attach parking brake cable to lever.
  7. Install brakeshoes on support or backing plate. Secure shoes with new holddown springs, pins and retainers.
  8. Install parking brake strut and spring.
  9. Install guide plate and adjuster cable on anchor pin.
  10. Install primary and secondary return springs.
  11. Install adjuster cable guide on secondary shoe.
  12. Lubricate and assemble adjuster screw (Fig. 5 shown here).
    Image shows Jeep drum brake adjuster assembly.
  13. Install adjuster screw, spring and lever and connect to adjuster cable.
  14. Adjust shoes so they just fit inside of brake drum and install brake drum.
  15. Gently pull hand-brake cable enough to compress & 'center' shoes.
  16. With vehicle securely chocked to prevent rolling, put vehicle in neutral and rotate drum in order to listen and feel for shoes dragging drum surface.
  17. Insert a brake 'spoon' inside the adjustment opening inside the backing plate. Adjust the star wheel until there is only a slight drag. Drums should NOT ride on shoes nor be difficult to turn by hand.
  18. Repeat step 15 - 17 & recheck for drag as needed.
  19. Check parking brake operation by fully engaging parking brake then return vehicle gear to PARK.
  20. Bleed hydraulic brake system as necessary.
  21. Test braking system function in safe area prior to road use.

WARNING!: This page is intended as a general guide and provided for informational purposes only. If you actually do any of this then it's up to YOU to know what YOU'RE doing and not be a total numbnuts...

Translation: It's YOUR fault if YOU screw up!

If you have pics of your own repairs or can suggest other methods - please contribute your ideas (and pictures) to this article!

Revised on: December 24, 2006

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