How to Change the Rear Brake Shoes on a Dodge Truck

Updated April 17, 2017

The rear brakes on a Dodge truck use a drum-and-shoe braking system. The rear brakes provide up to 40 per cent of your vehicle's stopping force. These brakes are not used as often as the front brakes but are very important to replace when needed. Replacing the rear brakes on a Dodge truck can be performed by the owner. The rear brakes can be purchased at any local auto parts store.

Loosen the lug nuts on the rear wheels of the truck with a lug wrench. Raise the rear of the truck with a jack under the rear axle housing. Place jack stands under the axle tube for support. Remove the lug nuts and rear tires.

Remove the rubber plug located on the lower rear of the backing plate. Place a brake adjuster tool in the hole where the rubber plug was removed. Pull the tool down to move the star-wheel up. The star-wheel is part of the drum brake self-adjusting mechanism. You may not see the star-wheel and will have to move the tool around to find it. The brake shoes will move inward once the star-wheel is moved upward.

Detach the brake drum by backing off the adjuster lever using the brake adjuster tool. The adjuster lever is located beneath the star-wheel.

Blow the dust off the brake assembly with a bottle of compressed air (or an air compresser with a blower).

Remove the front return spring with a pair of brake spring pliers. Place the end of the tool over the anchor post and rotate the pliers until the spring hook lifts off. Remove the rear return spring. The end of the rear return spring located in the hole of the brake shoe may be more difficult to remove because it is attached to the adjuster cable guide plate. Remove the adjuster cable from the anchor post.

Pull off the cap on the hold-down spring by holding the head of the pin with one hand and using the brake tool with the other.

Grab each brake shoe and pull them apart at the top to remove the shoes. Unhook the parking brake lever from the rear of the shoe.

Remove the shoe-to-shoe spring then the adjuster spring will pull apart. These are the two parts that are holding the two brake shoes together.

Detach the adjuster lever by lifting up on the adjuster spring and twisting the lever.

Note the difference of the brake shoes. There is a primary and secondary shoe. The secondary shoe (installed towards the rear of the vehicle) has a longer and thicker brake lining. It is important that you install the brake shoes in their correct locations.

Install the adjuster pivot pin into the secondary shoe. Use a hammer and a large punch to drive the pin into the hole. Never hammer on the pin unless there is support underneath the metal around the hole, or the web of the shoe will bend.

Place the adjuster lever over the pin and use a screwdriver to lift the leg of the spring over the adjuster arm.

Apply a thin layer of brake grease onto the threads of the adjuster screw. This will help the adjuster turn smoothly.

Set the adjuster in place. The threaded end goes towards the front (primary) shoe, which has the shorter lining. Install the shoe-to-shoe spring.

Align the front (primary) shoe where the hold-down hole is lined up with the hole in the backing plate. Insert the hold-down pin. The flat end aligns up and down. Install the hold-down spring and cup with a special brake tool.

Slip the loop end of the adjuster cable over the anchor post and set the guide plate in place. Install the return spring to secure the guide plate in place.

Drape the adjuster cable over the outside of the rear brake shoe. Install the rear return spring then the front return spring with brake pliers.

Connect the spring-end of the adjuster cable to the arm of the adjuster lever. Only the hook on the spring goes over the arm.

Repeat the above Steps on the opposite wheel.

Rotate the adjuster until the brake drum barely slides over the shoes and the drum is very difficult to rotate by hand.

Turn the adjusters so that they back off the brake shoes and are not too close to the drum.

Pump the brake pedal until it feels firm and normal.

Remount the wheels onto the vehicle. Loosely place the lug nuts onto the wheel studs.

Raise the rear of the truck slightly. Pull the jack stands out from beneath the truck. Lower the truck to the ground.

Tighten the lug nuts onto the wheel studs with the lug wrench.


Brake gently until the new linings have been broken in. Make about 30 stops from moderate speeds (30 to 35 MPH) with only light to moderate pressure applied to the brake pedal.


Hitting the brakes too hard, before the linings have been broken in, can cause overheating or damage to the brake linings.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement brake shoes
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Lug wrench
  • Brake adjuster tool
  • Bottle of compressed air or air compressor
  • Brake spring pliers
  • Hammer
  • Large punch
  • Screwdriver
  • Brake grease
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