Wheel cylinders hold and control the brake fluid and control pressure in a rear (sometimes front) drum brake housing. They sit at the top of the backing plate between the brake shoes. Leaking wheel cylinders can result in a spongy brake pedal, and sometimes no brake pedal at all if the brake fluid drains out. All brake cylinders can be rebuilt, using replacement kits, a few tools and some acquired knowledge.
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Variable Speed Drill
One of the most versatile brake honing tools has been around for a long time, but the do-it-yourself vehicle owner may not have noticed its connection with brake repair. The electric hand-held drill plays an important role in honing out wheel cylinder bores. A drill motor with a 90-degree angle affords the best leverage and aim for getting into tight spots. The reversible option allows the drill to be pulled backward without chafing, or moved back and forth, which cross-hatches the cylinder bore, making for better surface smoothness. The variable speed feature allows the RPM to be increased or decreased on demand. The slow variable speed option also offers much safer material removal. Variable speed drills for brake cylinder honing perform best in 1/4- and 3/8-inch drive sizes.
Ball-type Abrasive Flex Hone
The ball-type abrasive flex hone has aluminum oxide, abrasive sanding balls that extend from the shaft that fits neatly into the drill bit. These hones come in a variety of sizes that accommodate large- or small-bore wheel cylinders. The positioning of the sanding balls gives the flex hone a natural cross-hatch "rip" when inserted and extracted from the cylinder bore. The flex hone can finish the job in 20 seconds while using the forward thrust position and offer months of continuous use without being replaced. Shaft sizes allow for 1/4- and 3/8-inch drill motors.
Adjustable Metal Flex Stone Hone
The unique design of the tri-rod metal flex hone makes for speedy and clean boring by using three metal extensions that have sanding pads on their ends. The stones come in kits which include a variety of stone sizes and grits. Fine, medium and coarse stones fit every application for rough cuts and final finishing. Cutting stones can be cleaned or replaced when needed. They can adapt to cylinder bores as small as 3/4 inch in diameter, all the way up to 2-1/2 inch.
Rotational Paper Sander
Paper sanders fit through slots on drill bit shafts; and when coiled, they can be rotated inside the cylinder bore. Paper sanders allow for the flexibility of changing grits or replacing worn sandpaper. Hand dowels can be used manually by simply curling segments of sandpaper around the dowel. Thrusting them in and out of the cylinder bore, while turning, mirrors the cutting movements of drill-mounted flex hones and adjustable metal hones.
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