How do you change the drum brakes on a 1974 VW Thing?


Quick Answer

To replace a brake drum in a 1974 Volkswagen Thing, remove the wheel, the dust cover and the large bolt behind the wheel that secures the drum, and then pry the outer drum loose. Since a 1970s Volkswagen is a classic car, the drum brake may be affixed to the axle by rust, and it can take a blowtorch to pry it off the axle.

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Full Answer

Raise the vehicle with a jack, and support it firmly with jack stands. Remove the wheel, the Allen key, and the large nut at the center of the brake drum.

Remove the wheel, and remove the brake drum's dust cover with a flat head screwdriver. Loosen the Allen bolt on the side of the large bolt in the center of the drum brake, and then remove the large bolt and the washer behind it. The drum should slide toward you from the wheel side.

If the drum has encountered dirt or rust, which is quite likely since 1974, you may need a large flat-head screwdriver. Since the drum has been affixed to the axle for many years, start with a mallet or hammer to loosen the drum, and then use a pry bar or flat-head screwdriver to pry off the brake drum. If the brake is very rusty, use a blowtorch to condense the edges, and then pry it off. Once you have removed the drum brake, install the new drum, reassemble the brake assembly, and replace the wheel.

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