How to Replace the Rear Brakes on a 1985 Chevrolet Caprice

Your 1985 Chevy Caprice comes equipped with a braking system known as "drum brakes." As the wheels turn, the brake drum also rotates. Two brake pads are installed on the inside of the brake drum. When you push on the brake pedal, the brake pads put friction pressure on the drum, which slows down the vehicle and allows you to stop. Over time, the brake pads will wear out from normal use. This guide will help you replace the rear brakes on your Chevy Caprice.

Tools Used: Floor jack, 2 jack stands, Lug nut wrench, Needle-nose pliers, High-temperature brake grease, New rear brake pads, Brake adjustment tool

Replace Rear Brakes


Park your vehicle on flat ground in an area where you will have room to work around the rear wheels. Turn off the engine. Jack up the rear of the vehicle and insert jack stands under the frame. Lower the vehicle onto the jack stands.

Remove both rear wheels by unfastening the lug nuts with a lug wrench. Grab the brake drum with both hands and pull it out toward you. This will expose your working area for the rear brakes. Remove the hold-down spring on the front (forward) brake shoe by grabbing it with a pair of needle-nose pliers and pulling to unsnap it.

Examine the bottom of the brake assembly. The spring at the very bottom needs to be removed. Unclip it using the needle-nose pliers. Pull the hold-down spring from the rear shoe with the needle-nose pliers. Pull to unsnap it.

Examine the back of the brake assembly and locate the emergency brake cable. Follow it to the front side and disconnect it from the anchor plate. Use pliers to pull the C-clip that holds the cable to the lever on the anchor plate.

Spread the brake shoes apart and pull the adjuster screw from the assembly ; it is located in the center of the assembly. Pull both brake shoes from the assembly using your hands.

Apply high-temperature brake lubrication grease to all movement points in the assembly. Apply this lubricant to all threaded parts as well.


Reinstall the parking brake lever and reattach the parking brake cable by inserting the C-clip with pliers. Make sure the cable is going through the notch of the anchor plate.

Reattach the adjuster screw to the rear brake pad and hold it in place. Place the rear brake pad on the pivot point and insert the hold-down spring to secure it in place.

Install the front brake pad and secure it with the hold-down spring by pressing the spring in. Reconnect the anchor spring at the bottom of the brake assembly by clipping it in with pliers. Reconnect the return spring using a pair of pliers.

Push the brake drums onto the brake assembly by hand. Reinstall the rear wheels and tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench.

Adjust the brakes by inserting a brake tool into the slot on the back of the brake assembly. This tool is used to turn the adjustment point, similar to turning a screw with a screwdriver. Turn the adjustment in either direction until the wheel turns by hand yet still has a bit of brake drag holding it back.

Raise the Chevy Caprice with a floor jack and remove the jack stands. Carefully lower the vehicle back down to the ground and put away the floor jack.

Depress the brake pedal three times; this will help adjust the brakes. Test-drive the vehicle and test the brakes at different speeds to ensure that you've installed the brakes correctly.

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