How to Remove the Drum Brakes on a 1989 Ford Tempo

Ford introduced the Tempo in 1984. The 1989 was equipped with a 2.3-liter, in-line, 4-cylinder engine. The 1989 Ford Tempo was produced with front wheel ventilated disk brakes, while the rear brakes were drum style. Just removing the drum brake system on the 1989 Tempo should take about 1 hour. Completely replacing the drum brake system usually takes about 2 hours per side if you have never performed this project before. This is a challenging task because of the number of small parts involved in the drum brake assembly, and the difficulty involved in removing or installing the parts.

Tools Used: 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket set, Drum brake tool set, Flathead screwdriver, 2-ton or greater capacity jack, 2 jack stands, Open-end line wrench set or open-end wrench set

Remove the Drum Brakes

Remove the torque from the rear wheel nuts by turning them counterclockwise, using a tire iron. Lift the rear of the Tempo using a 2-ton jack or a jack with greater capacity. Place a jack stand at both ends of the rear axle beam to support the rear of the Tempo for this entire project. Remove the wheel nuts completely from the rear wheels, then remove the rear wheels. Make sure that the parking brake is released prior to attempting work on the drum brake system.

Remove the rear brake drum from one side of the Tempo. Remove the two springs that run from the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions up to the top of the brake assembly. These are tension springs that hold the brake shoes and hardware together as one system. Use a flathead screwdriver, or brake spring tool, to hook the top of the springs and pull them free of the mounting post. Let the springs contract, then pull the bottoms of the springs from their mounting posts by hand.

Remove the tension and self-adjuster spring from behind the rear shoes, on the bottom side of the drum brake assembly. This spring runs horizontally behind the brake shoes to hold together the shoes and the brake adjusting system. Pull one end of the spring free with a flathead screwdriver or brake spring tool. Let the tension spring retract, then remove the other side by twisting and pulling it out with your hand.

Remove the shoe hold-down springs with a brake spring tool or a large handheld nut driver. Place the driver on the "saucer" or retainer clip on the outside of the spring. Place your finger behind the brake assembly, and hold the center pin in place. Depress and turn the retainer clip with one hand, while keeping the center pin in place by pushing on it with your other hand. Turning the clip will align the pin with the clip and allow the clip to slide off the end of the pin. It does not matter which way you turn the clip. Continue this procedure until you have removed both brake shoe hold-down springs and center pins from the rear brake assembly.

Remove the brake shoes by hand. One brake shoe will come straight off the brake assembly, whereas the other brake shoe will need to be twisted to free the brake shoe from the parking brake lever. This lever raises and lowers when the parking brake is engaged, and manually causes the drum brakes to expand and hold the vehicle in place. When you have removed the brake shoes, you should only have the emergency brake lever and the wheel cylinder left on the brake assembly.

Rotate and twist the parking brake lever with one hand while putting pressure on the parking brake cable to release it from the lever. Corrosion and road grime can cause these two parts to lock together over time. Twisting the lever while holding the cable will free the parts of road grime. Remove the parking brake lever from the brake cable by hand.

Remove the brake line that is inserted in the rear of the wheel cylinder, using an open-end wrench or line wrench to spin the line fitting free. Turn the brake line fitting counterclockwise to remove the brake line from the wheel cylinder. Remove the brake line and gently bend the brake line so the open end is facing upward. Turning the line upward will reduce the amount of brake fluid that comes out of the brake system when the end of the line is opened.

Remove the two wheel cylinder mounting bolts using a 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket. Turn the bolts counterclockwise until they are free of the wheel cylinder completely. Remove the wheel cylinder by hand, or use a flathead screwdriver to pry the wheel cylinder free if necessary.

Repeat Steps 2 through 8 to completely remove the drum brake assembly from the second side on the rear of the Tempo.

Tips & Warnings

If you are only taking the brakes apart to replace the rear brake shoes, then skip Steps 6 through 8 of the dismantling process. Steps 6 through 8 are only necessary if you are replacing the entire rear drum brake assembly.

Never lift a vehicle on uneven ground or a slope. Lifting a vehicle on uneven ground can cause jacks and jack stands to collapse. Failure to adhere to this warning could result in vehicle damage, personal injury or even death if the vehicle collapses onto you.

Brake fluid is a petroleum-based product that is extremely flammable. Keep away from open flames, sparks, excess heat or static electrical charges -- and don't smoke.

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