How to Fix the Rear Brakes on a 1988 Ford Ranger

The 1988 Ford Ranger comes equipped with disc brakes on the front wheels and drum brakes on the rear wheels. The rear brake shoes keep the rear wheels from turning by applying pressure to the inside of the brake drums. The friction from the brake shoes being applied to the brake drum keeps the wheels from turning. Over time, the brake shoes will wear down and will need to be replaced. You should replace the brake shoes before the thickness reaches 1/8 inch. If the brake shoes wear down past 1/8 inch, they could damage the drums.

Tools Used: Lug wrench, Jack, Jack stands, Rubber mallet, Spring removal tool, Spring retainer clip removal tool, Handheld sledge hammer, Brake shoes and accessories

Fix the Rear Brakes

Park the 1988 Ford Ranger on a level surface. Set the parking brake.

Loosen all of the lug nuts from both rear wheels with a lug wrench or a tire tool.

Jack the rear of the Ford Ranger up high enough for the jack stands. Place the jack stands under the proper jacking points on both rear sides of the truck. Slowly lower the truck onto the stands and leave the jack in the upright position.

Remove all of the lug nuts from the rear wheels. Slide the wheels off and set them down flat.

Move to the left rear wheel hub assembly and pull the brake drum straight off the wheel hub. If the drum is stuck, tap the back side of the drum with a rubber mallet until the drum is loose enough to remove from the hub. Place the drum nearby.

Remove the top brake shoe return spring with the brake shoe return spring removal tool. The top brake shoe return spring is the spring that secures the top of each brake shoe to the other.

Remove the spring retaining clips from the center of both rear brake shoes with the spring retaining clip removal tool. Slide the end of the tool over the end of the retaining clips and turn each clip counterclockwise to remove. Remove the bottom retaining spring along with the retaining clips.

Pull the brake shoes off of the wheel hub and place them on the ground. Tap the spring retainers out of each brake shoe with a handheld sledge hammer. Match the old brake shoes to the new brake shoes to ensure that they are the same. Transfer all of the brake accessories from the new brake shoe kit to the new brake shoes.

Position the brake shoes back on the wheel hub. Reinstall the top and bottom springs over the spring retainers inside of each brake shoe with the spring removal tool.

Adjust the new brake shoes to the proper distance from the inside surface of the brake drums by using the brake adjuster on the bottom of the wheel hub. Use a flat-head screwdriver to turn the brake adjuster until the brake shoes are touching the inside of the drums. Back the brake shoes off about 1/8 inch from the inside of the drums.

Slide the brake drum back over the wheel hub assembly. Slide the wheel on and screw the lug nuts on tight. Move to the right rear wheel hub and repeat the steps to replace the brake shoes on the right rear wheel.

Raise the 1988 Ford Ranger and remove the jack stands. Lower the truck to the ground and finish torquing the lug nuts tight on both rear wheels with the lug wrench.

Tips & Warnings

Inspect the inside of the brake drums for wear and grooving. If the drum contains excessive wear or grooving, replace the brake drum with a new drum.

Most of the Ford rear brake kits come with new brake accessories to use with the new brake shoes.

Use extreme caution when working under any vehicle that is on jack stands.

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