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Coming to a future issue of the Plymouth Bulletin

How to remove a rear brake drum from a tapered axel.

By David Pollock

Rear brake drum (and hub) removal is not for the faint of heart.

A special puller is required, and while these were once common, they were always expensive.

With the puller at hand, first loosen the wheel bolts and axle nut while the car is on the ground.Raise the car and support with suitable stands. Remove the wheel and axle nut and washer

Replace the nut without the washer so it will protect the axle threads and help center the puller. A space of about 1/8 inch will allow the drum to come free.

Fasten the puller to three of the wheel bolts and make certain that the center of the puller is directly in line with the axle. This is where the faint of heart must bow out. Tighten the puller with hammer blows until a significant amount of tension has been attained.

If you are lucky, you will be rewarded by a " pop" as the taper breaks free. If not, you may have to strike a hammer blow to the puller hub which may or may not accomplish the objective. Then continue to tighten the puller. In 40 years , I have only had to resort to heating the hub twice, so hang in there. It is very important that the nut remains on the axle end as a sudden release of the taper could send the drum across the room.

On re-assembly, under no circumstances should the taper be left untightened. It is meant to be tight and extraordinary wear will occur in short order if it is left loose.

Some people have cut the rivets from the drums in order to make future removal easier but they are then faced with the problem of the drums not running true. Believe me, there is only one way to remove Plymouth drums and that is the "right" way. It is not easy, and requires the use of a special puller but when you have had as much practice as me, it can be done in less than ten minutes. Sometimes I am asked if I will lend my puller but given its cost, they would have to borrow me with it as well.

Mark Olson adds - David gives some very good advice here, if you want to purchase a puller like the above or a slightly less "beefy" one. Search the web for "auto hub puller" or your local tool supplier should be able to get one. I have rented one at my local true-value rent-a-center for about $10/day.

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