For this video we're going
to go through and show you guy's how to do a brake inspection. We're not going
to be doing any repairs in this video but more so showing you guys what to look
for on your cars at home just to make certain your brake systems up to snuff.
We're going to start our
brake inspection in the rear this case. With the hubcap off you should see the
axle nut which should have a cotter pin in place which needs to be removed.
Once it is removed we
can loosen the rear axle nut. The axle nut should be extremely tight and is
normally going to require the use of a breaker bar and typically section of
pipe for additional leverage. The rear axle nuts on all VW's are standard
traded on both sides.
After the axle nut is
loose we loosen the lug bolts and then we can jack up the rear of the car. Make
sure to support the rear of the car with jack stands and then we can remove the
With the parking brake
off remove the brake drum. If the drum does not come off with some heavy
pulling, you may have to go on the back side of the brake, and loosen the break
adjusters to pull some of the tension off to allow it to come off. Oftentimes
tapping on the drums with a hammer may help it slide off as well.
With the drum off we can
now inspect the brake surface inside the drum. Here we see a deep grove that
has been worn into to the surface. This isn't a big deal because of long as the
brake is within specs it can be turned by your local brake or auto shop. If the
drum is out of spec, meaning it's been turned to many times before or is
excessively warped, the brake drum will need to be replaced.
Looking at the backing
plate we now inspect the brake shoes. On the left side the brake shoes are in
good shape, the pads have good thickness and are evenly worn. There aren't any
signs of moisture or any other damage to the brake shoe. However on the right
side we noticed the brake shoes are cracked excessively. Along with being crack
the right side brake shoes are wearing unevenly as well. The front shoe is
narrower than the rear issue so these brake shoes will have to be replaced.
The wheel cylinder boots
are in good shape and are not leaking. The brake shoe retaining pins, springs,
and caps all intact. The parking brake push bar is properly installed between
the shoes and the lever. The parking brake cable is attached to pull lever
properly. We see that the upper brake shoe tension spring is in place and held
to the push bar with retaining clip, and at the lower brake shoe tension spring
is in place as well. The break shoe adjuster screws and nuts are all in good
shape and the tension tabs are intact on both sides.
Lastly on the rear we'll
take a look at the brake hydraulics. Behind the backing plate inspect the steel
brake lines. Look for any crimps, kinks, cracks, or leaking. Also look at the
brake hoses look for any bubbles and again cracks, kinks, or leaks. Make sure
that the brake bleeder valves on the wheel cylinders are intact.
With the rear inspection
complete it's time to take a look at the front brakes. As we did with the rear
we're going to loosen the lug bolts before we jack up the front of the car. With the front of the
car jacked up we support on jack stands, then remove the front wheels.
On the left side the
speedometer cable clip will have to be removed from the speedometer cable. So
that we can pop off the grease cap with a pry bar or in our case a pickle fork.
Now we can loosen the axle nut screw with a 6 millimeter allen wrench and we
can remove the axle nut. The left hand side nut is reversed so left hand
thread. So it will turn to the right to remove it. The right side axle nut has
a standard thread.
Now we can pull the
brake drum off. If the drum doesn't come off, again as we mentioned you may
have to go through and losing the brake adjuster screws to release some tension
to allow it to come off easily. When you pull off the brake drum the thrust
washer and inner bearing will come out with the drum.
Now is a good time to
inspect the bearings both the inner and outer and the seals looking for any
grooves, ware marks, a lack of grease and to make certain that the inner wheel
seal is not cracked up, dried, or missing. With the brake drum off we inspect
brake surface inside the drum looking for any cracks or as we see here, a deep
grove that has been worn into the surface. Again same as on the rear as long as
the drum is within specs, it can be turned by a local automotive shop. If the
drum is out of specs it needs to be replaced.
We'll take a look at the
brake shoes now. On the left side the brake shoes are in good shape. The pads
have good thickness are evenly worn and there isn't any sign of moisture or any
other damage. However on the right side the brake shoes are unevenly worn. The
top shoe is thicker than the bottom shoes here. The wheel cylinder boots are in
good shape and they are not leaking. The brake shoe retaining pins caps and
caps are all in place. On the left hand side we can see the front and rear brake
shoe tension springs are both in place properly.
On the right side you
see the rear tension brake spring is in the wrong location on the bottom. This
spring is rubbing against the wheel cylinder boot which isn't torn fortunately.
This is most likely the reason to be shoes are wearing unevenly. Otherwise the
brake shoe adjuster screws and nuts are in good shape and tension tabs are
intact.We'll take a look on the
back side of the backing plate at the brake hoses. Looking for any bubbles,
cracks, kinks, or leaking.
On the left hand side
the brake hoses in good shape, but unfortunately the right side brake hose was
installed incorrectly. This caused the hose to kink and crack so it needs to be
replaced. It is also unlikely with his hose that this break was actually
working properly. We'll also take a look at the steel brake lines looking for
any kinks, cracks, or leaks as well.
On both wheel cylinders
make sure that the brake bleeder valves are intact which they are left hand
side, but unfortunately on the right hand side the brake bleeder valve is
broken off. So this wheel cylinder will have to be replaced.
With the front left
wheel off we can see the master cylinder and we're going to look for leaks
which would be apparent with any moisture on the frame head below. We'll also
take a look at the feed lines from the reservoir up above. Looking for any
cracks, leaks, or otherwise.
The brake light switches
and wiring should be in place and there shouldn't be any leaking or moisture
apparent. Lastly we'll check all the brake lines going from the master cylinder
making certain that all the steel lines are not cracked, kinked, or leaking as
With the hood open in
the trunk we can take a look at the brake fluid reservoir which in our case as
a non-vented cap so that will need to be replaced. With the cap removed we can
take a look at the fluid level and look for any dirty fluid or any debris in
Lastly we'll take a look
at the feed hoses from reservoir to the steel lines and again the steel lines
on the top side for any leaks or cracks. With our brake inspection complete we've
noted that we only have issues on the right hand side of the car.
We will replace the
shoes, wheel cylinders, and hoses on both the left and right sides of the front
and we will replace the brake shoes on the left and right sides of the rear. The
reason we do this is to keep the brake system equal from left to right side. That
way when you hit the brakes the car doesn't pull too hard to one side or the
This is important on
break drum systems and especially old VW's. Old Volkswagens don't have
automatic adjusting brake shoes like more modern cars do so what you do to one
side of the brake system, you do to the other.