Recently I felt the brakes on my 2004 Toyota Tundra were not as effective as they should be, especially with sudden stops. I took off one rear wheel and one front wheel to check how worn they were.
Now this vehicle has disc brakes with pads in the front and drum brakes with shoes in the back. The brake pads in the front looked like they had quite a bit of life in them yet, but the brake shoes in the back had seen better days.
I have changed a lot of brake pads, but I had never changed brake shoes. I briefly considered taking it to a repair shop which would have cost between $135 and $150. I decided to tackle the job viewing it as a learning opportunity.
I made a trip to a local auto parts store for a new set of brakes shoes for $29, a hardware kit for $12, a specialized tool for the brake springs for $13 (top tool in picture below), and another specialized tool for retaining spring washer for $8 (bottom tool).
The hardware kit (springs, washers, etc.) was not absolutely necessary. However, as long as I was going to the work of replacing the brake shoes I felt it was worth doing the new hardware too. I probably could have gotten along without these tools as well, but the proper tool sure does make the job go more smoothly.
It took considerable effort to get the first drum off the pickup. I later learned there are threaded holes in the drum you can turn bolts into to push the drum off and remove it. As I was trying to assemble everything it became quite clear I should have paid more attention before removing the old parts or at least taken a picture. I decided to use my a jack stand on one side and take the other side off to figure out what I needed to know.
It took me about an hour to get things taken apart and put back together on the first wheel. As is usually the case the second one only took about 20 minutes since I had a little better idea what I was doing. I then just needed to adjust the spread on the shoes so they would make quick contact with the drum.
I did not end up saving that much money on this endeavor, about $75. Despite that, I learned something new, I have a couple tools I can use down the road, and I did not have to hassle with leaving my vehicle at the shop for a day to pay to have the work done. Those things are worth it to me. And I just enjoy working with my hands too.