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Brake Shoe Replacement

Well this may be a first for US Uraldom and this post might be of no use to anyone for years to come, but here goes!

Sunday while the Eastern Front was having fun at the Ride for Kids, I was at stuck at home. I had to work Saturday but Sunday afternoon I decided to replace the rear brake shoes on Oksana.

Since I had never heard anyone post anything on replacing brake shoes, I though I would document the procedure and post it here....for future reference! :)

First of all, I was amazed at how much shoe material had worn away . Even at that, the brakes were still working ok but a few rivets were exposed and it was time to do the deed.

I removed the shoes' adjustment bolts and applied synthetic grease to the threads and both pivot points. The new shoes were dusted with baby powder and installed. Then, while rotating the wheel, I gradually ran the rear adjuster in until the wheel started to drag. The wheel was then removed and when I inspected the shoe I found it was dragging on both shoes at the end of the friction material nearest the stationary pivot end. I used a hand sander to bevel the edges of both ends of both shoes (see picture below).

Then reassemble and repeat the process.

Disassembly this time showed one shoe making clear contact first and after a few turn on the adjustment bolt, reassemble.

This time everything felt right and I took a short drive .... about 1 mile out and back. On returning the hub was HOT, so disassemble again and inspect.

This time I noticed the new shoes were about 1/8" wider than the old shoes and although they fit perfectly, they were now making contact with a narrow area of the brake drum where the old shoes had not touched in years.....there was a slight buildup of rust and road grime and the metal was slightly higher than the area the old shoes had bedded to. The shoes had a nicely roughed up stripe that matched the one on the drum. This required a bit of sanding to remove the roughness on the edge of the drum since the wider shoe would bed to this area as well.

Reassemble and.... it feels nice! One thing I noticed right away...its much easier to mash the pedal. As the shoes wear away and we adjust them out, the shoe return springs get extended more and more, greatly increasing the pedal resistance. With new thicker shoes, there's very little spring tension.

The shoes are still heating the hub a bit but its not excessive now. I suspect that when making a shoe change on a Ural, if you adjust them for any reasonable level of braking, there will be some heat until the shoes wear in and bed to the drums. Remember the standard warning about not over adjusting the rear brakes on a new Ural during break in?

Just something to keep in mind.... don't change your brake shoes right before an important long duration ride. Give them a long slow wear in period with gentle stops and moderate braking for a while.... I'd guess maybe 100-200km or so to do the job right, without extreme overheating.

One questionable procedure I've used to fine tune shoes once worn in....use with caution! adjust them out until they just start to drag then take a SHORT ride....avoid using the brakes as much as possible during this brief ride and then pull the wheel.... the shoes will "glaze" at the point of constant contact and light sanding on these contact points will insure a more complete surface contact around the radius of the shoe.

Oddly enough, the front and hack brakes look like they'll make 100,000km. :)

Ed Paynter


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