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Old 07-14-2010, 06:03 PM   #1
ryan_289
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Default How to use brake spring pliers.

I picked up a set of Mac brake spring pliers cheap a while back. I was changing a wheel cylinder last night and for the life of me I cant figure out how the damn things work! Maybe im just too stupid to figure it out but I made short work with my vise grips and a screwdriver. Can anybody tell me exactly how these are supposed to work? I even thought it was easier using slip joint pliers to remove the drum retainer clips rather than the deal on the end of the pliers.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:31 PM   #2
Tarheelgarage
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

I'll hooke the pointed end in a shoe rivet while using the hook end to pull a top spring back in place.
Sometimes, just pliers and screwdriver are the only things that will work...along with some serious muscle....
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

I've often used vice grips on the spring shank to grip while I muscle it over the retaining stud.

However I'm anything but a professional mechanic.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

If these are standard type brake pliers, the round device with the ear is to remove the spring from the ancor. the bent part is to install the spring back on ancor. The plier portion would be used to install springs across the shoes on some older aplications.
the hold downs would be removed with another tool.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

For most of the cars on the road today brake spring pliers are obsolete.They were designed in an age of rear wheel drive.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

A word of caution for those of you using vice grips on drum springs, I've replaced springs that failed because someone used vice grips on a spring that created a flat spot in the spring wire creating a weak point that breaks.
There's a great set of brake spring pliers for use on those single piece heart shaped springs GM used.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

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Originally Posted by Fedwrench View Post
A word of caution for those of you using vice grips on drum springs, I've replaced springs that failed because someone used vice grips on a spring that created a flat spot in the spring wire creating a weak point that breaks.
There's a great set of brake spring pliers for use on those single piece heart shaped springs GM used.
A good point........also: makeshift methods may work but are/can possibly be dangerous.

This is one job where the correct tool is safer as well as faster.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caper View Post
For most of the cars on the road today brake spring pliers are obsolete.They were designed in an age of rear wheel drive.
Then you'll be glad to know there's still a class of vehicles that is rear wheel drive primarily and many still use rear drums: trucks. According to Chevy's website they still use rear drums on the '11 Silverado. GM went back to rear drums in '05 after trying rear discs before that. And of course GM has never really figured out how to build discs while successfully and reliably incorporating a parking brake, eg Eldorados.

In the past three mos alone between my vehicles and friends I've serviced rear drums on an '87 F150, '98 Ram, '02 Ram 2500 (drum in hat = DIH). Also had to do the rear discs on my '02 Silverado because true to GM form the caliper hangs up on the slider pins causing pre-mature wear - and the parking brake doesn't work but at least it doesn't use springs 'cause instead it uses the abortion of a split-ring shoe.

I won't touch on OTR trucks that use drums because of the considerable increase in swept area over discs.

Furthermore we know that drums are not obsolete to the original poster since he's currently working on them.

And to the OP: if you've got an O'Reilly nearby the Powerbuilt brake spring pliers have a couple photos on the back of the packaging that are actually very helpful. I love using brake spring pliers over vise grips and screwdrivers.

Last edited by Ign; 12-03-2010 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

I have stabbed myself in the face using pliers on springs. Be careful, I ended up with a fat, bloody lip, busted nose, concussion, and bruised ego. I havent touched a spring with pliers since.

I use these in several brands and sizes. I also have severall other specialty tools for certain jobs like wheel cylinders, W springs, etc

Last edited by srmofo; 08-25-2012 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 12-04-2010, 12:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

I use the 2 tools the poster above showed.
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

I own some cheap Napa Evercraft ($8, get what you pay for I guess) spring pliers, but honestly, I don't get how to use the damned things either. A stout slotted screwdriver is ideal for the springs IMO. I don't find myself grabbing them out of the box often, rather just go for the screwdrivers.
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:45 AM   #12
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan_289 View Post
I picked up a set of Mac brake spring pliers cheap a while back. I was changing a wheel cylinder last night and for the life of me I cant figure out how the damn things work! Maybe im just too stupid to figure it out but I made short work with my vise grips and a screwdriver. Can anybody tell me exactly how these are supposed to work? I even thought it was easier using slip joint pliers to remove the drum retainer clips rather than the deal on the end of the pliers.
why would you use brake spring pliers to remove the drum retainer clips?
the older style pliers were easy to use and they give great leverage when you are installing the top 2 springs unto the anchor
do not use pliers , when you slip and bust a knuckle you will understand
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:36 AM   #13
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

wear safety glasses at all times when doing anything involving drum brake springs...........guy i know lost his eye...........this is not a suggestion , but necessity...........
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Old 12-04-2010, 04:40 AM   #14
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

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Originally Posted by tatra View Post
wear safety glasses at all times when doing anything involving drum brake springs...........guy i know lost his eye...........this is not a suggestion , but necessity...........

I agree! I also knew a guy who lost an eye, to a brake spring.
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:16 AM   #15
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

The hook goes in the looped end of the spring the point just jabs into the lining material of the shoe in line with the force to install the spring.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:56 AM   #16
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Default Re: How to use brake spring pliers.

If you are dealing with this type of brake system, you use the "cupped" end of the pliers to remove and the other leg to install. The other leg has a tapered groove machined in it and is used like a pry bar.....the spring slides down the leg on to the anchoring post.

And yes, do get those safety glasses on.

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