How to Replace the Drum Brakes on a 2005 GMC Sierra

Drum brakes use brake shoes that primarily work with the parking brake, as opposed to the disc brakes that use shoes that work with the brake pedal. The shoes and the brake drum assembly on the GMC Sierra, like the drum brakes on most other vehicles, use a number of levers and springs to operate, and replacing these brakes requires you to disconnect and then reassemble all these components. As is the case with pads, replace the brake shoes for both rear wheels together.



  1. Block off the Sierra's front wheels with blocks and then raise the rear end, supporting it on jack stands. Remove the rear wheels.
  2. Pull the brake drum off the wheel hub; the parking brake must be off to do this. If the drum is held by pressed washers on the studs, clip them off with cutting pliers.
  3. Apply brake cleaner spray to the entire assembly, catching the residue in a drain pan. Dispose of this residue at an auto supply shop.


  1. Disconnect the adjuster spring, located near the top of the assembly, using pliers. Disconnect the retractor spring from each of the two shoes with the pliers.
  2. Remove the rear brake shoe, the adjuster lever and the adjuster screw assembly, then detach the parking brake lever from the shoe.
  3. Pull and move the retractor spring out of the way and then remove the front shoe.
  4. Clean the brake assembly's backing plate and then apply high-temperature grease to the plate's spots that contact the brake shoes. Do the same with the adjuster screw assembly, applying the grease to the threads and socket end.


  1. Connect the replacement rear shoe to the parking brake lever and place the shoe onto the backing plate. Connect the retractor spring to the shoe with the pliers.
  2. Install the adjuster screw assembly and the adjuster lever, engaging them with the rear shoe.
  3. Position the replacement front shoe onto the backing plate, engaging it with the adjuster lever and screw assembly, and connect the retractor spring to the shoe.
  4. Attach the actuator spring to its hole in the front shoe, stretch it across to the rear shoe and connect it with the pliers.
  5. Install the brake drum back on the wheel; turn the adjuster screw's star wheel with a flathead screwdriver until the drum barely slip over the shoes without touching them.