Made good progress on the 4Runner’s much-needed brake overhaul this evening.

Drums are easy but the return spring can be scary.

Since it didn’t look like the bleeders had ever been cracked and wheel cylinders are about $5, I opted to just replace the originals instead of breaking off the bleeders. Surprisingly the flare nuts were all cooperative, and even the little screws that hold the wheel cylinder to the backing plate came out without a fuss.


Put on the new parts in the arrangement the old ones were (after apply grease where needed; things were very dry before). I did notice the pivot for the parking brake was completely broken on both sides, looks like the steel part rust-jacked the aluminum housing to pieces. This may explain why the parking brake does nothing.

Yes, it’s the other side from the picture above.

With the easy part done, it was time to replace the flex line. After some lookings-at, I decided I would have to drop the spare tire. Which is unused and from 1999.

I rinsed this down with brakleen afterwards to get the leaked fluid off.

Miraculously, the little cable hoist thing wasn’t rusted up and it came down without issue. When I get new tires, I’ll have to have one of the old ones put on there and get rid of the 20-year-old original (which had no air, I filled it up before I put it back).


With the spare removed there was pretty much room to sit up under the car and work on the flex line, which came out with minimal struggle (biggest issue was only being able to get about 1/16 of a turn on the wrench before having to flip it around).

Once everything was tightened up, I bled the system myself: first via the vacuum pump jar thing (I should take a picture of the jar I made for that...) then for the last push, a 2x4 between the driver’s seat and brake pedal to simulate another person.


The bleeding was uneventful (which is good), and a short test drive around the neighborhood was a success. I adjusted the drums close-but-loose and verified the self-adjusters were working in the driveway before heading out (they are). The pedal is already much better, but not where it should be. Replacing the front calipers (both are dragging), flex lines, and bleeding that should take care of it. That work will happen tomorrow.

As a bonus for making it this far, here’s a friend that appeared in the parking lot at work at some point between when I got there and lunch.

Yes it’s a hellcat in the background.

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