1990 Pontiac Grand AM Rear Brakes


Asked by May 17, 2011 at 05:29 PM about the 1990 Pontiac Grand Am 4 Dr SE Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Have brake fluid leaking from the driver side rear brake but can not remove the drum. Brakes went out so I'm sure the cylinder has gone out. Brake drum is frozen to the wheel bearing assembly. Brake shoes are not holding the drum because I can pry on the backing plate and the drum will pull away from the lug bolts but will not budge from the center wheel bearing assembly and there is no access to nor is there a brake adjustment hole to loosen the brake. I did, just to make sure, release the tension on the emergency brakes and there is no contact between the brake shoes and the drum when the drum is spun. Have tried liquid wrench to loosen any rust but no difference made. Have tried tapping on the drum with a hammer with no success and even tried prying and tapping at the same time still with no success. Can anyone tell me if they have had the same trouble and or how they removed the drum. Thinking my last option is to get a torch and heating up the center of the drum and the bearing assembly, maybe able to knock it off that way but don't really want to have to replace the bearings and speed sensor because of the heat. Any help would be most appreciated. Does any one know if it is possible to remove the four bolts holding the bearing assembly, with the attached hub, to the baking plate if that will allow the drum along with the bearing assembly and drum to be removed or will the brake assembly itself, keep this from being removed?    

5 Answers


You can almost always get the drum to release by hitting the front face, near the studs, very hard with a 2-3 lb hammer. Obviuosly, do not hit the studs or hub. If the wheel bearing is bolted on from the backside, yes you can unbolt the whole assembly and work it out.

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yes i agree atthis point if you have fluid leaking out and all your going to most likely need a rear over haul. so what id do is try and turn start adjuster behind wheel all the way down if u cant locate it then get a good sized hammer and beat and spin and beat spin it will come off if need be get 1or 2 large/long screw drivers/pry bars and beat spin and pry it will come off. ou do not need nor want use heat heating up brake shoes and brake fluid very bad and not at all good to breathe in. also fyi make sure to spray pb blaster/penatrating oil inbetween all 5 lug holes/hub center/and wheel cylinder holding bolts and brake line MAKESURE ALL IS VERY WELL LUBED WILL EXTREMELY HELP IN THE LONG RUN. have owned 3 different gereration grand ams please ASK ME ANYTHING 'll try and help


Thanks for the info but on this model there is no access to the adjuster, there isn't even an opening to get to the adjuster if there were room. I've shined a flash lite between the backing plate and the outer bearing assembly and there not only is no room , maybe a 5/16 gap but no plug or any type of access. On this model, front wheel drive, there isn't an axle so the bearing and bolt spindle are one unit that can't be accessed. The bearing unit is held on by four bolts, nuts on the outside and bolt heads on the inside, all has to be removed and replaced if the bearings ever go out. I've also tried the spin and hammer for several days now and have used liquid wrench and some heavy duty liquid wrench to no avail. I've hit around the center where the drum slide over the bearing assembly numerous times and with a good amount of force to maybe pop it free but nothing from that either. I can put a pry bar between the drum and the backing plate as if to pry it off and the drum will move out away from the lug bolts at every bolt so I know it's not hung up there but at the center the drum will actually bend where the drum and the bearing assembly meet but will not pop off. The drum will move with the pry bar everywhere but at the center there it will not move regardless. This is the first time I've even seen this happen. All the brakes I've done over the years, if the drum sticks it will usually pop right off with a little tap from a hammer or slide right off after removing the tire but this one is ridiculous. The torch was a thought but a very last resort. I can't put the tire back on in order to have someone try and remove the drum because I have no brakes, nothing not even an ability to pump up with a little brakes. So its get it off here or else,lol. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

yes i have seen and heard everything that you are doing and it just sounds like you have a really big rust lip holding you back from getting it off. at this pointlike i said before since you have been beating crap outta the drum id just get 2 pry bars and inch it off clockwise all the way around. you might have to rebend backing plate alil but. also if around the center up is rusty sand paper or wire brush it . if those do not work try using a puller or slide hammer that will def knock it right off.


Thanks for the help. I finally got this thing off with a little more force and about 10 minutes of no mercy pounding between the lug bolts. I never hit the edges very hard at all or the outer top edges as I didn't want to knock it out of round but I do have 5 nice dimples between each bolt hole that will either require the purchase of a new drum, unless I can tap them back down enough for the drum to secure flatly against the backing plate. The dimples aren't really that bad but there not suppose to be there so. again, thanks for all your help.

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