There are a lot of tips available on the forum re this subject, but I thought I'd compile some of them that helped me, before I forget it all.
- I used a stainless spring kit (Bair's) and OEM style shoes. Didn't see the need to replace all the other hardware or use really fancy (expensive) shoes.
- The side retaining springs need to be compressed and tied with dental floss or fishing line. I tried using floss but we only had dental tape in our house and the tape stretched too much. So I used 6 lb fishing leader line. You have to use a fishing or surgeon's knot so it won't slip. (Yep, I'm an Eagle Scout). I had to be careful with the 6 lb line - it was easily broken. Tie both sides of the spring. You want as little space between the coils as possible - the better you do this step the easier installing the springs will be. Install the dished metal retaining caps in the tops of the springs, being careful not to break your strings.
- Clean up parts you will re-use, such as the adjusters. Make sure the slots on the adjusters slide on to the tabs in the shoes easily. (Speaking from experience here). Grease moving parts and sliding surfaces with brake grease.
- Attach the two shoes together off the car with the top spring. Had to wiggle the spring past the large bolt head at the top. A little tricky, but it can be done. Be careful not to bend that spring - the reason I was doing this job in the first place was this spring was broken on the driver's side. Clam-shell the shoes around the hub and get them in place.
- Now make sure the actuating lever is engaged with the tabs on both shoes. Play around with it a bit to see how much you can swing out the shoes without it becoming disengaged. After the other springs are installed it would be really difficult to re-engage it.
- Now the fun part: install retaining springs. Do the back one first. The back side of that pin is trapped so you can't use your finger to hold it from the back. Get the pin through the hole in the shoe and pull it out as much as possible with needle nose pliers. Be sure the hole in the hub flange is aligned properly so you can get a straight shot. Now slide the spring in and over the pin. I used a combination of fingers (I have relatively small ones), multiple sets of needle nose pliers and some large tweezers. Harbor Freight has a $6 set of a bunch of different tweezers that can really help with this job. Once the pin is through the hole in the retaining cap hold the spring with tweezers or needle nose and twist the pin 90 degrees with another needle nose. Cut the strings you used to compress the spring with the blade of a utility knife. (if they haven't already broken). Done with that spring. Front one is a little easier since you can hold the back of the pin with your finger.
- Install the bottom spring. Easy - it goes in easy in it's relaxed state.
- Install the adjuster. Make sure it is screwed together all the way. Slide in the longer side first, get the slot on tab on the shoe and then slide in the shorter side. You may need to expand the shoes from the bottom to get the adjuster in. There are many tools you could use to do this. I just used a large pair of shears. You're done. Mostly.
- Make sure the rotor goes on. If not, you probably did something wrong. But you may need to wiggle it a bit to get it to go on. Don't screw up the edge of the shoe friction surface with the rotor. (I only did a little damage
- Adjust. My manual says to expand the shoes until the rotor is fully locked and then back off 6-8 notches. I didn't feel comfortable getting it quite that tight, but when it was all said and done, both wheels lock at about half the full travel of the p-brake handle. After I get this thing running again I may have to tighten it up a bit more, but we'll see.
Hope this helps. I found this job to be frustrating, but not as frustrating as I thought it could be. The first night I spent about 2 hours out there and got nothing accomplished. But the second and third nights it was only an hour or less each.
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: firstname.lastname@example.org, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.