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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently bought an '03 Fourtrax 450 FE and after changing the rear shoes I cannot get the brake hub over the new shoes. I did have trouble getting the drum off originally but initially thought it was because the splines were gummed up. The drum itself seems pristine and the old shoes could probably go back on as they were not that worn. I'm thinking perhaps the shoes I bought are slightly too large in diameter or the snap ring style damper on the i.d. of the drum has a buildup of crud underneath causing the diameter to be too small. Has anyone experienced this issue? How would I get the damper off? Seems like a really tricky thing to get out and back in. How critical is it to have placed back in the exact same location? I see some sharpie marks where each end of the damper ring is and this leads me to think that location matters for some reason.
 

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.... welcome to the forums , a few thoughts : Do you have the cables to the brake lever all the way loose ? Is there corrosion built up on the cam where the shoes contact them ? You can clean that cam up with a file and gain a couple of thousands , then you can file a couple of thousands off the end of the shoe where it contacts the cam , sometimes it has helped me to bevel the very end of the shoes with a sander so it can start in the drum easier .....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
They were after market and they are too big in diameter. Cleaned the original ones off with brake cleaner since they were still pristine and it all went back together as it should. Had ~ 12mm throw on the brake lever before engaging so I'm satisfied. What bothers me is the inside was really clean yet the pivot pin that engages the shoes was oxidized and nigh onto impossible to drive out. Will I see this same issue again down the road? Thanks Fishfiles and Jeepwm69 for suggestions. FYI, I would've had to remove about .040-.060" to MAYBE get it to slip on. In the words of H.W. back in the 90's..... 'Not gonna do it.'
 

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If you ride in water a lot that cam is hard to keep moving.

I did this to my rear brakes on a couple of mine, along with new seals, but even so water gets in and then you have to tear it all down and clean it out often.

https://www.hondaforeman.com/144-how/77223-honda-rear-brake-fix-kinda.html

I duck hunt on mine so they sit in water for hours sometimes, so I have little hope that I'll ever keep working rear brakes.
 

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Everything said above by @Jeepwm69 and @fishfiles is from the mouths of the experts. The only advice I can offer comes from my recent personal experience.

I cleaned up the brakes and installed new brake shoes on three of my bikes in the past few months. The brake cam must be working properly for a lasting repair AND to get the new brake shoes seated properly so the drum will go on easily. The fact your shoes were still in good shape is a red flag to a cam issue. It the cam was working properly it would have been pushing the brake shoes out against the drum and they would show some wear after all these years.

Not to insult your intelligence, but be sure you are removing the cam in the correct direction. To remove, pull the cam toward the drum, in other words, to the brake side. It will not push out toward the brake cables. Soak the cam in penetrating oil overnight then gently tap the cam out using a rubber mallet. IF you hit it with a hammer you run the risk of damaging the end of the splines. Soak, tap and repeat until the cam comes out.

Also, there may be a rubber seal/ring on the cam and it must be removed before that cam will come out. Examine both sides of the cam and use a pic to remove the seal if you fine one. You never know what you might find if someone else has worked on the brakes in the past.

It was much easier, for me, to remove the brake panel from the axle to work on it. The panel needs to be on a firm surface when tapping out the cam.

When you get the cam out, and you will, clean it up as suggested above, and apply anti-seize before reinserting. Also, be sure to clean and gently sand the insertion for the the cam to remove any rust or gunk.

Be sure to replace all required rubber and felt seals per the manual. Align the punch marks/dots and install the cam and coat the cam end with a thin layer of anti-seize, where the shoes sit on the cam. Install the pads. Install spring, wear indicator and brake arm. If cam is working properly you should be able to push the brake arm with your hand and see the cam rotating 90 degrees with ease as the brakes pads move. You'll be very happy camper at this point. I did a girl giggle at this point but you can skip this step.

Use brake cleaner and wipe off the brake pads and the inside of the drum.

If the cam is returning to parallel position (and the pads are the correct size) the brake drum should slide right on.

Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Did all of that and it's stellar. More than just a pretty face here. Retired automotive engineer with the Big 3 who was a respected failure analysis engineer so I KNOW failure analysis. If you ever have a metallurgical question after 38 years I probably can either give you direction or zero in on your issue. Transmissions were my forte so I can fluently speak epicyclic gearing or anything metallurgy. My biggest problem is my age.... I knew I'd get old, I just didn't expect it to happen so soon after I retired.
 

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Very interesting dgcoultas.

I find these honda ATV transmissions interesting. They're basically puzzles for adults, but I've always been fascinated watching the gears mesh as you turn the assembly over and turn the shift drum. The guys who design these things to all work the way they do are a special breed for sure.

I've always driven manual transmissions, and until fairly recently viewed automatics as voodoo magic, but the wife wants an automatic in one of my Jeep CJ's, so I finally picked up a TF999 to swap into my green CJ at some point. It currently has a T177 Tremec which I plan to swap into my tan CJ, replacing the Borg Warner T5 that is currently in it, and has a horrible service record in these old Jeeps.

I've got several links bookmarked for going through these things before I start swapping them. Doesn't look like the T177 will be hard to rebuild, and while the TF999 looks like it has more to it, I'm hoping I can do that one too. Nobody wants to do bench builds these days, so I'm going to have to do them myself.

Of course, I plan to do all of this after I rebuild the dozen Hondas in the yard....too many hobbies, too little time.
 
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