I have to confess that it wasn’t by chance that I checked the left front wheel first when I suspected a leak. There’s been a decided klunk in that wheel for some time, noticeable intermittently when the brakes were pressed. I’d also noticed a veer to the right on hard braking.
Sorta like maybe the front left brake wasn’t working too hard.
My new wheel cylinder fit nicely into the backing plate. Then I noticed that one of the springs was just plain broken. Remembered, too, that one of the brake shoes was held on with one-pin. Referenced the manual: yeah, there should be two.
And that dangling cable? That should be routed through a guide. But, there is no guide.
Tracking down a replacement spring–once a very common part–took three trips to a local parts house, Bob’s Auto Supply, before a match was found. The new spring came in a kit that included a new hold-down pin that fit, but is not exactly the right length.
The missing cable guide is part of the auto-adjusting mechanism and therefore not critical. The cable itself was frayed and unusable anyhow.
I bled out the new cylinder with my wife’s help after the shoes and drum were back on. (Criminy! Could the bleeder screw be any less accessible?) The brakes were firm and the pedal didn’t sink any more. Also, the klunking and pulling were fixed as well.
I purchased the right wheel cylinder with the left, but it appears I got the wrong part in the right box. The nice folks at O’Reilly’s are working on a replacement. New rear cylinders were in stock and are on my bench, waiting for next weekend. The rest of the hardware bits (correct pins, cable, guide, a few extra springs, etc) are on order from Bird Nest.
It’s been the pattern on this car that fixing a weak link only exposes the next weakest link. This time, I’m ready for it!