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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The hold down springs on the rear shoes can be a challenge to reinstall without the correct tool. A hammer handle works IF you are under 50!

SnapOn offers a hold down brake spring tool for the F&E350's and does a few other companies.

You folks that have such a tool, which one do you own and how well does it work.
 

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Got to have these for the hold-down springs:


And these for the return springs:
 

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I have a complete set from Harbor freight that includes the tools shown above plus some others ( spoons, etc) But I usually resort to a pair of regular pliers for the shoe hold down springs.
 
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I have a complete set from Harbor freight that includes the tools shown above plus some others ( spoons, etc) But I usually resort to a pair of regular pliers for the shoe hold down springs.
Lineman's Pliers are the best tool I've got for this job, and I have the thing with the plastic handle, too. Sometimes I reach in with long-nosed pliers to press on the retainer directly :p
 

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I just worked on my '84 rabbits rear drum brakes last night. I have never used a spring tool on the hold down springs of other vehicles. After 45 minutes of trying, and almost throwing the hammer out the window, I gave up. I tried every method I could think of, multiple pliers/vice grips, and nothing worked.

Spent the $5 on the way home and picked up the tool from Advance Auto. 45 seconds this morning, and the springs are on. In this case, the right tool did the job.

The VW springs are almost completely compressed when on, so no extra room to install them. Big truck springs are much easier. (like on my 1995 F250)

Michael
 

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I used a combination of a wide flathead screwdriver, and some needlenose pliers. Had mine on in a few minutes.......
 

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I took a pair of lineman pliers, held them closed and drilled a hole near the tip (slightly bigger than spring) about 3/4 the way thru. Works awesome...no injuries anymore!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Amazon also explains how it's used, right there in the bullets at the top of the page.
[ame]https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002YKI95C[/ame]
 

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I figured you hooked both ends and the tool would allow you to cross/hook them, guess not. Inserting it into the working end of the spring doesn't extend it so the 2 can cross?
 

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I replaced the rear drum brakes on my 1993 Ford F-350 today. I’ve done it three times before, so I wasn’t thinking I was going to be much of a bad job. I’m not so young as I used to be, and the hold down springs wouldn’t install themselves like they used to. I almost gave up, but I found this thread and saw the Vim Tools B10 Truck Brake Spring Tool. I got a couple old screwdrivers and cut them up. Then I welded them together and made a tool just the same as the Vim one. It took about five minutes to do both sides. You put the one pin in the coil and put the other up against the part of the spring that I was trying to grab with some pliers. The retainer just drops right in place, just like that. I had to make the space narrower between the two pins to get it right, but now I’ll never waste any more time or strength putting my brakes on.
 
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