Finally got around to looking at the 'no brakes' situation this week. I had filled up the brake fluid reservoir, and sure enough, I had brakes --- momentarily! Steady pressure on the pedal would drive it to the floor, though, so I knew I was losing it somewhere. I couldn't see any obvious leaks at first, but then I got under the car with a good light, and I could see that the right rear wheel had a peculiar spot. I pulled the wheel and the drum, and sure enough the wheel cylinder was bad.
Old leaky wheel cylinder passenger side rear
You can see the old cylinder above, after I replaced it. I ordered a new one from FCP, and installed sunday without a problem. Well..... almost no problem.
I had taken it apart about two weeks ago--- first time I have done an old style drum brake in years! I had released the brake shoe spring and the shoes to get a look around and clean in there. When I went to reassemble everything two weeks later, I had it in my mind that I needed another spring to assemble it correctly. So I looked all over for this 'mystery' spring to no avail. I am usually pretty careful to keep all the disassembled parts together. Don't tell me I inadvertently scooped it up and threw it out with the trash when I was cleaning up! Day um. It was quitting time anyway, so I decided to look around again another day, and also break down and take a look at the Haynes manual for a visual of what it should look like re-assembled.
New wheel cylinder installed.
After reviewing the pics in the manual, I realized why it is not a good idea to wait two weeks between disassembly and re-assembly: You forget stuff! All the fuss about a missing spring was for naught: I didn't misplace or lose anything! I just forgot that there was only the one spring needed!
So it all went back together nicely, no missing parts, and no extra parts.... which is the way I like it! And... best of all.... I know that I now have solid brakes! Not that I care, really, but, I gotta admit that once in awhile.... they do come in handy!