Look closely at the brake adjuster at the bottom of the picture above (if you are unfamiliar, it’s the slotted screw in the u shaped bracket sitting on top of the wheel cylinder). This adjuster is meant to sit in a groove on the bottom of the brake shoe. Instead, this one was assembled with the flat side of the shoe on the adjuster, which allowed the adjuster to squirt outward into the drum. As a result, the adjuster happily cut a major groove in the drum as shown below. Not a nice soundtrack. New drum needed.
Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite.
Rear brakes on Sprites are super-simple, but they are almost never working properly. Yup, almost never. From experience with 200 plus Bugeyes, a shocking percentage has arrived in our building with wet or otherwise non- functioning rear brakes. That’s what gives drum brakes a bad name. People assume drums are the problem. But non-working drums is the real problem. Pull the handbrake on your Sprite while you are rolling to a stop (in a safe place, please). if not much happens, your rear shoes are not doing their job.
Rear axle seals leak and soil shoes (the dark patches are gear oil on the shoes shown at left, on the other side of the same car, new seal and shoes needed here). Axle flanges leak and soil shoes too. Wheel cylinders leak and soil shoes three. Modern shoes don’t start out life perfectly mated to your drums, and so the new shoes start-out with small contact patches until you them wear in. It takes a while for the shoes to properly mate to the shape of the drum. So all this elevates the possibly that rear drum brakes in particular will be less than effective. They have to be well maintained, properly adjusted and properly set-up. (And then they work quite well!)
If you really want to fix the problem once and for all, you can buy our rear disk brake kit. This is an elegant solution and the direction I went with my Bugeye Gumby, so I would never have to deal with these maintenance issues again.
Here’s a photo of the rear disk kit installed on my personal car. You can see the components below. If you want to give your car a great gift, you can purchase a rear disk kit by clicking here.
But no matter what you do, make sure your rear brakes are working!