Inspect and Replace a Wheel Cylinder (Toyota Camry & Others)


Brake DIY
Replacing your Toyota Camry’s wheel cylinder

The intricate parts and pieces of a Toyota Camry brake system can seem overwhelming at first. Whether you are new to DIY auto repair or are an experienced mechanic, keeping a car well-maintained is a bold task, especially as it ages and accumulates miles. One task for keeping your car maintained correctly is making sure your wheel cylinders are working. Whether or not you feel like there is something wrong with them, it’s important to inspect them regularly and replace them if necessary. To inspect them, check to see if there is any fluid coming from the ends of wheel cylinder. If there is, it is most likely time to replace them. How can you accomplish this? Take a look at our easy guide for replacing a wheel cylinder on your Toyota Camry.

  • First, you need to purchase a new wheel cylinder. Depending on your make and model, there may be a left-specific or right-specific wheel cylinder, so make sure you purchase the correct part.
  • Next gather the correct tools for the project. This may include: a socket set, that includes 8mm and 10mm sockets; vise grips; tools for removing brake drums and shoes, brake cleaner, and the appropriate sockets for the wheel well; a line wrench (very important so be sure to have a few for different size bolts; gear wrenches; a screwdriver; penetrating oil; an oil pan.
  • Once you have the correct tools, jack up your car and remove the wheel. You will also need to take the brake drum off, so follow the correct procedure for removing them.
  • Once the drum is off, you don’t necessarily need to take the shoes off. The adjuster under the wheel cylinder can expand the shoes out, allowing you to squeeze the wheel cylinder out as well. Before worrying about that though, go ahead and spray brake cleaner over the entire wheel well. This will help take all the dust and some of the rust off the area you will be working in. Be sure to have the oil pan underneath the wheel area to catch the runoff. Also, wear a dust mask, as brake dust tends to accumulate in the drum and on brake parts.
  • Now, after adjusting the shoes out of the way, grab your vise grip and clamp the rubber brake line. Only clamp it enough to keep brake fluid from running out. If you’re concerned about damaging the brake line, wait until you have disconnected the brake line from the wheel cylinder to cap it or plug it with a rubber cap or plug.
  • Spray the back of the wheel cylinder with penetrating oil, where the mounting bolts and the brake line connect.
  • The next step is to remove the brake line. It’s very important for you to use a line wrench for this part. You do not want to round off the end of the brake line. If you notice the brake line moving and wanting to turn with the bolt that’s holding it in, do not keep turning. Make sure the line is not attached to the cylinder, but do not go any further. Detach the two fastener bolts next to the line, then spin the wheel cylinder off instead. If the brake line is not spinning with the bolt, then just continue with unscrewing the bolt itself. Then unscrew the two fastener bolts next to the line.
  • Once you remove the fasteners, you should be able to squeeze the sides of the wheel cylinder in and pull it out. You may need to wiggle it out.
  • You can now get the new wheel cylinder ready. Squeeze the sides, so you can insert it correctly into the hole. Have your brake line lined up with the new wheel cylinder as well. The new cylinder will have a bleeder valve that you can remove before installation, if that makes it any easier. There is also a plug that is inside the new wheel cylinder that must be removed.
  • Once the new cylinder is in place, go ahead and start tightening the brake line into it. It’s important to do the brake line first so as to not cause any cross-threading. Then start the fasteners. Finally tighten them both down, and install the bleeder valve.
  • You will now want to use the adjuster under the wheel cylinder to adjust the brake shoes back into their correct placement. Remove the vise grip from the brake line as well.
  • You can now attach the brake drum onto the wheel well. Make sure to bleed your brakes and test out the action of the wheel cylinder.

Replacing your Toyota Camry’s wheel cylinder is a project that any DIYer can do from their own garage. As long as you have the right tools, proper safety techniques, and follow these instructions, you will be a wheel cylinder replacement pro in no time!

Photo credit: dave_7 via / CC BY-SA

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