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Rear rotor replacement & hand break shoe adjustment

Darren Carthy


Here is a guide to replacing your break rotors on a 1999-2005 Celica, adjusting the shoes for the hand break and adjusting your hand break when you're finished (I also did the break pads and generally refurbished the calipers while I was there)

Once the wheel has been removed and the car jacked up you can remove the 2 bolts located at the back of the break caliper which attach it to the hub assembly. I suggest loosening both and removing the bottom (shorter bolt) first, then moving the caliper to remove the top (long bolt), which can become obstructed by the spring on your shock absorber.  I also suggest using the closed end of a 14 mm spanner, most socket wrenches struggle for clearance. The location of the bolts is illustrated in Figures 1 & 2. Let the caliper rest on a box underneath the car, do not let it dangle as this may damage the break lines. At this point you could do a break pad change in addition to adding the new break rotors. 

Once the caliper is secured release the hand break and you are ready to remove the old break rotor. If it is an old rotor it will likely be rusted to the hub assembly. Remove the rubber bung from the old rotor and spray penetrating fluid into the hub. Let it sit for a few minutes. Take a piece of timber and place it against the rotor. Strike the rotor with a large hammer, i used a ball and peen. Don't rotate the rotor, just move the timber to where you want to strike next. If the rotor is free but will not come away from the hub  you will need to adjust your hand break. drum. To do this, push the rotor back onto the hub and rotate it so that the whole you removed the rubber bung from is at the bottom of the hub. Look inside with a flashlight and you will see a small gear. Using a flat head screwdriver, move the gear towards the car in a downward motion, this will loosen the hand break shoes and allow the rotor to come away from the hub without damaging the hand break assembly. Figure 3 shows the hub and hand break assembly , the hub was coated in copper grease to prevent the disk from becoming seized to the rotor in future and the break assembly cleaned with break cleaner. 

Spray the new break rotor with break cleaner (they come with a protecting coating you will want to remove) use a mask and appropriate PPE when doing this as the fumes are toxic. Sometimes the new rotor does not fit over the hand break shoes. If this happens do not force the rotor over the shoe. Adjust the small gear at the bottom of the hand break assembly to tighten the shoes. The location of the gear is illustrated in figure 4. You can use a vernier caliper to measure the distance the shoes are apart, the measurement is shown in figure 5, aim to have the same spacing on both sides of the car, or as close together as possible. In this case there was a difference of 2 mm between the LHS and RHS drums. 

Now place the new rotor on the hub and hand tighten a wheel nut against it, this makes it easier to secure the break caliper as illustrated in figure 6. Add copper grease to the caliper bolts and secure it back onto the hub assembly. You may find that your hand break no longer works after you have the car back on the ground. You will now need to adjust your hand break cable, which is done from inside the car. To do this, remove the center console by unscrewing the two 10 mm bolts inside the arm rest. Unscrew the gear knob and remove the gator, there are 2 Philips screws holding window controller to the center console, remove them, there are two more screws in either side of the console  (roll your seat all the way back to reveal them). Plug out the cigarette lighter and the window controller from the loom and lift away the plastic. On the left hand side of the hand break there is a 10 mm bolt, tighten the bolt with the open face of a 10 mm spanner until between 5 and 7 clicks are achieved on the hand break when it is engaged. An image of the removed console can be seen in figure 7. 

Reassemble your interior and you're ready to test drive. 


If you have your own way of doing this or there's something I've missed feel free to weigh in







Figure 1.jpg

Figure 2.jpg

Figure 3.jpg

Figure 4.jpg

Figure 5.jpg

Figure 6.jpg

Figure 7.jpg

Extra Fields


  • Time Taken?
    6 hours
  • Tools Used?
    Breaker bar, 18 mm socket, long 14 mm spanner, 12 mm socket, drive and extension bar,  flat head screw driver, Philips head screwdriver, hammer, block of timber
  • List Parts Used?
    Replacement rotors, Replacement pads (optional), Copper grease, penetrating fluid, break cleaner
  • Costs?
    70 euro
  • Difficulty Level? 1-5

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