2002 GEM CAR drum brake Stuck - ideas?

I just acquired a 2002 GEM that I have been digging into and finding that there has not been much maintenenace over the years. I am working on the front wheels.
I am trying to remove the brake drum to inspect/clean/replace the shoes. I removed the two front mounting bolts on the drum and it will not budge. I have tapped the drum with a hammer and have sprayed some penetrating fluid into any space I could and tapped hard with hammer - again. Still no movement on the drum.

Any suggestions on what to do next?
Also, is it recommended to replace brake cylinder if I am going this far into this job? Brakes have not been serviced since car was built.

Thanks for any help

Don’t waste your time with front drum brakes, you’ll always feel that stopping isn’t necessarily the first option your GEM will do when applying brakes.

Convert to disc brakes, I believe NEV Accessories sells the kits for about $600.

As soon as I put them on our 2002 e825, the fear of not stopping went away.

Heat the face of the drum around the hub with a propane or acetylene torch and dont be afraid to beat hard on the drum. Also pry between the drum and the backing plate with a large screwdriver. I drive the screw driver between the plate and the drum. If I bend the backing plate a bit I beat it back into shape when I get the drum off.

Hint: You can increase the effectiveness of drum brakes on older GEM carts by changing out the master cylinder to a MOPAR cylinder with a 3/4 inch bore. Email me if you have an interest. rodneyadiehl@aol.com


Thank you for the response. I put a torch on the drum for 15 min until smoke was coming out of drum, tried prying back the plate with screw driver, beat it hard with hammer. I have been at this for hours. I think I might try a drum brake puller but would have to purchase one. I will let you know how it goes.


did you remove the 2 retaining screws?

In a message dated 4/17/2018 1:41:21 PM US Eastern Standard Time, electricforum@discoursemail.com writes:

Yes I did remove the two retaining screws on the front

Just had the same problem on my 2000 GEM… struck the drum with a hammer for a bit… sprayed WD40 on the lug nuts… even tried to slightly pry on the drum/backing plate with a screw driver… and got nowhere… after reading other message boards that recommended heating the hub, etc… I watched a youtube video that showed 2 guys that fabricated a bracket with 2 bolts… they drilled and tapped 2 holes and it pulled right off… by the time I ate dinner and went back out, I slowed down my over processing brain and just looked at the drum… THERES A RAISED RING NEAR THE EDGE!! Grabbed a larger flat blade screw driver and a hammer… lightly tapped on the ring and BAM, the drum came off… piece of cake… much easier than drilling for fabbing a puller.