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Wheel Cylinder

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It's never a good idea to drive with bad brakes. This is why it's important that you keep all of your braking components in top shape-especially your ride's wheel cylinder. You see, this particular cylinder is an integral part of your braking assembly. Found in each of your wheel brakes, this unit is responsible for forcing your brake shoes against your brake drums, thereby letting your vehicle slow down to a full stop. Lose this cylinder and your vehicle loses its ability to stop; essentially turning your car into an accident magnet. Don't be a sitting duck. Do everything in your power to avoid having braking problems. If you have a bad wheel cylinder in your car, fix this component immediately. Now, should your old cylinder be ripe for replacing, then we recommend checking out our products here at Auto Parts Warehouse. Our site is home to thousands of braking components-and we're certain that we have the right replacement cylinder for your ride. Our wheel cylinders are of the utmost in quality and come from reputable brands like Centric, Bendix, Beck Arnley, PBR, Dorman, Motorcraft, Omix, and AC Delco. Boost your diving safety by getting a topnotch wheel cylinder from our online auto parts store today.

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What's Up With a Wheel Cylinder

Most people don't know this, but when talking about a wheel cylinder, you're actually talking about many different parts altogether. This little guide will break it down for you-figuratively, of course-to help you determine whether you are better served replacing just one or all components at the same time.

Wheel cylinder body

Because it has to handle a lot of hydraulic pressure, the body is usually cast from steel and is heavily constructed. Often, as the main body of the whole affair, it becomes critical that it fits perfectly with your particular make and model. The best guide here is you owner's manual. Alternatively, you can use matching software embedded in most online parts retailers to help you through.

Pumping pistons

These sit at either end within the cylinder. Check if they are made of aluminum. Some try to make a uniform build and make these harder steel-always go with aluminum. Considering these pistons are constantly flush with fluids, you'd want it made out of lightweight, corrosion-resistant materials. They don't need to be sturdy steel because the body protects it well enough.

Cup-expander spring and cups

This sits smack in the middle of wheel cylinder body. The spring itself is a fairly straight-forward affair and most springs of the sort are of great quality on the market-it's the cups that need tending to. These have to form a hermetic seal against the piston. Because of the pressure and stresses, these are terribly vulnerable to becoming brittle when the brake fluid quality starts deteriorating over time.

Bleeder Valve

These valves allow brake fluid to escape from the wheel cylinder in the event that fluid pressure gets far too high. Of all the components, this is the one you have to least worry about because you can even clean it out with a paper clip.

So all or one

You save more on buying a cylinder set instead of replacing just one. For one thing, these are small parts and difficult to change out. The economical bet is to go for a full replacement. It saves you the bother of having to keep on changing components as each part fails in turn!

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Swapping Out Your Faulty Rear Wheel Cylinder

With your brakes being as important as they are, it's important that you swap out a faulty rear wheel cylinder before it gets you into a world of trouble. Before you start panicking that this might be mission impossible, know that-with this easy-to-follow guide-even the most amateur of DIY-ers can get the job done lickety split! You can actually do this in one to two hours.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Stuff you'll need:

  • New rear wheel cylinder
  • Owner's manual
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Lug wrench
  • Screwdrivers
  • Brake spring tool
  • Brake spring pliers
  • Brake clean spray
  • Wrench set
  • Drain pan
  • Penetrating lubricant spray

Step 1: Before you begin, make sure that you car is parked on a flat, level surface-this will prevent the car from being unbalanced when you raise it up.

Step 2: Lift the rear of your vehicle with the jack-place the stands under for support.

*IMPORTANT* Make sure you double-, even triple-, check the stability of the stands-it might just save your life.

Step 3: Loosen up the lug nuts that are securing the rear wheel upon which you are replacing the wheel cylinder.

Step 4: Spray penetrating lubricant on the brake line connection to the wheel cylinder-making sure to have a drain pan to catch the dripping lubricant.

*NOTE* After every step, from this point onward, continue to lubricate-this will help the parts of the braking system as a whole in the long run.

Step 5: Remove the drum.

*NOTE* If you have to, disengage the rubber plug from behind and carefully re-adjust the brakes with a thin screwdriver or a more specialized brake spoon-this makes Step 5 so much easier.

Step 6: Wrench the brake fitting free from the wheel cylinder itself.

*CAUTION* Be extra careful doing this step! Keep the lubrication going and take as much time as you may need.

Step 7: Disengage the two upper brake shoe return spring using an end of the brake shoe plies to pry them off the retainer.

Step 8: Remove the two retaining bolts from the back of the backing plate-this is what holds the wheel cylinder in place.

Step 9: Carefully ease off the old rear wheel cylinder and install the new one.

Step 10: Reverse the steps to reinstall everything. Once that is done, locate and crack open the bleeder screw of the new wheel cylinder and allow it to bleed off some brake fluid-when you achieve a steady flow, close it again.

Step 11: Make sure to top off the brake fluid within the master cylinder-after all, you're there already.

Step 12: When everything is ready, give you care a drive around the block-slowly at first, testing the brake as often as you can.

General tips:

  1. Be safe when working around cars-always be decked out in, at least, the most basic of safety equipment: goggles, gloves, and closed-toed shoes.
  2. Check the jack and stand for stability-you do not want to be crushed underneath your car!