Unless broken or collapsed, the spring inside the brake cylinder is 15"
long and compressed under considerable pressure. One disassembly
technique is to remove the bolts, cut the bands on the boot and stand
back. Replacing the bolts, one bolt at a time, with threaded rods, with
a nut welded on one end (essentially a long, full-thread bolt), is a
little less spectacular but yields the same end result.
Incidentally, you can flip the cyliner
over and put a 3/4" socket on a socket extension and chuck it into a
power drill to drive the bolt, while holding the nut with a box socket
wrench. This will let you undo the nuts quickly (there is a lot of
thread on the rod, which is about 6" long).
Photo by Eric Wilde, 2007 Dec 21.