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Rear Drum Brake Adjustment

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Old 05-30-2001, 09:58 AM   #1
David S.
Ogden, Utah
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Rear Drum Brake Adjustment

I was getting a neverending squealing from my rear brakes for the last week. The drums have never been replaced so I decided just to replace them. When I took off the old drums, I backed off the star screw a few turns to get the new drums on. Instead of removing the rubber plug and readjusting the star screw, I believe I read somewhere that you can just drive in reverse and keep applying the brake to turn and star screw and the pads will be properly adjusted. Is this right?

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Old 05-30-2001, 10:44 AM   #2
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Yup. That'll work. The system is set up so that when the pads expand outwards, a lever moves the star adjuster automatically. You should have it somewhere near the proper adjustment point before you do it.

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Old 05-30-2001, 03:40 PM   #3
Nick K
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The book says reverse back 8 feet and then apply the brake firmly. Do this 2-3 times.
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Old 05-30-2001, 11:45 PM   #4
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According to the fine print, this works. In reality it rarely works as designed. The "self adjusters" were designed to keep the shoes properly adjusted as they wear, not to adjust the brakes initally. To do this properly you need to manually adjust them.

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Old 05-31-2001, 04:52 PM   #5
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and that from my own experience is pretty tough.......... I'm a perfectionist.....and it took me good hour to adjust my brakes...... take the wheel off, take the drum off, adjust the screw...put everything back on and test....... then take the wheel off again, take the drum off and on and on... It must feel just right...... otherwise I'm using just the front brakes and wasting front pads and rotors......

I don't know, just me...

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Old 05-31-2001, 05:57 PM   #6
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You don't "need" to take the wheel/drum off to adjust it..

There is an access hole (should have a rubber plug in it).. You can use a Flat Blade screwdriver.. or the acutal tool.. (kinda like a flat blade screw driver.. but with a flat end on each side.. and the metal is bent to make it easer to get it in there).. You need to rotate the adjustment wheel "up" to tighten it. If I don't have the time, I'll just lift the truck (put on jack stands).. and then rotate the tire as I'm adjusting it.. Once I hear the shoes start to scrape the drum.. I know that side is done.. I then do the other side..

When I want to get it perfect.. I lift the truck (jack stands).. remove 1 wheel and 1 drum.. then I adjust the other side.. (this way you are only feeling/hearing the 1 side).. Once this side is done I pull the tire/drum of the finished tire and repeat the adjust ment on the other side.. This will get it as close to exact as possible..

I have found that by removing the 1 tire/drum makes it easier to get right.. but I've done it enough times now that I can get it right with the tires still on.

Don't forget.. If you drums are worn down (with the shoes adjust correctly).. or you adjust it too tight you will have one heck of a time getting the drum off.


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