rear brake adjusting??? | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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rear brake adjusting???


December 4, 2006
Reaction score
City, State
Birdsboro, Pa
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 XLT
when i put on my emergency brake it does very little. I also have somewhat weak braking, even after i put new pads, rotors and calipers on the front and blead the brakes. How do i go about adjusting my back brakes to have more stopping force, i have no clue? I really dont think the rear brakes are allpying much pressure at all, i would like to adjust them and then if i need to replace the shoes/drum i will. pics would also help tremendously. thanks in advance... Josh

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Start by pulling the rear wheels and drums and inspect the linings.

i believe your front brakes do 70% of the stopping...the rears assist and are for parking...take marragtop's advice first before you try to adjust anything...:)

Before you take a Spoon to the rears.

Do you need to push teh Brake down far to get braking? If the Brake Shoes are not close to the Drums, you will need to push the pedal down further. Even after Bleeding the fronts and rears.

You should pull the Drum off and see how much Lining you have left on the shoes. But then, there is a rubber Oval piece on the back plate. Take that out and with a Brake spoon, turn the Adjustment Star.

See Item #2 on the second picture

the easiest way to adjust them, assuming the adjuster works (it might not) is to do alot of stops going backwards. otherwise, you could use an adjuster tool to adjust them through the little hole on the back of the plate behind the drum

If the drum hardware is working correctly, they should adjust themselves. I've replaced the drum brakes on my '92 a couple of times, and each time didn't "adjust" them manually. With the rear on jack stands and the drums in place, repeatedly pressed on the brake pedal until the pedal firmed up and the brakes were functional. IMO, if the rear brakes aren't doing much, then something is wrong. Since you've bled the brakes (I assume the fluid flow out of the rears was reasonable), the next step is to pull the drums and see what's in there.

I don't have pictures of the drum brake assembly, but, when I've done mine, I've found the pictures in Chilton's/Haynes completely adequate for doing the drum brakes on these.

Hey Josh,

I agree with these guys, it's time to pull those puppies. On any drum brake assembly, the hardware inside the drums (springs, adjusters, e-brake parts, etc.) tends to rust, bend, weaken, etc. with age. I've had to replace all these parts on several vehicles at one time or another, now I just plan ahead and buy new hardware when I buy the pads (springs at minimum).

One thing I've seen is that the adjuster wheel will rust up and not spin properly, which means they won't auto adjust, and won't turn manually with the spoon. This results in very little stopping force from the rears. When that happens, it's best to replace the adjuster wheel assemblies, but you could also work the screw loose and lube it before reassembling.

I'm not a professional mechanic, but I delivered pizzas in college, so I've seen more than my share of brake jobs. I've also done the rears on my 94 XLT at least twice.

Good luck, keep us posted!


In what is probably a futile effort to stave off the next question:

Yes you have to hammer the drum off, no matter how wicked it sounds some of these require significant hammering to remove.
Do a search. You'd think there would be an Autozone tool for this.

Yes, and wear safety glasses (face shield is even better). Lots of rusty metal there to chip off and fly when the BFH gets swinging!

i just did mine last week. my self adjustors were shot so i couldn't retract shoes to get the drum off. what i learned:

1) if you take a chisel to the holding retaining pins 'head' behind the backing plate you can snap them easily, pull the drums halfway off with the shoes stuck in the drum and throw it in gear. you will break/bend everything but the drum came off easy after, and a few taps with a hammer the wheel studs were good as new.

2) for the other side i cut a slot in the drum with an angle grinder and bent the packside of the drum open enough to hammer the thing off. didn't damage the internals at all but i killed my $35 walmart grinder.

How do you back off the adjuster screws through the backing plate? I've overtighened mine and my back brakes drag now. You push up to tighten them, but how do you release them? I know there's something to press against to have them spin both ways, but I can't seem to figure it out through the backing plate hole.
Any tips...cold up here and don't want to take off the wheels just to re-adjust them.
Forget it! Found it...was hard to get to but managed to push it in while spinning the adjuster wheel down.