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Rear drum brake adjustment

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  #16  
Old 05-24-2009, 08:36 AM
ArdWrknTrk ArdWrknTrk is offline
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There will be an oval rubber plug at the bottom of the backing plate.
You can pop that plug out to rotate the ratcheting star wheel.
Sometimes the threads of the adjuster get all gummed up with brake dust and it will no longer work as it should.

When replacing rear shoes sometimes the drum won't come off because they have worn and there is now a lip inside the drum that gets caught on the shoes.
You'll need to back off the adjuster for clearance.
Turn the drum on a brake lathe to remove this lip before installing new shoes. That way, you can roughly adjust before putting the drum on.

With the drums back on, apply the brake pedal a few times to center the shoes inside the drum. -Then- adjust until the drum starts to drag while you turn it by hand.

Tools are available that offer more clearance than a screwdriver.
They look like a double ended flat bladed screwdriver and are bent to clear the axle so you can lever on the adjuster opening.
We always called them Brake Spoons.
The one I have in my box that works best for my truck is a Snap-on B3404B.

Click the image to open in full size.

Hope this helps....
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  #17  
Old 05-24-2009, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gthbryce View Post
How do I properly adjust my rear drum brakes?
Only 50K miles on your truck? If that's the case, none of the springs or the star wheel adjucter should be worn out.

Get a Haynes manual and refer back to a couple of good posts here that you have been given in reference the correct tool, Brake Spoon and the use of jack stands for your personal safety.

I normally adjust mine until the wheel gives me a medium amount of resistance. You will also feel this in brake pedal.

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  #18  
Old 08-11-2010, 05:18 PM
gring gring is offline
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My star wheel adjusters are like new and the adjustment is working. But the adjusment is so tight that the wheels get too hot. I want to disable the automatic adjustment. I will adjust them manually when the pedal travel will be too long. How can I disable it ? Simply removing the small cable ? Is there any risk I am unawre of ?
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gring View Post
My star wheel adjusters are like new and the adjustment is working. But the adjusment is so tight that the wheels get too hot. I want to disable the automatic adjustment. I will adjust them manually when the pedal travel will be too long. How can I disable it ? Simply removing the small cable ? Is there any risk I am unawre of ?
Thats not right. sounds like you have a problem and overriding the self adjust not the best solution.... or even 1 I would try
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:04 PM
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I'll agree the the self adjusters do not always work. That may be how they are designed but you sometimes need to adjust them yourself. You will need to adjust them when installing new shoes. The adjusters did not work at all on our 65 Mustang when it still had 4 wheel drums. It has disc now so thats not an issue anymore.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:04 PM
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I cant ever recall hearing of drum brakes over adjusting them selves... Although I have see many people install brakes incorrectly... shoes in the wrong position, cables and springs installed wrong... all with different outcomes.... no brakes, poor brakes... brakes that are too tight

why do you think the brakes are getting too hot?

brake drums and brakes in general get very hot! with light use down a hill with no load on your truck you probably wouldn't be able to place your hand on the wheel or drum with out getting burnt! its normal for brakes to get hot.

The result of brakes overheating or getting too hot is you'll lose braking ability...

A quick test would be to jack up the vehicle... place jack stands and wheel blocks... put the vehicle in neutral and see if you can spin the wheel. Properly adjusted brakes will have a slight (very slight) drag while spinning the wheel by hand

bobby is right and I would never consider removing the adjuster cable... although I do not believe it to be dangerous to do if it is not an integral part of the rest of the brakes. All drum brakes are different and I cant recall if the cable also serves another purpose.
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  #22  
Old 08-11-2010, 09:01 PM
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I kept the automatic adjustment on my dually F350

Well, I removed wheels and drum to check if all was OK. As the brakes were stuck on one wheel, I had to back up the theeted wheel to remove the drum. All seemed OK : no rusted part, no broken spring. I put back everything in place. There is no dragging now. I will keep an eye on that wheel. Thank you for your comments.
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Old 08-14-2016, 04:06 AM
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mechanic said he had to take apart and clean up star wheel to make adjustments to brake now the drag so bad my mileage is going to suck It was working great before I took it to him, I thought it was the wheel bearing heating up the rims, he greased them and put on new calipers and took apart rear brakes to inspect. said everything was good in bearing and back breaks but the star wheel which he fixed. It feels like an elephant is holding on to my back bumper now, following slowly, and of course, the wheel is still heating up on just one side. no burning smell ever just heat and vibration, now just heat on right side and pulls horribly to the left when one lets go of the wheel.
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Old 08-14-2016, 04:19 AM
Debbie Donlan Debbie Donlan is offline
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Now I'm sick to my stomach. Husband made me take it to his friend the so called professional , told him to do the brakes, after I told him when he did the hubs I had to redo them because until I did they were clunking bad. Now I'm not sure what he did but they are not right.
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  #25  
Old 08-14-2016, 04:31 AM
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You'll have to take it somewhere to be looked at that knows what's what, it won't get better and in fact can cause even worse problems. I don't know what else to tell you. Labor or shop rates are expensive so lots of folks try to save money where they can, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way.
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Old 08-14-2016, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debbie Donlan View Post
mechanic said he had to take apart and clean up star wheel to make adjustments to brake now the drag so bad my mileage is going to suck
1) What year and model vehicle is this?

2) Are you saying the problem is the rear brakes and if so which side?

3) Did this problem begin after new rear brake shoes were installed?

Block the front wheels so they can't move. Jack up the rear wheel you say is dragging. Place the transmission in neutral. You should be able to rotate the wheel with minimal resistance.

If there is excessive resistance pull the drum off and see if the drag goes away. If it does either the star wheel needs to backed off, the brake shoes are not installed properly (if new brake shoes were installed) or the parking brake cable on that side is not completely releasing.

Over time crud gets into the parking cable lining and the cable sticks which causes the brake shoes to drag. At highway speeds you may fell a vibration until you slow down.

Here's a picture of a drum brake assembly. Note the Primary show has less lining material and must be installed facing towards the front of the vehicle.

Click the image to open in full size.
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