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1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks 1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks

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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 05-24-2009, 08:36 AM
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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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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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Old 08-11-2010, 05:18 PM
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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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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 08-11-2010, 09:01 PM
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1025, 1986, 20003, 2003, adjustment, ajustment, brake, drum, f150, f650, ford, ranger, rear, shoe, truck

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