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Rear Drum Break Adjustment


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#1 kaibabkiller

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 12:09 AM

Hey all, I have a 2006 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4. I recently changed the rear brakes, since changing them the brake pedal seems "soft" and the e-brake doesnt grab like it used to. A friend of mine said the rear brakes are self adjusting but its been a few days and still the same. Any info. will be greatly appreciated.

#2 CapitalTruck

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 12:14 AM

Hey all, I have a 2006 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4. I recently changed the rear brakes, since changing them the brake pedal seems "soft" and the e-brake doesnt grab like it used to. A friend of mine said the rear brakes are self adjusting but its been a few days and still the same. Any info. will be greatly appreciated.


I know back in the day the shoes would self adjust when you applied the brakes while traveling in reverse. However, to get the drums off you sometimes had to stick a flat blade through a little slot and turn a little notched wheel to loosen the shoes. I'm guessing you could turn it the opposite way to tighten them. They're definitely supposed to be self adjusting though. Try driving in reverse and repeatedly applying the brakes.

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#3 Guest_snowbear_*

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 07:14 AM

Keep appling your e brake whenever you park, everytime you use it it will adjust the pads that one notch, overtime you will notice a difference. I have done it on my 07

#4 bhazely

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 08:40 AM

Keep appling your e brake whenever you park, everytime you use it it will adjust the pads that one notch, overtime you will notice a difference. I have done it on my 07



The adjusters are known for not functioning properly, I adjust mine manually once everything is back togethor with the tire off. It is a good idea to clean and relubricate the adjustors, they fill up with dust and rust.

#5 Zembonez

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 10:55 AM

They do self adjust, but you need to get them as close as possible when you install the shoes. If there is a large gap, the brakes will have a soft pedal and the E brake will suffer.

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#6 Matt_

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 11:16 AM

The brakes only self adjust to the point of keeping up with pad wear. You need to set them up properly from the start. A screwdriver works, drum brake adjusting spoons are also cheap and make it a lot easier to do.
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#7 sonjaab

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 09:20 PM

Also remember if you use your parking brake often (with drum brakes)
the cable will stretch and after time not have as much tension and not
fully apply the shoes to the drum.

#8 ujtruck

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 09:35 PM

yes +1 to Jim

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#9 pm26

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 09:41 AM

If a remember correctly from years ago when I worked on drum brakes, the self adjusters work only in reverse. You need to back up repeatedly and apply brakes firmly while backing up. That should do the trick.

#10 snakedoctor

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 11:44 AM

Remove the hub caps from the rear wheels and break the lug nuts loose with the lug wrench.

2

Lift the rear of the vehicle with the floor jack and secure it onto the jack stands.

3

Remove the nuts and wheels.

4

Locate the adjusting porthole on the back of the backing plate. There should be a rubber plug capping the porthole to protect it from the elements. Remove the plug by prying it out with a screwdriver.

5

Insert the long screwdriver into the porthole and feel your way around for the adjusting retainer clip. If necessary, grab a flashlight and crawl under the vehicle to look for it. It's a small lever that holds the star wheel in position. Depress the clip with the screwdriver away from the star wheel and use the brake spoon adjuster (or another straight-edge screwdriver) to turn the star wheel in one direction.

6

Spin the drum by hand. If the tension is increasing, you're going the right way to adjust the brake shoes. If the tension is decreasing and the drum is spinning more freely, you're un-adjusting the shoes. Go back and use the spoon to turn the star wheel in the opposite direction.

7

Occasionally, between making adjustments, yank on the parking brake cable near the rear of the backing plate to center the shoes.

8

Continually check the tension of the shoes against the drum by spinning the drum (every four to five turns of the star wheel). The drum needs to move, but there should be a dragging sensation on the drum from the shoes contacting the inside diameter of the drum as you spin it. Adjust the brake shoes upward so the drum cannot complete a full revolution of spinning on its own (or half a revolution, if desired).

9

Repeat this procedure for the other side.

10

Carefully get into the vehicle and apply the brake pedal and parking brake mechanism simultaneously. This will center the shoes and integrate the parking brake mechanism.

11

Apply the parking brake and let it sit. Check both rear drums to make sure they're holding correctly. If one is holding and the other isn't, you need to locate the equalizer of the parking brake cable and adjust it. Refer to the repair manual for your specific vehicle for the correct procedure.

12

Readjust both sides after you have pumped the foot brake pedal while applying the parking brake mechanism, and adjusted the equalizer if applicable.

13

Replace the porthole plug when finished. Replace the wheels and lug nuts and tighten.

Edited by snakedoctor, 11 July 2011 - 11:45 AM.


#11 Matt_

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 01:00 PM

You only need to depress the adjuster retainer clip if you're un-adjusting the brakes. It allows the star wheel to spin in one direction, the proper direction for tightening up the shoes.
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#12 sonjaab

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 03:03 PM

NOTE: Many GM vehicles will NOT have a rubber plug covering the adjustment
"porthole". The hole on the backing plate is usually not punched out from the
factory unless some adjustment was needed on the assembly line.

You will have to knock the plug out yourself in most cases.

Usually you will not have to use a screwdriver to move the retention lever
that rests on the star wheel adjuster to tighten the shoes against the drum.
The retention lever only prevents the star wheel from backing off the shoes.
That lever also moves and serves as the self adjuster...............

Follow SNAKES procedure above and you got it made!

Edited by sonjaab, 11 July 2011 - 03:04 PM.


#13 whitefish

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 08:45 AM

I just did my front and rear brakes and I had the exact same problem as KK on the rear. The brake pedal almost goes to the floor now and the e-brake need to be pressed down alot to engage. I thought no problem, put her in reverse and let the self adjuster ratchet up the star wheel. Its made somewhat of a difference, but the rear shoes do seem to be out of adjustment still.

Thinking back. I probably was over cautious when I put the drums back on, allowing too much for clearance between the drums and shoes. When I put the drums on, the shoes barely touched the shoes. I think if the shoes are too loose at installation, and if the star wheel only self adjusts one notch at a time, then it will take alot of backing up and braking to get the shoes adjusted properly.

I'll give snakedoctor's guide a try.




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