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Old 08-14-2009, 05:04 PM   #1
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adjusting drum brakes

I need some info on adjusting rear drum brakes, I found a post on here a while back and can not for the life of me find it again that talked about which way to spin the star wheel on drivers side and passenger side. and my haynes doesnt get into this

I have bled the piss out the brakes, conventional bleeding and gravity bleeding. and all of my pads are new, plus a new master cylinder. and my brake pedal is very low and weak. so this is the only other thing I can think of that may fix this problem.

what I need to know specifically is on that star wheel. which way do I spin the star wheel to move the brake pads outwards? passenger side also driver, if I understand right you move them outwards until just the smallest bit of friction on the drum and then drive in Reverse and hit the brakes a few times to sink it in.

any help or other ideas on what to check would be great.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:12 PM   #2
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you should be able to do the reverse trick a bunch of times to get em out but it only works if the self adjusters are actualy working which i dought, mine are new and they still dont work like they should, there should be a lock on the star wheel that prevents it from turning the wrong way so the shoes dont work theyre way free, so in that you should only be able to spin it one direction
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11:47 pm: hand pack it on the shaft. it's something you should be good at
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:54 PM   #3
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Stick a flathead screwdriver, or an adjusting tool into the backing plate and spin the wheel from bottom to top. This will adjust them out.

The actual adjusting arm is on the front of the wheel and it will spin it from top to bottom. So by going from bottom to top from the back, your turning the same direction. I hope this makes sense.
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:21 PM   #4
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Stick a flathead screwdriver, or an adjusting tool into the backing plate and spin the wheel from bottom to top. This will adjust them out.

The actual adjusting arm is on the front of the wheel and it will spin it from top to bottom. So by going from bottom to top from the back, your turning the same direction. I hope this makes sense.
so top to bottom on both sides ?
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:29 PM   #5
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Sorta. Imagine you're an ant sitting at the top of the star wheel. To get the brakes adjusted outward, you'd want to "fall outward," from the center of the truck.

Looking from the BACK of the truck to the front, as in you're standing behind it and staring at the tailgate and rear differential cover, the driver's side would spin COUNTER-clockwise. The passenger side would spin clockwise.

Look at the following picture of the passenger side of a vehicle with an 8.8 rear end. See how that finger against the wheel stops it from spinning one direction?



If it's still unclear, take off the tire & drum, and have a closer look for yourself.
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:00 AM   #6
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Looking from the BACK of the truck to the front, as in you're standing behind it and staring at the tailgate and rear differential cover, the driver's side would spin COUNTER-clockwise. The passenger side would spin clockwise.
Cool,
that helps alot, I am trying to avoid jacking that beast up and ripping off the tires....but counter for DS and clockwise for the passenger, excellent I will try that out tomorrow and hopefully that solves my weak pedal situation.

I once saw someone on here say that the pedal height comes from how the rear brakes are adjusted so I am sure this will fix my problem
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:45 AM   #7
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sometimes, other times youll find the MC has an internal leak, i just replaced mine
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11:47 pm: hand pack it on the shaft. it's something you should be good at
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Old 08-15-2009, 01:51 AM   #8
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It tightens spinning top to bottom on the outside of the wheel (With the tire & drum off) or spinning bottom to top thru the opening in the backing plate (From under the truck). If the adjusters are working, backing up while applying & releasing the brakes repeatedly will adjust them.

There may be problems/wear inside of the drum that should be checked too. Once the wheel is off, the drum should slide off. If you adjust the brakes manually, you'll have to jack it up anyway to spin the wheel to see if the brakes are adjusted right. (The usual safety stuff -Wheels blocked fore & aft, in the correct gear, on properly placed solid axle stands, on flat solid pavement, jacks break/slip, trucks fall real fast, saddest thread ever, etc. etc.)

There's also a 5th bleeder on a 91. It's located on the RABS valve on the inside of the driver's side frame rail, sort of under & forward of the master cylinder.
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:28 AM   #9
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I usually adjust my drum brakes till they are barely dragging. Just when I can barely feel or hear the shoes contacting the drum. I usually leave it loose enough that I can still spin the wheel with two fingers.
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:45 PM   #10
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There's also a 5th bleeder on a 91. It's located on the RABS valve on the inside of the driver's side frame rail, sort of under & forward of the master cylinder.
does this need to be bled everytime?

i just replaced everything on my brakes but the RABS pump and am still fighting some air in the lines, even after i bled all 4 wheels
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11:47 pm: hand pack it on the shaft. it's something you should be good at
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Old 08-15-2009, 01:35 PM   #11
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I always remove the drum to get the best results and then adjust the brakes until they just start to drag and then reassemble. This method does not work too well if the drums need to be turned though.
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Old 08-15-2009, 01:55 PM   #12
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This is by far the fastest, most-accurate, and easiest way to set the brake shoe adjustment:



Best of luck finding one, though. KD makes one, and it's about $35.
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:03 PM   #13
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Once you figure out which way the star key turns properly, lift the back of the BKO off the ground with a jack under the differential center..just enough for the wheels to turn, setting it on jack stands for safety.. for each wheel, crank the key until the wheel won't spin/turn, then back off until you "hear AND feel" a slight drag of the shoes against the drum and you're good ......

When the wheel won't spin the brake shoes are adjusted all the way out against the drum, backing off retracts them inward....

When doing a rear brake job it's important to replace any worn parts, ie: springs, pins etc....check the backing plate nuts/bolts to the diff flange so they're tight, a lose backing plate would make the brakes sensitive and over brake or lock up quickly, clean/lube the high spots on the backing plate where the brake shoes travel in/outward and clean and lube the star key so it works properly, they do get corroded over time.......


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Old 08-15-2009, 02:20 PM   #14
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SigEpBlue, Is the photo you posted of an actual Bronco rear brake assembly or of another vehicle ? I ask because I am gonna do my Rear Brakes on my '90 and an exact, clear, color photo really helps-
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:37 PM   #15
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They're all the same to me. Try Google. That's what I did.
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:57 PM   #16
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:12 AM   #17
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SigEpBlue, Is the photo you posted of an actual Bronco rear brake assembly or of another vehicle ? I ask because I am gonna do my Rear Brakes on my '90 and an exact, clear, color photo really helps-
Who cares, just do one side at a time so you always have the other side as a reference.
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Old 08-16-2009, 02:23 AM   #18
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does this need to be bled everytime?
I'm not sure. I bleed it every time now that I know about it, since I'm under there anyway. The order is RR, LR, RABS, RF, LF.

Btw, Broncos used RABS from 87-92, so that bleeder should be there for those years (I looked up an old Steve83 post to double check the years ).
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:22 AM   #19
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update, I ripped off the back tires and and adjusted the star wheel so that both were just barely making contact with the drum, cleaned everything up and did the reverse trick a few times afterwards. didnt really help. so my brake nightmare still continues, just to refresh. I have all new pads, new MC, rotors and drums look to be in great shape

I have probably bled 6 of the big bottles of brake fluid through this system, regular bleeding and gravity bleeding and my pedal is still weak as hell and very spongy.

Is there anythign that I am missing or forgetting to check here?

could the parking brake have anything to do with this? it works just fine and doesnt seem to need adjustment.

my old 84 broncos brake pedal was very firm, or is this just the way that RABS brakes feel ?

BTW I did bleed the thing down below the MC on the frame rail
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:33 PM   #20
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You don't need to do the back up trick after you've adjusted the shoes to the point they are both just touching the drum...the shoes have nowhere to go. Take your truck to a shop and get them to test drive it and tell you what they think because it's sounding like you are over reacting based on what you experienced with a totally different vehicle.

Do you stop fine otherwise?
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