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Old 09-15-2008, 11:51 AM   #1
Frankd1
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1998 SL1
Default How to adjust rear brakes

Hi,

I have a 1998 SL1 5spd, 158000miles.

I was watching Richpin's video on installing rear brakes and he mentioned that when you reinstall the adjuster to have it screwed all the way in so that it is in the closed position.

After the drum is installed it should spin a couple of rotations with the shoes making slight contact with the drums - if the drum spins too freely then you need to adjust. This is where I need clarification, I noticed he made an adjustment with a screw driver - do you turn the gear shaped wheel on the adjuster so as to open the adjuster up and push out the shoes?

If my rear brakes are in good shape but are out of adjustment then is it the same principle to adjust?

Thanks for the clarification!!

Frank

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Old 09-15-2008, 11:58 AM   #2
2003MercMaraude
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Default Re: How to adjust rear brakes

They are auto adjusting. I always bring the adjusters all the way in, then hit the brakes hard going forward, then backward a couple times. Never any problems like this. Even with the adjuster all the way in, the shoes will still grab enough to let everything adjust.

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Old 09-16-2008, 03:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: How to adjust rear brakes

Thanks!

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Old 09-16-2008, 04:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to adjust rear brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankd1 View Post
Hi,

do you turn the gear shaped wheel on the adjuster so as to open the adjuster up and push out the shoes?
That is correct.

I will put a annotation in the video to explain that.

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Old 09-16-2008, 09:11 PM   #5
Zero_DgZ
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Default Re: How to adjust rear brakes

You can also crank the adjuster manually. On mine (an '02, other models may differ) there are rubber plugs on the back plate of the drum assembly that you can pull out to access the adjustment gears with a screwdriver. Do this with the car jacked up so you can spin the wheel and judge the tension. Don't overdo it, or else you'll have to take the drum off to release the tension, which is a major pain (and takes specialized tools to back the shoes off, if you wound it up way too tight)...

Best bet if you want to do is manually is to do it with the drum off, especially since you may as well hose the works down with brake cleaner and re-lube everything while you're in there. If you can't get the drum back on you've got the shoes out way too far. Simple.

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Old 09-19-2008, 01:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: How to adjust rear brakes

Just so I'm clear:

If I have to replace the shoes, the adjuster gets turned all the way in and then with the drum on, the drum should rotate one and a half to two turns, the shoes should be adjusted so that they barely make contact with the drums.
Then, pull the e-brake handle and release it to center the shoes and then recheck the shoe adjustment against the drum and adjust as necessary to ensure the shoes are just shy of the drums.
Put everything back together and adjust the e-brake at the console to achieve proper engagement at 4 to 7 clicks.

If the shoes are good, inspect the wheel cylinders and clean everything off with brake cleaner, turn the adjuster to achieve the same clearance as above, with the drum on pull and release the e-brake handle to recenter the shoes and check adjusment again.

My question: After the adjuster has been turned to achieve the proper clearance is it necessary to pull and release the e-brake handle with the drum on to center the shoes and then recheck the adjuster.

I know that to properly adjust the e-brake this has to be done at the center console AFTER the shoes have been adjusted its just that I have read in other posts to adjust the shoes first, pull and release the e-brake handle, re-adjust the shoes if necessary and then finally when everything is put back together adjust e-brake if required at the center console.

Sorry for the long winded post

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Old 09-21-2008, 10:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: How to adjust rear brakes

Yes you have it right. Although most rear drum brakes have automatic adjusters, they frequently fail to keep your brakes adjusted to their optimum clearance, so it's not a bad idea to pull the drums once or twice a year readjust them manually(I usually do this when switching between my all seasons & snow tire).

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Old 09-26-2008, 09:52 PM   #8
Frankd1
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Default Re: How to adjust rear brakes

I got around to checking my rear drum brakes yesterday and there seemed to be a good amount of material left on the shoes so I just cleaned everything and re-lubed some of the components.

When I was adjusting the shoes I found it tricky to know how close they were to the drums so I adjusted them to get one to two revolutions out of the drums when I spin them by hand - I think the shoes are making slight contact with the drums at that point.
With the wheel back on they spin 4 to 6 times with a gentle push.

I adjusted the e-brake and it seems to hold the car on a gentle incline at 5 clicks - I believe the proper adjustment is 4 to 7 clicks but correct me if I'm wrong.

After driving the car through the city with plenty of stopping and slowing down and touching the drums after the drive there is a bit of heat to them, but it seems equal on both sides of the car.

Thanks to everyone and this forum - it makes working on my Saturn enjoyable!

Let me know if I missed anything with the adjustments.

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