Brakes
Properly adjust your rear brakesPark on a level surface. *Block your front wheels with a Chock. *Raise both wheels and support the vehicle with a Jack Stands. *Release the parking brake. *Put the transmission in Neutral. *Lying under the rear of the truck remove the rubber plug in the lower end of the backing plate to expose the adjuster. *Using a tool as descried later on in the text or a bent piece of welding rod carefully feel for the adjusting lever and see that it moves. Remove it. *Now using an adjusting tool rotate the star wheel in the direction that it will turn, this will be the way it tightens (Scribe an arrow on the back plate “T”) as you are rotating the back wheel slowly tighten it up until you feel resistance and it stops. Notice that if you try to rotate the adjuster the opposite direction now it should not move. (Scribe an arrow and put an “L”) *Now with one hand insert the welding rod preferable into the right side of the hole and hold the lever away from the star wheel and then using your other hand rotate the star wheel in the opposite direction counting the clicks as you go until the wheel just begins to turn freely again. There might be some scraping as you turn the wheel but this is ok. This might take a couple of tries but get it so it just turns easily. Remember how many clicks it took because you want to do the same on the opposite wheel. * Replace the rubber plug and then do the same for the other wheel. You have just adjusted your brakes. Now lets have a look at the inside of your brake drum. This is looking at the Passenger or Right side of a properly installed brake adjuster. If you look closely you can see how the teeth of the star wheel are directional being angled all off to one direction. In it’s operation every time the brakes are applied while going in a reverse direction and the brakes are applied firmly the movement of the expanding shoe causes the cable to pull the lever upward engaging in the teeth and rotating the adjuster several clicks at a time to keep the brakes adjusted. When the brakes are adjusted sufficiently there is not enough movement to actuate the self-adjusters. When they do not work properly the usual causes are: 1) Adjuster threads are binding. *Clean then and lubricate them. 2) The teeth on the star wheel are rounded off (they should be sharp) *Replace BTW I did replace mine. 3) Adjusting lever edge is dull of rounded off. (It should have a knife-edge) *Replace 4) The adjusting lever is not installed properly; it must be below the centerline of the adjuster wheel. I purposely pulled mine upwards to show you what is wrong; it should be about 4 teeth lower. The common cause for this is when you install the cable guide onto the new brake shoe you need to set it to the bottom of the shoe. Now to adjust the adjuster manually you will have to retract the adjusting lever from the teeth because they act as a one-way clutch, you could tighten them but back them off. So I made a tool to hold the lever off the wheel so it can be rotated in either direction easily. This is what you need to do to retract the shoes from the drum when you want to remove them. There is usually No beating on the drum involved, simply back off the adjuster and loosen the shoes. In this picture you would be pulling the adjusting tool Downward about 3 or 4 times while holding the lever off the star wheel. On the Drivers side it is the complete opposite so you would do it in reverse. Get an adjusting tool that is short enough so you do not hit the springs. I made the tool out of some 3/32” rod but you can use anything that is strong enough. I have used Flux Coated Welding Rod (Arc) and 1/8” Gas Rod and all have worked fine. Here are the tools you will need to service and adjust your brakes. You can see the approximate angles you will need to bend the rod to make your own. The Red handled tool #KD-3499 at the bottom is the most invaluable tool you can buy, it removes the torsional springs that retain your shoes to the backing plate. This tool removes and reapplies this spring with amazing ease. I got mine from Napa. Without it you will say words you never knew were in your vocabulary when your pliers slip and the spring snaps your fingers over and over again.
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