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Drum Brake and self adjuster

This is a discussion on Drum Brake and self adjuster within the Technical / Maintenance forums, part of the General Discussion category; This past weekend I changed the drum brakes on my '97 K1500. The self adjuster on the driver's side was ...

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    Drum Brake and self adjuster


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    This past weekend I changed the drum brakes on my '97 K1500. The self adjuster on the driver's side was completely seized which may have led to the wheel cylinder on that side exploding which is why I did the brakes in the first place.

    My question is, when I got that side all back together and put the new self adjuster on, it didn't really grab like the other side. It does grab to an extent and will click as you turn it but it doesn't seem to fit as solidly as the other one.

    Now I'm noticing a smell coming from that side when I get out of the truck. I know with new drums there is a coating that has to burn off but this smells like burning brakes. I'm wondering two things:

    1) Is it possible I just adjusted that side a little too tight and need to back it off a little?

    2) Since that self adjuster doesn't grab and lock like the other side, is it possible that even if I back it off it will just wind itself too tight again? My fear is that the self adjuster isn't working like it's supposed to even though it is new and it's going to ruin the new drums and shoes.

    I'm just not familiar with the intricate workings of drum brakes.

    Any input would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    GMC RULZZ NEUMANNZZ's Avatar
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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    if the shoes are rubbing on the drum back it off. installed correctly?
    rear axle seal not leaking?
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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    No leak and they are installed correctly.

    Again back to my original question. I did have to replace the self adjuster on the driver side. The lever that catches on the star wheel doesn't seem to catch it like it does on the other side. I don't feel any pull to one side or anything. But now every once in awhile when I get in and start it up, put in drive and go, the brakes are grabbing, I have to put it in reverse, back up a little bit to get them to let go and then go forward.

    I can back it off a little but I'm concerned that if the lever isn't grabbing the star wheel correctly, will it matter?

    What happens if the lever doesn't grab the star wheel at all and it can spin freely? Will it constantly tighten itself up or does it go the other way?

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    GMC RULZZ NEUMANNZZ's Avatar
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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    it shouldnt rotate the adjuster(shouldnt spin at all) at all if the lever isnt touching it. maybe the spring/ lever isnt seated or the spring might be bent. the lever is what rotates the adjuster.
    Last edited by NEUMANNZZ; 10-11-2010 at 10:54 AM.
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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    Awesome, thanks Neumanzz.

    I'll back it off a little then and just keep an eye on it to make sure it is adjusting at some point.

    That information helps me as I know now that if the arm and wheel aren't working together correctly, it isn't that it just keeps tightening itself up, but that it isn't adjusting at all.

    Thanks again!

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    GMC RULZZ NEUMANNZZ's Avatar
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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    yeah it should only adjust applying the brakes while backing up if the lever is touching the adjuster wheel.
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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    Something still isn't right. When I backed it off a little it felt much better but I've noticed it getting more and more grabby over the last few days. Today when I went to take the truck somewhere for lunch, I start the truck, put it in drive and go nowhere as the brakes are grabbed on and won't let go. If I back it up a little and then go, the brakes let go a little but it feels like it's still grabbing....

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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    did you replace both sides? you might have the shoes on wrong or 2 of the same shoe on the same side there is a primary and secondary shoe. you may also have the springs in the wrong place. check your anchor pin to see if it is loose
    Remember: A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have. Thomas Jefferson

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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    I did change both sides, new shoes and new drums. The only hardware I replaced was on the driver's side, the self adjuster was seized up so I replaced it.

    I cleaned the inside of the drums with brake cleaner before putting them on so I don't think the inside of the drum has oil on it or anything.

    Since it seems alright for a couple weeks after I back it off, it still makes me concerned about the self adjuster, but that's why I come here, I'm probably too focused on the wrong thing.

    What all causes brakes to "lock on" like that after it's been sitting for a couple of hours? I'd say it goes down the road just fine but it's probably because I'm burning the shoe off half way to work.....

    I don't feel it pull or shudder or anything, I greased everything when changing and put anti-seize on the self adjuster.

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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    Have you pulled both drums and verified all the springs are setup the same? If not that would be where I would start

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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    the brake shoes might not be disengaging either due to weak springs bad rear brake hose or wheel cylinder or p brake not releasing cable could be corroded or stuck somewhere.
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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    also drum brakes could be warped on the braking surface. need to be removed and turned(resurfaced) especially if you just installed new shoes.
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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    Quote Originally Posted by beachrog View Post
    Something still isn't right. When I backed it off a little it felt much better but I've noticed it getting more and more grabby over the last few days. Today when I went to take the truck somewhere for lunch, I start the truck, put it in drive and go nowhere as the brakes are grabbed on and won't let go. If I back it up a little and then go, the brakes let go a little but it feels like it's still grabbing....
    Are you sure the primary and secondary shoes aren't mixed up ?? That will result in grabbing brakes. Small shoe goes to the front. Is it the right adjuster ???

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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    Well, I found the problem and it's soooo frustrating.

    I gave up and took it in to the dealership. I told them what it was doing and made sure to tell them I'd just done the drum brakes myself. I also told them I had read that when you do the drum brakes you should adjust the emergency brake cable and I did not do that as I didn't know how.

    They looked at it and said the front ABS sensors were bad. I said I knew that and the ABS light had been on since I bought the truck and I didn't care. They said that could possible cause the problem. Whatever. $400 later they replace the front sensors (could have bolted those on myself but hey, they're the experts). Next day, still had the same problem.

    Took it back, guy put it on a hoist and spun the wheels, drivers side was hanging a little. He felt it was the wheel cylinder hanging. I told him I replaced both wheel cylinders when I did the brakes. He said that wheel cylinder is causing the problem. $200 later they replace the wheel cylinder. Seemed to fix it, but then two weeks later it was doing it again.

    I called my stepdad who is a bus mechanic. I hate to bother him but told him I was out of ideas. I told him my thoughts about the emergency brake cable and he said that's probably it and we'd take a look. He pulled on it and it slid out but it wouldn't slide back in. He told me how they get rusty and all and that it was hanging up. We unhooked it inside the drum and the problem went away.

    $600 just to find out I basically told them what the problem was to begin with and I still end up fixing it myself.

    I'm the one that's not supposed to know anything. I'm an office techy not a mechanic.

    I am so disappointed. Granted I have anti-lock brakes now but that wasn't the problem.

    At any rate, I'd like to replace the cables at some point. My stepdad said they can be a bear. Anyone have any tips or tricks?

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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    I guess they are a bear!!!

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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    make sure the e-brake cable is not pulled any(rusted inside the cable, pulling the lever)

    pull both sides and see if the levers are in different places, and I have taken a prybar and pryed them out if they are pulled some due to rust
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    Re: Drum Brake and self adjuster

    I looked at this assebly in the KLM book, and it looks pretty complex for a darn e-brake cable.. but the good news is they do sell all of the parts individually... that may help...

 

 

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