How do I adjust drum brakes? - Honda Civic Forum

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How do I adjust drum brakes?

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Old 12-29-2017
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How do I adjust drum brakes?

I am going to be changing the brake drums and shoes on my 2005 Civic for the first time in 231K miles, but I am a little confused on how to adjust them. I know how to adjust them, but I am not sure what the 'proper' adjustment is. Am I correct in presuming that I should adjust the brakes so the shoes are as close to the drum as I can get them without the brakes dragging? Thanks, I haven't changed drum brakes before, so I am unsure of how to know when the brakes are properly adjusted.
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Old 12-30-2017
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Re: How do I adjust drum brakes?

I *think* they were automatic adjustments.
I personally only opened them once to find the shoes were as new as the new ones i had to go in, so never disassembled them.

just don't let them be too collapsed, or the cylinders could pop out when you step on pedal first time. (all that holds them is the shoes against the drum)
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Old 12-31-2017
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Re: How do I adjust drum brakes?

They are self adjusting, but you still have to set up the initial adjustment correctly during assembly.


Megalodong? Mikey?
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Old 12-31-2017
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Re: How do I adjust drum brakes?

Originally Posted by ezone View Post
They are self adjusting, but you still have to set up the initial adjustment correctly during assembly. Megalodong?
I concur.

I'm not sure if I did it right but it came down to taking the rim/tire off, adjust start wheel, put tire back on, spin tire, brake: my mom would alternately (on my signal) would either use the foot brake or hand brake. Took about four cycles of tire off/on, adjust star wheel, spin tire, hand/foot brake to find a balance between the tire spinning freely when no brakes applied and tire stopping well when either the hand or foot brake applied.

Ezone (as a follow-up to a PM)...my mom's car's brake pedal feels solid and isn't mushy so, I assume it's adjusted correctly. The hand brake function is much better than it was prior to star wheel adjustment on the passenger side rear. I still feel the hand brake should engage sooner so I may adjust tension under the center console. Will tension one click at a time.
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Old 12-31-2017
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Re: How do I adjust drum brakes?

Do ONE SIDE AT A TIME, so you can look at the unmolested side to see how it's supposed to be assembled. NEVER take apart both sides at once (this rule applies to me too!)

Initial adjustment:

Drum off, shoes/springs/linkage correctly assembled, handbrake fully released, cables slack, mechanisms in drums all the way back (no sticking cables)

Crank up the adjuster to widen the link
periodically check if the drum fits over the shoes or not
As soon as the drum won't go on, back off the adjuster about 4 clicks and retry, repeat until drum will slip on

To back off the adjuster you must first release (pull out) the self adjuster lever away from the toothed portion of the star wheel, as it is designed to only work one direction. You can spin the wheel one way and the teeth ratchet past the lever but it tries to lock when you turn it the opposite direction.

You want to make it so the drum slips on without binding on the shoes and will turn without binding on the shoes. A small amount of drag as it spins is ok but it has to be free enough to turn the bare drum by hand.

If shoe adjustment is too loose, the pedal will feel low and the handbrake will be high.

If adjustment is too tight, you will have a helluva time getting the drum off to readjust, and the brake will drag and overheat.
It's a huge PITA to back the adjuster off if the drum is stuck, so don't get it stuck.
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Old 01-01-2018
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Re: How do I adjust drum brakes?

Originally Posted by ezone View Post
A small amount of drag as it spins is ok but it has to be free enough to turn the bare drum by hand.
Not intending to hijack OP's thread but this is the part that I may not have done correctly. I do remember trying to spin the hub first without the tire and since it didn't seem to spin easily I would put the tire back on to rotate. I'll pull the drum off again and see if it comes off without too much resistance.
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Old 01-01-2018
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Re: How do I adjust drum brakes?

Originally Posted by Megalodong View Post
Not intending to hijack OP's thread but this is the part that I may not have done correctly. I do remember trying to spin the hub first without the tire and since it didn't seem to spin easily I would put the tire back on to rotate. I'll pull the drum off again and see if it comes off without too much resistance.
If you've been driving it without a problem, it's probably not a problem
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