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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time I've ever done drum brakes and I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around how tight to set the adjuster, so I watched a couple videos on it and was super surprised to see people have them tight enough that the grinding between the pad & drum is audible when they turn it.. I set them to what I thought was right, pulled my ebrake cable & it was waaaaaaay loose, I had to tighten it so much to get it to feel normal again. There's a lot more drag than I thought there would be.

I'm nervous to drive it for the first time knowing they have even a little drag, how doesn't this just hurt mpg & cause the brakes to get hot & how can you be sure they're not too tight? Any advice is really appreciated, should I drive for a couple minutes and then check something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@Kevin Wow! Is it ok to just play it on the safe side and put them on pretty loose then? Kinda confused by this.. Wouldn't you still need to loosen adjust them in the case of new shoes since they'll be set to the thinner ones, and that pin keeps it from loosening?
 

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Yes, they need regular adjustment. If your ebrake handle is more than 7 or 8 notches it will need adjusting as well:
553208
 

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A bit of dragging is normal, just follow the manual. Setting them too tight isn't a big concern, but setting them loose will cause problems.
To wrap your head around the drag being OK, you have to know that heat and wear are a function of pressure and speed between two wearing surfaces. The tiny bit of drag is almost 0 pressure, so almost 0 heat and wear is generated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@RyanT Your message makes me want to go buy an IR thermometer to be safe... I wouldn't describe it as almost 0 pressure or a tiny drag, it's definitely dragging and there is a big difference in how these feel to spin by hand with the brakes adjusted to a 'no drag' degree. With them set this tight my handbrake feels normal again, but with a truly tiny to no drag the handbrake is very loose which makes me think I'm supposed to have them set on this tighter adjustment
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@Kevin Thanks for this advice, is it normal to have to adjust the ebrake when changing the rear shoes? I assumed it was already fine I guess and I haven't messed with it because I didn't want to introduce it as another variable in getting these things to fit right if it was already 'calibrated' correctly (for lack of a better term)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@Kevin the info on these drum brakes online are so scattered, I haven't seen anybody mention this. I'll plan on loosening these up & tightening the ebrake cable itself. Still don't like the idea of just hoping I got it right.. Ordered an IR thermometer.
 

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If you just replaced them it might take a little bit for them to bed in so even though they seem tight they will wear down a little anyway which is normal
@Kevin the info on these drum brakes online are so scattered, I haven't seen anybody mention this. I'll plan on loosening these up & tightening the ebrake cable itself. Still don't like the idea of just hoping I got it right.. Ordered an IR thermometer.
The handbrake shouldnt need a whole heap of adjusting, if it was adjusted as the shoes were wearing the handbrake should be less clicks now than it was before. Are you sure you put the shoes back in correctly?
Maybe try bed the shoes in a little by GENTLY pulling the handbrake up as the car is slowly moving and then readjust them. Dont rip it up and flip your car!
The hub should easily turn but with a slight resistance/drag.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well after driving around a bit the brakes don't seem to go over 90 some degrees which seems just fine me to (measuring the drum rotor itself).

However my parking brake is definitely loose.. I've adjusted the two nuts as @Kevin recommended as much as I can, but it's at a point where if I try to keep tightening it, it just spins the ebrake cable itself...Really not sure what this means here. Is my shoe adjustment too loose, or maybe there's some secret to tightening this nut on the handbrake cable itself more? After driving around yesterday it maybe seems a little better, I'm not sure if that's the self adjuster or maybe just a placebo. Any advice is really appreciated. Considering going into a shop to get it tightened back up at this point, lots of hills in my area & definitely want it working well
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
An update on this, i picked up a deep socket 10mm to adjust the cable with further, and initially I got the handbrake way too tight feeling. I loosened it up till it felt right, it takes about 8 clicks for me to pull it all the way up without gripping it like a psycho.. but i just tested it out on a hill & it still slides... could this mean my self adjusters are too loose? Should i just slam the brakes in reverse a few times? Debating taking it into a mechanic, would muuuch rather do this myself but i'm pretty nervous about messing this up somehow
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@Kevin They don't feel weird, I don't really notice anything different from before I changed them, just no squeaks / crunchy-ness. It seems to stop fine. I'll try out slamming it in reverse a few times.
 
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