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Old 11-19-2012, 07:50 AM   #1
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Default Parking Brake Shoe Adjustment

I recently had to replace my parking brake shoes because I found the left side springs were either broken or missing and the right side didn't have any shoes or springs in it at all. Just nothing there as a previous owner had taken them off for some reason and never replaced them.

So I bought a new set of shoes and stainless steel springs and mounting hardware and put it all together. My '82's shop manual said to "burnish" new shoes by driving about 50 mph and applying the parking brakes hard for several seconds then release them for several seconds then apply them hard again for several seconds.

When I first got them installed and adjusted to 6 clicks back from tight I found they were barely able to stop the car when it was idling in DRIVE. So I drove the one-mile of dirt road from my house to the highway with them applied as hard as I could apply them at about 10 mph and by the time I reached the highway I could tell they were grabbing a lot harder as it was taking considerable power to overcome them. I turned around and came back with them still applied as hard as I could apply them and by the time I got back to my garage I could tell they weren't holding nearly as well as they had been.

I found the adjustments had loosened a lot as it took about 25 to 30 clicks to re-tighten them. After re-tightening them and backing them off 6 clicks again I found I could drive about 30 mph on my dirt road and lock them up; actually sliding the tires. So I found it is important to "brake them in" so the new shoes will conform to the drums.

And I also found the rear cables can easily be lubed with any good motorcycle chain lube as the rear cables are enclosed in an "open" wire housing that oil can penetrate into. Before lubing my cables I found the cables had almost seized from rust forming inside the housings but after lubing them the cables slid freely inside the housings.

Last edited by toobroketoretire; 11-19-2012 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:05 AM   #2
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Default Adjusting Parking Brakes

By the way, applying your parking brakes hard doesn't hurt them at all as you can't exert that much pressure against them. Even with the leverage of the handle and the added leverage at the shoes they just don't bear against the drums that hard. Not nearly as hard as what usual hydraulic-operated brakes have. So after thoroughly breaking them in just re-adjust them by tightening them HARD then back them off 6-8 clicks.

Once properly broken in and adjusted they'll easily stop the car even in the case of a total brake failure (which would be virtually impossible with it's separate front and rear systems).
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