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Old 03-28-2019, 03:26 PM #1
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3rd Gen Rear Brake Adjustment??

I need to ask this. Keep seeing again and again the need to adjust your rear brakes. I don't understand why this is repeated.

I am of the belief that our rear brakes are self adjusting every time you use the emergency brake. Why else are there self adjusters activated by the e-brake cable?

I use the e brake always as I have a standard shift. My rear brakes always seem to be perfectly adjusted when I pull the drums and I have never adjusted them. I do service the rear brakes and adjusters periodically to make sure everything is lubed and working freely.

Surely Toyota did not design a brake system that needs periodic manual adjustment, this isn't 1950 after all. Please chime in.
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Old 03-28-2019, 03:47 PM #2
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Well, here's some thoughts. People don't use their e-brake. I see time and time again people allowing the parking pawl on their automatic transmission take the brunt of holding the vehicle instead of applying their parking brake to hold the vehicle. People with manual transmissions just put it in gear and let the gears hold the vehicle and also don't apply the e-brake. So, if you don't use your parking brake, your brakes will slowly go out of adjustment.

Another reason is things get corroded like the bellcranks. If they aren't actuating properly, they won't be pulling the cable enough to pull the parking brake lever which ultimately turns the self adjuster if the wheel can turn one or more clicks due to out of adjustment shoes.

All anyone needs to do is pull their parking brake lever over and over again and ultimately it won't adjust any tighter. The FSM says 7-9 clicks from the handle is what you should have if your rear brakes are adjusted properly. If you can get way more clicks than 7-9 and no amount of pulling the lever changes anything, something in the system is bound up and not working right.
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Old 03-28-2019, 03:47 PM #3
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Yes. My 2000 has a seized thingy that connects the e-brake cable underneath to the brake assembly, which transfers that tension into engaging the brake. I'll have to fix that. Because of this, the e-brake is almost useless.

Edit: what Tim said "Another reason is things get corroded like the bellcranks."
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Old 03-28-2019, 04:05 PM #4
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Thanks for the confirmation guys.

So in a perfect world, no one need worry about adjusting rear brakes. You only need to adjust your rear brakes when: 1-You do not use the e-brake. 2-There is a problem with your e-brake or adjusting mechanism.

So we can consider "adjusting your rear brakes" to be putting a band-aid on another problem.
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Old 03-28-2019, 04:22 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanoe View Post
Thanks for the confirmation guys.

So in a perfect world, no one need worry about adjusting rear brakes. You only need to adjust your rear brakes when: 1-You do not use the e-brake. 2-There is a problem with your e-brake or adjusting mechanism.

So we can consider "adjusting your rear brakes" to be putting a band-aid on another problem.
essentially yes. the Toyota system works very well, as long as you use the park brake regularly.
other vehicles though, even when all the parts are functioning, the self adjuster is pretty terrible. I have found that if the "self adjuster" just prevents the adjustment from backing off, it has done its job.
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:12 PM #6
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You're right that they shouldn't need adjusted as long as everything is working right...my deal is I don't like the 7 to 9 clicks to get the drums tight...I set mine at 3 to 5 all the time...but I'm not normal though. I don't like the factory default as being ok...I want brakes now...I did this with a very old brake machine to grind the shoes perfectly round so there are no high or low spots and the drums I machined below 1k on spec...toyota parts too...so they are a match set...the factory adjuster won't keep it there so I click it once it goes over 5.
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Old 03-29-2019, 01:31 PM #7
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Originally Posted by WWRD99 View Post
You're right that they shouldn't need adjusted as long as everything is working right...my deal is I don't like the 7 to 9 clicks to get the drums tight...I set mine at 3 to 5 all the time...but I'm not normal though. I don't like the factory default as being ok...I want brakes now...I did this with a very old brake machine to grind the shoes perfectly round so there are no high or low spots and the drums I machined below 1k on spec...toyota parts too...so they are a match set...the factory adjuster won't keep it there so I click it once it goes over 5.
Have you considered that setting it tighter might be causing your brakes shoes to be dragging all the time and then the shoes wear down to where they should be and then you overtighten them again. Sounds like a potentially counterproductive strategy.
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:47 PM #8
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I rarely use my parking brake (live in a pretty flat section of California) so my rear brakes were out of adjustment when I got it. They way I see it is if the parking brake adjustment was perfect, Toyota would not have needed to include an adjustment hole on the back of the drum since you'd never have to use it.
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Old 03-29-2019, 05:39 PM #9
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Quote:
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I rarely use my parking brake (live in a pretty flat section of California) so my rear brakes were out of adjustment when I got it. They way I see it is if the parking brake adjustment was perfect, Toyota would not have needed to include an adjustment hole on the back of the drum since you'd never have to use it.
if you ever had shoes wear a lip onto a drum, you would be damned glad there is access to a manual adjuster.


further, keeping the rears adjusted properly(by setting the park brake every time you park) keeps them working properly, which in turn makes your front brakes last longer.
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Old 03-29-2019, 05:54 PM #10
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Quote:
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if you ever had shoes wear a lip onto a drum, you would be damned glad there is access to a manual adjuster.
Bingo - that's the real reason. No fun to have to shatter a brake drum to get it off... And it helps to do the rough adjustment during new brake installs.

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Old 03-29-2019, 06:06 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevada View Post
if you ever had shoes wear a lip onto a drum, you would be damned glad there is access to a manual adjuster.


further, keeping the rears adjusted properly(by setting the park brake every time you park) keeps them working properly, which in turn makes your front brakes last longer.
Couldn't agree more. I've used the access port on the backing plate to help get drums off but never to adjust the rear shoes because I know using the manual adjuster to keep the brakes properly adjusted isn't necessary.

When the drums are fighting you and no amount of pounding on them with a hammer will get them off, some people go straight for the bolt trick to draw the drums off. But, like @nevada has explained, if there's a little lip there on the edge of the drum, all the bolt trick ends up doing is drawing the shoes out with the drums and then bad things happen. Things get really stuck, brake parts get bent to shit and then you may as well get a BIG F'ing HAMMER and beat the drum until it cracks.

When I can't seem to get a drum off, I take out the rubber plug on the backing plate, use a small screwdriver to push the self-adjuster plate away from the star wheel adjuster and then turn the star wheel a bunch of times to back off the shoes from the drum. After that, the drum comes off easily. Our rear drum brakes are not very complex and it sure pays to know how they work. It could be the difference between a pleasant wrenching experience and a nightmare experience.
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Old 03-29-2019, 06:31 PM #12
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another little side note for people that don't use the parking brake. If you live half the year with temps below freezing, in the snow the parking brake cables can freeze up making it very difficult to drive.
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Old 03-29-2019, 06:49 PM #13
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If you donít off road. You wonít need adjustment. If you off road and go through mud. After every session youíll most likely be out of adjustment. Good thing to do is to have them apart, clean them and use anti seize on the adjusters.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:50 PM #14
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Quote:
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Couldn't agree more. I've used the access port on the backing plate to help get drums off but never to adjust the rear shoes because I know using the manual adjuster to keep the brakes properly adjusted isn't necessary.
How are you using the access port to loosen the brake shoes? The adjuster only goes one way. Due to the mechanism, it would take quite a bit of force to get the adjuster wheel to turn the opposite direction.
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:04 PM #15
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Check the bell cranks. If you switch left and right, it won't adjust, instead it will loosen it.

Set the shoes at 5-6 hand brake clicks and use the truck as you normally would. within few days you should feel the park brake now applies in 3-4 clicks.
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