Adjusting the rear drum from the back, need help.

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Apr 10, 2017
Deep South, Powder Springs GA
I think I turned the adjusting wheel the wrong way. The wheel is fairly well stuck and the crappy little star wheel will not back off. I understand you need to use 2 screwdrivers but not sure exactly what to do. The tiny slit in the back of the drum us barely large enough for 2 screw drivers. Am I pushing something out of the way or prying up or down on something? I filched around for an hour but the mosquitos were eating me alive so I gave up for the day. I just don't understand exactly what I'm trying to release and how to know when I have released it. And for what it's worth it is the left rear drum.
One is pushing an arm out of the teeth of the star wheel, the other is operating the star wheel.
It is kind of dicey.

It’s super fiddly and a real pain in the ass, but if you’re able to look into the slit with a flashlight, you can see the tab your supposed to move so you can rotate the wheel. It took me a few tries but it isn’t impossible.
Take the drum off and adjust out as far as you can and still be able to put the drum back on. Saves a lot of aggravation. They are supposed to be self adjusting anyway so get them close, after about a week of using the park brake they will be self adjusted.
If you've over tightened the adjuster don't drive it thinking that the brakes will loosen up or wear down enough for the wheel to spin freely. What may happen is that the brakes will overheat, the fluid boil, and you loose the brakes. I learned this from experience.

If you can pull the drum on the other side you will be able to see how the parts function. There is a spring loaded tab that must be pushed away from the star wheel so that you can back off the star wheel and loosen the drums. I prefer a brake tool to make adjustments and a heavy dental pick works well to push back the tab.

In the future when adjusting the rear brakes turn the star wheel a click or two and rotate the tire to check the tension. This will help to avoid over adjusting.
Once everything is assembled and wheel is on, best procedure has been following FSM. Jack the truck up in rear and secure it. Wheels should rotate freely. Using starwheel, rotate with flathead or adjusting tool until wheel locks and does not spin. Adjusting is simple, just press the adjusting arm off the wheel, using another flathead or tool, rotate 5 notches. It helps to learn the theory with the drum off so you understand what one notch looks like so you can do the roughly 5 necessary. Magnetic lamp to illuminate the area helps as well.

Set it up correctly and it functions very well. Then go back and verify parking brake locks up rear wheels within 7-9 this without standing on the brake pedal as it changes the throw of the lever with the brake pedal depressed.

I’m just pulling the drum off slowly but surely. The adjustment routine is a bad joke, the help, or lack thereof provided in the FSM is also a joke. Some things are awesome about these cruisers, the rear brakes isn’t one of them. I had a Celica years ago, an 1985. I remember the rear Brakes were equally the pain in the ass that the cruiser brakes are. It’s a great system until it isn’t which doesn’t take much. Thanks for the tips though fellas. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

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