Adjusting Rear Drum Brakes

For trucks equipped with drum brakes there are a multiple of ways to adjust them. You should be able to get them to adjust automatically by using one of the procedures below. None of them work on my truck and I have to adjust mine manually. I even put all new hardware kits on and cleaned everything & still no luck. I usually check them every month by jacking the rear of the truck up and spinning the tire and listening / feeling for a slight drag. If I don’t feel or hear anything I then adjust them manually using the star wheel.

Below is some pictures to show you what the inside of a drum looks like and where this wheel is located. When you are adjusting only do one or two clicks at a time as it will be a pain to get them loose if you get them too tight. As to loosen them you have to insert a small piece of stiff wire/metal to push the adjustment lever off of the star wheel.

The only tool you need is a flat blade screw driver or something similar to turn the star wheel. The first couple of pictures will just show you what the inside of a drum brake looks like..

Automatic Adjustment Procedure:

There are a few different methods of doing this.

One method that people use is the backward / forward method. When doing this you start off by going backwards and brake to a complete stop, then you go forward and brake to a complete stop.This will have to be repeated 8 – 10times to get a good adjustment. If this doesn’t work try the next step.

The other method is going backwards and applying the parking brake quickly until the trucks comes to a complete stop. Some people actually said they could hear the click coming from the star wheel adjusting. You may have to repeat this step 8 – 10 times to get them adjusted properly.. Also some have found that applying the brakes & not the parking brake works for them. If this method doesn’t work then you will have to resort adjusting them manually as shown below.











As you can see the retaining arm rests against the star wheel to prevent it from spinning and this is what does the Automatic Adjustments. NOTE: you do not have to take off the wheels to adjust the star wheel. There is access to it from the back side of the drum.

Manual Adjustment Procedure




This rubber plug will have to be removed to access the star wheel. Once you’re done adjusting, just pop that back in place to help prevent dirt and water for getting into the drum.




Once removed you can then get to the star wheel and adjust it. When you are adjusting only do one or two clicks at a time as it will be a pain to get them loose if you get them too tight. And to loosen them you have to insert a small piece of stiff wire/metal to push the adjustment lever off of the star wheel. After each click rotate the wheel by hand & listen & feel for any drag, as you only want a slight drag. If you have too much drag your brakes will build up a lot of heat and cause unnecessary wear to your brakes & brake components..

Good Luck!!

[thanks to Engcogod]

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