: Explain parking brake adjustment in plain English?

03-04-13, 08:25 PM
So I thought I'd have at the parking brake drums again. My parking brake pedal goes to the floor and it won't stop the car from rolling. I've tried the 'back up' procedure. There is plenty of meat on the shoes--almost as much as on the new shoes I bought, *knowing* that the shoes were worn out before I even looked at them.

I've got the shop manual, and I've read it, several times. Clearly something is getting lost in translation.

Can anyone explain to me the process to manually adjust the parking brake, and the parking brake shoes--specifically the shoe adjuster--in plain English? As in, "Pull out the little silver tab. 'Pull out' means to pull the tab away from the car, as in out, not a rotational movement. While holding the tab, rotate the little splined adjuster collar clockwise", or whatever the instructions are.

For that matter, is there any adjustment in the cable union near the differential? It looks like there might be, but I can't tell for sure.

Basically, I've got the thing apart, and NOTHING moves. It's all stuck. There's no obvious corrosion, so my initial thought is just plain operator error--I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

The last time I saw drums were on my '68 Mustang, and I dealt with those by replacing the OEM drums with discs off a Ford Granada.

Drums bad. Stupid way to stop a car. Especially stupid way to hold it in place.

There, rant off. Can anyone explain this to me as if I was a retarded five year-old (the jury's still out on that actually being true anyway, so, you know, don't be afraid to get too simple.

Thanks. It's either this or remove the adjusters with explosives, and I like the car too much for that.

03-04-13, 10:19 PM
They work fine when adjusted correctly.

You should be able to hit the adjuster with some penetrating oil and spin them out a touch. Then just go back and forth until the slack is taken up in the drum and they are almost touching the liner. Don't go to far or else you risk rubbing on the drum and creating a ton of heat and burning them up.

A flat tipped screwdriver will turn the adjuster nut just fine. It did well for me yesterday. If not you may need to remove the adjuster and free it up.

03-04-13, 10:22 PM
I'm sure they work great when they work. :-)

How does the little tab work? Do I need to move it while I'm trying to turn the splinted adjusting collar?

03-04-13, 10:33 PM
well in theory yes but you can just use the tip of the screwdriver to pry/spin the adjuster without doing anything else. It will spin but you can only go a couple teeth at a time. "Ginger" is the word lol

03-04-13, 10:37 PM
I'm taking the damn thing off then. Mine won't move no matter what.


03-04-13, 10:55 PM
Maybe this will help maybe not.

03-04-13, 11:14 PM
Yeah, I've got that; I need to know how to adjust it without disassembling it first.

Or I wanted to know, anyway. I guess it'll be easier to just take it apart.

03-04-13, 11:57 PM
Well the adjuster should turn if it doesn't and it is froze im sure you can just take the adjuster off and leave everything else there and free up the adjuster. Mine was frozen a bit and required some work back and forth and clean up to get it to spin. probably why they didn't self adjust in the first place.

03-05-13, 01:20 AM
Yeah, I've got that; I need to know how to adjust it without disassembling it first.

Or I wanted to know, anyway. I guess it'll be easier to just take it apart.

Not sure if you were able to get the help you need yet, but I believe the V is like most late model cars when it comes to adjustment. There's a rubber plug on the surface of the drum that you remove. You then look through that hole and spin the hub until you see a gear. You spin that gear by pushing in on it hard with a screw driver or a pick or whatever works for you. As it spins it adjusts the shoes inward or outward. This gear is aligned vertically but I'm not sure if you spin it toward you or away from you to expand the shoes, I'd have to experiment myself. If you need to look at it remove the caliper and the drum cover and it should be pretty obvious then. This is on my to-do list once it warms up. If you knew all this hopefully it helps somebody else.

If you skip to 4:10 of this way-too-lengthy tutorial you will have a good visual of the system. If the V isn't setup this way somebody let me know but I'd be surprised if it isn't.


03-05-13, 04:33 PM
^^^Disregard the post above, it doesn't make sense with our brakes.

My Explain it to a 5 year old attempt:
Look at the picture that izcain posted.
Look at your rear brakes. Remove the rear rotor, look at the back side, it should look like a drum in the middle.
The parking brake works when part #1 in the picture makes contact with the inside surface of the rear disc "drum".

Pulling on the parking brake cable basically pushes one end of part #1 away from the other end.
If pulling the cable doesn't push them apart far enough to stop the car you need to use the adjuster to push the two ends farther apart.

You do that by turning the little gear looking adjuster thing.
There is a "tab" that locks the adjuster in place. (push in = lock the adjuster) (pull out = unlock the adjuster)
The tab should pull straight out towards you about 1/8".
Once the tab is in the unlocked position you should be able to spin that adjuster ring to push the ends of part #1 apart.

Once you get it to move and are able to adjust it, it's just a matter of making the two ends of part #1 as far apart as possible with out having it in constant contact with the rotor "drum".
You accomplish this by making it a little bit bigger at a time and sliding the rotor back on to see if it rubs or not.


03-05-13, 04:34 PM
*double post

03-05-13, 05:00 PM
How is this so complicated? The little tab is supposed to prevent the knobby, spring-loaded adjuster from rotating after you adjust it to your liking. Don't touch the tab unless you overtighten the brake.

Grab a screwdriver and a hammer. Jam the screwdriver in the knobby adjuster and hit the end of the screwdriver with the hammer to spin/expand the adjuster until the parking brake shoe has been expanded enough so that the rotor will barely fit over the parking brake shoe. Don't overdo it, otherwise you'll be running with the parking brake on all the time. Done.

03-05-13, 10:17 PM
Okay, here's what I've figured out, and notes in case this happens to anyone else.

In my car, on the passenger side, the adjuster detent (number 9 in izcain's daigram above) was faulty. On mine, it doesn't move in and out like Fuzzy says, it's stationary and captive on the adjustment screw (number 10 in the diagram). I don't know if it's supposed to work like Fuzzy describes on some cars, but on mine it appears that the detent is supposed to hold the adjustment wheel in place, yet it's not an absolute prevention to it moving. It's bent like it's supposed to be spring-loaded, so that with enough force, the adjustment wheel can turn.

On mine, the detent was either poorly manufactured, or embrittled as it aged, or something, but it lost its springy-ness. It was locking the adjustment wheel in place. I took the whole adjuster assembly off the car and couldn't turn the wheel with vice grips. I disassembled and cleaned it and it still wouldn't turn.

My solution was a drift and some careful hammering. I got the detent 'back' off the adjustment wheel enough that it will turn with enough force.

So, if you're searching this topic and reading this, the adjustment wheel SHOULD be turning with enough force. A screwdriver as described in this thread should do it. If it's not turning, you're not doing it wrong, check the detent tab to make sure it's allowing the wheel to turn. It's left (clockwise) to expand the adjuster (remove movement from the pedal) and right (counterclockwise) to free it up some.

I just did the passenger side tonight. I'll see what the driver's side looks like tomorrow.

03-06-13, 12:47 AM
Can you post pics? It would help even more.

07-05-13, 11:53 PM
About to tackle this job in a few... Left is counter and right is clockwise. Right?


So for expansion do I turn left or clockwise?

07-06-13, 12:26 AM
You'll see it expand or contract as you rotate it one way or the other. Your objective should be to make it so big that you can barely get the rotor back on. Note that the parking brake can be slid around a little bit, so if the rotor won't go on immediately, don't assume that it's too big--check and make sure that the parking brake is centered first.

07-06-13, 01:37 AM
I did this last month. First thing you need to do is not read any of the service manual instructions on this job they will confuse the hell out of you. After you take your wheel and rotor off the only tool you need is a flat head and a hammer like Fuzzy has said. No need to struggle trying to hold the locking tab out while you adjust it. Only problem was one of my parking brakes kept getting off center as Fuzzy was saying and it would get jammed up on the rotor making it pain to get adjusted right, - when pulling the rotor back off the metal arm that holds the parking brake on would come detached (easily put back on). Just made a 2 minute adjustment more of a 30 minute adjustment on that side.

07-08-13, 08:18 PM
That "locking tab" as you guys call i , is actually a self adjusting mechanism. If the screw jack assembly is not frozen and able to rotate freely, every time you apply the parking brake that little tab attempts to turn the screw to take up any play due to wear of the shoes. You can rotate the screw to expand the shoes but you can't rotate it backwards to close them unless you lift the tab out of the way.