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76 Eldo (54k), 76 Eldo (52k), 78 Eldo (9k), 85 Deville (43k)
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668 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone--

Although this doesn't directly pertain to the 4.x engines, just wanted to share something with you since I post here often (and not really anywhere else).

If you haven't done it already, and your car has rear drum brakes (like all C body Cadillacs) you may want to adjust them. This is an easy procedure, and it will help prevent severe front rotor wear and promote front pad life.

All you have to do is buy a "brake spoon" at your local auto parts store (about $3). Then, jack your rear wheels up, pull the drum off (bang a few times if needed), and look for the star wheel and ratchet at the bottom of the drum assembly. This is supposed to be self adjusting, but the pawl usually gets stuck and refuses to turn, and then is no longer self-adjusting.

With the brake spoon, pry against the back of the drum and turn the wheel up about 10 clicks. Then, attempt to put your rear drum on. If it goes on easily, keep turning...if it goes on with some resistance, then stop. You can also turn the drum once it's on to see if it has any resistance--you want a SLIGHT amount of drag.

Once done, clean and lubricate the star wheel and ratchet with anti-seize. Reassemble the wheel and start your car. Then back up at about 5 mph and pump the brakes about 10 times while coming to a stop. Drive off, and you'll be amazed by how much higher your brake pedal will be!
 

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'87 SDV
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1,296 Posts
Good tip. Self adjusting rear drum brakes stay functional for about two years from the day the car rolls off the assembly line - less if you live in a salty climate.

We get complacent with our brakes until they start grinding. But fully functional rear brakes are essential to keeping a car in a straight line when you really have to punch the skids.
 

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76 Eldo (54k), 76 Eldo (52k), 78 Eldo (9k), 85 Deville (43k)
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668 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, it's actually a very easy procedure. Many people don't know about it. It just popped into my head today, and I had a chance to do it--so I did. It makes a big difference, especially for older cars where the adjuster wheel hasn't turned in maybe 15 years.

My car only has 34,000 miles on it now, but I turned the star wheel about 20 clicks on either side.

This will also give you a chance to check the wheel cylinders to make sure they're not leaking.
 

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1992 eldorado. 2007 dodge magnum hemi r/t
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3,013 Posts
Do you really have to pull the drum,I'm going back quite a few years,but there was a time when you could just remove a rectangle shaped rubber plug from outside of drum and then adjust through the opening,has this changed?.
 

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76 Eldo (54k), 76 Eldo (52k), 78 Eldo (9k), 85 Deville (43k)
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668 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
On these drums, you'll have to punch out an area in the lanced portion of the drum, then turn the adjuster and close the hole with a rubber plug which you can buy from an auto parts store. The rubber plug doesn't come with the car--you have to buy one.

I didn't feel like going to the auto parts store, so I just pulled the drum.
 

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1985 Cadillac Fleetwood FWD
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56 Posts
It's best to change the rear drums yourself, and buy a new hardware kit for each side (this will include all new springs, washers, cables, and the auto tensioner). I doubt that most brake shops do the backs, and if they do, that ther install new hardware.

Be sure to check after a few weeks if you replace the hardware. I had the automatic tensioner go out twice on my 93 Jeep Grand Cherokee - once while driving in the mountains in a snowstorm. Luckily, you just need to buy the tensioner and replace it if it comes out and gets mangled by the brakes.
 
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