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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Had a friend help me try to adjust my rear brakes and he tried to use a screwdriver to adjust them via the slot in the back of the drum but said the brake cable was in the way and was unable to get it adjusted. He wanted me to find out if a brake spoon is needed to adjust the and if the parking brake adjustment is under the car or near the handle under the trim? He's also going to look at the front brakes tomorrow and I was wondering if there is any special tools needed or unusual techniques/tricks to change the front brakes. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Brake adjustment

Usually the best way to adjust the rear drums is to remove the wheels then the drums. This way you can make sure that the adjusters are not froze up. If they are seized up you will need to take them off of the assembly and break them loose. (usually I will clean them up on a wire wheel, then assemble them back together with Sil-glide). If they move fine and don't need to be lubed, then just move the star wheel the correct way (usually I grab a hold of it with a pair of cutting diagonals) do this until the drum is just tight to the brake shoes and spins with a little drag, Don't pound the drum on to the shoes or it will be hard to get off. If the drums have a lip on the outer edge you may have to get them cut. It will take a few times on and off to get the adjustment perfect. Once they are adjusted put the tires back on. hope this helps
 

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front brakes

No special tools that I remember, Just make sure if you are changing the pads to try and compress the piston in the caliper before you take the caliper bolts out ( you can do this with a small pry bar). If you have to change the rotors this can be a big pain because they rust on but it just takes a big hammer a patience to beat them off)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We pulled the front wheels and inspected the pads/rotors and they look fine. The rotors could use a quick clean-up cut and the semi-metallic pads still looked close to new. But my wife has been complaining that the brake pedal seems to need to be pushed down much further than it used to, having to go very low before it grabs. And even then the car seems to take longer than normal to stop she tells me. I'm not sure why this would be if the pads are still good and I can't recall ever having any parts changed that would have required the brakes to have been bled. What else could be the problem? FYI I just picked up a set of Duralast Gold Organic pads and we will be changing them next weekend after having the rotors cut.Hopefully this helps a little bit. Thanks for the help guys!
 

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brake problem

When she stops will the brake pedal get firmer and higher if she pushes the brakes pedal down two or three times? If so then the rear brakes need adjusting. If not first make sure that you are not loosing fluid in the system. If that is good make sure that the front rotors are not glazed over as this will cause brake fade. If all checks out you may have a slow leak in the master cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I know very little about brakes, but my friend who did this with me said they were a little glazed and could use a quick clean-up cut. Would a rotor that is a little glazed caused the problems I described She tells me the car always felt like she brakes did not engage until the pedal was pushed down very low. What would effect the height at which the brakes engage?
 

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First, if your rear pads are worn, replace and adjust them properly (described above). Second bleed your brakes. If that does not help try flushing the fluid. (Keep the reservior full and use a hand vacum pump to suck the fluid out, working from the furthest wheel from the master cylinder until the fluid comes out clean.) Brake fluid absorbs moisture at a very quick rate. Water boils at a much lower temperature than brake fluid should. Boiling fluid has air bubbles in it and air compresses much easier than fluid. This causes a low pedal and mushy brakes. Also consider having the rotors turned. If none of this works, replace the master cylinder. MAKE SURE YOU BENCH BLEED THE MASTER CYLINDER BEFORE INSTALLING. You do this by filling it up and using a screwdriver to pump it about 10 times. Make sure the plastic plugs that come in the new master cylinder are in place and not leaking. Then install and bleed it. Or pay a shop $600+ to do the same thing i just described to you. Trust me I do this sort of thing every day. All of this might be a grand total of $100 if you do the work yourself. Add a case of beer for your buddy to pump the brake pedal and your total is $120.
 
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