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I need a parking brake for DOT inspection, so I finally dug into replacing the whole rear brake system in hopes of getting it working well.

New shies and rotors/drums. I didn't know there was an adjustment hole until I took it apart and saw it from the inside. It's hidden behind the "disk brake adapter" and spring perch, on top of the axle. No sight line to it that I can find.

Now, I got the driver's side adjusted, the cable/foot pedal pulls it tight, but I can't get the passenger side to adjust with any tools I found so far, and the brake does not hold the vehicle yet.

I did just buy the official drum brake adjuster tool, and haven't tried it yet, but I'm wondering if anyone has any knowledge or tips that'll help get this done. There is just so little room to work it.

Also, which way should the adkister be positioned? It seems it can go wither way and the nut is offset to one side. I put it like it was, with the star nut towards the front.

Judging by the old adjuster's position when I took it apart, it doesn't look like it had ever been adjusted.

I'm thinking if all else fails I can maybe pull the whole hub assembly back off and tighten the adjuster by trial and error to get it as tight as possible to slip the drum/rotor/hub assy over since it's brand new and has no groves or anything. But that would be quite a pain and risky for the hub seal...

Any tips very much appreciated!

Peter

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I can help you out buddy. Parking brakes failing to work is extremely common in Maryland due to salt, people not using them or infrequently using them, hack mechanics fixing them to where they don’t have them adjusted correctly and not addressing the component that locks up.
You are going to need to get some things. I’m going to find some photos. I have over 7k work photos and they are not indexed. I will post photos and give you instructions.
First, to do it right and not waste time, you will need to get this so you can measure the inside of the parking brake drum. It corresponds an equivalent to where the brake shoes initially need to be set.
it’s a bake shoe/drum caliper. You can do a search online View attachment 186775
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Lock the set nut and flip it over. Match the setting if your brake shoes to it and then back off the adjuster a few turns. Remeasure your shoes and write down that measurement you adjusted to so you have a prefect match when you do the other side.
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That lever device in this picture is what the cable hooks to. It pushes the shoes out. It first pushes the leading brake shoe. Once the shoe bottoms out against the drum, it hinges and pushes out on the trailing shoe. As the cable continues to pull, it pushes out on both shoes in unison.
The hinge or pivot point on that lever locks up due to corrosion and lack of use.
Buy two new levers. They are not costly.
Buy Permatex ceramic synthetic caliper grease. Bush it liberally in and on that lever mechanism. Brush it on the backing plate wear the shoes contact. Put it on the adjuster threads.
Buy new hardware kits. Levers do not come with. I buy mine from Ford.
Buy 2 new hub seals.
DOT does not play around. Do it this correct way. It will be perfect and they will pass.
NO SHORTCUTS
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Those hubs can be brutal getting off.
You may need a big boy hub puller like this. Ignore the bolts. I left them in there after pulling a hub off of a leaking hydraulic torque motor.
You might get lucky with a big boy slide hammer with a flat tri holed flange you can put bots thru to the axle flange bolts but I don’t even bother with that anymore because 90 percent are so stuck that they will need a serious hub puller like the one pictured here.
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That that wear ring that was once part of your inner seal up with a torch and quickly grab it with Channel lock. Twist and pull it. DO NOT use chisels or cutting devices in this area.
Once off, use a stiff wire wheel to clean up where it once was. Brush a film if that caliper grease on where it once was.
 
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When you use that big hub puller. You wil need to stack two or three bearing race driving discs that will fit into the hub for the puller’s pressure screw to push against. NEVER push against the axle shaft. You will cause differential damage in doing so.
I now this seems a lot to you but you have to do this the correct way to have parking brakes that are correct so you have proper parking brakes for safety and liability. So you can pass your test. So you don’t have to redo things. So you don’t have a hassle with the DOT. So you have less downtime. So you can have your truck out working safely, making you money.
 
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