Uh-oh: which way did that star adjuster go? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 10-20-2007, 08:55 PM
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Uh-oh: which way did that star adjuster go?

Okay, it's been a while since I did a full rebuild on a rear end. So, I forgot Rule Number One: Work on ONE SIDE AT A TIME! That way, you can compare to see which way the parts are supposed to fit on, and more importantly, which ones are left side and which are right-hand!! http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/newt...ewthread&f=24#
embarrassed

So, can anyone tell me which way the star self-adjusters go on an '86 Chevy El Camino rear drum brake setup? One of them screws in right-hand threaded, and the other is reverse threaded: which one goes on which side?

Argh. http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/newt...ewthread&f=24#
sweat

Thanks everyone!

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Old 10-21-2007, 12:25 AM
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Yeah I hate it when I do that...
As luck would have it I just had the rear brakes apart today on the wifes car because the adjuster was frozen, I'll see if I can explain this without pictures.
The adjuster works by moving a lever that engages the star wheel and turns the adjuster. To tighten the brakes (the only way it goes) it needs to lengthen, or unscrew, the adjuster. If the lever, and therefore the star wheel, goes towards the rear of the car like in my wifes Buick then the left-hand thread needs to go on the righthand side of the car and the right-hand thread on the left side. That way when the lever pushes down on the starwheel it will unscrew it. If the starwheel is to the front of the car then the opposite will be true.
Good Luck with all the rest of the pieces!
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Old 10-21-2007, 06:54 AM
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The previous explanation should do it for you. If not, another way of looking at it is to look at the teeth on the adjuster screw, they'll be sloped on one side and straight on the other. The straight side is the side the actuator lever will engage. If the actuator lever is above the centerline of the adjuster screw that means it moves down to turn the screw out, therefore you would want the straight cut on the screw aiming up. If the actuator lever is below the centerline of the adjusting screw it moves up to turn the adjuster out, therefore you would want the straight edge aiming down. If you put the adjustment screws on the wrong side the straight edge of the tooth will be aiming in the wrong direction. I think on a GM the lever pushes down so you'll want the straight edge up. On many Fords and Chrysler products the lever pulls up so you'll want the straight edge aiming down.
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Old 10-21-2007, 08:59 PM
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Thanks!

Hey, thanks, guys: I'll check that out tomorrow. We took a break today and didn't work on the car like we had planned, so your replies will be a big help. I do know that the star wheel is to the rear of the car, so it should be just like 39Hemi's wife's Buick.

My son will be stopping in style: new right rear brake line (we broke it throwing a safety chain over the axle while trailering it home), and new brakes, drums, bearings and seals on both sides. But we haven't checked out the front brakes yet....

Thanks again!
-Joel
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:08 PM
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Oh, and cylinders

Oh, yeah: new brake wheel cylinders on both sides, too. Cleaned up the old backer plates and spray painted them gloss black, and now to start reassembly.

He just got the 305 rebuilt, started and ran for twenty minute break-in (started first time!), and then my son wanted to drive it. I told him, "no; remember that brake line you were supposed to have replaced a few weeks ago?" Heh-heh.
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Old 10-27-2007, 11:53 PM
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Put together

We finally found time today to put together the Elky's brakes. Here's what we found: the adjuster lever sits below the centerline of the star wheel, with the star to the rear of the vehicle, so on the passenger side, we used the standard thread star wheel. On the driver side, we used the reverse thread star wheel.

So, since the adjuster lever is on the outboard side of the star wheel, as it lifts, it will ratchet the star wheel longer, and thus adjust the brakes tighter.

If we find this to not work, after test driving it for a while, I'll come back on and post again. Otherwise, we'll just go forward as if this is correct.

Tomorrow, we will refill the differential and transmission, and start the car back up to adjust the idle speed. Then, hopefully, we can take it for a maiden voyage, around the block!!

Thanks for your help, guys!
-Joel R.
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Old 11-04-2007, 11:24 PM
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Doesn't it adjust on the down-stroke?
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:32 PM
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??

Well, I always thought adjusters were set up to tighten when you pulled the tool down, too, but the adjuster lever on the brakes seems to indicate otherwise...

Man, if we had the money to do so, we'd just yank them suckers off of there, and put on four-wheel DISC brakes! argh!

Note to self: somehow save enough money to put disc brakes on the '56...

:-)
-Joel
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Old 11-06-2007, 04:39 AM
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Some do and some don't. On some vehicles the self adjusting lever is above the centerline of the adjuster screw and pushes down on the screw to lengthen it. If you were adjusting the screw manually through the backing plate you'd push the tool down to tighten the brakes. If the self adjuster lever is below the centerline of the screw it lifts up to adjust the brakes tighter. If you were adjusting the brake manually through the backing plate you'd move the tool up to tighten the brakes. If you're adjusting the brakes through a cutout in the drum it's the opposite.
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