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Ever since I bought my 2012 Cruze ECO last week, I thought it nose-dived pretty badly in hard braking. So I went to adjust the rear drums tonight and wow! I had to turn the adjuster 5-7 clicks at least on both sides before I felt resistance turning it. Good improvement, the car doesn't nose-dive nearly as bad, better pedal feel/shorter travel, and it takes less movement of the parking brake to hold the car. :) The drums showed almost no wear at all, the inside I.D still had the factory machining marks. It was a bit of a PITA to get the ECO 17" wheels off the hub though, they were corroded on there pretty good.

 
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Ever since I bought my 2012 Cruze ECO last week, I thought it nose-dived pretty badly in hard braking. So I went to adjust the rear drums tonight and wow! I had to turn the adjuster 5-7 clicks at least on both sides before I felt resistance turning it. Good improvement, the car doesn't nose-dive nearly as bad, better pedal feel/shorter travel, and it takes less movement of the parking brake to hold the car. :) The drums showed almost no wear at all, the inside I.D still had the factory machining marks. It was a bit of a PITA to get the ECO 17" wheels off the hub though, they were corroded on there pretty good.

Next time put some antiseize on the drum surface where it contacts the wheel. Iron drum + aluminum wheel = galvanic corrosion. Road salt has nothing to do with this corrosion, although it makes the situation much worse if given enough time.

I adjusted my drum brakes for about the 6-7th time yesterday when my snow tires went on. There's a little wear, but the factory chamfers on the shoes are still very much present. I'd be surprised if these aren't close to lifetime brakes.
 

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How much resistance am I looking for exactly? With the wheel on I'm able to give it a moderately forced spin and I'll get around 5 revolutions. Wheel off drum only, I'll get about 3/4 - 1 revolution with same force.

2,600mi on my 2014 Eco, first time I'm checking this.

EDIT: Okay so what I originally thought was brake resistance must've just been hub friction. I played with the setting and ended up going 12 teeth on the star, which is when I finally started actually hearing the shoe against the drum. Got the wheel remounted, gave it a moderate spin and it still spins multiple revolutions, only now I hear a bit of friction going on. Didn't really notice any difference in pedal feel but the parking brake is now firmly set at 4 clicks instead of 8. I'm a happy camper, thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #106 ·
How much resistance am I looking for exactly? With the wheel on I'm able to give it a moderately forced spin and I'll get around 5 revolutions. Wheel off drum only, I'll get about 3/4 - 1 revolution with same force.

2,600mi on my 2014 Eco, first time I'm checking this.

EDIT: Okay so what I originally thought was brake resistance must've just been hub friction. I played with the setting and ended up going 12 teeth on the star, which is when I finally started actually hearing the shoe against the drum. Got the wheel remounted, gave it a moderate spin and it still spins multiple revolutions, only now I hear a bit of friction going on. Didn't really notice any difference in pedal feel but the parking brake is now firmly set at 4 clicks instead of 8. I'm a happy camper, thanks for the info.
You should notice less nose dive, especially under hard braking conditions. Glad you got this figured out, although I'm disappointed that GM still hasn't fixed the consistency issues with a 2014 model.
 

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Dale, thanks... I proceeded with caution after I read your experiences. Funny story, after a few mile test drive I wanted to fine tune and, quite stupidly, went in and grabbed the drum while wearing only basic cotton gloves. I guess I got lucky, they were only warm.

Xtreme, one does not simply hypermile into hard braking conditions :) Kidding aside, only 2600 miles on my Cruze but the drum assembly was clean, like squeaky clean. Next to zero dust.
 

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I'm sorry if this has been previously addressed, but I'd love to know why these "self-adjusting" brakes need to be manually adjusted regularly. When I mentioned this to my service writer they suggested finding an empty parking lot, getting some speed in reverse and pumping the brakes to adjust them. This seems like a ridiculous procedure for a modern car.
 

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My limited understanding is that for the auto-adjusting systems to even do their job, they have to be making some shoe-to-drum contact in the first place. This apparently isn't happening, or happening poorly, with the factory setting. Further, you read through threads on sites such as BobIsTheOilGuy and you'll find that the mechanism is slightly different from model-to-model and reliability of the mechanism isn't exactly there for many.

Some cars are setup to adjust when braking forward and backward, some are setup when braking backward only (to limit adjuster mechanism abuse), some are setup to adjust with the parking brake usage. So what you've heard from your service writer holds merit.
 

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Hey I just wanted to say that I noticed the problem with my Cruze. I took the opportunity to adjust my brakes while installing my mud flaps and cleaned the inside of all my wheels. Thank you for your detailed guide on how to. It was VERY easy to do and I now know more about my car =)
 

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Well people, I see light at the end of the tunnel. When I first adjusted my rear drums it lasted about six months or so before needing adjustment again (e-brake handle contacting arm rest). So I adjusted them again assuming I would be doing so on a regular basis.

The last time I adjusted them was in the fall before the really cold weather hit, and as of now (spring) they're holding up well and don't need further adjustment. This gives me hope that the slack adjusters are working properly and adjusting the brakes automatically as they should.

Maybe once the shoes are worn a little it changes the angle of the adjusters slightly, and new factory shoes just don't allow the correct operating angle? No idea, just guessing, but for now everything seems to be working well.

Anyone else notice the same?
 

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Discussion Starter · #113 ·
I have noticed this as well. I haven't counted or marked the click wheel of course but that has been my experience. Last two times I pulled the drums off, there was significantly less to adjust.

The drums are still slightly warped however. Do places turn drums, or just rotors?

Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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Rear drums, only being asked to perform about 20% of stopping power (normal driving) will be comparativly cool.
The rotors wil be hot hot hot.....put a bit of spit on your fingertip and touch the surface lightly....it'll sizzle.

As far as warping drums.......this happens when the park brake is set very hard on a hot drum....it will egg shape the drum and the drum will stay that way once cooled.
Pull the lever only hard enouph to prevent rolling and leave the car in first or reverse (manual guys only in case you were wondering and drum brake versions....does not apply to rear disc cars)

Rob
 

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So since I adjusted the drums back in Nov of last year, I noticed they were back down to the e brake hitting the armrest and not engaging as much as after the adjustment. Each side was another 6 clicks to get them back where they should be. I wonder if GM will ever recall the part since it is not self adjusting like it is suppose to. To bad GM didn't spend the extra $10.00 per car for disk brakes in the rear on all models. This is also 95% city driving.
 

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Adjusted mine today since I also do 95% city driving and the car getting harder to stop. Adjusted in @ 25 min and stops on a dime again. A time or 2 I over adjusted it and found it a little difficult to reinstall the drum but it was OK. Today when I pulled the wheel off one of my drums had a loose fastening screw so I guess the drum was working itself loose. Can't see where it would go that they need the screw with a wheel on it. Just an observation.
 

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Interesting - my ECO MT's hand brake hasn't shifted since I had the rear brakes adjusted a month or so after buy my car. I do back up a lot however so I suspect I'm frequently auto-adjusting the rear brakes.
 

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Per my earlier post, my drums are still self adjusting just fine after having done them twice manually. The first time they lasted around six months or so before I noticed the parking brake travel was getting excessive. The last adjustment was in the fall and they're still adjusted properly.

There may be something to do with the slack adjuster alignment that doesn't allow it to function properly until a certain amount of wear has taken place, after which it works ok.

I finally got a good brake/clutch bleed done last week after fabbing up a pressurized bleeder system and my brakes are better than ever. I didn't do a full fluid flush, but was able to get a few small air bubbles out of each brake caliper/cylinder. The brakes are working better than ever, with short engagement travel and a very progressive feel. This is the next step for the Cruze owner who wants to optimize their brakes.

Predictably, however, the Cruze suffers brake pad "knock back". This means that aggressive cornering maneuvers will cause the wheel bearing/hub to flex and the rotor pushes the pads back into the caliper. The next time you apply the brakes you will notice extra travel required to get them to bite. This is not exclusive to the Cruze, it affects most cars, and the more precisely your brakes are working the more obvious it is to the driver. Bleeding the brakes and optimizing the rear drums makes the knock back more obvious.
 
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