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I never seem to have time to check out my front brakes, With @32K, I would like to see the life left on the pads. I am sure mainly city driving is "wearing them down" and after a 1.5 years of driving, I would like to have my brake/clutch flushed. As always, when time permits. This summer I have been playing driver for son and cousins.
 

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I had my mechanic check the rear drums while it was in for rotation a while ago. But I got the feeling from the way he was talking that he didn't actually do it. He said they were as tight as they could be without rubbing already. I find that hard to believe based on what everyone else is saying. I did try multiple hard stops in reverse before taking it in, so maybe my self adjuster actually works. But I don't know because ABS will kick in really fast when braking hard in reverse which makes me think the back brakes aren't doing their fair share. It takes a significantly harder stop in my Camaro to get ABS to kick in. And when it does I am stoping very quickly (4 wheel disks with the rear disks doing their job). Also after driving like a hooligan, I took the temp of my front brakes - 567.3* F. Rear drums - 184.2* F. Maybe it has to do with the packaging of the rear drums? The same kind of driving in the Camaro resulted in 300s on all four disks and no burning smell like my cruze had. Also, my parking brake lever will barely hit the arm rest when the arm rest is fully extended. Do I need to pull the wheel off and check the drums myself or do they sound okay to yall?


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I had my mechanic check the rear drums while it was in for rotation a while ago. But I got the feeling from the way he was talking that he didn't actually do it. He said they were as tight as they could be without rubbing already. I find that hard to believe based on what everyone else is saying. I did try multiple hard stops in reverse before taking it in, so maybe my self adjuster actually works. But I don't know because ABS will kick in really fast when braking hard in reverse which makes me think the back brakes aren't doing their fair share. It takes a significantly harder stop in my Camaro to get ABS to kick in. And when it does I am stoping very quickly (4 wheel disks with the rear disks doing their job). Also after driving like a hooligan, I took the temp of my front brakes - 567.3* F. Rear drums - 184.2* F. Maybe it has to do with the packaging of the rear drums? The same kind of driving in the Camaro resulted in 300s on all four disks and no burning smell like my cruze had. Also, my parking brake lever will barely hit the arm rest when the arm rest is fully extended. Do I need to pull the wheel off and check the drums myself or do they sound okay to yall?


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Yep, pull the wheels and check the drums yourself.
 

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...my parking brake lever will barely hit the arm rest when the arm rest is fully extended. Do I need to pull the wheel off and check the drums myself or do they sound okay to yall?
My parking brake lever would hit the armrest before I adjusted. After adjustment there was about 1" between the lever and the armrest.

After adjusting the brakes twice they now seem to be self adjusting just fine.
 

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I really don't want to read all the posts n this thread... but there should be a way to adjust the brakes without taking the wheels off. In fact, if your drums are worn and the brakes are self adjusting ( as they should, every time you back up and hit the brakes ). You won't be able to get the hubs off, unless you back off the self adjustment and you have to be able to get to this from the back side of the brakes...

Unless your mechanically inclined, I would not recommend trying to adjust your brakes, get a mechanic to do it and/or get them to make sure the self adjusters are working. If you rarely use your brakes in reverse, even a working self adjuster won't do much good.

This is the primary reason I won't likely ever by another car with drum brakes... they suck. I have know idea why GM is even putting such old technology on such a modern car.
 

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I really don't want to read all the posts n this thread... but there should be a way to adjust the brakes without taking the wheels off. In fact, if your drums are worn and the brakes are self adjusting ( as they should, every time you back up and hit the brakes ). You won't be able to get the hubs off, unless you back off the self adjustment...

Unless your mechanically inclined, I would not recommend trying to adjust your brakes, get a mechanic to do it and/or get them to make sure the self adjusters are working. If you rarely use your brakes in reverse, even a working self adjuster won't do much good.

This is the primary reason I won't likely ever by another car with drum brakes... they suck. I have know idea why GM is even putting such old technology on such a modern car.
Short version. They don't adjust that way because they are "that far off" from the factory. There is an access window to make like easier and keep the wheels on. The window is placed no where near the adjustment section.
 

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But the adjustment opening, has to be close enough to actually move the adjuster, other wise, you couldn't ever get the hub off if the brakes were adjusted all the way out and the drum worn with a lip on it. Even so, I REALLY really hate rear drums. After years and years of driving old cars that I had to maintain myself... Gosh I hate working on drum brakes, hate it with a passion.

Short version. They don't adjust that way because they are "that far off" from the factory. There is an access window to make like easier and keep the wheels on. The window is placed no where near the adjustment section.
 

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But the adjustment opening, has to be close enough to actually move the adjuster, other wise, you couldn't ever get the hub off if the brakes were adjusted all the way out and the drum worn with a lip on it. Even so, I REALLY really hate rear drums. After years and years of driving old cars that I had to maintain myself... Gosh I hate working on drum brakes, hate it with a passion.
POST BELOW OF ACCESS WINDOW

http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/153-...-how-adjust-rear-drum-brakes-4.html#post90013
 

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When manually adjusting the rear brakes, I know XR said the star will only turn one way. On the driver side, I was looking at it and it looks like that would be to "de adjust" it or loosen the thread and not expand the brakes. The old righty tighty lefty loosy thing. I did not have time to go to the passenger side. Just an observation: seemed wrong so I left it alone. Any input. Doesn't backing up adjust the brakes. The other day I was at an empty parking lot and put some mileage on the car backwards. Shouldn't that have adjusted the shoes?
 

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Memory serves.....been a while but drums is drums.... right side (as if sitting in car facing forward) adjuster is reverse threaded.

Forget righty tighty, lefty loosey.

With drum off, looking at adjuster, the automatic adjuster lever will prevent the adjuster from de-adjusting.
The lever is configured to be against the adjuster wheel teeth, so, to de-adjust, you (I) hold the lever away from the star wheel and turn the adjuster (if not frozen in position) in the direction the lever would prevent if not held away.

Read that slowly to get what I'm saying.

The sequence I use for drums: Remove torx screw holding drum to hub.

Remove drum.
Using a course sandpaper, emery cloth, or half circle file (I use a file) sand or file off the rust ridge at the outermost edge of the drum......file or sand till there is no decernable 'rust ridge' or step.......also, using the file or emery, sand or grind the corrosion out of the centerbore of the drum.

The drum is now prepared for adjustment......the reason you remove the ridge is to avoid under adjusting......the reason you cleaned the centerbore is to prevent the drum from rust welding to the hub center.

Slide the drum fully onto the hub and turn it as though the car is moving forward.
You should feel/hear a very mild drag when correctly adjusted.

If not, slide the drum off and turn the adjuster about one half turn of the star wheel as described (the assembly is getting longer to remove clearance of the shoes) and slide it back onto the car.....turn forward again.

If you find the drum is binding on re-install, de-adjust 1/4 turn and try again.
Do this 'adjust, drum on, feel drag, drum off, increase/decrease drag business untill you have a smooth, very light drag over a full drum rotation.

Final assembly involves a coating of grease or anti-seize on the centerbore (coating means wipe your finger coating...no blobs) and a bit of same on the threads of the torx screw.....this for future disassembly/ servicing.

This is very difficult to describe, but very easy to perform once you understand what you are accomplishing here.

Is this helping at all?

Rob
 

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Memory serves.....been a while but drums is drums.... right side (as if sitting in car facing forward) adjuster is reverse threaded.
That is what I thought(would only make sense that one would be reverse thread), but time did not permit to allow me to see the other side. Actually after I did that little backing sequence in the parking lot, I think it pretty well adjusted my drums so it was not necessary. The drum did feel pretty well adjusted but, my sense of curiosity took over so..... I do have one question what is that stupid retaining screw for? The drum will be held on by the wheel. Anybody have a reasonable answer for that?
 

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Doing my rear drum adjustments today. Dealer did them at 5000 miles when the left rear started doing that infamous 'rubbing' sound coming to a stop. It's back. Same wheel, same sound. Got myself the Torx 30. I also noticed the nice wheel blocks that come with the tire change kit. Thanks, Chevy! I'll let you know how it goes. PS: Gonna blow out the brake dust as well (in a well-ventilated outside setting, with a mask on!). 2012 Eco, AT currently at 57K miles. Still same tires. I'll be replacing those about 60K. Great Goodyear Assurance tires!
 

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Brakes have to be properly lubricated, can go back 85 car years on this subject. Shoes must be free to self center as well as the self adjusting mechanism. Best longest lasting lubricant I found is anti-seize, any form of grease, even black brake grease is only good for a couple of months.

You also want to paint that axle area with anti-seize where the drum fits on, if you don't will never get that drum off and also that rim where the wheel fits on plus the lug nut studs. Greatest enemy to brakes whether drums or discs is road salt, but yet they have the nerve to say salt saves lifes. Sure doesn't if your brakes are frozen solid. I look for parts that are well plated, do last a bit longer. Shoes are reusable, and many have been sand blasted, Stay far away from these, just begging for problems.

When I do a drum brake job, leave the shoes loose, driveway is slanted so roll down backwards and keep on tapping on the brake pedal until I get a full pedal. This way I know for sure the adjusters are working. People that never have to back up and hit their brakes are the ones thay really have problems with a low brake pedal.

GM discs are completely different, have to constantly work the parking brake for adjustment. Most people don't even know they have a parking brake. U also set the pistons loose to make darn sure that parking brake is adjusting them.

Another very simple common sense test after the brakes are adjusted is to hand spin the wheel, should feel a slight drag, then hit the brake pedal hard and see if that wheel will spin again with a slight drag, you many find that wheel is frozen.

On the road for awhile at a rest stop, do a walk around holding the back of your hand near each brake, if you find one excessively hot, you have a problem. See more mechanics installing shoes and pads with a hammer, they should be fired. Should be able to release the bleeder and push caliper pistons in with your hand rather than using a ten ton C-clamp, your pistons can be all corroded on the outside edges.

They are also not making rubber brake hoses like they use to a series of laminated rubber, braiding that has to be properly vulcanized to stay together. Can run across some where the inner lamination is loose, closes like a check valve, and keeps that brake engaged. Drums or rotors don't last very long with this problem.
 

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Nick, anti seize works great on fasteners and non critically finished moving parts. WRT brakes, one place that anti seize should never be used is on disc brake caliper pins; it has suspended metal particles that will cause abrasive wear on the finish of both the bore and pins, destroying the sliding fit. I found this out the hard way! :)
 

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Just adjusted the rear brakes this past weekend, thanks everyone for the help! First time working on drum brakes (because all my other cars were too rusted up to get them open).

I had to turn one brake adjusted about 15 clicks, the other around 9. The hand brake engages at half the distance and no longer hits the arm rest when extended forward. Car has 6,000 miles and there was no brake dust in the drum, almost looks like the drum brake pads were never contacting the drum. Keep in mind I only drive highway miles with very little braking on my route.

Stopping power is now much improved, and brake pedal feels firmer and seems to engage higher.
 

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Nick, anti seize works great on fasteners and non critically finished moving parts. WRT brakes, one place that anti seize should never be used is on disc brake caliper pins; it has suspended metal particles that will cause abrasive wear on the finish of both the bore and pins, destroying the sliding fit. I found this out the hard way! :)
Could have been more specific, for the guide pins only silicone grease is used. Should be water proof, but the boots don't last very long. But this is the only spot, anti-seize for all the exposed parts.

NEVER WORKED ON CRUZE DRUM BRAKES!

With this aside, for that last 64 some years also have been able to back off the adjuster and here is the reason why. A ridge forms on the outer edge due to drum wear, and you cannot remove the drums until you back off that adjuster!

If you can't back off the adjuster, how are you going to remove the drums? Sure can't file that off because the backing plate is in the way, and can't remove that until you remove the drum! If this is the way the Cruze drums are made, Chevy should replace all these rear brakes so you can.

On vehicles that were so badly rusted, had to split the drum to get the darn this off.

Had two problems with my Chevy P-30 this spring, first when I hit the brakes, the pedal would not return. Uses a Hydroboost power braking system the spool was sticking that activates the master cylinder and darn near have to remove the body to get at that hydroboost.

So used a syringe to remove all of the PS fluid and poured in Lucas PS conditional, freed that spool up almost instantly.

Second problem that relates to the Cruze, brake pedal was going practically clear down to the floor. So I started the engine and backed it up at about 2 mph and kept on tapping on the brake pedal while doing so. After a short reverse trip, had a full pedal again.

Cruze should operate the same way, if the pedal does not come up while tapping on the brake pedal something is wrong. Ha, was glad this pedal came back up, takes a very strong guy with a boy to remove those rear brake drums. I did redo the brakes on this thing when I first got it, not strong enough to hold these super heavy drums at arms length so I can see what I was doing. But could lay on my back and lift them up, but needed help to guide them back one. Had to be perfectly straight, and laying on my back, couldn't see what I was doing.

Not a problem with the Cruze, two fingers can install that drum. Or other vehicles like it.

Oh, I do use anti-sieze on the threads of the adjusters, plus on the end cap, these have to be spun on effortlessly. Do have a tap for the right hand thread for cleaning, but not for the left hand thread. Cheaper to buy new adjusters than buying a left hand tap. Lower anchors are always a problem with binding.

Racking my brain for those stupid clips on the front calipers on the pad brackets for a long term cure. A blind spot where salt gets in and jams the pads so they can't return.

One solution I came up with is to trade my Cruze in for an older vehicle that didn't use them. Really a stupid idea. With rear discs, using that same bracket. Least you don't have this problem with drums, but apparently different problems.
 

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Black brake grease in my neck of the woods is only good for a couple of months. yes, again silicone for the guides.

Daughter was talked into get new front pads for an oil change on that 04 really then beautiful Cavalier I gave her. Was complaining about a rubbing noise. Took one quick look at it, both front rotors were burnt and worn. Told her to take it back, could tell they put this pads on with a hammer. They said it was okay, but both her front hubs were bad.

I test drove the car, no more free play left in the clutch, rocker panels were a pile of rust. She is working now, told her to get rid of it, not worth fixing. So she finally purchased her first new car. Hope she takes better care of it. Only way how to deal with kids, like nine of them.
 
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