Adjusting the Brakes on Your 1500 With the Wheels On

by several list subscribers

Patrick Bowen asked:

Just to let everyone know how the brake adjustment went. I tightened them down till I could just start to feel them drag and backed off just a little. (Some of you had much better techniques for this, but I did it before I got to read my e-mail) Well all done and said, it is a great improvement! I do have a few questions, Is it possible to adjust these with the tires on (I couldn't seem to get to the screws)? How often should I have to adjust them? And is there an automatic adjustment available on any of these cars?

Barry Schwartz answered:

Yes, by using a 1/4 drive extension in reverse you can adjust them, wheels and tires installed. Install the end that you normally place on the ratchet drive onto the adjuster, and you can use your 1/4 inch open end wrench (or a spoke wrench works great if you have one) on the end of the extension that the socket would normally fit on.

Andrew Mace added:

I've always used what I guess is technically a spoke wrench to adjust
mine. It can be done easily with tires/wheels in place. The wrench is made
by Snap On, is about 8-9" long(?), and has very deep jaws that keep the
wrench from slipping and/or rounding off a stubborn adjustor peg. The
length also provides for a good bit of leverage, which makes the
adjustment (and the "feel" of the adjustment) quite simple.

> How often should I have to adjust them?

Difficult to say. "As needed" would be the flippant, smart-ass answer :-),
but probably about every 5000 miles or so, maybe a bit less. Certainly any
noticeable increase in travel of either brake pedal or handbrake lever
would be a signal to adjust again.

> And is there an automatic adjustment
> available on any of these cars?

No, save for the very last of the GT6 Mk.3 models, which did have
self-adjusting rear brakes (FWIW). A dubious benefit, IMHO.

Dee Jackson commented:

I'll have to echo Andy's statement on the dubious benefits of self-adjusting brakes. On my GT6 one of the self-adjusting arms is snapped off, which I'm told is a fairly common malady. When that happens you must pull the drum to do any adjustment. At least with the Spit all you have to do is jack up the wheel! On my Spit I sacrificed a 6 in., 1/4 drive extension to make a dedicated brake adjuster. I clamp a pair of vice grips around it and adjust away. Not pretty, but it works. >

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