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Hints on Corolla self-adjuster rear drum brakes?

92 Corolla. Rear drum brakes. I want to back off the brake adjuster a little so the wheel spins freely. Couldn’t figure out the proper tools and a method to hold the lever off the adjusting wheel, and turn the adjuster at the same time. I’ve done this successfully on my Ford truck, and my old VW Rabbit. No joy on the Corolla. I did manage somehow to tighten the rear shoes, so at least I’m doing something. Any hints on how to release the shoes a little?

So, you access the manual adjuster through the brake drum, right? Use a bent wire to pull the adjuster toward you and a screwdriver to turn the adjuster wheel.

Unless you disable the self adjuster it will just tighten them up again.

Page BR 24 of the service manual has a drawing showing how to release the self adjuster to turn the star wheel.

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Unfortunately there’s no hole in the drum to access the self adjuster. The service manual says there’s supposed to be one, but I guess I didn’t get that style of drums for some reason. Instead I had to access the adjuster from behind the wheel through an oblong hole in the brake backing plate. Probably not that difficult when working on a lifted car, but it’s a tough job to do while laying under a car on jack-stands.

I finally figured out how to to do it by following your idea of tying the spring loaded locking plate in the “up” position with some bailing wire. Then all I had to do was provide illumination at the correct angle and focus on the adjuster wheel alone. It’s still pretty awkward to see the adjuster wheel from the laying on the ground position, but I finally managed to undo it enough to remove the drum. I had to custom-bend a small screwdriver of mine to make a tool that has the geometry that works. Thanks for the wire idea insightful !

Removing the drum turned out to be pretty easy, no banging with a big hammer required. Toyota provided two threaded holes which I used to push the drum off the hub with a couple of bolts. I wish they’d have supplied the hole in the front of the drum for the adjuster too. In retrospect I think I could have removed the drum without messing with the adjuster had I realized those holes in the drum could be used to push the drum off. As far as I could tell, neither the factory repair manual nor my aftermarket repair manual mentions those holes. I found out about them by searching the internet for more ideas.

If anyone has surfed to this thread and is trying to do back off the adjuster to loosen their Corolla’s rear drum brakes, if you are looking at the adjuster from behind the wheel (i.e. through the backing plate), turning the adjuster wheel upwards retracts the brake shoes. You’d turn it downward if looking at it through a hole in the drum side.

Toyota . . . and some other manufacturers . . . have done it that way for YEARS

Considering you’ve had the car for 25 years, I’m surprised you never realized what those threaded holes were for . . . ?

Believe it or not, I’ve never had to remove the rear drums until now. There’s a small hole in the backing plate to inspect how much material remains on the shoes without having to remove the drum.

You’ve never been curious to see if you’ve got a cracked lining or a wet wheel cylinder . . . ?!

You won’t necessarily see those things through the inspection hole :smile:

I’ve never had any luck with those jack screw holes. There’s so few threads they invariably just strip out before the drum moves. Of course, rust is ubiquitous around here so unless you take them off at least every year, they are stuck but good to the hub…maybe if they welded a nut to the face it would be helpful…