I’m about to replace my 2006 Highlander’s rear brake pads and rotors. I notice on diagrams there is a small hole where a screwdriver can be inserted through the rotor to adjust the parking brake by expanding or contracting it. Will I have to turn the adjuster to contract the parking brake in order to remove the rotor or should it just come off easily? Thanks
Sometimes a screw driver doesn’t work when backing off drum brakes because of access.
And when that happens you need these tools.
You probably won’t need to back off the adjuster… unless Murphy laid down the law!
I’d suggest adjusting it after installing the new rotors, though, or your parking brake won’t work very well. There should be very little to no drag. Test the parking brake before you drop it off the jackstands.
Do I basically want to be able to spin the wheel by hand without any rubbing of the brake shoes?
Yes. You don’t want the brake to drag. You will feel some drag as the shoes shuffle into place as you rotate the drum but that should pretty much go away.
But test how much take up you have on the parking brake lever or pedal.
They make a brake shoe adjustment tool.
You take the pointy parts of the tool and measure the inside of the brake drum and lock the tool with the knob.
Then you take the flat parts of the tool, and hold them between the brake shoes and adjust the shoes out so they touch the tool.
All while the brake drum is off.
My brake spoons are too wide to fit through the hole in a Toyota brake disc/drum, obsolete.
I use a screw driver when necessary to back off the brake shoes. I don’t live in the rust belt, no rust lip on the drums, they usually slide right off.
For parking brake adjustment I tighten the adjuster until there is drag on the drum, then back off 1/2 turn.
I presume your Highlander is configured with disks on the front/rear for the main braking, but drums for the rear parking brake. I’ve never worked on that configuration. But I replaced the the rear shoes on my Corolla a couple years ago. It is configured with the same drum for both braking and parking. I did have to retract the shoes with the adjuster gadget to get the drum to slip off. On mine the adjuster gadget has a little spring-loaded metal tab that holds the wheel in place, and I had to figure out a way to hold that tab away from the adjuster wheel in order to rotate the adjuster. I don’t see that tab in the diagram above, so you may not have that complication. BTW, you might get lucky and the drum will pull off without having to do anything. If it won’t pull off, take a wooden or rubber mallet and hit the drum a few times from the side, then if you’ve been living a good life, it might break free. Once the drum is removed it is easy to turn the adjuster wheel. All I did when replacing the drum was adjust that wheel so the drum would barely fit over the shoes. No further adjustment was needed. Can’t get your toolbox screwdriver to fit the hole and do the job? Note that there’s nothing in the rule book that says you can’t bend your screwdriver.
That could also include wrench’s or whatever else you might have to get the job done.
“BTW, you might get lucky and the drum will pull off without having to do anything. If it won’t pull off, take a wooden or rubber mallet and hit the drum a few times from the side, then if you’ve been living a good life, it might break free.”
And if you’re not lucky, once you’ve backed off the adjuster, hit it the drum with a mallet and the drum still won’t come off, they make a tool called a “drum remover” or “hub remover” that will do the trick without damaging the drum.
You probably won’t have to do anything to the parking brake except make sure it’s not on.
To make it easier getting the rotor off there should be two small holes on the face of the rotor that you screw two bolts in. I think they’re 6mm course thread. Get one that’s 1.5" or longer. Screw the bolts alternating between the two until the rotor becomes loose.