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Old 08-10-2017, 07:35 PM   #1
Cape Codder
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Default Brake Adjuster Frozen

Brakes were running pretty hot so tried to adjust the right rear one. Could not budge the adjuster even with an extension bar. Took drum off to find nothing wrong with the brakes, main or emergency. Tried to move adjuster again with no results.

Removed backer plate and put adjuster square in large vise, while putting mount bolts back in backer plate to try and turn backer plate. End result was we were able to break loose the adjuster. This adjuster was BACKED OUT to the max and then some. Brakes were adjusted properly when NEW backer plate and all other parts were installed approx. 10 months ago.

Question: How could this happen? How could that adjuster unscrew ALL THE WAY OUT?
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:35 AM   #2
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Anybody have any ideas to this problem?
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:43 AM   #3
Don Turley
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cape Codder View Post
Question: How could this happen? How could that adjuster unscrew ALL THE WAY OUT?
It is impossible for the adjuster to unscrew all the way out. The tapered head of the adjuster will bottom out and stop it from passing through the threaded hole. Maybe I'm not understanding how you are describing the problem.

If you have turned the adjuster to where the maximum amount of the threaded shaft is showing on the outside of the backing plate, then it would stand to reason that there is a minimum amount of pressure on the brake shoes. Maybe the adjuster is not the problem??
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

This is a bit of a head-scratcher. I don't have a definite answer, but lets think it through.

As you probably know, there are grooves cut into the conical part of the adjuster that prevent it from backing out under the spring pressure from the brake shoe assembly. Was a new adjuster installed with the new backer plate? If not, was the old adjuster inspected? Did you observe the normal "click" action when the brakes were first adjusted?

The other strange thing is that you say the brakes were too tight, but the adjuster was backed out all the way. Normally this would cause the brakes to be looser, not tighter. Did you notice the shoes dragging when you removed the drum?

Edit: I see Don said something similar when I was typing.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:57 AM   #5
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Try removing the brake adjusting wedge, (not by turning it CCW), but by turning it clockwise (CW), until it pushes out the round brake adjusting wedge cover on the in-side if the backing plate and investigate the condition and cleanliness of these adjuster threads.

Sometimes these wedges are loaded with old caked grease and crud accumulated from driving through yesteryear's mud holes in old dirt roads; other times, the backing plate receiver threads were ruined from over stressing, or being cross-threaded.

You may not find out until you remove and investigate ..... if time is of the essence, order a new one today for less than $12.00.
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:06 AM   #6
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Also, check lengths of brake shoe adjusting shafts, (A-2042).

Eighty (80) year old Model A's will always be mysterious ..... in the 1950's & 1960's many replacement parts were not manufactured to replicate exact dimensions of Ford's original parts.

"All" of the mechanical brake parts and installation locations of said parts were carefully engineered and detailed with exact dimensions to function properly.

Anybody who ever restored Ford's original mechanical brakes could have been careless and could have messed up this very precise mechanically functioning assembly.
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Old 08-11-2017, 04:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Today we checked the Adjuster again and looks just like it did when we put it in NEW approx. 10 months ago and YES the threads are good. Also checked the TWO brake adjusting shafts and found neither binding. Also when putting back together we found the LONG return spring VERY springy (if there is such a word) or hard to install so we considered that good also. As to the shoes too tight, this was not the problem, they were actually too LOOSE. The reason that we got into this is that the drum was really HOT when returning from Gettysburg BUT could not turn this adjuster COUNTER clockwise, although it was determined that the drum / tire were not dragging so we continued the return trip. I will not be working on it again until possibly Monday so I will let everyone know the outcome. So far we have not found ANYTHING wrong! I hope that explains everything BUT I guess some / all of you are shaking your heads. I know I am because I have NEVER seen this happen!
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:17 PM   #8
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

At our young age, most of us hate to admit something like this; but, some time ago I re-adjusted all (4) brakes.

Went out for a short spin and returned, and started trying touch testing brake drums.

Front two (2) were fine ..... both rear were hot ..... looked inside, and yes .... Wow!

When I turned around to come back I was on an incline, so i pulled my emergency brakes and left them on.

Released same, took another spin & everything fine.

Without a doubt, it was determined to be CRS ..... "Carefully Resolved Situation".

Never give up ..... on Monday we will all be hoping your brake situation is resolved.

Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 08-11-2017 at 07:18 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Thanks to H.L. Cauvin sure appreciate that and sure hope it will be resolved!
By the way I enjoy your responses to problems guys write about in their threads. Of course I see humor in some of them also,
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Old 08-12-2017, 06:24 AM   #10
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

I ran into something new (for me) the other day. I tried to adjust a guy's '28 front brake and could not move anything. Turns out that on his car, when the emergency brake was applied, it put all four service brakes on.
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:28 AM   #11
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

When adjusting the brakes, raise the car and support with jack stands at the axles, not the frame.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:21 AM   #12
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

The thing I'm confused about is why was that rear brake drum hot when the adjuster was backed all the way out. My front right adjuster is frozen all the way out and there is no brake shoe contact at all when the pedal is pushed. Instead of removing the backing plate and putting it in a vice, do you think you could have safely got the adjuster to move clockwise by using a large pipe wrench with the backing plate still on the car? I would like to do it that way, but I'm afraid of breaking the adjuster bolt. We're talking about one heck of a lot of torque on that bolt. I plan on turning the adjuster clockwise until it forces the metal cap out because I want to inspect, clean, and grease that thing with graphite grease. Any ideas or warnings are welcome.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:40 AM   #13
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Nothing like wonderful caring Model A Forum gentlemen who first ask questions, investigate their Model A mystery, and care enough for all of us to take the time let us all know what was found.

Per his phrase in Reply #7, we will all want to hear:

Either what he found ....... or what he did not find when he follows through with:

"possibly Monday so, I will let everyone know the outcome."
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:46 AM   #14
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

JacksonIII - Is the '28 of a different type system? I think I have read something like that but cannot put my finger on it. Sorry.....

100IH - I always support the car by the axles when I work on a car.

wingski - We are also confused as to the brake drum getting hot. One good thing about this whole process was that the bearing was still packed with grease. In our experience we could not get anything bigger then a short pipe unto the brake adjuster wrench, in fact we bent that wrench. There was no room so our option was to take the backer plate off. Not a job "for the faint at heart"! Your problem could be what others have talked about is that the grease in the adjuster is HARD packed. Good luck with your project and would like to hear what YOU found!
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:54 AM   #15
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacksonlll View Post
I ran into something new (for me) the other day. I tried to adjust a guy's '28 front brake and could not move anything. Turns out that on his car, when the emergency brake was applied, it put all four service brakes on.
Jack, what you had was a Lefthand Ebrake early '28. The Ebrake is part of the Service brake system as they didn't have the separate brake bands found in the later editions. A very rare car indeed,
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Old 08-12-2017, 06:51 PM   #16
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Hey Cape Codder, I gave up on the idea of the pipe wrench because I didn't think it had a good enough grip on the adjuster. So, I flattened the end of a four foot long piece of one and a half inch water pipe so a crescent wrench could tightly fit into the end. I hammered the crescent wrench onto the adjuster so there was no play. When I lifted up on that pipe I was putting hundreds of pounds of torque on that thing and not a budge. It's like the innards of the adjuster are welded together. I'm going to try heating the adjuster with a pencil torch and using the wrench and pipe again, but I have my doubts. I wish there was a way to remove that cap so I could see in there. I'll let you know.
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Well, it's fixed. No more frozen brake adjuster. I called up my 89 year young neighbor and he came down and worked on it with just a crescent wrench and small ballpeen hammer and WD-40. It was 107 degrees and in a few minutes he had it moving without breaking a sweat. I've got the shoes removed from the backing plate and after plenty of oil, you can turn the adjuster with your fingers. However, we got in an argument about where and why Ford put the frame number where it is. He said, "No way would anyone ever put a serial number under the body." I have to agree with him, but I'll still keep looking for it.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:43 AM   #18
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

Another thing about the brake adjuster. After my neighbor had worked the adjuster loose, I plugged one side of the adjuster body and inserted an 8" piece of fuel line in the other hole. I stuck a small funnel in the end of the fuel line and suspended it with a piece of wire. I poured 10-30 oil into the funnel until I could see the oil and let it sit. Every once in a while, I'd work the adjuster back and forth until it turned easy just using my fingers. To drain the oil, I just unhooked the wire and pointed the fuel line into a container. I don't know if any of this is even worth mentioning, but I thought that it might help someone later.
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:27 PM   #19
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Default Re: Brake Adjuster Frozen

To All,
Well we took the whole right rear wheel assembly apart, all the way down to taking the backer plate off the rear end. We did not find anything wrong other then the original problem which was the brake adjuster being frozen. Have not taken it for a ride yet but will post outcome of that.
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