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How To: Parking Brake Adjustment for Rear Disc Brakes

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:48 pm
by flamingpinhead
Disclaimer: I have provided the following information and pictures out of the kindness of my heart. i assume no responsibility if you mess something up, break something, break your car, injure yourself, somehow die or otherwise f*** something up as a result of reading or attempting this.

What youll need:
- Jack
- Jack stands
- Medium sized standard screw driver
- Some good lighting (trebel light or powerful flashlight)
- Wheel chocks
- Creeper (makes life easier)

Step 1: Park on a level surface, leave the car in gear and leave the parking brake completley disengaged.

Step 2: Chock the front wheels

Step 3: Jack up the rear end of the car, supporting it on jackstands

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Step 4: Scoot under the car and locate the oval shaped rubber plug covering the hole accessing the disc brake caliper adapter. Remove them and put them somewhere you wont lose them. (They are located on the inside of the brake assembly at the bottom.)

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Step 5: Adjust the left wheel as follows:
A. Inside the access hole, there is a star wheel just above the spring. Use the screw driver, inserting it through the access hole, turn the star wheel downward until a slight drag is noticed when rotating the rear tire.
B. Rotate the star wheel upward no more than 1 or 2 clicks, backing the brake shoe off the drum just enough to allow for rotation of the wheel.
C. Reinstall the oval rubber plug.

Step 6: Adjust the right wheel as follows (slightly different than the left)
A: Inside the access hole, there is a star wheel just above the spring. Use the screw driver, inserting it through the access hole, turn the star wheel upward until a slight drag is noticed when rotating the rear tire.
B. Rotate the star wheel downward no more than 1 or 2 clicks, backing the brake shoe off the drum just enough to allow for rotation of the wheel.
C. Reinstall the oval rubber plug.

Step 7: With the wheels slightly off the ground (if you were using a full vehicle lift, which i obvously was not, lower the car)

Step 8: Reach into the car and fully apply the parking brake and release it two times. Fully apply the parking brake once more and leave it engaged.

Step 9: With the parking brake fully engaged, attempt to rotate each rear wheel by hand to ensure the parking brakes on each side are engaging. There should be no movement.

Step 10: Fully release the parking brake.

Step 11: Hand rotate each wheel, ensuring there is no drag caused by the parking brake shoes. (you may need to readjust the brakes as necessary, repeating steps 4 thru 11.)

Step 12: Remove the jackstands and wheel chocks.

edit: had some pictures backwards.

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:53 pm
by SlvrACR
Nice. Most people have no idea how to do this and this info can save you from your car rollin away. :thumbup:

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 8:11 pm
by flamingpinhead
yeah, mine has been rather loose for a while. been inquiring on several sites and many people didnt know, or couldnt provide me with the right info (im kinda dumb at following directions unless pictures are involved.)
i finally had someone shoot me a repair manual. this was something contained within it that i was like "wow, gotta do up a how-to on this."

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 6:47 am
by BlackRoseRacing
Definately good info!
And as mentioned, I walked into the local store the other day to come out and see my car parked in the street :shock:
Now I leave the car in gear and use the E-brake :lol:

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:17 am
by Ifixyawata
Going out on a limb here, but those directions should be exactly the same, aside from the location of the oval plug for the rear drum cars, too. Assuming the neon's rear drums are set up the same way as most every car I've ever seen.

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:12 pm
by flamingpinhead
im honestly not sure about the rear drum brakes. never had to adjust the ones on the sxt. dont rear drum brakes automatically compensate for wear (unlike the parking brake only drums on rear disc?)

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:58 pm
by Ifixyawata
Like I said, I've never had my rear brakes apart yet, but if they're like all the drums I've seen before, they should, like you said, automatically adjust. The star adjustment wheel (on rear drum cars) should have a small lever that moves it when you apply the brakes in reverse.

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 6:14 pm
by SlvrACR
No, neon re-brakes do not auto adjust.

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:02 pm
by flamingpinhead
^anything to keep costs down!

i can probably shoot a link if i can find where i downloaded that service manual from.

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:49 pm
by sullygully
Uh, mabe the chrysler mechanic i talked to was on crack, but he told me that the rear wheels should not spin freely without a little resistance. Mabe its different because i have drums :-k

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:17 am
by BlackRoseRacing
Rear drum adjustment is essentially the same idea as posted above, adjust the star wheel to get minimum resistance on the rear drum when spinning it by hand...

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:56 pm
by flamingpinhead
sullygully wrote:Uh, mabe the chrysler mechanic i talked to was on crack, but he told me that the rear wheels should not spin freely without a little resistance. Mabe its different because i have drums :-k
yeah, its not giong to spin like a bicycle wheel would.

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 9:43 am
by flamingpinhead
Thought this might help a little explaining the star wheel:
It took me a while to uderstand. Its just a gear with teeth. Your looking it from a view where all you see is the teeth. its kind of a pain to get the screw driver onto and turn it.
Image

here is a view of the inside of the brake. you can clearly see the star wheel im talking about above the spring:
Image

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 1:31 pm
by danman132x
Good write-up. I was never aware that our disk brakes had e-brake shoes. I always adjusted mine by rolling down a hill backwards and pulling on the ebrake. I might have to replace mine sometime :/

Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:28 pm
by flamingpinhead
if you decide to, I have the complete teardown directly from the neon/srt manual.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:25 pm
by jmr
The rear disc brakes have a small MANUALLY adjusted drum brake for the e-brake. This is only adjusted by clicking the star wheel NOT by engaging it in reverse. I have found that you need some drag from the e-brake's shoes. This way you don't have to yank the handle to hold the car on a hill. With a manual transmission never trust the e-brake alone, always put it 1st or reverse when parking.

If you have drum brakes they adjust automatically when the brakes are applied hard in reverse, the e-brake for them is also the drum brake only it's cable actuated not hydraulic.

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 10:22 pm
by TomZ
The disc brake, e-brake shoes are not really wear items, unless you use them for something other than parking brakes, lol. That's a reason they don't self adjust. I find setting the e-brake 3 clicks engaged, then adjusting them to a moderate rate of friction results in more even adjustment between the wheels.

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:06 am
by Cbussilver01es
thank you thank you thank you! After my car rolled down my driveway narrowly missing my fathers car after I applied the brake all the way up, I now know how to adjust them properly. :thumbup: good write up/

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:35 pm
by Swordfish2Cowboy
OMG so I tried to do this without reading the DIY and ended up taking almost the entire wheel assembly off the car. Got to the part in the Hayne's Manual where it says to remove the hub nut but I didn't have a socket large enough so I put everything back on. 03NeonRT told me how to do it last night, but this is more thorough and has pictures! :D

L vs. R Adjustments

Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:01 pm
by BluSoul
I wish I had read this post first! I will explain.

In my '03 SXT, I have been experiencing loud squeally noises at low speeds (particularly in reverse), excessive e-brake lever pull-up, and excruciating brake drag, all from the rear RIGHT wheel (only). In the process of elimination, before automatically assuming that it was the brake shoes, I first wanted to make sure that the star wheel adjustment was fine, even though I had excessive lever pull-up, along with drag. So, in examining the "down-adjust" to remove the drag, I was adjusting the RIGHT STAR WHEEL UP not down, according to Flamingpinhead's instructions. The manual I use (Neon 2004) doesn't differentiate left and right adjustments like Flamingpinhead did. That means I was increasing tension, not removing it in my determination. Despite this, after coming to the conclusion that it must be the brake shoes, I put everything back together. When I came inside to double check my diagnosis, I found this, Flamingpinhead's post.

So, I wanna make sure before wasting my time. Tomorrow, I will try moving the RIGHT star wheel down and see what happens. Can anyone confirm for sure that there is a difference in adjusting the left and right star wheels?

Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:39 pm
by ThatKevin
THIS IS SOOO USEFUL!

I've been meaning to do this for the past 4 months or so now, but never really knew how and didn't care too much.

I will definitely be doing this soon, thanks :D

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:13 pm
by charlesh
Great DIY! I just did this today, but I think I ran into problems.

I was turning the star wheel little by little, spinning the wheel to judge resistance. Thing is, there's a pulsating resistance--as I spin the wheel, the friction isn't constant, but at a certain point you can hear more resistance. My question is, does that mean there is a problem with my rotors?

I didn't want to tighten it down too much, but I did enough that at least the parking brake completely stops the wheels with it all the way up. I have a parking brake again :rockon:

Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 7:03 am
by occasional demons
The drum part of the rotor may not be 100% round. As long as the disc part has no run out, it really won't have much impact. As long as it holds, is what counts.

Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:07 pm
by charlesh
I'll try tightening it more then. I was cautious about going too far and causing drag or something, but like the other poster said, it won't spin like a bicycle wheel anyway.

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:48 am
by fox02neon
I did this the hard way a few years back, this is much easier