How To Adjust Drum Brakes On A Trailer
(Last Updated On: March 6, 2020)

Adjusting drum brakes on a trailer is one of the exciting procedures that every trailer driver should know. Generally, it is essential to note that you need to adjust your trailer brakes once or twice annually. In some cases, it will depend on the intensity of travel and use. Moreover, you’re supposed to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of the brakes when using the motor vehicle.

 

What To Consider When Adjusting Drum Brakes On A Trailer

There are many factors that one should consider when doing the exercise. It is important to note that when traveling long distances, you need to adjust your trailer brakes.

What To Consider When Adjusting Drum Brakes On A Trailer

However, we apply the principle of adjusting trailer brakes when using the vehicle in areas where there are downhills and uphills. It can also apply in areas where traffic is rampant.

How To Adjust Drum Brakes On A Trailer

The task of adjusting the trailer brakes may seem tricky, but it is quite straightforward. In addition, many people do not know the right way to adjust trailer brakes. If you fit in this group of people, then the following guide will be of great help.

Adjust Drum Brakes On A Trailer

In addition, you should note that adjusting trailer drum brakes can be done by yourself manually or in assistance from your relatives or friends.

The job can be executed by anybody so long as has a common mechanical knowledge that handles the matters relating to motor vehicles.

Here are the steps to follow while adjusting drum trailer brakes:

 

First step: Parking and Blocking

The first step is parking the vehicle on safe ground. The other thing one supposed to be done is blocking your tires on the other side to prevent any rearward and forward movement.

One can opt for any safe tool that can block the tires but on my side advice one to use huge safe rocks in blocking the tires.

secure trailer for blocking plate

The stones should be smooth in a way that they will not harm the truck tires. However, it is important to ensure that the new brakes are installed and mount the hub and drum well before moving back of the braking backing plate.

 

Second Step: Jacking and Securing

The second step that one will have to take is to jack the vehicle up on jack stands that are appropriately rated. You will have to park your truck into a firm, level, and steady ground.

It is also vital to make sure the ground where the vehicle sits is safe to work on with since one will be working in the interior parts of the vehicle. Before replacing the brakes, it is essential to ensure that the trailer is well and securely suspended.

jacking trailer for drum plate adjustment

Moreover, you should now remove the plug. After removing the plug, the mechanic should be able to see the star gear teeth inside the brake assembly. In addition, this is what we call the brake adjuster.

 

Third Step: Prying the Rubber Plug

After supporting the trailer on the jack stand, now it is the high time to proceed at the back of the wheel to trace the brake backing plate.

The mechanic should be able to locate the rubber plug and pry out to give access to the wheel adjuster. The wheel adjuster is found at the bottom of the backing plate.

Prying the Rubber Plug backing plate

Flathead screw and a brake adjustment tool are of great importance in turning the star gear. The mechanic should ensure that the wheel is rotated up until it becomes difficult to turn the drum and hub.

Besides, rotation of the wheel up presses the brake shoes against the drum. This is done until the drum is hard to turn. Therefore, this is the right time to back the wheel off about ten clicks or else you can do drum spinning with a slight drag from the brake shoes.

 

Fourth Step: Positioning and Adjusting

Next step is to hook up the trailer and truck. This will also need one to drive around and at the same time applying the manual override from your in-cab brake controller. This period is called the break-in period.

It is essential to start with 40 mph, and at the same time in order to slow down, the trailer and truck use the manual override. The same process can be repeated for about 20 to 30 times without using the brakes of the truck. It is done to allow the magnet and brake shoes to seat into the drum.

The driver is expected to consider adjusting the brakes again after every 200 miles. However, after the 200 miles adjustment, one will also be expected to adjust the brakes again after 3000 miles.

backing plate brake adjustment

Self-adjusting is another method that will be of the significant impact of adjusting the brakes. The only challenge is that they are not available in all sizes.

It is expected that one has to make sure goes through the break-in process with the self-adjusting brakes in order to ensure that the shoes and magnet seat well in the drum.

 

Recap

It is essential to note that you need to adjust your trailer brakes once or twice annually. In some cases, it will depend on the intensity of travel and use. Besides, you’re supposed to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of the brakes when using the truck and trailer. In addition, many people do not know the right way to adjust trailer brakes.

The task of fixing the trailer brakes may seem tricky, but it is the straightforward thing that one can do. If you fit in this group of people, then the following guide will be of great help. The truck driver will now be able to enjoy the journey without any difficulties on the road.

Before replacing the brakes, it is vital to ensure that the trailer is well and securely suspended. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the person adjusting the drum brakes observes all guidelines as above. He or she should also provide the manufacturers instructions are followed to make it easy to fix the drum brakes on the truck.

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