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1919 Rear Brake Advice Sought


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So, getting past my carb problems and starting to get the car out on the road. My concern is that the rear brakes are not very effective - meaning the car comes to a very slow and easy stop - on a downhill grade the brakes slow the car but do not really stop it completely unless I use the parking brake.

When I got the car the parking brake pads (outside the drum) where so tight the rear wheels would not spin with the car off the ground. So I have backed those off so that the rear wheels spin a little - but still not much - how much is proper?

The pedal and under-car mechanisms all seem to be working properly (pedal goes to the floor; shafts are all turning). What should I look for inside the hub as the clprit other than shoes?

I guess I need to get a hub puller and pull the rear drums. Anyone that can point me in the right direcion (type, vendor, avg prices) would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


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The outside bands are the foot brake and the insides are the park brakes. I have seen those switched before and are NOT capable of stopping the car above a slow crawl. Check your manual on adjustment and you should have a pretty good brake using the correct outside bands.

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I was in your place a few years ago with my '25. In my case, when I bought the car, the brakes were reversed. The inside the drum brakes were the service brakes and the outside the drum brakes were the emergency brakes. I had to switch them around and had a devil of a time getting the service brake set correctly. The emergency brake was a lot easier to adjust -- simply by adjusting the clevis at the emergency brake handle (bottom). There is not much of an adjustment on the service brake between too tight and pedal going to the floorboard. The adjustment I finally settled on will put the pedal to about an inch of the floor. There is definitely some drag on the rear wheels but I've not experienced any overheating of the drum which I was very concerned about. Another thing that makes it a difficult adjustment is the location of the adjusting nut. I have wood spokes and it's impossible to get an open ended wrench between the spokes with enough room to turn the nut and it's equally difficult from underneath the car. There must have been some sort of a narrow handled wrench designed to make this adjustment. There was an excellent article in a DB newsletter a few years back which outlined the adjustment procedure on these cars. If I can find any additional information, I'll be glad to send it to you. Also, I would not be in any hurry to pull the drums. It takes one heck of an effort to get it back on since it has to slide in between the service and parking brake linings. If your parking brake works, in my humble opinion, leave the drum on. You will need a hub puller. I had one made that does the trick.

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