Brake adjuster too tight


New Member
May 27, 2022
So recently I had to adjust my rear right drum brake but I made it too tight and the drum won't come off and I can't back off the adjuster, I can still drive but I need to put a bit more revs into it for it to go, will this fix itself over time or do I gotta take it to a mechanic to get it fixed

Gary S

Lifetime Gold Member
Apr 14, 1999
Bismarck, North Dakota
It would be quite difficult to get the adjuster too tight because if it is too tight, you would have a very difficult time getting the drum on the shoes. The adjuster can only tighten the shoes, not loosen them so if somehow you got them too tight, they won't loosen back up by themselves.
One thing to watch for is that the springs need to be in good shape. Weak springs allow the adjuster to overtighten things and cause overheated brakes.
You can check your backing plate to see if it has a "knockout" for adjusting the brakes. If there is one there, you can knock it out, loosen the adjuster through that hole, and get it right. There are little rubber plugs to install in the knockout hole afterwards to keep crap out of the brakes.

1978 Z/28

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Jul 17, 2017
New Brunswick
will the tire turn, there will be some resistance, when brake drums wear a ridge forms on the outside edge of drum where shoe does not run on, shoe then is below edge of drum.
To back off adjuster you must lift self adjusting tab then turn adjuster.


Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Nov 4, 2004
Ringgold, GA
Like Gary said, there should be a knock out plug on the backing plate. It's going to be tight but you should be able to use a couple small screw drivers to release the ratcheting lever, then rotate the adjuster up to release pressure. Check on front of the drum also, there was a discussion here recently, seems some drums have a knock out plug on front.

I said rotate adjuster up to release pressure, I'm going on my 56 which doesn't have automatic adjusters. I have to rotate the adjuster down to tighten.

Try to get the pressure off before you resort to pullers and the BFH.

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