1980 Ford Escort rear brake adjustment

  • 1980 FORD ESCORT

Brakes problem
1980 Ford Escort 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Manual 78000 miles

Hi blokes, I have a 1980 model Ford ESCORT Panel Van, fitted with the 1600 crossflow engine.

My question is, Is there a replacement so called auto brake adjuster or, preferably a replacement manual adjuster that could be fitted to the above vehicle.

I have owned this beaut beast for about three years, and, have never been able to adjust the rear brakes (drum type of course) with any real satisfaction. There is fitted to the backing plates a slot for which I assume that is the access for a flat tool as is used for manual adjusting, however, there is no corresponding adjusting spring loaded or otherwise part to actual perform and adjustment. I resort to the madness of removing the wheels, and drums, adjust what I think is the auto adjusters as far as being able to replace the drums etc, this is at best only a miserable attempt to keep the rear brakes adjusted to a satisfactory level. Can you help with any suggestions as to either the best method of adjustment, or info on a replacement manual adjuster, if such a thing is available of course. I am of the opinion that perhaps the adjusters I have may have been not the correct part, perhaps change by a previous owner. Any help you can give would be most appreciated, and I thank you in anticipation. Regards Norm.

Do you
have the same problem?
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 AT 3:58 PM

1 Reply


I'm not sure what kind of help I can offer.

I don't recall a panal van model,
Wrong parts will probably make this a problem, but I will offer this when cleaning and adjusting:
With a catch pan under the brake assembly, spray down the entire brake area starting from the top down. Use your tool to lift up on the shoes and spray in behind the shoes where they ride on the drum. Try to move the adjuster wheel. If it moves freely, you can leave it alone. If it is tight or not moving, use your screwdriver to pry the shoe back and remove the adjuster. If your having trouble getting the adjuster out then pull off any springs you need to accomplish removing the adjuster. If the teeth are worn on the adjuster, replace it.

In a vise tighten the adjuster up in the jaws, use a pair of vise grip style tool to clamp onto the other end of the adjuster and get it free. Tap out and rust and spray it with the brake clean if needed. Use a wire wheel and get the adjuster clean. Lube the area where the adjuster was stuck and work the two parts back and forth. Re-install the adjuster in the same position the way it was removed, but fully turned in. There are various areas that now need to be lubed. The less resistance on moving parts the better. Pry back on each shoe on the top and lubed the post and the top of the shoe, the parking brake pivot arm. There are three raised portions the shoes slide on located on the backing plate. Pry the shoe up and lube these areas.

Going back to the drum, if it is too rough, too thin, badly rusted or damaged from removal, replace it. If not, you need to spray the inside down of it and wipe it clean. Grind off the ridge that is made from the shoes wearing into the drum so you ll be able to adjust it and remove easier next time it has to come off. Wire brush the hub portion in the center where the drum slides onto and lube it. Slide the drum on and spin it. Remove the drum and turn the adjuster several turns to increase the spread of the shoes. Slide the drum back on and spin it. Continue this until you get a slight drag on the shoes. Press the brake pedal with the drums on and recheck it. If there is any drag, pull the drum back off and turn the adjuster in so there is a very slight drag. Over adjusted shoes seem to be followed with a wheel cylinder failure, so don t over tighten. Re-install the wheels and you re done.

Was this
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 AT 4:29 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides