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Adjust your 9" brakes!

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wrdabney View Drop Down
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    Posted: 23 May 2012 at 10:49pm
I am relatively new to the 2a world. Since my frame off restore and rebuilding the whole brake system I've been driving my 2a around with mushy brakes that I had to pump a few times to get them to work very good.  I've read some not so encouraging things about the stock 9" brakes so I just assumed it was how they are supposed to be.  Tonight, I finally took the time to adjust the brakes properly and WOW, what a difference.  I thought I had adjusted them good enough when I put them back together.  Obviously not. It is seriously 90% better than they were.  I know all of you guys who have been driving 2a's for a while know what they are supposed to feel like but maybe some new guys who haven't driven one much don't really know.  With the brakes adjusted properly they are very responsive and I am very happy with them.  Just thought I would post a positive 9" brake thread and hopefully help a new guy out. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote damar2yxr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2012 at 11:04pm
Good job on your success! Now it would be nice to hear how you went about your adjustments. There are a lot of "how to's" on the web but sometimes we all learn something new when you relate your experiences.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wrdabney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2012 at 11:14pm
I read a lot about it today from using the search engine and it seems like there was a good number of guys who would adjust them not using the slots  in the drums.  On of my drums doesn't have the slot so I figured I might as well do them all by sounds and "feel".  Basically,  I did one shoe at a time and one drum at a time. I loosened the retaining nuts on the upper and lower eccentrics on one shoe.  I spun the tire and turned the lower eccentric until the brake was barely dragging then I backed off the eccentric just enough for the brake not to drag.  I then did the upper eccentric the same way.  Then, I checked the lower one more time then tightened both retaining nuts down making sure not to let the eccentric turn while tightening the nuts.  This was my first time to do it and it took me about 30 minutes to do all four wheels.  I was able to make regular open end wrenches work.  Although, I can see if you have older parts that you might need a wrench or tool shaped for this job.  I replaced all of my adjusters when I rebuilt the brakes so they turn easily and the nuts loosen and tighten fairly easily. The 2 furthest forward lower eccentrics were the hardest to get the 3/4" wrench on but I was able to make it work.  I still may look at a few pawn shops for a 3/4" wrench with some offset and it would make it easier.  Sorry for the long write-up for such a seemingly simple process. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joe DeYoung Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2012 at 11:21pm
Finally.... someone not bashing the stock 9" brakes. I too find no trouble with the stock 9" set up if using the jeep as designed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote athawk11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2012 at 11:33pm
Nice write up. 
 
One thing I learned from another post was to make your own offset wrench.  Pick up a cheapo 3/4" wrench, heat it up with an acetylene torch and bend it to your own custom offset.  Doing this, using a feeler in the slot, and having one of the old Cornwell brake wrenches has made adjusting brakes one of the easier maintenance duties I have on this old beauty.
 
Tim
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Abend Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2012 at 12:14am
After I purchased a very nice, very expensive set of German Stahlwille offset wrenches in the hope that they would fit (they did not), I discovered that the el-cheapo made-in-India set of offset wrenches they sell at Harbor Freight fit perfectly for this job. I think the set was about $10. No torches or bending needed. The German wrenches are prettier and produce a lovely ring when struck or dropped though.      I bought a used Snap-On wrench on eBay to turn the eccentrics.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2012 at 9:51am
Ive been trying to find a tool to make the job easier. Since I didn't have access to the wrench I left the eccentrics a little loose just enough to turn with a wrench and put it all together with the wheelbearings tight and such. Then I spun the drum and turned the eccentric until I heard it barely dragging and backed it off just a hair. Once I got all the eccentrics adjusted I pulled everything apart and removed the backing plate and tightened down all the nuts. It takes alot of time but I managed to get them to work pretty well. If I slam on the pedal hard enough I can lock all of them but one up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m38mike Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2012 at 10:05am
Two years ago I was driving my Blue Mule with a jeep friend who was complaining that his 9 inch brakes just would not stop his jeep very well.  He was saying he felt like he needed to put 11 inch brakes on his jeep.  I looked at him, pushed in the clutch, and stood on my brake pedal.  He almost went through the windshield as we skidded to a stop from 45 mph.  Behind us were 3 black skid marks.  All I said to him was, "9 inch brakes." 
 
I did make a mental note that one of my brakes needed adjusting.  It didn't leave a skid mark.
 
He has not replaced his 9 inch brakes.  He just learned how to adjust them correctly, and now he's happy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zedanny1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2012 at 8:02am
eccentrics ? I read this and still don't know how you adjust them. When I put the brakes on the pull bad to the left ( Good pedal tho ) if I pump them it's not quite as bad.
Zedanny
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m38mike Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2012 at 9:51am
You might check out this link.  There are some good photos on here describing all the parts and what to do with them to get a good adjustment.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote garage gnome Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2012 at 12:39pm
I have 9" brakes on my '49. They work well for what I do with it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2012 at 12:54pm


Is it worth it to do the feeler gauge method?
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