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OEM Rear Brakes Solution?


NAXJA Forum User
We are well familiar with the rear drum brakes with the automatic adjusters that don't work. I'm working on two 1990 XJs (mine and my daughter's)with dana 35 axles. I see the problem being that the cable on the self adjuster is about 3/16 to 1/4 inch too long, so it can't hold the adjuster arm against the star wheel. I propose buying new (not rusty) adjusters (the cable part with the spring assembly on the end) and tying a knot in the cable run to shorten it up- at a location clear of the support it runs around. Yes, it will be weaker, but if it snaps it will result in the same level of effectiveness as OEM design- no loss! Anybody tried this? ((I'm NOT recommending it- safety not guaranteed- ))
I JUST finished redoing my rear brakes (shoes and cylinders) and I thought my adjuster cables were doing an OK job at holding the little adjuster bracket thingy against the ratchet wheel thingy in conjunction with the little hold down spring.
Then again, looking at my parts terminology, what do I know.
Properly fitted OEM parts will place the adjuster arm against the star wheel in the correct location.

Your suggestion to shorten the adjuster cable by tying a knot in it points to one thing:

SOMETHING is not right with the rest of the brake hardware on the wheel.

Getting new adjuster cables is a very good idea, but I would check the rest of the hardware as well.

The cost of a complete brake hardware kit for one rear wheel, including a new adjuster, springs, cable, and misc. other stuff is under $20.

For that kind of money, I would start afresh with KNOWN good hardware, and see how it goes.
I second that, get new hardware. I've had the cables stretch, I tied it in a knot, then it broke and left pieces to score up my drums.

and I have the Uber-expensive 10X2.5" drums :(
New Hardware

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I will try new hardware. I replaced all the hardware (adjuster, springs, hold downs) on my 1990 XJ using the premium kit (Raybestos)and the arm still doesn't meet the star wheel. I will try it again using the cheapo kit. I don't know the origins of the hardware set on my daughter's '90. It's heartening to hear some of you have found parts that fit!
Bob --

Just a thought. Be certain you are buying parts for the correct year XJ, and that your XJs haven't experienced an axle swap. The early XJs, from '84 through '90, used 10" rear brakes. Chrysler changed to 9" drums in 1991. I never tried mixing the hardware, but my guess is that if you use the cable from a 10" drum on an axle with 9" brakes, the adjuster cable will be too long.