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I messed up my front drum brake. How do I adjust it?!

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by HiPurpleTurtle, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. HiPurpleTurtle

    HiPurpleTurtle XS400 Member

    I noticed that my front brake lever wouldn't spring back, so I thought I'd mess around with the brake.
    Looking back, I probably should've just tried lubricating the cable first..:banghead:

    Anyway, I was dumb enough to mess with the linkages and now my front brake no longer works. How am I supposed to fix this issue?! I've done a lot of searching and read chapter 5 of the manual, but I still can't figure it out. :doh:

    The manual said the two brake operating arms should be parallel to each other, but it seemed impossible for me to get it back to that point.

    I'll just keep trying in the morning..
  2. xschris

    xschris XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    There is dot on each cam where the linkage connects. You need to make sure there are aligned.

    Attached Files:

  3. HiPurpleTurtle

    HiPurpleTurtle XS400 Member

    What are the little plates on the other end of the spindles supposed to look like? Are they flat and parallel with each other or are they at slight angles?
    This is so simple yet complicated. -sigh-
    Thank you, Chris.
  4. HiPurpleTurtle

    HiPurpleTurtle XS400 Member

    Got it! The brake still doesn't spring back after I use it, but at least it functions again..
    I want to say it's the cable's fault?
  5. Norman1950

    Norman1950 XS400 Addict

    Not springing back could mean that one of the springs on the brake shoes has either fallen off or broken. Take off your front wheel and pull off the brake hub and make sure the springs are where they are supposed to be.
  6. XS400NJ

    XS400NJ XS400 Addict

    What happens if you disconnect the cable and pull the lever by hand - does the lever spring back?
  7. HiPurpleTurtle

    HiPurpleTurtle XS400 Member

    The springs were still on and functioning!

    I actually haven't tested that yet. Definitely overlooked it.

    Thanks, guys!
  8. spink813

    spink813 XS400 New Member

    how would the cable spring back without being attached to drum? Isnt the brake springs what gives it ability to return?
  9. xschris

    xschris XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    The only springs are the ones in the drum attached to the shoes. They are what return the lever back.
  10. XS400NJ

    XS400NJ XS400 Addict

    Cable would not spring back by itself, but lever (the one on the wheel, not the one on the handle bar) should. It is possible that cable is preventing lever from springing back(because cable is dirty and rusty inside) . To check them independently- disconnect cable and try pulling lever(on the wheel) and see how happily it springs back. To check cable just pull the cable back and forth inside it's outer shell and see how easy it moves.

    If lever on the wheel is hesitating to spring back - time to take wheel off and to take a look inside. It is possible that springs came off(or got stretched over time), or pads are used up to the point that lever's camshaft turns too much and is getting to close to being perpendicular to the shoe. In any case It is getting too dangerous to ride like that.

    Of course lever on the handlebar should move freely as well, that should be easy to check.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  11. CDNTX650

    CDNTX650 XS400 Enthusiast

    Thats what mine was doing, just serviced the brake to make sure, then lubed the shit out of the cable. Sticky cable was prob.
  12. when i got my xs400, the PO said it had new front brakes but he ran it without the lever because the brakes would stick after squeezing. you had to manually open the linkage by pushing on it.

    so last weekend i rebuilt the front forks (they were leaking and super squishy), and also took apart the front drum brake and cleaned the shit out of it.

    (sorry, dont have the manual with me for proper part names)

    i removed the two "things" that attach to the linkage on the outside, but have the fat pan head on the inside to push the brake pads up.

    i cleaned and regreased everything.

    put the wheel back on and had to spend some trial and error time figuring out how to adjust the brakes/linkages to get the brakes to stop the bike but not drag when not applied. after a couple rides i got it. it was rather simple to figure out once i played around with it a bit.
  13. Jasonsblue81

    Jasonsblue81 colorado Kid

    Hey guys. yea my 81 front brake just doesnt want to grab. bike only has 7000 on it. the little indicator is right at the beginning. i use back brake mostly. but really am going to have to take it apart. Kermit, my motorcycle mechanic said clean it and roughup the pads. the indicators looked lined up .
  14. Jasonsblue81

    Jasonsblue81 colorado Kid

    Ps . got tomorrow off. not going to let it keep me from going for a ride...!!!!

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