adjusting caravan brakes

Submitted: Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 08:30
ThreadID: 95433 Views:9539 Replies:5 FollowUps:2
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hi all,
I am due to crawl under the van and just the brakes (Alko suspension)
The last time I did this job was on my old holden years ago. It had a slot in the drum backing plate.
Pull out rubber cover, stick in a screwdriver and turn a star wheel.
Lock up the shoes, then back them off a bit.
Will the caravan be similar to that?
Also I remember getting a bit lost as to which way to turn the wheel, and backing off one wheel when I thought I was taking it up.

Can anyone suggest which way will be loosening, and which way tightening?

(In my minds eye, I see clicking the star wheel toward the front of the van will tighten the RHS, towards the back will tighten the LHS brakes.)
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Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 10:24

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 10:24
Go to Alko site and you may be able to get instructions there.
Otherwise follow up to this post with your email address and I will email you a page out of the ALKO manual showing the brake adjustment proceedure.
AnswerID: 485277

Follow Up By: walwffoeg - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 10:36

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 10:36
Thanks Dennis.
My address is
Will also check out that site.
FollowupID: 760518

Follow Up By: walwffoeg - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 10:46

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 10:46
I found the Alko manual, yes its a star wheel just like back in the last century.
It doesn't say which way to adjust it so I guess its trial and error.
FollowupID: 760521

Reply By: aboutfivebucks (Pilbara) - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 18:05

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 18:05

I just replaced all my ALKO suspension and brakes on the weekend.
On my ALKO brakes the star wheel is vertical.
Turning the star wheel down loosens the brakes, turning it up tightens them. Im certain of that.

Here's a pic of the old one I ripped out.

EnjoyImage Could Not Be Found

Good Luck
AnswerID: 485299

Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 17:51

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 17:51
Do the brake shoes up tight against the drums and then back off about 6 clicks!! Michael
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AnswerID: 485368

Reply By: blown4by - Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 15:29

Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 15:29
Jack up each wheel in turn. Adjust the star wheel until the brakes are locked. You will have to work out which way to tighten, etc. by trial & error. Stab your foot on the brakes a few times to centralise the shoes (if they are hydraulic). Back off the adjustment until you can just turn the wheel. Stab the pedal a few more times. Adjust until the brakes are 'just' released. A slight 'scrape' each time the wheel turns due to 'high spots' is OK but there should be no appreciable resistance when you turn the wheel by hand. You want the linings to be as close to the drums as possible without actaully dragging which will cause excessive heat which if the drag is excessive which can melt the grease, damage the seals, the wheel cylinder, linings, drums and even cause a wheel fire if the drag is bad enough.
AnswerID: 485704

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 17:04

Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 17:04
This was posted on a caravan forum by an experienced person

If you, the average caravanner, feel you must prove your manhood by adjusting your brakes without the experienced 'feel' that is a prerequisite to do it properly, then the ONLY safe procedure is this:

Adjust the brakes up until the wheel is locked. Then turn the adjuster exactly 13 CLICKS off. This will never be as accurate as an experienced operator will be but it is a good rule of thumb to work by if you don't have the 'feel'. Do ALL wheels exactly the same and, hopefully, the amount of adjustment will cater for ovoid drums and other intangible problems that the amateur will never discern.

Balls it up and you will cause the brakes to overheat, pull one way or the other, cause the magnets to not swing properly [inefficient braking], not pull fully on and a dozen other things that could cause you to add to my retirement fund in the long run.

What I said in my previous post is gospel according to 30 years experience, and the vast majority of overboiled magnets can be sourced back to the home mechanic, not electrical faults.

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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AnswerID: 485718

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