ADjusting Rear Brakes on an '02 Malibu

Hi
My Brakes are feeling soft these days. Had the Front Pads replaced about 4 months ago and the pedal seems to now go down a little further and it takes
a little more effort to stop the car.
I have Drums in the Rear and other then bleeding the system is there a Procedure and tool for adjusting the rear brakes.
Thanks
Larry
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Document ID# 789475 2002 Chevrolet Malibu
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Drum Brake Adjustment
Tools Required J 21177-A Drum-to-Brake Shoe Clearance Gage
Raise and support the vehicle. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle in General Information. Remove the rear wheels and tires. Refer to Tire and Wheel Removal and Installation in Tires and Wheels.
Remove the rear drums. Refer to Brake Drum Replacement . Set the J 21177-A so that the J 21177-A contacts the inside diameter of the drum at the widest point.
Position the J 21177-A over the shoes at the widest point. Turn the adjuster nut until the shoes just contact the J 21177-A . Repeat steps two through five for the other rear brake assembly.
Install the rear drums. Refer to Brake Drum Replacement . Install the rear wheels and tires. Refer to Tire and Wheel Removal and Installation in Tires and Wheels. Lower the vehicle.

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Well, this may be the way the "book" says to do it, but in the real world this procedure usually won't cut it. Try putting the drum back in place if it has a ridge on it - which it will have - and you'll see what I mean.
In order for this to work, you'll have to remove that ridge of metal on the inside edge of the drum so that the entire surface is level. In the past, I've used a rat tail file, which is a lot of work. If you've got a steady hand, try using a small grinding stone in a drill. I've had good results bolting the drum to the hub backwards, then having someone slowly rotate the drum while I hold the drill steady. Sort of like a homemade lathe. Just take off enough metal to level that ridge. Then the drum will slide on real easy.
It's nice to have that special tool, but you don't need it. Just keep adjusting the shoes tighter a little at a time and keep installing the drum and checking how tight it is. Take it up snug, then back off a few clicks at a time till it turns easily by hand, but still has a little drag.
Good luck.
Doug

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