Cherokee rear brakes shoes question

Please guys, it's been a long time (in fact, since I own this XJ) that I have had a problem with rear brakes. Just after a while (few miles of
normal driving) noise like "clunking" appears from rear wheels when brakes are released and immediately when wheels start spinning. Last thing I did was to immediately lift rear end and see from the car what's going on. Looks like brake shoes (or drum) are out of normal setup, like one of shoes is not "aligned" or whatsoever. Hundred times brakes were reassembled and last time with new shoes but problem is still there. Every time just after assembling and adjustment everything is fine and few days later it starts from (usually) left wheel. New shoes, almost new wheel cylinders, hand brake looks fine,drums not worn out... what should be position for shoe with shorter lining? Can it be that someone before me changed position of shoes when they were new? They come with pin not installed and I think that these can be interchanged. Where shorter lining goes? Forward or back? Even brakes line (flexible hose) could be a problem like I had on my old Ford 15 years ago when it was so deteriorated inside that acted like non return valve but here doesn't looks like this. Sorry about "long story" but please if someone has a clue, I'll appreciate it. Thanks Davey
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Davey wrote:

Lots of folks don't know that they have to be hand adjusted first before the self adjusters will work. Your symptoms then can happen because the wheel cylinder pushes them out uneven due to the drum rotation when unadjusted.
Short shoe is in the front.
Mike 86/00 CJ7 Laredo, 33x9.5 BFG Muds, 'glass nose to tail in '00 88 Cherokee 235 BFG AT's Canadian Off Road Trips Photos: Non members can still view! Jan/06 http://www.imagestation.com/album/pictures.html?id !15147590 (More Off Road album links at bottom of the view page)
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Mike Romain wrote:

But I do adjust it just after assembly (like they say in Haynes). And everything is completely fine first few hundreds miles after reassembly. Then it starts with few "clunks" and by the time it gets more frequent. I've been thinking about some major upgrade if I don't fix it somehow. Will look around for ZJ rear disc brakes, but will be a lot happier if this thing can be done without going so far. Thanks.
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Davey wrote:

Do you ever drive in reverse?
Where is the physical location of the star wheel when you observe the worn out shoe? Has it ever opened all the way out or does it always seem seized up or screwed in?
My rear brakes seem to wear out perfectly, but I have one good reverse brake hit every morning getting out of my driveway which sets the adjuster and prevents if from seizing up. I use antiseize on the threads also.
The shoes cock forward when you it the brakes going forward, then they shift in a rotation when you hit the brakes in reverse which turns the star wheel adjuster to set them up.
This also keeps the emergency brake handle 'at the same level' each time it is used until the brakes are totally worn out, then the handle rises fast. The emergency brake handle usually is a good test of the state of the rear brakes.
The star wheels have a right and a left side. If these got mixed, you can have the brakes always out of adjustment. It can happen easy. I had a friend who was just looking at things while I was doing a brake job swap mine on me once....
Mike
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