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Many Niva brake problems stem from the rear brakes not being adjusted properly. Early Nivas did not have automatically adjusting rear brakes, so they need adjusted up every now and again (usually before every WOF/MOT test). Follow the instructions in the manual - it's pretty simple but there's a few basics to make sure you do, or you'll never get them right:
- Adjust the handbrake (the threaded section where the cable splits from one into two cables) untill the lever can't lift up by more than 4 or 5 clicks.
- Adjust 17mm adjusting nuts on the back of the hubs (there's 2 on each wheel) so when you spin the wheel the hub binds a little more than you'd normally think necessary. Really. I had a soggy pedal and ineffective rear braking and bleed and adjusted mine several times - but it kept failing the MOT/WOF test. My mechanic buddy adjusted them so tight I was planning to secretly back them off around the corner to save the poor old shoes. However, he was quite right - the brakes came good, passed the test, and finally felt as reassuring as brakes in most other cars. Though if your wheels feel overly hot after a few KMs of driving with minimal braking, the drums are too tight.
- Make sure you turn these nuts in the correct direction - your spanner direction should always move so it hits the axles from underneath.
- Check your rear shoes if you're having constant adjustment issues - they may well be worn out.
Later Nivas (from
sometime in 1994) came with self-adjusting rear brakes and this procedure isn't
necessary. These can be fitted to older Nivas.
Bleeding order (Rignt-hand
Drive): Left rear, Right rear, Left front (upper), Right front (upper), Left
front (lower), Right front (lower).
For LHD: Right rear, Left rear, Right front (upper), Left front (upper), Right front (lower), Left front (lower).
Before you bleed make sure your hand-brake is set correctly. Bleeding is best done with the rear wheels loaded (do not jack it up) to minimise the compensator valve's effect.
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