Repair: Brake Star Spring Clip

This weeks article is a rather short technical idea than a full fledged project. It’s about keeping your brakes adjusted on your Bug, Ghia, Thing, Buggy, etc.  If you’ve ever adjusted your brakes before, you are aware the the issues of the brake adjustment stars. The stars typically corrode in place, so we remove them, clean them up in the wire wheel. We typically apply grease or anti-seize compound to ensure they remain free (for a while at least). The next step is to adjust the brakes so they just slightly drag on the drums. Take it for a test drive, feels great doesn’t it! But wait a minute, by the second time you drive it you need to adjust your brakes again – whats going on here!?

The issue stems from a missing part. Well, most likely it’s missing. On the block that holds the adjustment stars, there is supposed to be a spring clip to prevent the stars from backing off with vibration. Unless you are working on a car that has never seen salt, these mostly disappeared due to rust at least 25 years ago.

Here is what one looks like:

Clip is to the left of the adjustment stars.


Only one of my front backing plates has this nice spring clip, and I really like the idea of my brakes working correctly when I need them. I fashioned up a small piece of spring steel that would just contact the adjustment stars, to prevent them from backing off.

Spring Steel
Test fit

I used a short length of starter recoil spring from a small engine. I rounded the sharp ends on my bench grinder and fastened it to the adjuster block with a couple of tack welds.


That’s about it. I think they look pretty good and should prevent the brakes from backing off.