So yesterday afternoon I decided to do the rear brakes on my 2000 Mystique. They had close to 90k miles on them so I figured it was about time. I bought wheel cylinders, shoes, and new springs and hold-down pins. Now, mind you, I work on cars for a living (Toyotas), and normally something like this would take me an hour or so. I started about noon and I still didn't have it together at 7:30. First of all, whoever designed the adjuster is an idiot. Every other car in the world uses a star-wheel adjuster, where you can just pull the drum off, spin the adjuster all the way back, and everything is retracted. But no, on this car, we have a "knurled quadrant." Whatever that means. When I took everything apart, the adjuster fell apart into several pieces, and it wouldn't fit back together the way it was, since the spring kept popping off. Finally I rigged it to work again and started to reassemble the brakes with new shoes, but the spring never did fit quite right again. Who knows if it will every really "self-adjust." Then, to fit the leading shoe to the adjuster either requires some kind of superhuman finger strength and eyes on your finger tips, or some bent metal and a big hammer. Anyway, it was close to 7pm and I had both sides done, so I figured, let's throw the drums on and call it a day. Well, no, the drums wouldn't fit EVEN THOUGH BOTH SIDES WERE FULLY RETRACTED! I cannot for the life of me figure this out. In addition to the adjusters being all the way retracted, I had cut the drum on a lathe so its inside diameter was a little bigger. In the end, I hammered the drums on with a mallet, the shoes were left dragging against the drum, but I had to drive the car home, so I had no choice.
So the question is, is it always this hard or am I just an idiot?