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How to Adjust Brakes on Ford 8n Tractor – 6 Step-by-Step Instructions

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Adjusting the brakes falls under the regular maintenance of your tractor to keep it in top-notch shape and increase its efficiency. Most regular automobiles come equipped with hydraulic brake systems.

The hydraulic fluid may leak or run out in these brakes, causing brakes failure. A different braking system is used in larger heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks and tractors, called air brakes. This article will discuss how to adjust the brakes on a Ford 8n tractor.

Most vehicles come with self-adjusting brakes, which are very easy to maintain. Such brakes only require lubrication for their maintenance. It is a very simple step, but it still gets overlooked by the tractor owner, leading to an early failure of their tractor’s system.

To learn how to adjust the brakes on a Ford 8n tractor, keep following our simple instructions.

How to Adjust Brakes on Ford 8n Tractor
Ford 8n Tractor – via Wikimedia

Why Do You Need to Adjust Your Brakes?

Brakes are a very important safety feature of your tractor. And it is equally important to take care of them to ensure your safety and keep your tractor working efficiently.

The brake system of a Ford 8n tractor consists of two main components: brake drums and rear brake shoes. The brake system works on the following mechanism.

When you push down the brake pedal, the brake shoes are pushed towards the drum. Brake shoes are pushed until they are completely compressed over the brake drums.

The force applied on the brake drums by the brake shoes is completely dependent on how hard the brake pedal is pushed. The harder the brake pedal is pushed; the more force is applied by brake shoes on the brake drums and vice versa.

When the pressure from the brake pedal is retracted, the brake shoes are released back to their original position. Over time, the brake shoes wear down and need to be re-adjusted.

If the brake shoes are worn down and not adjusted in time, it will lead to brakes failure and can cause serious damage to the system and injuries to you. Hence, maintaining and adjusting the brakes is a key factor in the safety and health of your vehicle.

How to Adjust Brakes on Ford 8n Tractor

Follow this simple step-by-step guide on how to adjust brakes on a Ford 8n tractor. To assist you better, we are inserting a video tutorial here.

Step 1

First and foremost, wear safety gloves before adjusting your brakes to avoid any injuries. Keep your tractor’s manual on hand to learn about the particular braking system, its location, and how to access and adjust it.

Step 2

Now safely park your tractor at a location with enough space to work around. Choose a flat and hard surface to park your Ford 8n tractor. To prevent the tractor from rolling away, block the tractor’s front wheels.

Step 3

Once your tractor is safely parked, go to the rear end of the tractor, and find the adjustable bolt situated on the backside of the wheel backing plate of your rear left wheel. You will need an adjustable wrench to turn the square-shaped bolt.

To see and assess the brake shoes, find one of the many access holes located on the backside of the backing plate.

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Step 4

After locating the access hole, use a flashlight to shine light through the hole to find the brake shoes. Take the adjustable wrench and start turning the square-shaped bolt clockwise until it stops turning.

Step 5

After completely turning the bolt, shine the flashlight through the access hole to assess the brake shoes. Make sure that the brake shoes are completely touching the surface of the brake drum.

Step 6

Now take the adjustable wrench and turn the square-shaped back counter-clockwise. Turn very gently and slowly so as not to turn too much. You need to create a space of about 1/8 inches between the brake shoes and the brake drum.

Use the flashlight to assess the brake shoes and ensure there is not too much space between the brake shoes and the brake drum.

With these 6 simple steps, you are done!

How to Adjust Brakes on Ford 8n Tractor 2
Ford 8n Tractor – via Flickr

Important Tips for Ford 8n Brakes

  • The Ford 8n tractors are quite sturdy, and it is almost next to impossible for their brake shoes to wear down. However, if the brake shoes need to be changed, the instruction manual covers the process in detail.
  • It is very likely to put the brake shoes on incorrectly. To avoid that, follow the instructions closely.
  • When moving from one side to the other, make sure that you do not reverse the springs or shoes or have the cross-shaft facing off 180 degrees.
  • Remember that the image of only one side is exhibited in the manual. When working on the opposite side, you need to reverse the image mentally.

Cleaning the Brake Shoes

A very common problem the tractor owners faces is that their brakes get covered with the hydraulic fluid from the transmission sump. You can solve this problem by cleaning your brakes with a brake’s cleaner.

Simply purchase a brake cleaner and spray it on the brake shoes and brake drum. Wipe it off and spray again. Repeat the process until the brakes are completely cleaned. After that, let the brake shoes and the brake drum air dry.

Correct Level of Sump

The leakage of hydraulic fluid from the transmission sump is a common problem with brakes. If the sump is overfilled, it will cause leakage at the axels’ ends, and the excessive fluid covers the brakes.

If your brakes keep getting wet on one side only, then an unleveled surface may be why. If the surface is inclined or has a hill, it might cause the fluid to seep from one side and affect the axel seal.

Instead of taking apart your tractor, you can solve this problem by parking your tractor on a flat surface.

You can easily determine the correct level for the sump by following these steps.

  • Remove the bolts from the bottom of both of the inspection covers.
  • Allow the excess oil to drip out, and then take two dipsticks to check the level.
  • The dipstick level indicated is the actual correct sump level irrespective of the markings mentioned on the dipstick.
  • Mark the point on the dipsticks for future reference to fill the hydraulics to the correct level.
  • Remember not to mix up the dipstick marked for engine oil and the hydraulics.
  • Sometimes the leakage damages the axle seal, and even if you fill the sump to the correct level, it will still leak. In such a case, you will need to change the seals for your axles.


Adjusting the brakes of your tractor might seem an overwhelming and confusing task, but in reality, it is not at all difficult. We have taught you how to adjust brakes on a Ford 8n tractor with our simple and helpful guide.

Its maintenance is very important to keep your tractor running properly and efficiently, and adjusting the brakes is crucial to it. If your brakes are not well-adjusted or the shoes have worn down, it may lead to brakes failure.

So go and adjust your tractor’s brakes asap and leave your feedback in the comments below.