Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Adjust Your Own Golf Cart Brakes! Who Knew?

(It has come to my attention that many other folks need to adjust their golf cart brakes and this blog comes up on the first Google page for "golf cart brakes". Therefore, in order to promote the general welfare of amateur golf cart brake adjusters throughout the world, I updated this page with pictures and additional, hopefully more useful information. The new stuff is in italics. Also, my legal department told me to tell you to please be advised that I am a retired math teacher, not a mechanic, and you will have to use your own good judgment if you decide to adjust your own golf cart brakes. Be sure to work safely so you don't miss any time on the golf course. And don't sue ME if YOU screw up! Also, see the excellent comment below posted by "krosati" sometime in 2011. It sounds like he knows what he is talking about. Thanks for his very helpful addition.)

The brakes on my golf cart (a 1991 Club Car that was refurbished at some point and that I bought in 2005) had gotten to the point that I was not sure I could stop in less than the length of a well struck pitching wedge. So I googled "adjust golf cart brakes" and came across a site that said if you don't know what you are doing, don't even think about trying to adjust your golf cart brakes. It then went on to describe terrible things that can happen, or that have happened, to amateur brake adjusters. For some reason that I don't understand, I can't link you to that site. (This site says that most modern carts have self-adjusting brakes, but since mine is a '91 model, it does not have s-a brakes. Check out this article and your cart to determine which type you have.)

So I assumed this was all talking directly to me and that I just might as well call the golf cart repair guy to come pick up my cart ($25) and adjust the brakes. Since I got the cart used, I wasn't even sure if the brake pads were any good. I was expecting another $200 for brake pads. This is the price we pay for having our own cart, right?

Well I mentioned this to my traveling friend, Doug. I think I've said before that Doug can build or fix anything. He has built hot rods for years. And even more amazing is that what Doug doesn't know, his brother, Ernie, does know.He said just bring it by (he lives down the street) and he would adjust the brakes. He asked if I heard metal-on-metal sounds when I braked, and I had not heard that. He said I probably didn't need pads if I didn't hear that grinding sound.

So, after he jacked up the rear end of the cart, he removed the wheels. He just pulled off the brake drum which let us look at the brake pads. They were in great condition, still plenty of pad left. After he slipped the drum back in place, he went under the cart and removed (by pulling straight away from the wheel) a rubber boot that covers a 7 mm adjusting screw/stud on the top, back side of the wheel.

He turned this screw so that it moved towards the outside of the cart (or INTO the wheel). This screw pushes outward on some wedge shaped pieces that in turn push the brake pads away from the center of the wheel hub and closer to the drum. He turned the wheel by hand to feel when the pads contacted the drum. When he felt resistance, he turned the screw back just a little so that no resistance is felt. He replaced the rubber boot over the screw and we were finished with one side of the cart.

Here is what it looks like when all is taken apart including the 13/16 deep socket wrench used to remove the wheel.He repeated this on the other rear wheel/brake, lowered the cart off the jack, and I tested the brakes. It was great.

Now the brake pedal does not go all the way to the floor. All is well and I no longer fear for my life when going down hill.

This really was easy. I can do this myself next time. These pictures were taken about a year after the first adjustment. I did it all myself this time. I had to buy a small 2-ton floor jack at Harbor Freight for $19, and I used an adjustable wrench to turn the adjusting screw/stud because I didn't have a socket that fit the stud.

So, what have we learned here? Call Doug and DON'T TRUST THE INTERNET!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Final Update

No black swallowtail caterpillars remain in the parsley pot.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

New Year's Day

I think today should be considered New Year's Day.

(Are you ready for some (preseason) FOOTBALL!)

Sweety is NOT pleased.

Clear Springs Cafe

Sweety and I tried a new restaurant in Tyler last night, Clear Springs Cafe. It is part of a chain (sorry, but some chains are great). They have locations in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Midland, and Nacogdoches.

We thought it was pretty good and the prices were reasonable. Sweety had garlic shrimp served on a bed of rice (the rice was the only thing not particularly tasty), with cole slaw (as the waiter said, "tastes kinda' like KFC") and green beans. I had "award winning" chicken fried steak (better than average, and only $7.95 for more than I could eat), baked potato (sorry, South Beach Diet), and good pinto beans. We also shared a run-of-the-mill garden salad.

The highlight of the meal for me was the homemade onion rings. I have searched the world over for the best OR's, and these are right at the top. Had to add some salt, but they were served very hot and there were a bunch of them for $3.95. Again, more than the two of us cared to eat.

We also enjoyed the domino tables in the waiting area. Even though we don't know how to play dominoes, we made up our own game and Sweety sneaked by me, 3 games to 2. When a lady and little girl sat down with us we reverted to my favorite childhood use of dominoes; stand them on end in a row then push the first one and watch them fall. This made the 25-minute wait fly by. They also suspended inverted minnow buckets from the ceiling as light fixtures over the booths. Very crafty.

They have several very tasty sounding seafood items on the menu. We will have to go back and check out some other stuff like the cajun gumbo or jalapeno crawfish chowder. Yummy.

Regular readers (both of you) should note that this is an exact copy of my food blog, Ate More, Moved Less. Sorry, but the two blogs have sort of become intertwined. I'll save you the trouble of clicking that mouse thingy.

Update II

Only one 'cat remaining. Things are not looking good.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Saw only 2 'cats this morning and they don't seem interested in the store-bought parsley.

Friday, August 04, 2006

We Got 'Cats

I went out beside the house to tend to some very neglected plants this morning, and when I got to the big wooden container that holds my italian parsley, I found these critters munching as fast as they could go up the two remaining green stalks.

I emailed a picture of them to my kid (the garden guru) and she says they are Black Swallowtail caterpillars. She actually plants things to attract these guys. Check out her blog Green Space for more details.

This afternoon I went back out to check on the 'cats, and one had disappeared. There were no green leaves left on any of the stalks. So I got some store-bought italian parsley out of the refrigerator and put several stalks in the pot. I then moved the three remaining 'cats onto the new food. Two of them immediately played 'possum and refused to move. The other one walked across the top of the new greenery and headed up one of the old stalks.

After a little time, I got to thinking (always dangerous) that the store-bought parsley may have insecticide on it. But then I figured that the 'cats were going to starve without the new food, so it was worth the risk.

Check in tomorrow for updates.