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This isn't a problem but rather a salute to the fine engineering exhibited in the Insight.

The rear brakes as everyone knows are of the drum style. Upon rotating the tires, I was very surprised that the drums will pull off without having to wind back the shoes. If you're unfamiliar with drum brakes, while the drums are off DO NOT touch the brake pedal. If you were to depress the pedal, it would cause the unhindered wheel cylinder pistons to leave their cylinders and necessitate a rebuild of the cylinders and brake bleeding (which is so much fun)!

In every drum brake assembly that I've seen, and I thought the very idea required that, the shoes be preloaded, i.e. tightened such that they drag on the drums. Without this preload the pedal height would be terribly low. I've had a fair experience with old drums brakes, my M.G. and old Chevette (we all know the "poverty-stricken man's 'Vette" is a girl-getter :D ). But those Insight brakes are amazing not only do they not drag, but the pedal, though fairly low and soft, is quite reasonable.

If any Honda engineers are reading, please pat yourself on the back!
 

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It makes sense that people who make the dip stick out of carbon fiber to save weight would do whatever it takes to make the brakes not drag when not in use.
 

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Bill said:
This isn't a problem but rather a salute to the fine engineering exhibited in the Insight.

The rear brakes as everyone knows are of the drum style. Upon rotating the tires, I was very surprised that the drums will pull off without having to wind back the shoes.

<snip>

In every drum brake assembly that I've seen, and I thought the very idea required that, the shoes be preloaded, i.e. tightened such that they drag on the drums. Without this preload the pedal height would be terribly low. I've had a fair experience with old drums brakes, my M.G. and old Chevette (we all know the "poverty-stricken man's 'Vette" is a girl-getter :D ). But those Insight brakes are amazing not only do they not drag, but the pedal, though fairly low and soft, is quite reasonable.

If any Honda engineers are reading, please pat yourself on the back!
I'm not a Honda engineer but...

If your compairing these rear drum to your other experience I think you've not been around Honda much. :)

While I haven't had my Insight's rear drums off yet what you describe of them is typical for a Honda (and not always desirable). The exploded diagram on p.19-19 of the 2002 SM looks identical to most other Honda rear shoes that I am familiar with.

The good points are as you stated very low added friction from the rear shoes and excellent metalurgy in the drums. Only with extreme braking or high miles do you see drums that have worn "bell mouthed" and require de-adjustment for drum removal.

What does ocurr with such loosely adjusted rear shoes is a lower pedal and an increaded % of duty from the front pads. On Honda's heavier models this translates to an increased risk of front disc warpage and the dreaded brake vibration. You may also notice more nose dive in heavy braking and a slight INCREASE in braking distance (although the ABS may negate this factor). Its typical for rear shoes on most Honda models to wear in excess of 100,000 miles even when the adjustment is maintianed. Of which the Honda "self adjusting" system fails miserably.

On the Insight with it's light weight and regenerative braking the above effects will be minor.

John K. Bullock
aka. Insightful Trekker
 
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