Mechanics

REAR DRUM BRAKES

2003 Dodge Caravan

Brakes problem
2003 Dodge Caravan 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 110, 00 miles

Tonight with no warning, the right rear drum brake completely locked up. I've had no recent work done on them, and they passed NY State inspection a few months ago. The brake pedal and emergency brake pedal feel normal. The brake pedal has it's normal firm feel, not mushy and does not go to the floor. Had to drive it 100 yards back to my house, that wheel did not turn at all! What is going on?
Avatar
Jimhow
July 13, 2009.




It sounds like the return springs or retaining springs have broken and the brake shoes are locked. That is the only thing I can think of that would cause this problem, other than a locked wheel bearing, but you would have know about that.

Have you tried to remove the brake drum?

Yes, it took several hours to get off - only had a carpenter's hammer, nothing heavier! Once off I noticed a tar like coating on the shoes and inside drum. All the springs looked ok, but, I've only done dics before, a first for me with drums, so I'm not really sure what to look for. A broken spring, which would have been obvious, was not there. Nothing fell out once the drum came off. It took some coaxing to get the shoes in enough to put the drum back on, but once on everything was fine - after cleaning off the shoes and drum. I took it out for a 5 mile test with lots of braking and after the first few stops produced a light grinding sound, it became quiet and everything seems ok now. (I used sand paper, 100 grit, to remove all the deposits). 2 questions now. What could that tar like coating have been? And How do I know if the cylinder is bad? Thanks the the help!
AD

Tiny
Jimhow
Jul 16, 2009.
As far as the " tar like substance, " I'm not sure. Brakes will sometimes get a build up on them if there is a bad wheel seal that allows grease to get on them or the wheel cylender is leaking. The grinding noise you heard was most likely just rust.

As far as the wheel cylender, if you pop off the rubber boots on each side, they should be dry. If they are leaking, they will be wet with brake fluid. Also, most times if they are leaking, you will see a build up of dust and brake fluid on and around the rubber boot. If leaking, they need replaced or rebuilt. Honestly, it's easier to replace them because they are cheap. You need special tools to rebuild them and it isn't worth the time.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Joe


AD