2004 Chevrolet Cavalier



December, 2, 2008 AT 2:30 AM

Brakes problem
2004 Chevy Cavalier 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 69,694 miles

I bought this car used from a dealership. Car had 30 thousand miles. Shortly after I picked it up I noticed a rubbing noise coming from the right rear wheel.

Being under warranty dealer fixed the problem. Several months later rubbing noise returned. Dealer again fixed problem telling me it was caused by brake dust. Having some mechanical background I asked what they did and was told they simply cleaned up the shoes and drums with emery cloth.

Several months later rubbing noise returned. I had both drums turned just to make sure they were true. I also cleaned up brake shoes with emery cloth.

Rubbing noise returned again so I used emery cloth to knock gloss of drum and brake shoe surfaces and all is fine again.

All adjustments are correct, everything is straight and true. Contact between shoes and drum is fine yet rubbing noise returns like clockwork every 7 thousand miles or so.

Is this common for Cavaliers? Why only the right side makes the noise? Finally could it be something like a warped or out of true front brake rotor causing the problem somehow?


4 Answers



December, 2, 2008 AT 3:36 AM

Hi there,

This may be the a poor quality brake shoe material, I would be replacing the shoes with a quality brand.

Mark (mhpautos)



December, 2, 2008 AT 1:13 PM

Thanks for the quick reply.

I kinda was thinking something along those lines but seeing as the brakes were newly done when I bought the car I figured the dealer would us GM quality parts. Was a Buick dealership by the way, car a prior rental.

If and when the noise returns I might do that, amazed at how little wear the rear shoes show after nearly 30 thousand miles. Also amazed at what local auto parts stores want for a set of those wimpy looking shoes, varies from 115 to 86 dollars. Raybestos is right in the middle, had good luck with them in the past they should be good enough right?

One last question. According to the shop manual a special tool called the J38400 is needed. I figure this is because of how the shoes are held down to the backing plate. That little item also is pretty pricy, like 90 dollars.

It is really required or can one simply rig up a hook type device of their own? Or do I risk bending that spring. I'm pretty good at jury rigging stuff like that.

I'd really like to meet the person who came up with the concept of all those special service tools. That is the weirdest setup I've seen to date, simple yes but darn strange.



December, 2, 2008 AT 2:50 PM

Hi there,

Dealerships and used cars usually mean cheap parts to save a $$$, as for the parts you can get locally I am un sure of them as I am in Australia, The special tool, I will see if there is a pic I can send for you, and I do agree, I feel that the engineers must have a special Olympics to try and out do each other on special tool design, you should see what I have to deal with each day as a work shop owner.

Mark (Mhpautos)



June, 28, 2014 AT 8:59 PM

I had this problem for close to two years. I replaced brake pads twice, brake drum three times, springs and adjuster once, I had many mechanics check it out, and none could find anything wrong with it, except for one guy (Ed R) who took a chisel with the edge ground to a flat edge, and he tapped out on the part of the brake that the parking brake cable is attached to, and he saw that the parking brake cable was not completely retracting, it released about a quarter of an inch. It has been two weeks, and the brake has not made the noise once. I will be replacing the parking brake cable in a week or two to insure that it doesn't get stuck again if anybody uses the parking brake.

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