2001 Chevy Tahoe Rear

Tiny
PIERREL777
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 CHEVROLET TAHOE
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 17,000 MILES
There is a hot rubber smell near the rear passenger side tire after even short trips. The rotor felt warm so assuming it was faulty caliper I replaced the calipers and pads. The smell is still there. This time I took off the rotors, and the inside was filled with black dust (I assume from the pads) and a small amount of grease. The parking break had clearly been rubbing, and was worn all the way through on one side. Would this be what was producing the hot rubber smell, or is it bad bearings? Before removing the wheel I tried to wiggle it top to bottom and side to side to check the bearing but there was no movement. I've included a picture.
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Sunday, March 7th, 2010 AT 5:13 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Can't see the photo. Do I understand you have the parking brake inside the rotor separate from the caliper? It sounds like the parking brake cable is sticking. This is typical for a GM or any car or truck at this age and mileage. If it were a Ford, you would have replaced three cables already!

A leaking axle seal would be the cause of the grease. That can lead to a dragging parking brake shoe and the heat you noticed. First, have a helper work the parking brake and watch that the cable releases on its own. Replace the cable if you have to pry it back.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, March 7th, 2010 AT 5:44 PM
Tiny
PIERREL777
  • MEMBER
The parking brake is separate and inside the rotor drum. We've tried it and the cable seems to be moving fine. We did find a bulletin online that says there is an issue with the parking break rubbing on 99-03 Chevy's. Is the axle seal something that can be easily fixed and needs to be fixed? Or is leaking a standard feature on a vehicle with this mileage? I've tried to upload the photo again, but it didn't work.
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Monday, March 8th, 2010 AT 10:00 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Nope, gear lube leaking is never a good thing. If you had drum rear brakes, the only proper repair would have been to replace the seal, the shoes, and the drum. The heat from normal braking causes the grease to soak into the linings and into the drum which is porous cast iron. No amount of washing or scrubbing will remove the grease to prevent it from leaching out every time it gets hot, and causing grabbing brakes.

Since this likely only affects the parking brake, I wouldn't be so concerned with cleaning it up, but the seal should be replaced. Most mechanics will recommend replacing the seal on both sides because the biggest expense comes from taking the differential apart. Once that's done, changing the second seal is just a matter of a few extra minutes and the cost of the second seal.

If you were to figure out that there is no unusual heat or smell from that brake after driving on the highway, but there is after doing some city driving, I would suspect the heat from normal braking is migrating in and burning off the grease. That would indicate no other repairs are needed other than the seal service. It still would be legitimate for the mechanic to recommend new parking brake shoes if they are very contaminated.

Caradiodoc
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Monday, March 8th, 2010 AT 10:31 AM

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