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Old 11-15-2010, 10:01 PM   #1
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Rear brake issues, major frustration

heres my story,

first i noticed that the e brake wasn't holding like it used to, so i figure i would adjust the star screw via the hole in the back, so i decided to open the brakes to inspect them since i was already there,

i removed the passenger side drum with no issue and noticed the shoes were really worn, then proceeded to open the drivers side, first the drum was stuck tight against the shoe, after fighting with it i finally got it off, and noticed that they were almost to the metal, so i went and bought some new shoes, the where mark L & R with the little metal rod at the bottom for the shoe that goes in the back side, so i proceed to install them, everything went fine, i fallowed this directions: http://www.4x4xplor.com/drum-brakes.html

the drums went in without a problem, and i rotate the star adjuster till the were a bit hard to move by hand and finally bleed the system,when i got in the car and turn it on, the first thing i noticed is that the e-brake wasn't working, i rolled back and fully stopped about 4 time, and was breaking with only my front tires, the e-brake dint do anything at all, i kept adjusting till i got the wheels almost impossible to move by hand, and that dint work, they just got really hot in the testing,

so what im i missing here?? im really baffled by this, could the rear cylinder decided to take a dump? they were working fine just before i removed everything, my next guess would be to by new cylinders a new springs kit for the rear, any help is appreciated

thanks for your time

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Old 11-15-2010, 10:08 PM   #2
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Sounds like the cable adjuster is no longer tight under the e brake handle. I'll try to find the write up on here somewhere.

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Old 11-15-2010, 10:40 PM   #3
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i tried to tight the cable under the tub with the nut but dint help at all,
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:58 PM   #4
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did you hook the hand brake cable when you put the new shoes on?
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:15 PM   #5
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thats the backplate that goes in the rear side shoe? its hooked to the show via the metal tab that goes in the hole of the shoe
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:38 AM   #6
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Assuming you assembled everything correctly -

Following those instructions as to how to adjust them will insure they are way too loose. They have to be reasonably close for the adjusters to work backing up.

Loosen the E-brake cable till it's slack. -- important!

As stated, jack it up, turn the star wheel UP till the wheel won't turn at all - not just dragging - tight!
Now turn the star wheel DOWN 5 or 6 clicks while pushing the lever away from the star. The wheel probably still won't turn easily.

STEP ON THE BRAKE PEDAL - that centers the brake assembly. VERY IMPORTANT!
The wheel will turn more easily. (Simply adjusting the star only pulls one shoe away from the drum, the other still drags, making you think it's still too tight.)

If it still has much resistance, DOWN another 3 or 4 clicks.
STEP ON THE PEDAL AGAIN.
Keep doing it till there's very little drag - AFTER YOU STEP ON THE PEDAL EACH TIME.

Once that's correct, adjust the E-Brake cable till the slack is removed. Test the adjustment and E-Brake adjustment by pulling on the cable for that wheel. A little pull on the cable to each wheel should lock that wheel.

Check the E-Brake handle - it should lock the brakes at about 1/3 to 1/2 travel.
Your brake pedal should have about 1/2 inch of freeplay, then start braking. (Power brakes, engine on.)


Typical errors - not stepping on the pedal to center the assembly.
Trying to adjust them with the E-brake cable tight.

Inside the wheel assembly, not stringing the adjuster cable through the guide properly.
Trapping the adjusting cable behind a spring.
Not getting the E-Brake cable properly hooked to the lever.
Reversing primary and secondary shoes (the shoe with the longer lining goes toward the rear of the vehicle (on Bendix brakes used on Jeeps since the 60's.)

Enjoy!
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:53 AM   #7
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Whew..... I had a few flashbacks reading this thread. I had a rough time with my rear brakes too. I had no real idea what type of history my brakes had when u bought my TJ last summer so I decided to replace the drums, shoes, springs, adjusters, and cylinders.

My advice is go to NAPA (autozone parts are CRAP) and listen to rrich. Without his advice and the advice of a few others, my Jeep would still be on blocks and would probably have a few extra 12ga holes in it.
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:13 AM   #8
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thanks for all the advice! today i will replace the cylinders and all the spring and try to adjust them with the guide rrich posted, i loose the ebrake cable with the nut and bolt at the bottom of the tub right? hope this works, thanks!!
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:01 PM   #9
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im in the process of putting everything back together, i just installed new cylinders, so now i should loosen the nut from the ebrake under the jeep right? should the ebrake plate that goes to the shoe be held on somewhere else besides the small metal tab that goes in the little hole of the shoe?
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:29 PM   #10
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Not sure what you said.

To loosen the cable, look underneath toward the center. You'll see the E brake cable loops through a metal bracket then to the other wheel. That bracket is also attached to another cable in the center that goes to the brake handle.
There's a long screw with a nut that adjusts the tension. Loosen that nut till it's a little slack.
Then adjust the wheels.
After the wheels are adjusted, pull on the cable going to each wheel - if the e bake is going to work, it'll lock the wheel.
Now tighten that nut till the brake handle is correct.

Inside the wheel assembly - the end of the big e brake cable has a loop - it slips over the hook on the lever. The other end of the lever has a boss on it that goes though a hole in the rear shoe. The big return spring holds it in place. Sometimes when stretching the return spring, that lever slips out of the hole, rendering it non operational.

Look at a picture of the assembly - factory manual or even the internet.

Once you've done the first one, it's easy. The first is not hard, just intimidating.

Sorry, I didn't stop you - about the only time you need to replace a wheel cylinder is if it's stuck tight (rare) or leaking. The adjusters live forever unless damaged, springs do need replacing once in a while - they lose tension.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:21 PM   #11
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alright, i just got done installing everything and will take it for a test drive to adjust the drums! everything looked good when i was bleeding it,

i decide to change them since they were cheap, 10 bucks each and the left side was stuck like you said, when i first tried to remove the drum it was impossible!
so i change them both, thanks for all the help rrich!! ill let you guys now how it went
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:27 PM   #12
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gotta remember this cuz Im doing the shoes this weekend too. tried to stop on a slope wouldnt hold the Jeep
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:48 PM   #13
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well at least now its breaking properly but the dirvers side tire is getting hot and smelling like burn pad so i think its dragging for some reason, i will loose it to see if its the adjustment that its to tight, the other wheel is just fine, and the ebrake only works when pulled really up!
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:52 AM   #14
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I would lower the handle and tighten the cable a bit more.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:50 AM   #15
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Don't change the e brake cable yet. Drive it a short ways - 2 or 300 feet is enough, don't set the parking brake, don't roll backwards. Jack up that wheel to see if it's too tight.

Check to make sure the Ebrake cable going to that wheel isn't pulling the e brake on. Make sure the cable is centered on the metal clamp. It may have slipped so it's pulling on only one side.

No? -- Loosen the adjustment a few clicks, be sure to step on the pedal again before going very far.

If it still keeps dragging, you'll have to go back inside.

After you are satisfied it's not dragging, tighten the single cable from the handle (the long screw adjustment in the center) till the handle applies the e brake about 1/3 to 1/2 way up.

Let us know.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:59 AM   #16
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I may not have mentioned it recently -
Avoid the "lifetime" linings and pads. They make them super hard so they'll last. But super hard they wear the drums and rotors too fast - and they don't stop very well - too hard!

Get the el cheapos (but not Chinese) - they are softer and stop much better - they'll last about as long as the "Lifetimes" but next time you won't need drums or rotors too.

Compare them at the parts house - you can feel the difference with your fingers.

Brake mfgrs have forgotten brakes are a friction device!
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:40 PM   #17
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got the pads from a local parts store, they just say asbestos free and label L & R for left and right, i will try those adjustment tonight ill let you know how it went, thanks a lot for your help rrich!!
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:22 PM   #18
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alrrighty i got the e brake handle tight about halfway up, and it locks the wheels, but its not enough , it stills rolls a bit in a steep hill, but i dont want to mess more with the star adjuster because its braking good and pedal has a nice feel, also there's a small drag in the wheel that i hope goes away while driving it.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:34 AM   #19
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Most e brakes won't hold a vehicle on a steep hill, that's not what they are designed to do. They are a back up system to slow and eventually stop your vehicle in the rare chance that your hydraulic brake system experiences a total failure. If you have a slight drag now you will have to deal with it properly because it will not go away on it's own, all you will end up doing is destroying your new pads/shoes and possibly depending on how bad it's dragging your drum.
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:53 AM   #20
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i see, i still can turn the wheel by hand, its just a bit tight, but ill loosen it a bit with a small flathead and the spoon tool i just don't want to loose the firmness of the pedal
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:04 PM   #21
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i still haven't loose them because i haven't had time, but im getting some burn smell coming from the rear, im gonna try to loosen it tomorrow i just hope i don't loose the firm breaking i have now, and the e-brake is driving me nuts by not working like it used too, i change the cylinders, a curious fact about the cylinder is that on auto zone they said that they were the ones for a TJ, they fitted fine in the jeep but the pads touch the cylinder piston in the upper side not in the center, but the jeep breaks just fine

what is really bothering me is the small drag, no squeal but i noticed when going in reverse and putting it in neutral it should roll without resistance and come to a calm stop, but instead it rolls a bit and stop fast. Also the freaking ebrake, im about to get a 12g and shoot the living crap off those rear drums, why dint they put disc brakes!! they are so much easier to maintain and give better performance!
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:44 PM   #22
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Letting it drag will make hard spots on the linings. Don't drive it like that!

Go ahead and loosen it a tad. You should not lose your pedal feel, unless you go too far. Be sure to step on the pedal every few clicks.

I think the reason the ebrake (PARKING BRAKE) doesn't hold as well as before was you bought the shoes from Autozone. All they sell is trash! Sometimes one of my customers would buy their linings, pads, or even other things, I would not put any of their trash on. After all, when it fails they expect me to make it good.
Brakes - YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON THEM - do you want your life depending on trash?

Sure AutoChina has a lifetime warranty but it does not include your labor, damage that's caused, or your life!

Also the cable adjustment has something to do with it - if you adjust the handle so it pulls tight too high, it loses leverage and doesn't pull as hard.

Having the shoes only touch the the upper part of the piston makes me wonder if you got the wrong parts. It should contact right in the center. Look at the witness marks (wear marks) on the old ones to see.

Did you compare the old shoes with the new ones before you put them on? -- Compared EXACTLY the same?

How 'bout the cylinders - compared EXACTLY the same?

Disc brakes in the rear? The Rubicon comes stock with them, now you know why. Discs have their quirks too.

You could give up and take it to a shop that specializes in brakes - since the Jeep drum brakes are the Bendix type they are the most common brakes in the US. They'll quickly spot the problem.

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