Emergency Brake Problems

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Emergency Brake Problems

Postby Rivermoor » Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:09 am

I started backing out of my garage yesterday and discovered the rear wheels locked. There was no tension on the hand brake, so...I'm guessing something has broken somewhere locking the emergency brake in the "on" position. I removed the seat and was in the process of removing the brake handle when I had to leave the job because of other commitments....thus, wasn't really able to get "a handle", so to speak, on what had caused the problem. Anyone delt with this?
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Postby SpridgetBoy » Mon Jun 20, 2005 4:09 pm

You said, started backing out; did the rear wheels turn? I have had brake shoes glue themselves to the drums if the emergency brake is left on over the winter without moving the car. What brake fluid are you using? I put silicon in my boat trailer brakes to help fight the rust but the rubber relief valve in the master swelled enough in two years time that the pressure on the rear shoes wouldn't release leaving the brakes locked. I had left home and driven to the gas station where I checked the hubs for temp before heading to the lake. Burned my hand!! Tried to release the adjusters but finally had to take the main line loose from the master to relieve the pressure. Drove to the lake with no trailer brakes but my 1-ton was easily up to the task of stopping the boat. The manufactor was very evasive when I called to ask about silicon compatable parts. I finally took the master apart and "modified" the release valve. As long as the shoes are adjusted close, there is enough fluid flow to set the brakes. Wouldn't recommend this kind of shadetree engineering for a car though. Later, SpridgetBoy
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Postby Frogarri » Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:52 pm

Did the wheels turn and then lock up or you could not move the car? Was the emergency brake on while the car was sitting? That's a big no-no. What makes you think it is the emergency brake handle assembly? We need some more info.

Jack up the rear and see if one or both wheels will turn. Check the emergency brake rods/arms/cable to verify that they are in the released position and nothing is amiss. If one wheel turns and the other doesn't, then pull that wheel/drum and see whats going on inside.
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Postby Rivermoor » Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:46 am

Thanks guys. The car had been sitting for quite a while, and it's quite posible that the E-brake was on....Dumb move on my part! The wheels never did turn. When I couldn't feel any tension, pulling up on the brake handle, my first thought was that something had snapped or become disconnected from the mechanism. I'm guessing now that you both could well be right in thinking that the shoes have "glued themselves to the drums". I'll jack up the rear to check if both wheels are locked. Assuming that your diagnosis is correct...any suggestions on how I go about freeing the shoes from the drums? I'm guessing spraying WD-40 around brakes isn't a great idea.
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Postby SpridgetBoy » Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:58 am

Sounds like shoes stuck to drums. Sometimes you can start-up and bump the clutch a few times in first and reverse to see if they will break loose. Might have to take the wheels off and tap the drums with a hammer on the outside corner knocking the drum toward the backing plate to jar them loose. Not too hard or the drums will crack. A soft hammer would be best or maybe a hard block of wood between the hammer and drum. Obviously, the drums won't come off. You might be able to pry at the shoes through the adjusting hole. Last resort, heat the outside of the drums to get them to expand a little while tapping with the hammer. I let this happen to a '63 VW Bug I had. One side broke loose with some throttle and the clutch bump. The other side I had to pry through an access hole. Once they are loose pull the drums and check to see if any lining material remained stuck to the drum. If the shoes are OK then you should be OK to just drive it. Later, SpridgetBoy
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Postby dan » Tue Jun 21, 2005 2:10 pm

Agreed--likely stuck.

There really isn't anything that would "break" and activate the brakes (the opposite actually--if things broke, you wouldn't be able to engage the emergency brake.

But stuck shoes are a real possibility...good suggestions for resolution though. Keep us posted on the final outcome.

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Postby spritenut » Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:00 pm

One other thought....The rubber brake hose at the diff may be shot.
They swell up and the fluid will not release.
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Postby dan » Fri Jun 24, 2005 12:45 pm

Another good call Spritenut...and let's hope that's it (as it'd be the easiest, simplest fix)

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Postby Asolepius » Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:08 pm

Don't forget that the cams on top of the slave cylinders are notorious for corroding solid. Are the levers on the backplates moving? I agree that heating the drums may be the best approach. If you can get the drums to move at all, ease them round until you can back off the adjusters - that will tell you if the cams are jammed. Of course you need to back off the adjusters quite a lot before you can get the drums off.
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