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Help, wheel locked while driving!


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So I'm having an odd issue with my '72 '02. Earlier this week I was entering the on ramp to my local freeway travelling at about 45-50mph mild right turn and hit some unevenness in the road. My rear passenger-side tire locks up. Wheels screech, and I pull over. Take a look around expecting a flat, but everything seems to look alright. Start rolling again and things seem pretty normal, no major issues, no grinding/shaking/whatever.

 

I take the car to a local mechanic to take a quick look because I commute in the car daily. He finds nothing but a flat section on the tire, no major issues to be seen with either brakes, CV joints, bearings, really anything. I shrug it off as a random event and commute the rest of the week.

 

On Friday at the SAME freeway on ramp at the SAME speed, with the SAME song on the radio, the wheel locks again. same symptom, pull over to the side and after I stop the wheel releases and I can drive back home. Now I have 2 flat spots on my tire, but I get the car on stands and everything looks pretty normal, no obvious issues, no grinding or major play in the CV joints, wheel bearing, shoes and drums look normal.

 

Any theories? I'm kind of at a loss for what might cause this sort of behavior.

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Well it’s probably not the song. But it is something about taking that long hard turn at speed...  I’m guessing something related to your rear brakes is binding up when the car body rolls in the turn.  Could very well be the parking brake cable is getting engaged through the roll action, and doesn’t release until the body flexes back to normal? I’d expect it would be much more difficult/complicated to get the hydraulics to lock up just one rear wheel that way through body roll while turning...

 

How’s the  condition of your parking brake?  Is it the inner or outer rear wheel in that turn that locks up?

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Its the inner wheel in the turn. I also was suspecting the parking brake, but I can't quite think of why the brake would relax after I stop the car, and not when I straighten out after the turn is complete... My old man was thinking something about how the half-shaft moves during the turn and getting stuck, but I can't really wrap my head around that either...

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Inner rear wheel on a right turn means that’s the parking brake wheel all right...

 

Maybe normal braking in a straight line stop releases it? Like the hydraulics can move the shoes so the parking brake cable unbinds. 

 

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Song was Give me the Loot, Notorious B.I.G. 😇

 

I definitely had my foot on the brake until I pulled over, so its possible it would release if I released the brake. Hydraulic brake components were replaced around 2003, but I believe the parking brake parts are original. Parking brake engages and releases normally during normal function.

 

Any relatively easy way I could check for parking brake function/sticking? Maybe pull the parking brake from the rear drum and try to push/pull from the cockpit?

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Jack that corner up until full droop and check if the wheel turns? Hit brakes hard and try again to turn the wheel.

Lsd preload will f this up thou if you got one.

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Unlike a lot of rear drum setups, there's no retaining pin/spring/cup that holds the brake shoes in position--just the adjuster peg towards the top, and the accursed "W" (AKA bitch) spring at the bottom.  I can see that if one of the brake shoes can shift up or down, it could "self energize" and try to rotate in the direction of travel 'till it jams against the drum.  Once you've stopped , it'll flop back down into its original position.  And loading that inner wheel during your turn could contribute. 

 

The only other thing I can think of--and this is really a black swan--is that one of the CV joints on that axle has either a loose cage or loose balls internally, and at a certain angle it's locking up.  Usually a disintegrating CV joint starts making noise long before it locks, but stranger things have happened.  Try slowly and carefully turning that axle with the wheel off the ground and see if you can feel a hitch as you turn...

 

Let us know whatcha find, and contribute to corporate knowledge.

 

Happy troubleshooting

mike

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Put it up on jacks today and was able to turn the wheel pretty easy. No obvious binding spots or anything like that. Pulled off the drum nothing looked obviously jacked in the brakes. 

 

Any major concerns with driving with the flat spot on the tire? I have a new tire coming in Tuesday, but I'd like to be able to drive it to work (~30mi RT) tomorrow. 

 

Good call on checking the diff fluid. Ill give that a look see.

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Take a look at the bridge bar that goes across the top, between the 2 shoes.

 

With worn shoes and drums, and perhaps some misinstallation, that bar can

wedge itself in such a way as to cause the brakes to servo, that is, apply themselves.

It would release when you stopped and rolled backwards even the tiniest bit,

and then not do it again until you duplicated the conditions.

 

The PO of my race car had deleted the parking brake, but not that bar, and

it caused several... misadventures... before I figured out enough to just remove the thing.

 

Something to look at,

t

 

 

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1 hour ago, TobyB said:

Take a look at the bridge bar that goes across the top, between the 2 shoes.

 

With worn shoes and drums, and perhaps some misinstallation, that bar can

wedge itself in such a way as to cause the brakes to servo, that is, apply themselves.

It would release when you stopped and rolled backwards even the tiniest bit,

and then not do it again until you duplicated the conditions.

 

The PO of my race car had deleted the parking brake, but not that bar, and

it caused several... misadventures... before I figured out enough to just remove the thing.

 

Something to look at,

t

 

 


This is the best idea to pursue in my opinion. 

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