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Old 10-21-2012, 10:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rear brake dragging

Lately (for the past few weeks) almost every time I drive the car after it's been sitting while I get a light rubbing/humming sound that I could swear is coming from the left rear wheel. It usually only lasts a block or so then its gone (also first use of brakes).

I began experimenting by holding the e-brake release lever while pressing the e-brake pedal which would also make it go away.
Naturally I assumed something was causing some pressure on the rotor when the brake wasn't being used. I thought I even noticed a little more brake dust than usual on that wheel (I've never had ANY brake dust to speak of with rear discs).

Took the LR wheel off today expecting to find a seized or rusty/binding slider pin, but didn't. They actually looked pretty good. The grease was dirty, but everything seemed to be functioning as it should. Pads are about 50% worn or so, with even wear.
I also thought I might find the e-brake cable binding up, but it also appeared to be moving relatively freely. It wasn't difficult to pull some slack (with locking pliers) to get it off the caliper.
I just cleaned up the sliders and boots and applied some clean grease and reassembled.

Just curious if anyone has any thoughts or ideas.
I suppose it could be one of the other wheels, but I was 99% sure that's where it was coming from.

Oh - one other thing.
It didn't look like the piston was aligned properly for the little "nub" on the back plate to line up with the indentions in the piston. The "nub" was about 1/2 worn off. I rotated the piston slightly so it would align.
Maybe it was that simple?
That'd be a change.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, "nub" should be aligned with the corresponding spot on the back of the pad.

I would take the other rear wheel off to compare the pad thickness. If the other side has more pad then you'll know you're looking at the correct wheel.

Sticking parking cables are fairly common when they rust up. It's a good idea to lubricate places it has to slide past to make sure it disengages fully. Does it only do it after using the parking brake?

The other thing you can do is jack up the rear end and spin the wheels by hand to see if they're dragging. If you have an IR thermometer, you can point it at the brake rotors to get the temps and compare. Even friction=even heat, so it's a really great method for finding brakes that are sticking or aren't applying equally.

Last edited by behlinla; 10-22-2012 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Can only share an experience, when replacing rear disc brakes on my 99' wagon. I didn't realize the rear caliper needed to be screwed back into retraction, so think I ruined it trying to press it back in. Turns out the caliper pins were sticking on both rears, so took them apart, and lubed everything up with CRC synthetic caliper grease. Also replaced the suspect cailper, think I damaged. Never thought of checking the other caliper before, but glad I did, as was starting to hang too.
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I rarely use the e-brake. Really only when I'm working on the car.

There was no trigger for the noise that I can think of.

Coincidentally, I didn't get any noise this morning, so maybe it was just the misaligned piston/pad leaving enough room for a slight vibration.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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As mentioned earlier, good getting hold of an IR non contact temperature gun, drive the car home, and scan the calipers. Maybe borrow one, as the good ones get expensive. The cheapos will work fine for up close(like you're doing), but that's about it. Paid about $400 bucks for mine, and has 60:1 optics, adjustible emissivity, and physical contact probe. You get what you pay for, and probably quickly out grow a cheapo.
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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.....or simply feel ea. rear wheel center after driving.
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