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Dodge Neon Rear Drum Brakes

My Neon’s rear driver’s side drum brake keeps locking up without me hitting the brake pedal. I have changed the hardware, wheel cylinder, brake shoes, brake hose, and the drum itself. Once the brakes heat up, the brake will start to drag (that is what it feels like) and then will lock up the rear wheel. I have bled those brakes at least 3 times, so I don’t think there is an air bubble in the line. This has been going on for the last 2 months. Someone told me that I might have gotten a bad batch of brake shoes. Another told me that there might still be an air bubble in the line.

Might the emergency brake cable be binding or seized? How are you adjusting the brakes?

+1 for @texases on the emergency brake cable binding. How old is this car?

Have you tried loosening the adjuster a few notches? As others have said ,are you sure the parking brake is releasing. Finally, the next time it does it check the passanger side front wheel. Is it hotter than the other front wheel or is it also dragging. If so you have either a bad master cylinder or the return port in one side of the dual diagonal system is clogged at the port where the fluid returns to the master cylinder. It can be clogged by debris of a wrong pushrod length.

Sounds like a tight or stuck parking brake cable to me, start with the star adjuster in the drum. Check the parking brake cable to see if it slides freely and retracts fully when you put the handle back down. Other than that, compare a different brand of brake shoes at the auto parts store to see if they are the same size as the ones you bought.

when that happened to my truck, it was just that they were adjusted too tight. A twist on the star wheel fixed it. Not that? …hmmm … Did you use brake lube on all the metal/metal contact surfaces when you installed the drums? Critical for properly functioning drum brakes. And check to make sure all those surfaces are smooth? Sometimes a malfunctioning master cylinder or power brake booster can cause this too. If I were a betting man, I’d bet on one of the ideas posted above first, something wrong w/ the emergency brake cable. Trust me, I know from experience, it’s very easy to get that cable routed or attached to the shoes incorrectly.

What year is your Neon?

Drum brakes are designed to “self energize”, a concept wherein drag on the shoes by the drums causes the shoes to press harder into the drums. I’m with those that suggest checking the adjustment. If it’s not correct and your shoes are contacting the drums, the brakes will tend to self-energize. Once it gets hot, the expansion of the fluid compounds the problem.

I forgot to add that it is a 2004 neon and all this started after I changed everything on the brakes. The brakes are self adjusting. I tried baking off the adjustment and it worked for a 300 mile trip, but then I backed up and I guess the self adjusters adjusted the brakes. I will adjust the brakes manually to loosen them up and look at the parking brake.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Maybe you made a mistake putting it back together. It’s supposed to adjust when you backup, maybe you got things reversed.

If he put the adjusters on the wrong side they would un-adjust when he backed up and stepped on them. I did a brake job for a friend of mine who had been complaining about the brakes on his Ford Taurus for two years after he had a brake job done at a local Ford dealership. They had adjusted his rear brakes several times but his pedal kept getting low. When I pulled off the rear drums, I found they had put in new adjusters, both right side ones.

Some designs have a leading and trailing shoe that may only be subtly different. If the shoes are mixed up, it can cause locking up.

On my drum equipped truck, when I replace the shoes I always have to go through a little mental-puzzle routine where I think and think to figure out if the cables and parts are actually put together in a manner so that when I back up while braking they self adjust correctly. It’s not a particularly easy thing to figure out when you only do it every few years.

I don’t recall if the Neon uses primary and secondary shoes or if all 4 are the same size, but I would look at them and see if the shoes are different sizes, and if they are installed in the correct position.

Hey did it work…
I also have the same problem with my dodge neon 2005. The passenger side rear wheel gets locked up. I have changed the drum, break hose, master cylinder. But nothing worked.
I dont understand what the problem is can you help me out if you got it solved