Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Drum brake problem

I installed new brake shoes on the rear of my 1999 Mercury Villager mini-van. The shoes went on with no problem, and the drum goes on ok and even spins freely, but when I put the wheel on and tighten the lug nuts, the drum freezes up and will not turn. I put the lug nuts on just tight enough to hold the wheel in place without wobbling and I stage the lug nut tightening sequence so I know the wheel is going on straight. Both rear wheels are giving me the same problem. I can not turn the wheels by hand, but I can make the wheels turn by driving the car, it’s obvious, though that the drums are not turning freely.

What about when you just tighten a couple lug nuts against the drum? Something must be binding in there. You can tighten the drum by itself and watch to see where the friction is. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of that before. Is the car in neutral? Both wheels off the ground at the same time?

I have, in fact, tried tightening only a couple of the lug nuts on the drum only. I’ve also tried putting all of them on the drum only. Same results. It’s a front wheel drive so having one rear wheel off the ground at a time shouldn’t the issue, I don’t think. Everything works great up until the point where the lug nuts start to tighten.

Is the PARKING brake totally released?

I have noticed the same thing and I have not worried about it. The thing to keep in mind is that how the wheel spins while it is jacked up is less important than how it spins while it bears weight, and it probably spins fine while bearing weight.

You might get the bearings checked just to be safe.

What is the width of the shoes ? It should be 57mm / 2 1/4".

I agree… check the width of the shoes. Are they the same as the old shoes? Compare them.

Step on the brake pedal twice and it will center the shoes. Then you can turn them easier. This happens a lot to some degree. If you don’t get heat or smell when you drive, you are OK. You may have already noticed that the brakes seemed to loosen up. Look on the tires, if something touches them when the car is jacked up or the suspension is at the limit, you should see some wear. Maybe.

No luck with any of the above. What has been you guys’ experience with Wearever Silver brake shoes? I’m wondering if these shoes are out of round or something.